Ernő Foerk is not one of Hungary's famous architects, but almost everyone knows his main work, the Votive Church of Szeged. A building very similar to it can also be found in Budapest, namely in Tripolisz of the 13th District, which was one of the capital's scariest neighbourhoods. The St. Michael's Parish Church, consecrated in 1930, brought light to the part of town with a dubious reputation.
The area of Budapest has changed several times in the last 150 years. The unification of 1950, the creation of today's Budapest, did not come out of nowhere, at that time there had already been talking about developing Budapest and its surroundings for decades, and harmonising the ideas.
Antal Ligeti, born 200 years ago, was one of the outstanding figures of Hungarian painting. He lived in extraordinary places, first in the Fót castle of Count Károlyi István, later in Budapest's most famous classicist palace: the National Museum building. He owed his first home to the support of the lord, who recognised the talent of the young painter and provided him with housing and board as a patron. He earned his home in the building of the National Museum as the keeper of the picture gallery, lived there for more than twenty years, and was taken to the cemetery from there.
The young Imre Madách lived in Pest for three years. While completing his law studies at the University of Pest, he also got involved in social and cultural life. He regularly visited the performances of the Hungarian Theatre of Pest, attended concerts at the National Casino, but the highly educated young man also learned to paint, fence, and play the piano in the capital. His first volume was published here. Pestbuda remembers Imre Madách, who was born 200 years ago.
The term turn of the century usually refers to the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, the last two decades of happy times of peace. This period brought amazing diversity to the field of architecture, which appeared not only in large-scale public buildings but also in smaller residential buildings and villas. An excellent example of this is provided by some early villas of a little-known architect, Jenő Lechner, several of which were taken over by their new owners in 1908, i.e., one hundred and fifteen years ago.
In 2023, the Budapest Inner City Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary will celebrate the 975th anniversary of its foundation: the congregation was established in 1048, during the time of Andrew I. On the occasion of this holiday, a commemorative year was announced in the Inner City Church, which is the oldest medieval monument in Pest.
When the country's most important classicist building, the National Museum designed by Mihály Pollack, was completed in 1847, it took time to properly house the artefacts and books collected over the decades and to create the exhibition spaces. The classicist palace opened to the public 175 years ago, on 24 January 1848, but at that time no one thought that in less than two months the building would become the scene of events that would make it a national symbol forever.
Béla Lajta was one of the most brilliant figures in the history of Hungarian architecture, who fortunately was properly appreciated even in his own time, and posterity cherishes his memory with respect. A long series of studies and several books have already been published about his life and work, and three years ago Pestbuda also commemorated the 100th anniversary of his death. Today Hungarians celebrate the anniversary of his birth as he was born 150 years ago. On this occasion, Pestbuda now presents a topic close to his heart, his designs for the former National Theatre.
When Ferenc Kölcsey finalised the manuscript of the National Anthem on 22 January 1823, no one would have thought that the poem would one day become one of Hungary's national symbols. Now, 200 years later, in times of successive crises, Hungarians can once again feel that they have already suffered not only for all the sins of the past but also of the future. The lines of the National Anthem are as relevant today as they were at the dawn of the reform era.
Ferenc Molnár, who was born 145 years ago this January, is one of the most well-known and beloved figures in Hungarian literary history abroad. Pestbuda also wrote about him several times in connection with his novels, dramas and connections to the capital. The writer's own life was also like a novel, full of twists and turns, successes and failures. The house on József Boulevard, which was built by his father and where he lived for the longest time in the capital, was the most important symbol of permanence.
Two hundred and fifty years ago, on the site of today's City Park, on the outskirts of the city, there was a swamp and an ox pasture. Although there were attempts to afforest the area, it also happened that the planted saplings were simply nibbled by the oxen. The plans for the development of the Park were completed by 1817, but the money needed for its implementation was lacking. Therefore, 205 years ago, fundraising began for the creation of the public park.
Artúr Sebestyén, born 155 years ago today, was one of the important architects of the turn of the century. After graduating from the University of Technology, he worked in Alajos Hauszmann's office, his architectural work was initially defined by Neo-Baroque forms, then he increasingly turned his attention to Hungarian motifs. He designed many buildings in the capital, in the countryside and beyond the borders. His best-known work is the unmissable Art Nouveau creation, the Gellért Hotel and Thermal Bath.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the dynamically developing city of Pest desperately needed an elegant ballroom in which high-quality dance parties could be held that met the needs of the high-class audience. The first site in the capital that was built for this purpose was the Redoute, the predecessor of today's Vigadó of Pest, but the classicist palace, handed over 190 years ago, on 13 January 1833, decorated the Danube bank of Pest for only 16 years.
On the Day of Hungarian Culture, 22 January, on the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem, 200 children, 100 from the motherland and 100 from abroad, will recite Hungary's national poem on the main steps of the Parliament. At the same time, one of the most important Hungarian poems of all time will be recited in four locations across the border, as well as in Ferenc Kölcsey's former residence, Szatmárcseke, and in Veszprém, which has been awarded the title of European Capital of Culture.
In honour of Petőfi, who was born 200 years ago, a new, large-scale permanent exhibition opened today, 14 January, at the Petőfi Literary Museum (PIM). The institution's undisclosed goal was to bring the poet's work closer to the people of the 21st century, to our everyday lives: the importance of home, the importance of friends or the sacrifice made for our loved ones are all topics that we can easily identify with. Artefacts, special scenery and multimedia tools also help us to get familiar with the work of the poet. Topics that are still relevant today, in Petőfi's interpretation.
The second half of the 19th century was the great era of the revival of historical styles, which is called historicism in technical terms. Although the different tendencies of Art Nouveau ended its dominance around the turn of the century, it remained on the stage and even experienced a second boom from the beginning of the 1920s. One of the most prolific architects of this period was Gáspár Fábián, who died 70 years ago.
A small street opens onto Üllői Road, which bears the name of medical professor Endre Hőgyes, the founder of the Pasteur Institute in Budapest. Not by chance, as this institute once operated here. There is another interesting building on the street, which is known to those belonging to the Unitarian religious denomination, but the majority of the townspeople may not have heard of it. The house is really special, as it is both a residential building and a church.
Budapest adopted strict regulations 145 years ago to make the city cleaner. It was forbidden to throw garbage on the street, it became forbidden to shake the dust rag out of the street window, and it was forbidden to urinate on the street. The horse-drawn carriage stations serving transportation had to be disinfected daily, and horse manure could only be carried away in closed carts. Watering the sidewalks was abolished to protect women's clothes, and it was forbidden to throw melon rinds in the street, according to the capital's new public cleanliness regulations, which were adopted in January 1878.
Tens of thousands of archival photographs from the collection of a museum in France have recently become publicly available, among them some photos taken in Budapest in 1913. Their creator is the French photographer, Auguste Léon, who photographed the Hungarian capital and other locations as part of the Archives of the Planet program.
On the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the birth of the mathematician János Neumann, the Neumann Society announced a commemorative year for 2023, the aim of which is to make the world-famous mathematician's legacy known to as many people as possible. The famous scientist was born in the city centre, studied in Városligeti Avenue, went to university in Buda, and his grave is in the United States.
Today, it is taken for granted that anyone can view the Holy Crown of Hungary. But for centuries it was stored in a closed chest with iron straps, protected by keys and seals, and could only be taken out on special holidays, such as the coronation in 1867, the millennium celebration in 1896 or the Eucharistic Congress in 1938. On the occasion of the return of the fearfully guarded national treasure 45 years ago, Pestbuda presents the conditions under which the crown was guarded in Buda Castle.
The Buda Castle Tunnel is an important traffic route in Budapest and also an interesting technical monument. When it was handed over in 1857, it was part of the route leading to the only bridge at the time, and it has not lost its traffic importance even into the 21st century. Although it was designed for horse-drawn carriages, today it is used by cars. The current appearance of the passage took shape 50 years ago, the Tunnel was closed on 8 January 1973 due to the works.
On 5 and 6 January 1978, Budapest and Hungary became the centre of attention in the international press. The reason for this was that it was then that the United States of America returned the Holy Crown to the Hungarian nation. The Holy Crown was solemnly received in Budapest.
On 1 January 1968, Budapest Transport Company took over the capital's public transport from three other companies. Until then, Budapest's trams, buses, suburban railways and other means of transport were operated by three independent companies, the Metropolitan Electric Railway Municipal Company, the Metropolitan Bus Municipal Company, and the Metropolitan Suburban Railway Municipal Company. In addition, the new organisation absorbed the Municipal Shipping Company.
The Hungarian Royal Central Statistical Office was established in 1871. For a long time, the institution did not have an independent home and was constantly forced to move. The turning point occurred in 1896 when a legal article was published on the construction of the independent building. The plans were prepared by the renowned architect and university professor Győző Czigler. The handover of the new headquarters took place on 18 December 1897, but the staff of the office only took possession of the building in January 1898.
Fifty years ago, the Hungarian Museum of Technology was founded for the third time. According to the founding document dated 1 January 1973, its task is to collect and present Hungarian natural science and technical memorabilia. The museum preserves such special treasures as Ányos Jedlik's electric motor created in 1828 and his electric car made in 1855, the world's first carburettor engine, the first Hungarian computer and the very first Gömböc.
Sándor Petőfi, who became a young, patriotic poet, moved from sublet to sublet in Pest in the early 1840s, but love and marriage changed his life: he went from subtenant to main tenant. Pestbuda recalls these locations on the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great national poet, showing in which street, in which house, and under what conditions he lived with his young wife after the marriage and the honeymoon.
2022 will almost certainly go down in history with a negative tone, as it was burdened by a series of crises from which Hungary could not extricate itself. Nevertheless, Budapest developed very nicely, many investments were completed this year: several new buildings were completed and many monuments were restored. On the last day of the year, Pestbuda looks back and summarises the events of the year.
Tram traffic started on Rákóczi Road already 125 years ago, and there was a time when five different lines passed through here. But the means of transport, which is very popular with the travelling public, was gradually pushed out of the inner city districts. The last tram passed through Rákóczi Road and Erzsébet Bridge 50 years ago, on 31 December 1972, and its journey ended at Móricz Zsigmond Square. The demolition of the tracks soon began. In recent years, it has been brought up more and more often that the tram should be brought back to this route.
Budapest's public transport was operated by several companies for a long time, for example, there was a period when the tram services only were operated by three different companies. But 100 years ago, the Budapest Székesfővárosi Közlekedesi Részvénytársaság [Budapest Capital Transport Company], or Beszkárt, was founded, which soon gained control over all the capital's means of public transport.
They are already painting the railings and historical elements returning to the sidewalks of the Chain Bridge. A significant part of the bridge's 704-metre railing structure was remanufactured due to damage caused by rust. Eight arched parapet castings are reconstructed based on archival photos to match the appearance of the Chain Bridge in 1914-1915.
General Artúr Görgei, Minister of War, was remembered on the 205th anniversary of his birth at his grave in the Fiumei Road Cemetery. It was said: Görgei is a historical figure whose historical role has been found at both extremes of the scale from traitor to hero in the last 150 years.
The European heritage protection organisation Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute have selected 11 European heritage sites, seven of which could be included in the program to help save European heritage. The Memento Park in Budapest and the building of the Ottó Herman Museum in Miskolc are also on the list of must-be-saved sites.
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the writing of the National Anthem, the Hungarian National Bank (HNB) issued silver collector coins with a face value of 15,000 HUF and non-ferrous metal ones with a face value of 3,000 HUF. On the obverse of the coin, the portrait of Ferenc Kölcsey can be seen, as well as the inscription Hymnus according to the original spelling and the year 1823 indicating the year of creation of the work.
In the early afternoon of 23 January, Ferenciek Square and Deák Ferenc Square stations on metro line 3 were opened to passenger traffic, after which it is possible to travel between Kőbánya-Kispest and Deák Ferenc Square. The complete reconstruction of the line is scheduled to be completed in May 2023.
Public procurement tenders were announced for the development of the bicycle network in the 2nd, 3rd and 13th Districts. The works will start this summer, their goal is to increase the safety of bicycle traffic and to encourage cycling.
On the occasion of the Day of Hungarian Culture, the relief entitled National Anthem was inaugurated in the Offices of the Members of the National Assembly building at 19 Széchenyi Embankment, which bears the name of István Barankovics. The five-metre-long work of woodcarving artist Róbert Smidt depicts the fateful events of Hungary's thousand-year history.
The Deák Ferenc Square metro station will be opened to traffic on Monday, but it has already become clear what kind of sight will greet the passengers when they go down to the underpass. The designers' vision was to create a contemporary retro feel with tubular spaces and the use of a variety of colours, yellow, blue, turquoise and white.
Sixteen entries were received for Népliget's landscape architecture idea competition, which closed today. Although the evaluation will begin soon, the renovation of Budapest's 130-hectare public park will have to wait a few more years: the implementation of the first phase in the capital's Dezső Radó Plan was only planned for 2027.
Óbuda University announced the launch of the János Neumann memorial year yesterday, the world-famous scientist's statue was laid with a wreath in the institution's garden, and an all-day scientific conference was held. On the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the mathematician's birth, the Neumann Society is holding countless programs and events until the end of December 2023, with which it tries to introduce the Hungarian public to everything the world owes to János Neumann, who was born in Budapest and died in Washington.
If, based on the previous evaluation, Hungary would have been capable to host the Olympics, then it is even more capable to do so now, Balázs Fürjes stated. According to him, in addition to the completed sports facilities, the hotel infrastructure is also suitable for such an event.
In connection with the 150th anniversary of the unification of Pest, Buda and Óbuda, the Budapest Cultural Centre has announced a tender to which cultural institutions maintained by the district local councils can apply. Support can be obtained for the organisation of cultural and artistic programs and events that express the identity of the district and present the specificities of the district.
According to a British newspaper, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath in Budapest is one of the best thermal baths in Europe. In the compilation published yesterday, the bath's Neo-Baroque building, its medicinal water and its 21 pools are mentioned.
The Ferenciek Square and Deák Ferenc Square metro stations will be opened to passengers on 23 January. According to the plans, the metro will run on the entire line from the middle of March, and from the middle of May, passengers will also be able to use the last renovated Nagyvárad Square and Lehel Square stations.
The Budapest City Council announced a tender for the creation of greener, more flowery inner courtyards and the greening of street facades.
A chapel with a small floor area of barely thirty square metres was planned for Anna Meadow in the 12th District. If the donations are collected, next year a mass place that matches the landscape can be built in the Hegyvidék.
The Ferenciek Square metro station will open soon, where passengers will encounter a sight completely different from what they were used to before. The traditional orange colour remained on the underpass level, but those arriving by the escalator will be greeted by a golden station. The colours and graphic motifs refer to the Franciscan order that gave the space its name.
The Bulgarian Cultural and Education Centre is to be built on the plot opposite the Bulgarian community centre in the 9th District, near the Orthodox church. The building's topping-out ceremony was held on Epiphany Day, 6 January, which coincides with the Orthodox Christmas Day.
The Hungarian National Bank is issuing a total of 24 collector coins this year, in a total of 14 different themes. The new coins feature, among others, the 200-year-old National Anthem, Sándor Petőfi, Mihály Csokonai Vitéz, and the Hungarian National Archives, which is celebrating its 300th anniversary. There will be a hexagonal coin as well, such as the new element of the National Hauszmann Program series, the Riding Hall.
On 19 December, the foundation stone of the newly constructed gymnasium of the Baár–Madas Reformed High School, Primary School and Student Dormitory in the 2nd District was laid. The new gymnasium is expected to be completed at the end of 2023.
The restoration of the Buda Castle has begun, and the visuals for its reconstruction have been published in the past few days, so now we know exactly what the building will look like after the reconstruction is completed. The Neo-Baroque royal palace was built between 1890 and 1905 with a significant expansion of the previous palace, but after 1945 it was rebuilt and simplified due to war damage. Anyone can see the reconstruction plans in the visitor centre that opened on Monday in Hunyadi Court.
In December and January, the Hungarian Museum of Science, Technology And Transport invites those interested to a special experience. People can visit the most beautiful places in Budapest with an Ikarus 66 retro bus, and during the trip, they can also get to know the world of the age of the vehicle. The nostalgia service starts today, people can get on the oldtimer-certified bus at Heroes' Square, at the entrance to the City Park Ice Rink.
From 16 December, the road on the Chain Bridge is available for those travelling with BKK vehicles, taxis, bicycles, motorcycles and mopeds. The bridge is scheduled to open to pedestrians in the fall of 2023.
The Miraculous Hind statue was inaugurated in the garden of the Hungarian National Bank Supervisory Centre and Money Museum, i.e., the former Postal Palace on Krisztina Boulevard. The symbol of the Money Museum, the five-metre-high work standing on a six-metre-high pedestal, which symbolises renewal, ascension, and abundance, can be clearly seen by pedestrians and motorists on Krisztina Boulevard from afar.
From 16 December, BKK vehicles, taxis, and people travelling by bicycle or motorcycle can use the Chain Bridge. The renovation of the bridge continues, including the reconstruction of the monument elements and the construction of the pavement. Pedestrians are expected to be able to use the bridge after the completion of the final stage of the renovation in the fall of 2023.
The design renders of the new campus of the Corvinus University of Budapest, which is already under construction in the 11th District, were presented. In the new university centre located at the junction of Ménesi Road and Mányoki Road, in addition to the educational buildings, innovation and community spaces will also play an important role, a 180-bed dormitory is being built, and an 11,000 square metre park will also serve the students' comfort. The new campus will be handed over next autumn.
On 10 December, the public could take possession of the renovated Blaha Lujza Square. The transformation of the square named after the "nightingale of the nation" was decided in 2017 by the General Assembly of Budapest, which allocated the necessary funds in March 2018. However, the actual work did not start until June 2021. The space that has just been handed over has turned out to be different in many ways than it was imagined five years ago.
The Christmas market next to Saint Stephen's Basilica, the Advent Basilica, has become the best Christmas market in Europe for the third time. This year, the event even broke a record, as it won with the most votes of all time.
The 220th anniversary of the foundation of the Hungarian National Museum was celebrated with a conference and the ceremonial inauguration of the reliefs commemorating the museum's three former directors.
The tomb of Mihály Munkácsy, a creation of Ede Telcs, which is located in the Fiumei Road Cemetery and protected as a monument, is being renovated. According to the plans, the works will be completed by spring, and the renovated grave will be inaugurated on 9 May 2023, the 123rd anniversary of the painter's death.