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The Józsefváros railway station, the third of Budapest's railway stations, was originally built for a private railway that later went bankrupt. The company was taken over by the state, and this decision brought about significant changes in Hungarian transport policy.
It was damaged in World War II, so one of the charming villas on Andrássy Avenue was demolished, which was built as the family house of the director of the Western Railway company in the early 1880s. The building was bought by the Hungarian state at the beginning of the 20th century, which later handed it over to a female monastic order, so it is not surprising that a chapel was built there at that time. After the war, the decision-makers did not spare the villa, building a modern residential house in its place.
The classicist corner building at 13 Váci Street and 15 Régiposta Street is the oldest still standing house on Váci Street, and according to research, it was the first three-storey residential building in the capital. The first art shop in Pest opened its doors here, then in the second half of the 19th century, it housed one of the most prestigious fashion salons in Europe, the Alter and Kiss Fashion House. Kálmán Mikszáth was a famous tenant. The house has undergone several mutilations over the past 215 years, but thanks to the restorations, much of its original beauty is still preserved today.
Among the innovators of Hungarian painting at the turn of the century, we consider Béla Iványi-Grünwald, who was born 155 years ago. He studied at the Mintarajziskola [Design School] on Andrássy Avenue, later becoming a popular and defining figure in Budapest's art life, one of the founders and core members of the Fészek Klub [Nest Club]. He is also the founder of the Nemzeti Szalon [National Salon], an association of artists dissatisfied with official art policy, with its headquarters in Erzsébet Square. When he died at János Hospital in 1940, his contemporaries said goodbye not only to a talented artist but also to an always cheerful social man.
A foreign tourist may not even believe that Gellért Hill was not created by human hands. Towering in the middle of the city, it offers stunning views, so the idea that it was built for tourism may be obvious. Yet it is a gift of nature, and the view could be used not only for pleasure but also for military purposes. This justified the construction of a fortress on the hilltop called the Citadel. The building will be completely reborn thanks to the Várkapitányság, we now have the opportunity to see the work in progress.
A bridge was designed in the 1970s to replace the former Lágymányosi, now Rákóczi Bridge, and a tender was also announced for the task. The winning plan would have been a concrete bridge, but ideas later changed about both the structure and the role of the bridge, so it was finally built only decades later, in a completely different form. The results of the first competition were presented to the general public 50 years ago, in May 1972.
Ede Telcs is an outstanding figure in Hungarian sculpture, and his works in Budapest include representative public monument, tombstone and architectural sculpture. His works adorning the Hungarian capital were mostly placed in City Park and the National Graveyard on Fiumei Road, as well as in the city centre. His work is intertwined with the life of the famous personalities, mainly with the architect Ignác Alpár, of Budapest which was developing into a world city.
The palace of Liszt Academy in Liszt Ferenc Square was handed over on 12 May 1907, just 115 years ago. One of the most important buildings in the field of music was designed by the excellent architects Kálmán Giergl and Flóris Korb, but the outstanding craftsmen of the age also took part in the works. The architects worked on the plans for years to erect a modern building decorated with Hungarian elements according to the customer's request.
We can count on the help of paramedics in Budapest for 135 years now. The Budapest Volunteer Ambulance Association started its operation on 10 May 1887 in today's Szent István Square, but soon after, they were able to move into their new headquarters on Markó Street. The paramedics initially rode in horse-drawn carriages, but in 1902, 120 years ago, they already rushed in an electric car to help those in trouble.
Finding and viewing pieces of the architectural heritage of a city with a long history is an eternal tourist hit. Budapest stands out in this area mostly with the legacy of dualism and the two world wars: almost everyone have encountered the names of Miklós Ybl, Imre Steindl or Ödön Lechner, but if we dig deeper, it is impossible to list how many undeservedly lesser-known talents contributed to the decoration of the Hungarian capital. The building of the Buda Postal Palace, which adorns the south-western side of Széll Kálmán Square, is also connected to such a genius: a remarkable volume came out this year about Gyula Sándy's life and work, both from a professional and a layman's point of view.
Another sculpture with a long history was renewed in the capital: the Immaculata statue in Krisztinaváros, erected 320 years ago in 1702 - the oldest public sculpture in Budapest - has been replaced by a copy since 1928, and in the meantime this work has also needed to be restored. The work was carried out at the Department of Restoration of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts recently, and yesterday the sculpture was placed at the Krisztina Square erection site.
The statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II has been standing on Kossuth Square for 85 years now. Its erection was decided on the 200th anniversary of his death, and two years later, in 1937, the statue stood. Since then, only the inscriptions have been changed, sometimes for political or grammatical reasons.
Today, we take it for granted to buy a plane ticket and simply get on the plane. Few think about since when we can do this. And now we are celebrating an anniversary: our predecessors were first able to board a passenger plane in Budapest 100 years ago. Since then, the industry and tourism have also undergone tremendous development: almost 16 million passengers turned up at Liszt Ferenc Airport in the year before the epidemic.
The Austro-Hungarian Compromise, established in 1867, ushered in one of Hungary's heyday. Under the Compromise of 155 years ago, a dual system was created - hence our common word dualism, which is used to characterise the period up to 1918. This upswing has brought about great changes: as a result of industrialisation, more and more people have moved to the cities, and the population of Budapest has grown exponentially. But what was the capital like in the second half of the 1860s?
The hot air balloon lookout opened in Városliget is not the first such contraption in Budapest: it was already possible to rise above the city with a balloon at the millennium exhibition. However, the balloon, Turul, launched 120 years ago on 1 May 1902, was not intended to entertain the public, but to do research. In addition to meteorological observations,we can also thank it for a number of aerial photographs, which show how Budapest looked from above at the beginning of the 20th century.
Television is nearly a hundred-year-old invention that many Hungarian researchers worked on in the beginning. In Hungary, however, work began only in the 1950s to enable Hungarian broadcasting in Hungarian households. The experimental broadcasts started in 1956, and after the revolution, on the evening of 26 April 1957, a film was shown on television, but the first "official" broadcast, the Heroes' Square parade, was broadcast by the Hungarian Television only on 1 May 1957, for political reasons.
In the vicinity of Szabadság Square, the Postatakarékpénztár [Postal Savings Bank], which was built at the turn of the century, has been being renovated for months. In addition to Ödön Lechner's main work, three other works by the master are also being restored: the Museum of Applied Arts, the Balás Sipeki Villa next to the Városliget and the Drechsler Palace on Andrássy Avenue. While the latter are undergoing a larger-scale change visible from the outside, in the case of the Postal Savings Bank, its internal box office will get back its original dome. Once upon a time, this was also characterized by an imaginative ornamentation similar to the façade, but it was remodelled over time according to the needs of its use, but it was not spared by the storms of history.
One of the most charming open-air venues in the city centre is the Museum Garden, which once again shines in its full splendour: looking at its sculptures and memorial plaques, or relaxing on one of the museum’s steps and benches, can reminds us of the rich past of this special historical site. This extraordinary richness is illustrated by a gap-filling publication, the Museum Garden Guide, which - worthy of its title - guides us through the garden, recalling the events of the past, with many surprises in store for the reader.
One of the newest buildings of the Buda Castle connects the Hunyadi courtyard with the Csikós courtyard, starting next to the Royal Guard. Walking along the Hauszmann ramp that is the same as the original, we can not only admire the panorama of Krisztinaváros, but also discover exciting details: the walls of the building preserve the memories of several eras.
Budapest's traffic was at a crossroads 60 years ago as well as now. Experts sought answers to questions about how much the then outdated public transport network needs to be developed and how to prepare the city for the expected car traffic. Studies have also helped to make these decisions. Based on a work published 60 years ago, we present the transport dilemmas of Budapest at that time.
To this day, Törley champagne is one of the most famous Hungarian products, an almost obligatory element of the celebrations in Hungary, and the brand is also present in many foreign countries. Like almost everything, the roots of this factory date back to the second half of the 19th century, the period of dualism: József Törley founded his plant in Budafok in 1882, exactly one hundred and forty years ago. However, not only the drink made there is of a very high standard, but also the family's buildings in Budapest.
One of the first machine factories in Pest practically operated as a subsidiary of the József Rolling Mill, and for economic reasons it became an independent factory, which then became one of the first machine factories in Hungarian industry 175 years ago. Unfortunately, it was not long-lived, but its impact was significant.
Before the turn of the century, the Calvary on Golgota Square in Józsefváros was built, demolished in 1971, and the chapel was blown up. In recent years, the stations of Calvary, which were handed over on Friday, have been restored.
An exhibition can be seen in Gül Baba's tomb, which commemorates one of the largest enterprises of the 19th century, the opening of the Danube to the east. Among the objects we can see the model of the boat, Julietta, the original of which was used by István Széchenyi and his companions when they crossed the Danube in 1830 on a houseboat, Desdemona, which was built for this purpose, assessing the difficulties before sailing.
Lipót Strelisky was one of the first to deal with daguerreotypes in Budapest in the 1840s. In his studio in Dorottya Street, he photographed the politicians, aristocrats and artists of the age. His son, Sándor Strelisky, who died a hundred years ago, was the first photographer in Hungary to take multi-character photographs with a special technique. Strelisky photos are invaluable today and help us learn about Budapest's past.
As in the current drought, Hungary and Budapest was hit by a significant water shortage fifty years ago, exacerbated by an outdated water supply network and regular pipe ruptures. The situation was so critical in 1971–1972 that the water consumption of industrial plants was restricted and the population felt water shortages, as in many places there was no water flowing from the taps, so for a while the water supply had to be secured by water carts.
Although the construction of bridges has a long tradition in Budapest, in the XIX. century there was not enough expertise and technology at home for this job for a long time. Foreign engineers also originally built the Chain Bridge, the Margit Bridge and the Railway Bridge. The first completely Hungarian Danube crossing was the Ferenc József Bridge, which was built in 1896 for the celebration of the millennium of Hungary.
The best-known building of Széll Kálmán Square is the former Buda Postal Palace, which has been dignified over the area since its handover in 1926. Hungarian Post (Magyar Posta) moved out of it in 2008, so it was empty for many years, it only found a customer in 2016. It was transferred to the Hungarian National Bank in 2018, and thanks to the reconstruction that began at that time, the building was reborn as the HNB Supervisory Centre and Money Museum. Huge changes have taken place, but they have been carried out with careful attention, and the interiors have been renewed in a way that also reflects the original states. PestBuda toured the renovated building.
On the plot of the corner building at 32 Váci Street - 2 Kígyó Street after the Turkish occupation the first public pharmacy in Pest, the Szentháromság [Holy Trinity] pharmacy operated. Its builder and owner was the pharmacist, Heinrich Siegfried Herold. The plot is well-located and has housed a number of shops and high-ranked tenants in recent centuries since the pharmacy moved out: the fabric store addressed to the Green tree [a Zöld fához in Hungarian], the sign of which was painted by Miklós Barabás, and a bookshop of the famous bookseller family, the Kiliáns where also housed here. The building, which is still in a very dilapidated condition, is under the district's unique protection and is a prominent archaeological site.
The József Attila housing estate is one of the districts of Budapest with the most green areas, trees and bushes, in 2012 it even won the title of the most flowering housing estate in the country. However, fewer and fewer people here know that there was a time when this area was not known for its comfort. Its name was also different, which in itself revealed a lot about the conditions here: Marie Valerie emergency housing estate.