The story begins in the port of Fiume in the happy times of peace ("boldog békeidők" in Hungarian), from where the huge ships of the Adria Hungarian Shipping Company once carried a wide variety of Hungarian goods to many ports around the world, from Brazil to Morocco to England -  the publisher of the book writes in the review.

Cover of a book on the history of the Adria Palace 

The former shipping company built its headquarters in Szabadság Square, the Adria Palace, which was handed over in 1902. Although the building has appeared as a set in an incredible number of films in recent decades, its history is still little known. Yet the Budapest headquarters of the former Adria shipping company is a living cross-section of Hungarian history. After all, it served the maritime trade of a prosperous country, and after Trianon it was a representative office and tenement house, to which various organizations moved after the Second World War.

It was then that the destruction of the palace really began. The Express Youth and Student Travel Agency or the Hungarian Partisan Association divided the internal representative spaces into smaller offices. Thus, many values of the building were partially or completely destroyed, including the disappearance of the building’s special elevator, which was replaced by a simple elevator in the 1970s.

In the years following the change of regime, these organizations moved out of the house and the spaces left partially vacated were discovered by the domestic and international film industry. The house - from Swedish creation to Hollywood super productions - has been featured in a lot of films. It used to be specifically in Budapest, in other cases only as an Eastern European house.

The newly released Help the Homeland! The History of the Adria Palace album, we can get to know the history of the building better from the beginning, that is, from the fact that it was built on the site of the hated Újépület, as the first building of today's Szabadság Square, to the events of the recent period. 

We can also learn such interesting details like what this building had to do with the Titanic tragedy, who have lived in the house for the past nearly 120 years, and why there is only one plaque on the building that houses many celebrities. It also can be found out why one of the four statues adorning the palace facade and symbolizing the four points of the compass, the female statue of the “East” has a male head. 

The volume, written by Gábor Zsigmond and István Tiborcz, was published by the BDPST Group, which is renovating the palace.

Cover photo: Palace of the Adria Hungarian Royal Shipping Company (Source: FSZEK Budapest Collection)