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The term turn of the century usually refers to the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, the last two decades of happy times of peace. This period brought amazing diversity to the field of architecture, which appeared not only in large-scale public buildings but also in smaller residential buildings and villas. An excellent example of this is provided by some early villas of a little-known architect, Jenő Lechner, several of which were taken over by their new owners in 1908, i.e., one hundred and fifteen years ago.
In 2023, the Budapest Inner City Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary will celebrate the 975th anniversary of its foundation: the congregation was established in 1048, during the time of Andrew I. On the occasion of this holiday, a commemorative year was announced in the Inner City Church, which is the oldest medieval monument in Pest.
When the country's most important classicist building, the National Museum designed by Mihály Pollack, was completed in 1847, it took time to properly house the artefacts and books collected over the decades and to create the exhibition spaces. The classicist palace opened to the public 175 years ago, on 24 January 1848, but at that time no one thought that in less than two months the building would become the scene of events that would make it a national symbol forever.
Béla Lajta was one of the most brilliant figures in the history of Hungarian architecture, who fortunately was properly appreciated even in his own time, and posterity cherishes his memory with respect. A long series of studies and several books have already been published about his life and work, and three years ago Pestbuda also commemorated the 100th anniversary of his death. Today Hungarians celebrate the anniversary of his birth as he was born 150 years ago. On this occasion, Pestbuda now presents a topic close to his heart, his designs for the former National Theatre.
When Ferenc Kölcsey finalised the manuscript of the National Anthem on 22 January 1823, no one would have thought that the poem would one day become one of Hungary's national symbols. Now, 200 years later, in times of successive crises, Hungarians can once again feel that they have already suffered not only for all the sins of the past but also of the future. The lines of the National Anthem are as relevant today as they were at the dawn of the reform era.
Ferenc Molnár, who was born 145 years ago this January, is one of the most well-known and beloved figures in Hungarian literary history abroad. Pestbuda also wrote about him several times in connection with his novels, dramas and connections to the capital. The writer's own life was also like a novel, full of twists and turns, successes and failures. The house on József Boulevard, which was built by his father and where he lived for the longest time in the capital, was the most important symbol of permanence.
Two hundred and fifty years ago, on the site of today's City Park, on the outskirts of the city, there was a swamp and an ox pasture. Although there were attempts to afforest the area, it also happened that the planted saplings were simply nibbled by the oxen. The plans for the development of the Park were completed by 1817, but the money needed for its implementation was lacking. Therefore, 205 years ago, fundraising began for the creation of the public park.
Artúr Sebestyén, born 155 years ago today, was one of the important architects of the turn of the century. After graduating from the University of Technology, he worked in Alajos Hauszmann's office, his architectural work was initially defined by Neo-Baroque forms, then he increasingly turned his attention to Hungarian motifs. He designed many buildings in the capital, in the countryside and beyond the borders. His best-known work is the unmissable Art Nouveau creation, the Gellért Hotel and Thermal Bath.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the dynamically developing city of Pest desperately needed an elegant ballroom in which high-quality dance parties could be held that met the needs of the high-class audience. The first site in the capital that was built for this purpose was the Redoute, the predecessor of today's Vigadó of Pest, but the classicist palace, handed over 190 years ago, on 13 January 1833, decorated the Danube bank of Pest for only 16 years.
On the Day of Hungarian Culture, 22 January, on the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem, 200 children, 100 from the motherland and 100 from abroad, will recite Hungary's national poem on the main steps of the Parliament. At the same time, one of the most important Hungarian poems of all time will be recited in four locations across the border, as well as in Ferenc Kölcsey's former residence, Szatmárcseke, and in Veszprém, which has been awarded the title of European Capital of Culture.
In honour of Petőfi, who was born 200 years ago, a new, large-scale permanent exhibition opened today, 14 January, at the Petőfi Literary Museum (PIM). The institution's undisclosed goal was to bring the poet's work closer to the people of the 21st century, to our everyday lives: the importance of home, the importance of friends or the sacrifice made for our loved ones are all topics that we can easily identify with. Artefacts, special scenery and multimedia tools also help us to get familiar with the work of the poet. Topics that are still relevant today, in Petőfi's interpretation.
The second half of the 19th century was the great era of the revival of historical styles, which is called historicism in technical terms. Although the different tendencies of Art Nouveau ended its dominance around the turn of the century, it remained on the stage and even experienced a second boom from the beginning of the 1920s. One of the most prolific architects of this period was Gáspár Fábián, who died 70 years ago.
A small street opens onto Üllői Road, which bears the name of medical professor Endre Hőgyes, the founder of the Pasteur Institute in Budapest. Not by chance, as this institute once operated here. There is another interesting building on the street, which is known to those belonging to the Unitarian religious denomination, but the majority of the townspeople may not have heard of it. The house is really special, as it is both a residential building and a church.
Budapest adopted strict regulations 145 years ago to make the city cleaner. It was forbidden to throw garbage on the street, it became forbidden to shake the dust rag out of the street window, and it was forbidden to urinate on the street. The horse-drawn carriage stations serving transportation had to be disinfected daily, and horse manure could only be carried away in closed carts. Watering the sidewalks was abolished to protect women's clothes, and it was forbidden to throw melon rinds in the street, according to the capital's new public cleanliness regulations, which were adopted in January 1878.
Tens of thousands of archival photographs from the collection of a museum in France have recently become publicly available, among them some photos taken in Budapest in 1913. Their creator is the French photographer, Auguste Léon, who photographed the Hungarian capital and other locations as part of the Archives of the Planet program.
On the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the birth of the mathematician János Neumann, the Neumann Society announced a commemorative year for 2023, the aim of which is to make the world-famous mathematician's legacy known to as many people as possible. The famous scientist was born in the city centre, studied in Városligeti Avenue, went to university in Buda, and his grave is in the United States.
Today, it is taken for granted that anyone can view the Holy Crown of Hungary. But for centuries it was stored in a closed chest with iron straps, protected by keys and seals, and could only be taken out on special holidays, such as the coronation in 1867, the millennium celebration in 1896 or the Eucharistic Congress in 1938. On the occasion of the return of the fearfully guarded national treasure 45 years ago, Pestbuda presents the conditions under which the crown was guarded in Buda Castle.
The Buda Castle Tunnel is an important traffic route in Budapest and also an interesting technical monument. When it was handed over in 1857, it was part of the route leading to the only bridge at the time, and it has not lost its traffic importance even into the 21st century. Although it was designed for horse-drawn carriages, today it is used by cars. The current appearance of the passage took shape 50 years ago, the Tunnel was closed on 8 January 1973 due to the works.
On 5 and 6 January 1978, Budapest and Hungary became the centre of attention in the international press. The reason for this was that it was then that the United States of America returned the Holy Crown to the Hungarian nation. The Holy Crown was solemnly received in Budapest.
On 1 January 1968, Budapest Transport Company took over the capital's public transport from three other companies. Until then, Budapest's trams, buses, suburban railways and other means of transport were operated by three independent companies, the Metropolitan Electric Railway Municipal Company, the Metropolitan Bus Municipal Company, and the Metropolitan Suburban Railway Municipal Company. In addition, the new organisation absorbed the Municipal Shipping Company.
The Hungarian Royal Central Statistical Office was established in 1871. For a long time, the institution did not have an independent home and was constantly forced to move. The turning point occurred in 1896 when a legal article was published on the construction of the independent building. The plans were prepared by the renowned architect and university professor Győző Czigler. The handover of the new headquarters took place on 18 December 1897, but the staff of the office only took possession of the building in January 1898.
Fifty years ago, the Hungarian Museum of Technology was founded for the third time. According to the founding document dated 1 January 1973, its task is to collect and present Hungarian natural science and technical memorabilia. The museum preserves such special treasures as Ányos Jedlik's electric motor created in 1828 and his electric car made in 1855, the world's first carburettor engine, the first Hungarian computer and the very first Gömböc.
Sándor Petőfi, who became a young, patriotic poet, moved from sublet to sublet in Pest in the early 1840s, but love and marriage changed his life: he went from subtenant to main tenant. Pestbuda recalls these locations on the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great national poet, showing in which street, in which house, and under what conditions he lived with his young wife after the marriage and the honeymoon.
2022 will almost certainly go down in history with a negative tone, as it was burdened by a series of crises from which Hungary could not extricate itself. Nevertheless, Budapest developed very nicely, many investments were completed this year: several new buildings were completed and many monuments were restored. On the last day of the year, Pestbuda looks back and summarises the events of the year.
Tram traffic started on Rákóczi Road already 125 years ago, and there was a time when five different lines passed through here. But the means of transport, which is very popular with the travelling public, was gradually pushed out of the inner city districts. The last tram passed through Rákóczi Road and Erzsébet Bridge 50 years ago, on 31 December 1972, and its journey ended at Móricz Zsigmond Square. The demolition of the tracks soon began. In recent years, it has been brought up more and more often that the tram should be brought back to this route.
Budapest's public transport was operated by several companies for a long time, for example, there was a period when the tram services only were operated by three different companies. But 100 years ago, the Budapest Székesfővárosi Közlekedesi Részvénytársaság [Budapest Capital Transport Company], or Beszkárt, was founded, which soon gained control over all the capital's means of public transport.
Manfréd Weiss, a canner, became one of the richest Hungarian tycoons, the owner of Csepel Steel and Metal Works. When he died 100 years ago, they said goodbye to a wealthy industrialist who built a hospital, maternity home, sanatorium, nursery for his workers, and operated a soup kitchen for the poor. His huge empire, in which machine tools, sewing machines, stoves, bicycles, cars and aeroplanes were made, survived him by decades. The Csepel Steel and Metal Works Trust was dissolved in 1983, and independent companies were created from its units and tried to meet the increasingly difficult market challenges.
The tiny Rákos Stream flowing through the edge of Pest gave its name to a series of quarters in the 16th and 17th Districts, including Rákosliget, Rákoskeresztúr, Rákosszentmihály, Rákoscsaba and Rákoshegy. There is also a great similarity in their built environment, they show a rural, small-town image. Moreover, they also share a high degree of similarity between their evangelical churches: they are reminiscent of Transylvanian fortified churches.
The Budapest terminus of the suburban railway [HÉV] from Szentendre has been moved several times, most recently just 50 years ago, when it moved to its current location, Batthyány Square. The timing and the location were no coincidence either, as the suburban railway was able to connect to the metro this way which was also handed over at the time. The current terminus was handed over 50 years ago, but it may also change in the future.
Budapest is one of the most beautifully situated capitals in the world, something Hungarians can be really proud of. It is always nice when a foreigner marvels spectacularly, for example, at the panorama from the Castle. But Hungarians owe these ecstatic expressions not only to the gift of nature but also to the built environment created by our ancestors. Buda and Pest have lived in each other's neighbourhood for centuries, yet their unification provided the impetus that later resulted in so many fantastic buildings on both banks of the Danube. At the end of 1872, after a long history, the parliament passed a law on the merger of the cities, which was approved by the monarch on 22 December 1872 and was announced the next day.