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Architecture in Budapest

Countries:

Hungary
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Fisherman s Bastion
The main façade of the Fisherman’s Bastion, running parallel to the Danube, is approximately 140 metres long. The seven stone towers with their pointed tops symbolise the leaders of the Hungarian tribes who conquered the country in 896. It was built in place of the old fortification walls in neo-Romanesque style between 1895 and 1902 on the plans of Frigyes Schulek, who was also in charge of the reconstruction of the Mathias Church. The Bastion takes its name from the guild of fishermen that was responsible for defending this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages.
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Buda Castle
Royal Palace – Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest and was first completed in 1265. The first, Gothic style royal palace was built during the reign of Louis the Great, King Sigismund and King Matthias (from the middle of the 14th century until the end of the 15th). It became a royal residence of European rank, with its Gothic and Renaissance elements. Buda was occupied by the Turks in 1541, and it was only retaken during the Christian siege of Buda in 1686. In WWII, the palace and the Castle District were the last refuges of the Germany Army, which fell under heavy siege from the invading Soviet Army. The palace was again damaged; reconstruction started in the 1950-s. Leading architects of the age have announced that they wanted to return to the 18th-century Baroque form of the palace, and at the same time keep its 19th-century dimensions. They constructed a Baroque façade that never existed before. This was because 20th-century architects saw no value in an eclectic style, although this is now considered to be the most valuable aspect of Budapest’s buildings.
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Budapest Parliament
The Parliament building, a magnificent example of Neo-Gothic architecture (although displaying Renaissance and Baroque characters too), is just over 100 years old. In the 1880's an open tender was held for the design of the Parliament building. Guided tours of the Parliament are available when the National Assembly is not in session. The tour takes about 45 minutes, and is well worth the price, as it covers the main entrance stairs and hall, one of the lobbies, the old House of Lords and the Hungarian Crown Jewels.
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Chain Bridge
At the time of its construction, Chain Bridge was considered to be one of the wonders of the world. Chief engineer Adam Clark, a master builder from Scotland, completed the span in 1849. Legend has it that he was so proud of his masterpiece he would challenge anyone to find any fault with his work. When it was discovered that the lions at either ends of the bridge didn't have tongues, he was so ashamed that he committed suicide. This of course is only an anecdote. The tunnel, which was built a few years later, is also the work of Adam Clark. By the way, the lions do have tongues; however, they are not visible from the street below. Crossing the bridge is just a short walk and no matter which direction you go, the view is beautiful. It's also well worth a visit in the evening, when the bridge is all lit up. In the summer, festivals are held on the bridge almost every weekend.
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Gellert Hill
The hill was named after bishop Gellért (Gerard), who was thrown to death from the hill by pagans in the fight against Christianity in 1046. His statue, which faces Elizabeth Bridge (Erzsébet hid) and holds a cross, can be seen from many parts of Pest. At the top of the hill is the Citadel (Citadella), a fortress built by the Habsburgs after defeating Hungary's War of Independence in 1849. It was a prime, strategic site for shelling both Buda and Pest in the event of a future rebellion. In the 18th century, the slopes of Gellért Hill were covered with vineyards. The Tabán district at the foot of the hill was an important center of winemaking in Buda. Gellért Hill was a strategic military position in the Second World War as well as the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, when Soviet tanks bombarded the city from here. Budapest's Statue of Liberty stands on top of the hill, and she can be seen from all parts of the city. Liberty was erected during the Communist era, commemorating the liberation from Nazi rule. Now a residential area, private homes and embassies line the streets winding up the hill. Since 1987, Gellért Hill has been listed as a world heritage site, as part of "the Banks of the Danube" area. The famous Hotel Gellért and the Gellért Baths can be found in Gellért Square at the foot of the hill.
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Heroes Square
Laid out in 1896 to mark the thousandth anniversary of Hungary, Heroes' Square (Hősök tere) is the largest and most impressive square of the city. Located at the end of Andrássy Avenue and next to City Park, Heroes’ Square is one of the most visited sights in Budapest. Surrounded by two important buildings, Museum of Fine Arts on the left and Kunsthalle (Hall of Art) on the right, Heroes’ Square is also a station of the Millennium Underground. The Millennium Monument in the middle of the square was erected to commemorate the 1000-year-old history of the Magyars. Archangel Gabriel stands on top of the center pillar, holding the holy crown and the double cross of Christianity. The seven chieftains who led the Magyar tribes to Hungary can be seen on the stand below. Statues of kings and other important historical figures stand on top of the colonnades on either side of the center pillar.
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St. Stephen s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest and can hold up to 8,500 people. Although in architectural terms it’s a cathedral, it was given the title of ‘basilica minor’ by Pope Pius XI in 1931. It took more than 50 years to build the Basilica. Building commenced in 1851, and the inauguration ceremony took place in 1906 and was attended by Emperor Franz Joseph. During its construction, in 1868 the dome collapsed and rebuilding it had to start almost from scratch, which explains the delay in the Basilica's completion. Architect Jozsef Hild who drafted the original plans and supervised the construction died in 1867. Miklós Ybl, one of Europe's leading architects in the mid to late 19th century, who also designed the Opera House, took over. When the dome collapsed in 1868, Ybl had to draft new plans. Unfortunately Ybl didn’t live to see the completion of the Basilica as he passed away in 1891, however work was finished according to his plans. Originally designed in neo-classical style by Hild, the Basilica was finished in neo-renaissance style based on the plans of Ybl. The dome is 96 meters high, the exact same height as the Budapest Parliament Building. In fact current building regulations stipulate that no other structure in Budapest can be taller than 96 meters. Having the same height as the Parliament also symbolizes the balance between church and state in Hungary.
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Budapest Opera House
You can tour the Opera House during the day and learn about its gorgeous architecture as well as enjoy a world-class performance in the evening. The opera house in Budapest stands as one of the most beautiful Neo-Renaissance buildings in Europe. When it was opened in 1884, the city shared the administrative duties of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with Vienna. Emperor Franz Joseph commissioned its design. Construction included the use of marble and frescos by some of the best artisans of that era. Designed by Miklós Ybl, one of Europe's leading architects in the mid to late 19th century, the Budapest Opera House quickly became one of the most prestigious musical institutions in Europe. Many important artists performed here, including Gustav Mahler!
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Buda Castle Hill
The first citizens arrived to Castle Hill in the 13th century after the Mongolian invasion, seeking protection in the hills of Buda. The first royal castle was built around this time. The golden age of Castle Hill was in the 15th century, following the marriage of King Matthias Corvinus and Beatrix of Naples in 1476.
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Matthias Church
The historic Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom) is over 700 years old. The church was the scene of several coronations, including that of Charles IV in 1916, the last Habsburg king.