Istvan Laudon and his garden
On the day of the naturalist's anniversary Uzhgorod can boast only the remnants of his collections and plantings
August 20 marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Uzhgorod naturalist, teacher of Uzhgorod Royal High School, Istvan Laudon. Once he was a very respected figure, known through the park, named after him.
He described his travels in a newspaper.
The Laudons were quite well-known family in Uzhgorod. Unfortunately, not a lot information about them has remained, and the researchers of the city history has not yet started the advanced research of the Laudons' life milestones. However, the high rank of the members of this family is evidenced by their own large crypt on the cemetery. There, from 1900 until 1952 7 members of the famous teacher's family were buried, including educators and notaries.
It is known that in 1885 in Budapest, Istvan Laudon defended his thesis on "Education and Culture" and became a doctor of science. Already in 1886 he returned to Uzhgorod and settled to work in the Royal Catholic High School, which is housed in a building were now the Chemistry Faculty of UzhNU is situated. In this institution Istvan Loudon taught science for nearly 30 years.
However, he became known all over the city not through the pedagogical work, but thanks to the garden, which he founded, enlisting help of his colleagues and students.
Approximately after completing his studies at the University Istvan Laudon started to travel the world.
From each trip Istvan Laudon brought something. From Egypt, he brought a hand of mummy, which for a long time was kept at a museum of the Uzhgorod school. When the Uzhgorod teacher first had the idea to lay a wonderful garden, we do not know.
His laying began in 1886 and ended in 1895. The first plantings were the seedlings of rare for Transcarpathia trees, ornamental shrubs and exotic herbaceous plants that he had brought back from his trips. Actually, it is the Istvan Laudon garden that magnolias and extremely interesting relic ginkgo tree in Uzhgorod came from.
The wonderful creation od Istvan Laudon was considered one of the best young parks of Austro-Hungarian Empire. He even officially received the appropriate award, which made Uzhgorod naturalist famous in whole Europe.
Istvan Laudon worked on his garden and completion of other naturalistic collections until the last years of his life.
Every year he went to the mountains. His favourite place was Maramoros area where in 1902 he made a scientific discovery, finding in our region Elshotzia Patrini species. It was there the Uzhgorod teacher returned from in July 1924 when, probably because of a heart attack triggered by the July heat, he died in a carriage. At that time the naturalist was only 62, but it should be taken into account the fact that 10 years before when he was 52, Laudon had participated in World War I in the rank of captain.
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