Cellars, cellar systems and caverns were established under towns in Hungary in the Middle Age. These were built at a low depth and with thin covering. The cellar systems cause special difficulties for townbuilding in some towns. Rock engineering geology solves the problems of these cellar systems, ensuring the stability and the utilization of caverns as well. The strengthening or filling technology in connection with the geological properties and some examples of utilization of cellars are presented in the paper.


In the Middle Ages inhabitants of civic towns strove to live inside castle walls to ensure personal safety and security of property. Most people were engaged in handicraft and agriculture. If geological conditions allowed cellars were established near towns to store products and corn. Rocks obtained in this way could be used for building purposes in many regions. Castle walls and houses were built of them, too. Cellars used for storage and obtaining building material often served as defenses and shelters. Sometimes they were extended or connected to one another. Cellar labyrinths resembling tunnels were established to defend castles, too. The development of towns brought forth building up outside castle walls and thus new building up was.often carried out over an existing or forgotten complicated cellar system; The sudden advance of Turks towards South-Eastern Europe had a share in the peculiar formation of cellar systems in Hungarian towns. Most of the towns were destroyed and their inhabitants fled. Thus at the end of the 17th century and in the 18th century after the Turks had been forced back towns became peopled and were rebuilt overlong forgotten cellar systems and they developed according to the town structure typical of that time. A quick development of towns took place at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century due to the speedy development of industry. Existing cellars had lost their function by that time and caused an increasing nuisance for towns.


The increase in the weight and size of buildings generally situated in the centers of our towns over known, but often over unknown cellar systems of unknown construction, as well as the effect of speedy vehicles with great axle weight provide an ever increasing dynamic and static loading on arches and confining walls of caverns. Water use also increased but was not followed by proper sewage disposal in many towns. Pipe lines were laid to ensure water demand and the required quantity of water was ensured by central water works and not by wells as before. Thus ground water level gradually rose and cellars were flooded. The volume of paved areas increases quickly due to heavy traffic. All this requires fast diversion of larger amounts of rain water in concentrated form. That is the reason why the cross sectional dimensions of canal networks become gradually restricted even without an increase in specifical water use.

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