The Neo-Renaissance garden of the Castle Garden Bazaar was built between 1874 and 1882. It is a worthy pair to any palace garden in the world and houses many details that have exciting stories to tell beyond their beauty: the Triton Fountain, the garden's budding roses, and the medieval curtain wall could each tell hundreds of stories if not sentenced to silence. So let us tell their stories for them.
Continental Europe's first underground railway was opened on 2 May 1896, the first day of the national millennium celebrations, after only nineteen months of construction. The unique vehicle strengthened the character of Budapest as a global city, connected the centre of Pest with City Park. The implementation involved construction not only underground but on the surface: with the exception of the Opera House, an entrance hall was built at the stations. However, these ornate little buildings later fell victim to the “modernisation” of the cityscape.
PestBuda has reported on the largest railway development, the Southern Ring Railway, currently underway in Budapest several times. Recently, new renders appeared of an important element of the railway line, a new bridge. Take a look.
The sad year of 1956 brought other disasters than the brutal defeat of the revolution. Pestbuda has already reported on the earthquake in January, but another disaster struck the country in March. A huge flood wreaked havoc south of Budapest, and special measures were needed to protect the capital. Ice blocks were blown up near Kossuth Bridge.
Zoltán Bálint was born 150 years ago and played a significant part in redefining Budapest's architecture, but his name is little known today. His prolific oeuvre, his work with fellow architect, Lajos Jámbor, elevates him to an unavoidable position in Hungarian Art Nouveau architecture.
Gazdagrét is unique among the housing estates in Budapest. Located in the Buda hills, the area has clear borders and remains a popular place to live today. A well-known soap opera followed its life for years.
János Esterházy was an outstanding Hungarian statesman, a martyr of the 20th century. He alone did not vote on a bill allowing the deportation of Jews in the Slovak parliament. Although his work is mainly related to Upper Hungary (in present-day Slovakia), Esterházy lived in Budapest several times, and many monuments in the capital are connected to him. Among others, he saved the lives of thousands of Slovak, Hungarian and Jewish people and helped evacuate more than a hundred thousand Poles to Hungary and Budapest. His beatification process began in 2019.
The Paris Department Store at 39 Andrássy Avenue opened to the public 110 years ago, on 3 March 1911, after its previous building at 38 Rákóczi Road burned down, and the store moved to its new location. However, the new building of the Paris Department Store was larger and more luxurious than its predecessor. It was opened to shoppers until the end of World War II.
Kálvin Square is a transport hub, one of the busiest and most popular squares in Budapest. Museums, restaurants and hotels fill the nearby streets, but the square itself is also of interest. At the junction of Kecskeméti Street and Kálvin tér, where the huge blocks of the Korona Hotel now stand connected by a bridge, there were once two beautiful residential buildings houses. A look at their history is worthwhile.
The flood of 1838 is part of our collective memory; everyone in Budapest has heard of it. However, it was not the last major flood that wreaked havoc in the capital. In 1876, 145 years ago, the river flooded, mainly damaging Buda but causing houses to collapse in Pest. Today, Budapest is safe from floods, which is mainly thanks to our ancestors' efforts in the 19th century.
Rats are one of the most unpopular animals. However, they are also dangerous as they spread countless diseases. In the past, every big city was teeming with these rodents, and even today, only a few can say they are almost rat-free. Budapest is one of them.
Kosciuszko Tádé Street in the 1st District is generally well-known. However, few people know who the person behind the name was and why the street known as Koronaőr Street before 1948 was renamed in his honour. However, the hero of Polish independence, Tadeusz Kościuszko, born 275 years ago, was so well known in his day that in addition to a street in Buda, the highest mountain in Australia was named after him, and his statue was even erected in Washington.
An iconic building in Budapest and one of the most important works in the oeuvre of the architect Henrik Schmahl has served Hungarian culture and entertainment for 125 years. The unique building with Moorish ornamentation is home to both the Uránia National Film Theatre and the University of Theater and Film Arts. The structure will now be given a new function. With the closing of the Ódry Stage, it will become a theatre for student productions. However, this article will offer a deep dive into the history of this marvellous building and its place in Budapest, rather than the details of a complex reorganisation.
Károly Ráth became the first Lord Mayor of the united Budapest in 1873. Although the Lord Mayor was already 52 years old when he took his post, many said he gave his whole life to serving Budapest. Educated as a lawyer, the mayor was extremely popular. He held his position for 24 years and was re-elected at every election he ran in until his death. Despite this, no public space in Budapest bears his name, nor does a statue stand to honour his memory.
In Hungary, a housing shortage defined the 1950s. Due to forced industrialization, thousands moved to the cities, chiefly Budapest and the newly created idealistic cities. However, there was not enough vacant housing in these cities. The communist government believed industrialised house construction to be the solution. As a result, the first panel building in Budapest was completed on the József Attila Housing Estate sixty years ago.
The Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré is celebrating its 900th anniversary this year. Traditional holds that the French order appeared in Hungary shortly after its founding during King Stephen II's rule between 1116 and 1131. The white canons remain active in Hungary to the present day. Yet in Budapest, a chapel they have not used in centuries is the most well-known building connected to them. Saint Michael's Chapel in the northern part of Margit Island was rebuilt from ruins by a central figure of Hungarian conservationism, Kálmán Lux, in the early 1930s.
The story of how Franz Joseph's beautiful wife went from being unknown in Hungary to become "our Queen consort", often referred to simply as Sisi, is fascinating. The Queen learnt Hungarian, was happier in Buda than Vienna, and her death shook the entire nation. Her friendship with Gyula Andrássy is well-known, and it was in part her efforts that transformed Franz Joseph (Ferenc József), the cruel oppressor, to the diminutive Ferenc Jóska.
Building a metro was no easy feat in 1960s Budapest. During the construction of the M2 line, workers battled liquefied sand and groundwater but also found interesting artefacts, such as the skeleton of a Rhinoceros and a mammoth tooth. The large-scale development project also demanded some sacrifices. The building of the National Theatre was destroyed, and Rókus Hospital almost collapsed – though the latter was eventually saved. The tunnels were built from two different directions. The section built from Keleti Railway Station was connected to another built from Blaha Lujza Square with explosives sixty years ago.
The outstanding Hungarian actress, Kossuth prize-winner Gizi Bajor died seventy years ago. Her name is known by everyone that is even slightly interested in Hungarian theatre. What is less known is that her villa was a safe haven in 1944 and 1945, where she sheltered, among others, Jews and famous writers in hiding. Since her death, the villa on Stromfeld Aurél Road in the 12th District has preserved her memory as the Gizi Bajor Museum.
For the modern commuter, the fact that trams and buses have numbers is obvious – but this was not always the case. In fact, numbers first appeared on trams in Budapest in 1910. Even the system's introduction had its bumps as trams often turned in different directions than what their number would have suggested, meaning not only passengers but drivers and conductors had to get used to the new solution.
The ornate gate built during the Hauszmann-reconstruction of Buda castle stands at the Szent György Square station of the Buda Castle Funicular. The ornate fence, stairs, and the adjoined great Turul statue – erected in 1905 – are being restored.
When completed in 1903, the North Pest Hospital – part of Pestújhely at the time – was the only Art Nouveau hospital complex in the country. Opening as the Niedermann Sanatorium, the building later housed a workers' hospital and then became a military complex used by occupying Soviet forces. It was used as the central health institution to serve soldiers stationed in Hungary. The Art Nouveau main building now provides specialist care for outpatients, but most of the more than thirty structures are unused, abandoned and dilapidated – despite nine of them being listed historical monuments.
What will Budapest look like in 20 years? According to current urban development efforts, the air will be much cleaner, the underground, suburban railways and rail services will be connected. Commuters will happily board clean, on-time and frequent trains to get to work from the outer parts of Budapest and towns in the agglomeration. Sixteen new railway stations will be built to support this purpose, while huge areas once used by the railway may be rehabilitated and handed over for residential use. At least this is what the newly completed Budapest Agglomeration Railway Strategy says.
Near City Park, the eclectic villa building at 45 Hermina Road, completed in 1900, is to undergo a comprehensive renovation. Its facade and roof will be rebuilt, and the lavish but now dilapidated interior restored. A fountain will be installed in the garden and valuable trees preserved.
In 1920 a new chapter began in the life of the Hangya Cooperative, which once had shops all over the country. The company decided to celebrate the upcoming 25th anniversary of its creation by building a new headquarters. The art deco-style building designed by Dénes Györgyi was completed quickly at present-day 30 Közraktár Street. The proud palace has stood for one hundred years on the three plots, highlighting the former success of the Hangya Cooperative.
There is an almost average 18th-century church, the history of which is much more exciting than its simple yellow walls would suggest. It was once cut in two and expanded – and it also served as the venue of a famous wedding 185 years ago. The happy couple were not everyday people. The bride was the widow of Károly Zichy, and the groom was István Széchenyi.
Football spread from England to Hungary in the 1890s. The Hungarian Football Association was founded 120 years ago in 1901, and in the same year, the first Hungarian football championship began. Budapest Torna Club (BTC – 'Budapest Gymnastics Club') became the first winning team, with the Olympic champion architect, Alfréd Hajós in its ranks. The BTC remained the dominant team in the league for a few years and was soon succeeded by MTK and FTC.
His statue stands on the Kossuth Monument next to the Parliament among the greatest figures of the Reform Period. His bronze statue rises proudly above a square that bears his name in the Budapest city centre. A respected secondary school was named in his honour, and the house named after his novel The Carthusian still stands on Svábhegy. He was also the politician to introduce compulsory education. The writer, politician and statesman, József Eötvös died 150 years ago. A leading figure of the Reform Period and subsequent decades, his policies are as much part of his oeuvre as his novels. Visit the sites that memorialise the nobleman in Budapest.
Budapest has just bidden farewell to another bus type: the last Ikarus 415 was recently retired from service. The model appeared in Budapest in 1987 but never became dominant, even though the factory had planned to replace the classic 200 series with the new design. Rather, its role was similar to a substitute player: rarely allowed to shine.
The construction of the passenger centre in the 137-year-old Keleti Railway Station, which serves nearly 11 million passengers a year, has begun. The development will greatly increase passenger comfort, bring international and domestic ticket sales into the same hall, while new escalators and lifts will make the centre easily accessible.
Once again, the Pest Embankment will be closed to traffic on weekends between Margit Bridge and Közraktár Street. Only pedestrians and cyclists will be allowed in the area.
The new cultural and community centre of the 1st District, the Sándor Márai Cultural Centre, was opened on 22 March in the newly renovated building of the former Buda Civic Casino at 1 Krisztina Square.
The renovation of the Ministry of Agriculture's Kossuth Square building will begin in the summer. The design renders newly published show that the Neo-Renaissance facades will be restored to their original beauty. The previously closed central courtyard will be opened to visitors. Gyula Bukovics designed the palace, and its construction began in 1885, the same year in which construction of the Parliament building on the other side of the square but was completed fifteen years earlier, in 1887.
Planning of the connection of Metro line 2 and the suburban railway to Gödöllő can begin after the government decided to provide the necessary funding. Construction plans for the reconstruction of the suburban railway line and the renovation of affected stations can begin. Renders of key elements of the plans have also been published. The metro and suburban railway tracks will be connected above ground on Örs vezér square.
Városliget Promenade will be rebuilt. The Rondo, the historical entrance of City Park, will be restored, and a new part of the park will be created between the House of Hungarian Music and the new Museum of Ethnography. Almost 80,000 square metres of green space will be renewed, and 200 new deciduous trees planted by the spring of 2022. In addition, hot air balloons will once again rise from Mimóza Hill in City Park.
The Art Nouveau Sipeki Balás Villa, built between 1905 and 1907, currently the headquarters of the Hungarian National Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, is to be fully restored. The listed building, designed by Ödön Lechner, will be renovated under supervision for HUF 1.94 billion. The wing attached to it in the 1970s will be demolished and replaced with a new wing.
The buildings' demolition on the plot on the corner of Bajza Street and Városligeti Avenue is in full swing. The building complex was closed in 2007. New buildings for the Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Monument Protection Documentation Centre will be constructed on the plot.
A large 12 000 square metre park has been created among the tower blocks built in Újbuda in the 1970s. Sprawling between Tétényi Road and Fejér Lipót Street, the park includes renovated sports fields and courts, walkways, new ping pong tables and rest stops.
The government plans to provide 3000 Billion HUF in additional funding towards healthcare and transportation development and environmental protection initiatives, according to plans laid out by the Government Commissioner for the Development of Budapest. According to an agreement reached on Thursday, the government will finance three projects: the renewal of the Pest embankment, the southern extension of the Buda intertwining tram, and the renovation of the Kelenföld bus station with the creation of a new 1,500-place P+R car park.
The development of Nagyrét in Hűvösvölgy continues: a thematic playground and an outdoor gym will be built on one of the most popular greens in Budapest by the end of April. The playground, designed by sculptors, will evoke the indigenous fauna and flora of the forest. Work will begin later this week.
The Petőfi Literary Agency, a subsidiary of the Petőfi Literary Museum, will be gifted several state-owned buildings in Budapest. According to plans, a pop culture and related arts centre will be created in the facilities of the Óbuda Shipyard and Zichy Castle by 2025.
Chain Bridge will be closed to pedestrians from 17 March, and walking across the bridge will be forbidden until work is completed in 2023. The pavements have been closed as part of preparatory steps before the renovation begins. Motorists can use the bridge until mid-June.
Although the renovation of the Rác Bath complex was completed in 2010, it has never reopened due to protracted legal and financial disputes. Now the building's condition has deteriorated so much that it needs to be renovated again. The building – owned by Rác Nosztalgia Kft., which is under liquidation – will now be put up for auction together with the hotel connected to it for 5.1 billion HUF.
Pál Vasvári was a leading figure in the Youths of March and played an important role in wording the 12 points. As one of the heroes of the War of Independence, he fell in battle in 1849, living only 23 years. A bust in his honour was unveiled in the garden of the National Museum on Saturday.
On 17 March, the pedestrian pavements on Chain Bridge will be closed as the renovation begins.
Those wanting to take a last glance at the Fontana building, built in 1984 on the corner of Váci Street and Régi Posta Street, should hurry. The large-scale demolition works are already underway. The former shopping centre will soon be replaced by a more modern building on Budapest's top shopping street.
The tramline for the future Galvani Bridge is being planned. The new, two-track, four-kilometre tramway will run from Fehérvári Road in Buda across the new Danube bridge and North Csepel, and over the new Ráckeve-Danube bridge to Gubacsi Road in Pest.
Budapest's iconic building, Bálna or the Whale, which has defined the Danube-banks for years, is to be renovated. The structural renovation will see key materials replaced with modern counterparts, but the exterior will not change. Bálna will also receive decorative lighting.
Walking along the 1.6-kilometre path of the 10 signposts in Wekereletelep allows visitors to dive into the listed area's history. Looking through the peep-holes on the steel and wood posts highlights small but important details of the area.
The Budapest city council has published a new urban development strategy running until 2027. According to the wording of the program, the movement of Budapest residents to the agglomeration must be stopped, traffic jams must be reduced, and as many green spaces as possible must be created in the capital.
The new cultural institution in Budafok will house a local history museum and several exhibition spaces. A café will open in the inner courtyard, the new Atrium. One of the rooms in the former town hall building will be a so-called visual warehouse, in which objects can be taken in hand.
The excavation on a plot at the corner of Margit Boulevard and Rómer Flóris Street has been completed. Archaeologists uncovered many Bronze Age and Roman items and artefacts from the Ottoman Period, as well as four hundred graves.
Standing opposite the Opera House, at 25 Andrássy Avenue, the French Renaissance-style Drechsler Palace is to be renovated as a five-star hotel. The remodelling of the building, designed by Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos, will include a loft conversion. The owners have promised that the listed historical monument will be restored to its former glory.
A new outdoor installation of 25 posters has been opened on the terrace of the Castle Gaden Bazaar. The exhibit opens the door to the life, industry and politics of the past. The newly opened collection includes the posters of Budapest Orpheum, the Holzer Budapest Clothes Shop, the Törley Champagne Factory, the newly-opened Corvin Department Store, and the Budapest Operetta Theater's poster for its revue Halló Amerika. The works of the poster artist Géza Faragó are on display on the southern panorama terrace of the Castle Garden Bazaar.
A new virtual tour of Kossuth Square around the Hungarian Parliament building has been released. The virtual space includes a collection of rarely seen films and less known facts to offer visitors a deeper understanding of the Hungarian nation's main square, its buildings and memorials.
A bicycle pump track will be built in the 22nd District, in a previously unused area next to the Budafoki elágazás tram stop. Amateur and professional cyclists will be able to use the area. A wide promenade will lead through the park, and other communal spaces will be built as well.
The construction of the House of Hungarian Music in City Park has entered its final stage. To commemorate the occasion, a time capsule was placed in the centre of the building. The institution will open its doors to the general public before Christmas this year.
The turul statue of Buda Castle has been lifted from its pedestal and moved to a temporary restoration workshop created on Savoyai Terrace. The statue will be cleaned, its bronze work repaired, and the internal iron frame reinforced.
The reconstruction of Archduke Joseph's palace in Buda Castle will begin later this year. Newly released visuals showcase the glass-roofed ornamental main staircase, a two-story-high ceremonial hall, and the Renaissance revival garden.