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Imre Steindl's name has merged with his main work, the Budapest Parliament. Thanks to one of the largest parliament buildings in the world, the master is included in the universal history of art, which can only be said of a few Hungarian architects. However, he had to work a lot to get to this point, fortunately, the main stages of his work can still be seen today, and they largely adorn the capital. Below, Pestbuda presents his lesser-known buildings in Budapest, thus remembering the architect on the 120th anniversary of his death.
Sándor Kisfaludy's first volume, Himfy szerelmei - A kesergő szerelem [Himfy's Loves - The Bitter Love], published in Buda in 1801, was a worthy opening of 19th-century Hungarian literature. Kisfaludy, who described his passionate love life in lyrical form, became an influential scientist and writer at a young age and was elected a member of the Hungarian Society of Scientists and the Kisfaludy Society. With his support, his brother Károly Kisfaludy published his famous yearbook, Aurora, which promoted Hungarian literature. Sándor Kisfaludy was born 250 years ago today.
After the foundation of the National Library 220 years ago, the donation of Count Ferenc Széchényi wandered for more than forty years, until it moved to its permanent place, the Hungarian National Museum. Later, the collection had to go from here as well, now Pestbuda will present the different locations in Pest.
It has been 125 years since Franz Joseph gave ten statues to Budapest on 25 September 1897. Most of the statues are still elegant decorations of the city to this day, and Pestbuda reported about them several times. However, we have now looked into what could have prompted Franz Joseph to give a gift.
The reconstruction of the building in Buda, originally designed by Alajos Hauszmann and Dezső Hültl, began in 2021, and recently the structural construction work was completed, so in addition to the construction of the roof and facade, the interior work will start in the autumn. With the reconstruction of the house at 1-2 Dísz Square, a wound in the cityscape that has been open for more than seventy years will be healed.
For nearly 100 years, a pontoon bridge built 255 years ago provided a way for traffic between Pest and Buda. But the pontoon bridge, used since 1767, was moved twenty years later because a new city quarter was planned to be built north of the Pest city walls. The bridge served traffic in its new location until the opening of the Chain Bridge, i.e. until the end of 1849.
The last major cholera epidemic broke out 150 years ago and reached Pest and Buda in the fall of 1872. They tried many things to fight it, but still, thousands of people died from the disease. With the end of the epidemic, significant health improvements began in the capital.
Few people know that at the end of Mátyás Király Road in Zugliget, in the forest, there is a special, 110-year-old statue of Kossuth on a huge pedestal. On the 220th anniversary of the former reformist politician's birth, Pestbuda will show the exact circumstances under which the work of art ended up in the Zugliget Forest, and also examine whether this was really the first public Kossuth Statue in Budapest.
Not only Dezső Kosztolányi (Üllői úti fák [Trees of The Üllői Road]) but also Zsigmond Móricz could come to our mind when we think of Üllői Road. One of the most famous authors of 20th-century Hungarian realist prose literature lived for twenty years in his home on Üllői Road, where such defining works as Tragédia [Tragedy] and Légy jó mindhalálig [Be Faithful Unto Death] were written. After the suicide of his first wife, the writer moved to an apartment building on Fővám Square with his daughters and then lived for a short time in an apartment in a pre-modern style house on Bartók Béla Road. Zsigmond Móricz, whose name is preserved by public works, public institutions, literary scholarships and numerous public spaces, died eighty years ago.
Over the past hundred years, a lot has changed in Városmajor, but culture and guaranteed entertainment have always been present and can still be found in the capital's first public park. The predecessor of the Városmajor Open-Air Stage, the open-air Park cinema, opened here more than a hundred years ago, but the fate of the park was also very interesting after that. In 1935, the well-known stage was built, which, along with its surroundings, has undergone continuous transformations over the past century, including recent times.
Thirty years ago, the removal of statues associated with the previous regime from Budapest's public spaces began. The monuments erected during the socialist era, including the statues of Marx and Engels, Lenin, and Béla Kun, were transported to the sculpture park created in the 22nd District, where they can still be seen in an open-air exhibition ever since.
The Reichmann Wing of the Charity Hospital, maintained by the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, has been renovated. The new, central laboratory is now located in a separate building, and the institution was expanded with a new institute pharmacy and other service units.
Monument protection in Hungary is 150 years old this year. The rich history of the past century and a half is presented on more than six hundred square metres at the exhibition that has just opened in Vigadó, Pest. Visitors can get to know the different types of monuments, the award-winning restorations of the past years, and the history of monument protection can be traced along a timeline.
The exterior renovation of the St. Michael's Church on Babér Street in the 13th District has been completed. The Neo-Romanesque church, built of reddish brick and white stone, was built in 1930 according to the plans of Ernő Foerk.
Hungary's first smart kindergarten will be built without demolishing the old building. During the reconstruction and expansion of the 13th District panel building, aspects of sustainability and digital development are also taken into account.
In the last years of the 19th century, during the works before the foundation of the Fisherman's Bastion, a cavity hiding skulls emerged from the ground, which the architect Frigyes Schulek referred to as one of the Castle's old dungeons. But he could have guessed its original function because he deemed it worthy of preservation, but the place was then forgotten again, only to be found again in the middle of the 20th century: now the place has been identified as the medieval St. Michael's Chapel, which since 1997 has been one of the most interesting details of the Fisherman's Bastion.
The Hild Square playground in the 5th District will be completely renovated, as well as the public areas connected to the square and a small section of Mérleg Street. An accessible washroom will be built on the square, and a drinking fountain, a humidifier, a ping-pong table, new benches and bike racks will also be installed.
Today, it is natural that the screen in the cinema is huge, it can be up to 24 metres wide and 18 metres high, and you can watch movies with surround sound or in 3D. In the 1950s, however, it was different in Hungary, the screens in the cinema were only a few metres wide. The first wide-screen cinema was Corvin, damaged during the revolution and rebuilt in 1957.
The Petőfi Bridge is perhaps the least known bridge in inner city Budapest. It is not a spectacular creation, it is not photographed by visiting tourists, but still, from a traffic point of view, it is one of the most important crossings in the city. The bridge was handed over 85 years ago, on 12 September 1937, back then it was called Horthy Miklós Bridge.
Ödön Lechner became really famous for the Hungarian architectural design language, which he began to use from the last decade of the 19th century. However, his career as a designer started much earlier, at the very beginning of the 1870s, and he had a nice upward curve: one hundred and fifty years ago, several buildings were realized at the same time according to his ideas, although not yet in the style that would later become characteristic. We present some of them below.
More and more people moved from Pest, which began to grow in the first half of the 19th century, to the mountains of Buda, because instead of traffic and crowding, calmness and fresh air awaited them there. The larger plots also made it possible to build free-standing villas with gardens, many of which were designed by the most employed architect of the period, József Hild.
Zsigmond Móricz died on 5 September 1942, at the age of 63. On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of his death, a memorial service was held in the Fiumei Road Cemetery. His tombstone, which was created by his good friend Ferenc Medgyessy, a Kossuth Prize-winning sculptor, was also renovated for the anniversary.
Ferenc Pulszky was the director of the Hungarian National Museum for a quarter of a century, and there he assisted the founding of other museums created during that period. But Ferenc Pulszky was much more than perhaps the most significant director of the Hungarian National Museum, he was the "culture pope" of dualism.
The restoration of the monumental Vilmos Aba-Novák fresco depicting the seven days of creation in the church in Városmajor has been completed. The 160-square-metre fresco consists of seven large pictures of creation and 42 small pictures with biblical themes. Now the part depicting the seventh day can be seen on the ceiling in its original beauty as well.
The intersection of Rákóczi Road and Outer Ring Road can now be crossed freely on the surface in all directions, as the third new pedestrian crossing at the Blaha Lujza Square junction has been completed. The pedestrian crossing is located on Rákóczi Road, on the Erzsébet Bridge side.
Thanks to his legacy as a photographer, we get a detailed picture of the state of Budapest after the unification, the structure and construction of the city, the old houses, the decoration of the buildings, the people appearing on the streets, their clothing, their lifestyle, and the everyday life of the Hungarian capital. The cityscapes of György Klösz are objective, yet they provide a special aesthetic experience, without them, we would look at the Budapest of the time in a completely different way. We visited the locations captured by him with Pestbuda's photographer and present them on video (in Hungarian).
The winning tender was selected, based on which the Ecseri Road metro station and its surroundings will be renovated. The design renders show that there will be pavilions with glass walls and new plants. The surface arrangement of the metro station is expected to begin in the spring of 2023.
Almost 150 years ago, in 1873, the imposing building of the Royal Hungarian Main Post Office was completed in the city centre. The floor plan and cost plan of the postal palace bounded by three streets were prepared by Henrik Koch, and the plans for the glass roof of the inner courtyard were prepared by Antal Szkalnitzky. The historic building bordered by Petőfi Sándor, Párizsi and Városház Streets was also privately owned, and they wanted to turn it into a hotel more than ten years ago, but the former Main Post Office is still unused today.
On the corner of Tűzoltó Street and Bokréta Street in Ferencváros, there is an eye-catching residential building. Passers-by often stop to take a closer look at its building ceramics, its carefully and artistically carved gate or the small corner tower that decorates its dome. The house was once the home of the internationally famous Zupka carriage manufacturer and then vehicle body builder family, and it was built right next to the factory in 1912. On the site of the assembly plant, a modern residential building stands in Tűzoltó Street, but the former family home designed by the architect János Bach has fortunately been preserved for posterity.
A 17th-century mortar ball was brought to the surface by the bomb-disposal experts from the bed between the Danube Chain Bridge and Erzsébet Bridge. The cannonball with a diameter of 30 centimetres did not contain any pyrotechnic material. The special find may have been dormant in the river since the siege of Buda in 1686.