The Hilton Hotel, handed over 45 years ago, was built on the site of the city’s most beautiful Baroque monument, a Jesuit dormitory damaged in World War II. Only the western wall of the old building facing András Hess Square remains. Some say that the modern building has been incorporated into the castle environment, others believe that it disturbs the harmonious view of the Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion with its huge block.
The 660-meter overpass above the BAH junction plays an indispensable role in the traffic of Budapest, as it is actually the gateway to Lake Balaton. The huge bridge was built 45 years ago, and since then tens of millions of people have crossed it to reach Lake Balaton or the Adriatic. However, the construction also came at a price: a total of 73 flats disappeared due to it, and the old customs house was also demolished.
Ice skating is one of the most popular winter sports done by many in Budapest. Few people know, but one of the busiest junctions in the country, Széll Kálmán Square, was once home to a famous and very popular ice rink in Buda with a huge, richly decorated skating hall. By the end of the 1930s, the square had been completely transformed and today we only have pictures and stories of the former famous skating rink and sports fields in Buda.
After the unification of the city, construction works in Budapest started at a dizzying pace, huge, multi-storey houses were erected in a few months, but accidents on construction sites were rare. One of these happened during the construction of the Ferenciek Bazaar, when a falling wall buried eight workers. At the wailing of the injured, the people of Pest flooded the area in no time. Our reminiscent article gives an insight into how the authorities dealt with construction accidents in the 19th century.
We can see another part of the surroundings of the Budavár Palace in the same form as it was once created by the great masters of the turn of the century, the architect Alajos Hauszmann, the sculptor Gyula Jungfer, the sculptors Károly Senyei and Gyula Donáth. Yesterday, the Habsburg Gate, its staircase, and the Fountain of the Fishing Children were handed over, after being renovated together with their surroundings. We visited the site, where we could not only see the demanding restoration of these artistic works, but also see a special festive exhibition as well as an intimate Advent fair.
We headed to one of the most easily accessible heights in Buda: despite its name, Ördög-orom [Devil's Peak] is a nice, excellent excursion place for people used to the city, we don't even have to wear boots. There are plenty of sights and attractions in the area, now we present a small slice of it as a short tour.
The Erkel Theatre was People's Opera, City Theatre, a variety show and the House of Hungarian Culture, later a cinema and then a scene of the Opera House. Its original façade and interiors have been rebuilt over time, and in 110 years, just one thing hasn't changed: it is still the largest permanent stone theatre in the country.
The thousandth anniversary of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin provided the basis for the creation of many famous works of art and buildings, as a nation proud of its past lived in an economic heyday. However, the memories of high culture were only a slice of the diverse entertainment industry at the time, and the wider audience also longed for lighter entertainment, which was served by a number of places of amusement. It is interesting how similar they were in some respects.
Széll Kálmán Square has undergone huge changes in recent years and although we have become accustomed to the modern environment, the renovation program actually ended only on Thursday: the gateway connecting the square with Krisztina Boulevard was handed over. The passage was short, but the construction was all the more complicated. Still, it was worth it, as it is another, very big step towards an accessible Budapest.
At the corner of the Nagy templom and Nap Street in Józsefváros is a beautiful house made in the Neo-Renaissance style. It is already important because of its designer, Miklós Ybl, but the client, the First Pest Nursery Association, also makes the building - still operating in education - special.
The designer and contractor were sought for the Margit Bridge in an international design competition. There was a lot of discussion about the location of the bridge, as the second bridge of Budapest, which was still waiting to be united at the time, was imagined by many people elsewhere, in the southern part of the city. The tender was won by a French engineer who also built the bridge, which was very similar to the way we know Margit Bridge today.
There are many monuments in Táncsics Mihály Street in Buda Castle, including the Baroque palace at No. 1, which has played a special role in the field of monument protection: until its restoration in 1970, the National Monument Inspectorate and its successor organizations have operated here until recently. The building has now been sold by the Hungarian state, so it will be given a new function in the future. However, this is no stranger to it: during its long history, it had many different owners who used the palace built in the 18th century differently.
Tibi chocolate, Ropp wafer and Zizi dragee. Generations have known and loved the popular products of the Stühmer Chocolate Factory. How did Frigyes Stühmer create Hungary's first and largest chocolate factory in Józsefváros during the Compromise-period and why did the factory have to move to the neighbouring Ferencváros? The factory was nationalised after World War II, and descendants who moved to Canada tried unsuccessfully to reclaim it in the 1990s, yet the brand name, founded more than 150 years ago, has not been forgotten.
The western side of the Buda Castle has been loud from truck noise in recent years, as the former Royal Riding Hall and the Royal Guard building have been rebuilt as part of the National Hauszmann Program. These beautiful buildings have been completed before, and more recently they have been working on the Csikós Court that surrounds them, which was finally opened to the public in mid-September. We invite the Reader for a short journey, during which we will pass through the court, and the end of our journey will be the also rebuilt, charming Stöckl Stairs.
The building, which houses the Puskin Cinema and was built in 1895 according to the plans of Czigler Győző, has had a cinema in it since 1926, before which the Magyar Világ Café was located on the ground floor of the building. An audio film was first screened in Hungary at the former Fórum film theatre in 1929, although this was almost thwarted by a patent lawsuit.
Budapest gave Pilinszky the experience of the city: when he was young, he absorbed the colours and atmosphere, and although he got to know many big cities in the world (he visited Rome, Paris, London, Vienna or New York), the real remained Budapest for him. The poet, born 100 years ago, spent his infancy in the city centre, in the immediate vicinity of the Károlyi Garden, he lived with his family for long in Molnár Street, he got his first home on Izabella Street at the age of forty. Cafés, editorial offices, bars and cinemas were also important venues for his life and poetry.
Imre Makovecz, a master of organic architecture, designed many churches in addition to many buildings. The plans for the Church of the Ascension in Rákoskert were made between 2008 and 2009, for which the necessary financial resources were not available at that time. However, construction of the church began two years ago and is now nearing completion. The new bell has been placed in its tower these days.
Bertalan Árkay was undoubtedly one of the excellences of modern Hungarian architecture. He made one of his most emblematic works, the Városmajor Heart of Jesus Parish Church, with his father, Aladár Árkay, but he also made his mark in modern villa architecture between the two world wars.
95 years ago today, on 20 November 1926, the mechanically cooled skating rink in City Park was handed over. Thanks to the artificial ice, the season has been extended, allowing ice skating even when the temperature does not drop below zero degrees. The one in City Park was the first artificial ice surface in the country and the second in Europe.
A fine example of historicist architecture is the Church of Saint Vincent de Paul at the intersection of Mester Street and Haller Street in Ferencváros, which was consecrated in 1936, 85 years ago. Its creator was Gáspár Fábián, who, as one of the most outstanding architects of his time, designed about fifty church buildings. The carved sandstone building, modelled on Romanesque churches in northern Italy, can accommodate up to 2,000 people. From the top of the 55-metre tower, an amazing panorama is a delight for those climbing the staircase.
Babits Mihály Promenade is one of the most romantic streets in Budapest. It runs along the castle wall of Buda, and although the tourist traffic is huge nearby, only a few are walking in this relatively hidden area. Yet it was created in the 1930s precisely because it opened up a magical panorama of the entire city, and it was hoped it would attract foreign visitors like sugar.
A special and closed world bordered by a fence where artists live and create. That's how it has been for110 years. With the support of Mayor István Bárczy, the country's first artists' colony was built on Százados Road in 1911 from the budget of the capital, with fifteen one-storey houses and 28 studios. From the beginning, renowned artists created here, including Ferenc Medgyessy, Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl, Bertalan Pór, Dezső Czigány. The area, which was still a suburb at the time of its handover, is now an integral part of Józsefváros.
One of the most colourful personalities in the heroic age of aviation was Guido Prodam. The adventurous pilot learned to fly in Rákosmező, and he was the first Hungarian to fly over the Budapest downtown 110 years ago. During his journey, he flew along the Danube, he also flew above the Chain Bridge, the Buda Castle and the Technical University.
In much of the world today, cars are on the right side of the road, and on the European mainland, this is the traffic regulation, wherever we go. However, this was not always the case: the right-hand drive in Hungary only became common 80 years ago, in November 1941, as one of the last countries on the European continent. However, several transport vehicle still operated according to the original order, the change in the Kisföldalatti [the small underground railway] only took place in 1973.
Virgil Nagy, who designed the structures that fundamentally define the view of Budapest, passed away 100 years ago, the architectural design of the Liberty Bridge and the aesthetic appearance of the old Elizabeth Bridg , which was blown up in 1945, are his works.
The Hungarian National Bank was established in 1924, and the institution's well-known building in Szabadság Square was actually handed over in 1905 as the headquarters of the Austro-Hungarian Bank in Budapest. The economic flourishing of the period of dualism is also reflected in the prestigious building designed by Ignác Alpár, which will hopefully be brought to the fore by the reconstruction that will begin soon. During the renovation of the monument, the original conditions will be restored in the interior and the whole building will be modernised and made energy-efficient.
The Újpest Railway Bridge is a stepchild among the bridges in Budapest because it does not even have a regular name. There is almost no mention of it, even though trains have been running here for 125 years, and it plays an important role in traffic around Budapest. Pestbuda now remembers the birth of the first structure, which was built in 1896 for the millennium but was destroyed in World War II.
The church of the Lutheran Parish of Kőbánya, consecrated in 1931, is located in the geometric center of the capital. The building at 14 Kápolna Street is a small "jewel box" of Hungarian sacred architecture between the two world wars. Its floor plan evokes the world of Baroque sacral buildings with a single nave, and in its external design it can be related to the Western European buildings of art deco.
The transformation of the Hungarian capital into a metropolis was formulated before the unification of Pest and Buda, when in 1871 a tender was issued for the preparation of a regulatory plan that would provide a framework for the planned large-scale constructions. The tender, which closed 150 years ago, received a number of proposals that contributed to the development of the currently known structure and cityscape of the capital.