Citadel renovation to create 1500 square-metre exhibition space

Hungarian version of the article: A Citadella kertje és falai is megújulnak, 1500 négyzetméteres kiállítótér lesz az erődben

February 1, 2021 at 1:00 PM

Several lifts, a pool, a 1,500-square-metre exhibition space and a twenty-metre flagpole will also be installed in the Citadel as a part of the current reconstruction, which will see the walls and gardens of the structure completed in 1854 completely renewed. The work will be carried out by the consortium of ZÁÉV and Market Zrt. for 14.8 billion HUF.

The fortress has stoop on top of Gellért Hill for almost 170 years but has never been renovated so comprehensively. Every armed conflict of the last century left its mark on its walls. The current reconstruction should thus be considered historic. Furthermore, a complete renovation is also needed as the building is becoming unstable. 

We have already detailed the results of the archaeological survey conducted in the area by Vérkapitányság. Now the detailed plans of the reconstruction have been revealed, through the results of the public procurement tender. A consortium of ZÁÉV Építőipari Zrt. and Market Építő Zrt. will carry out the renovation for 14.8 billion HUF.

Gun carriage of a World War I anti-aircraft gun in the Citadel during excavations last year (Photo: Várkapitányság)

A 1497-square-metre exhibition and expo area will be created in the 4280-square-metre building as part of the project. The exhibition about the Hungarian nations' struggles for freedom will be housed in an area closer to the Budapest statue of Liberty. Several lifts will be installed during the renovation, making the Citadel accessible to those with limited mobility.

The contractors will also have to carry out the restoration of wood, metal, stone elements as well as restoring paint. Public utilities in the area will also be replaced. The revitalised garden will include 13,772 square metres of paved areas and 13,390 square metres of green space, and a 200-square-metre pool and waterworks 

The area is planned to have a capacity of 1200 people. 

The inner court of the Citadel, shelves seen on the right, were created in the 1960s (Photo: Balázs Both/

Beyond the above, demolitions will be carried out within the fortress. These works will include the demolition of the bunker which has filled a large part of the courtyard since the Second World War. According to the tender, a total of 200 cubic metres of reinforced concrete, 700 square metres of partition walls, 1,400 square metres of foundation concrete, 1,400 square metres of flooring. 

The 235-metre-high Citadel on the top of Gellért Hill was built between 1851 and 1854 according to the plans of Ignaz Weiss (and not Ferenc Kasselik, as a plaque on the wall of the fortress erroneously advertises). In 1899, the forces stationed in the building permanently left the fortification, which had become a symbol of oppression for Hungarians. Although the fortress has been a hostel, restaurant and concert over the decades, its final function remains to be seen. At least until the end of the current renovation. 

Cover photo: Bird's eye view of the Citadel (Photo: Várkapitányság)

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