The Beautiful Buildings of Budapest

March 14, 2017 |
Articles

Here's a short history of some of the most important buildings you'll see during your party cruise!

GET SOME CULTURE WITH THAT CHAMPAGNE


So you booked a Budapest Boat Party. You’ll definitely be getting a bit drunk tonight, but what about some culture and history with that booze? Here we have highlighted some of the most historical buildings and bridges that the boat sails by. Read about the Liberty Statue, Chain Bridge and that weird looking whale building. Tell the person next to you some facts and impress them with all of your Hungarian knowledge (we won’t tell!).



BUILDINGS


Gresham Palace

Gresham Palace

The Gresham Palace was built in 1906 and used as office and apartment space. However today it is owned and managed by the Four Seasons Hotel. For a brief period of time after World War II, the building was used as Barracks by the Red Army and after turned into apartments. If you want to see inside, book a room at the Four Seasons, or check out the public winter markets that they hold in the hotel!


Parliament

Parliament

The Hungarian Parliament Building is where the National Assembly of Hungary resides. To this day, it is still the largest building in Hungary and the tallest in Budapest. It faces the Danube river and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. In 1873, three cities joined to create what we know now as Budapest. In 1880 the government decided that they wanted a huge building to represent the new nation - and so Parliament was constructed. During the communist regime, a red star was placed on top of the dome, but was taken down in 1990. Now, the government only uses a small section of the building for legislative affairs but there are many areas open to the public.


Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion is located in Buda on Castle Hill. It was built to celebrate the Hungarian state’s 1000th birthday. Some say the building got its name from a group of fishermen who defended that part of the city during the middle ages, but nobody really knows. The 7 towers feature the 7 chiefs who led their people to settle in Hungary back in 895 and of course, there’s a statue of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary. From here you can see all of Pest in it’s glory.


Matthias Cathedral

Matthias Cathedral

This church was originally built as early as 1015, but no remains of it exist. The church as we see it was mostly built in the middle of the 14th century, with added major repairs in the 19th century. The very first church built here was founded by Saint Stephen, the first king of Hungary and was named after the Virgin Mary. But like most things in Hungary, it was destroyed and rebuilt and damaged and repaired several times into the cathedral we see today. The church is named after King Matthias Corvinus who was one of the greatest kings of Hungary in the late 1400’s. The beautiful tiles and stained glass were added in the 18th century as the building was renovated in the Baroque style. It is now one of the most unique and beautiful cathedrals in Europe!


Royal Palace

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace was originally built in the 13th century, with new additions being added for the next hundred years. Unfortunately, the palace was completely destroyed in 1686 when Buda was taken back from the Turks. It was eventually rebuilt in the 18th century, damaged again after WWII, but then repaired - contributing to the structure we see today. Now the Palace is home to The Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum (both worth a visit if you have time!).


Gellert Statue

Gellert Statue

Saint Gellert was an Italian bishop passing through Budapest on his way to Palestine. King Stephen asked him to stay in Hungary to tutor his son and convert others to Christianity. Gellert accepted and stayed in Budapest for many years. However, after the king's death, Gellert was executed on what is now known as Gellert Hill. In 1904 a monument was built in his honor, which is lit up at night and can be seen clearly from the Danube.


Liberty Statue

Liberty Statue

The Liberty Statue can be found on Gellert Hill, and seen by most places in the city. It was built in 1947 to represent the Soviet liberation of Hungary from Nazi forces during World War II. It is dedicated to Soviet heros who fought for the freedom of the Hungarian people. The inscription under the statute now reads, "To the memory of those all who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom, and prosperity of Hungary".


Corvinus University

Corvinus University of Budapest

Corvinus is one of Budapest’s best universities focusing on business administration, economics and social sciences. The building is located just off the Danube on the Pest side near the Great Market Hall. In WWII the Hungarian, Russian and Soviet military used the university as a military base, but since then it has used for only educational purposes.


BME: Budapest University of Technology and Economics

BME: Budapest University of Technology and Economics  

BME is the most prominent and respected university of technology in Hungary. It’s made up of over 100 departments within eight faculties. The building itself is between the Szabadság Bridge and Petőfi Bridge and is very narrow. Walking from one side of the university to the other can take up to 20 minutes!


The Whale

The Whale

This aquatic building sits between the Petőfi Bridge and Szabadság Bridge on the Pest side. As of 2013 it is a shopping (and cultural/entertainment) center. Inside you can find antique shops, restaurants, cafes, concert venues and art galleries. There is also a beautiful view of the Danube river from the top floor!


National Theatre

National Theatre

The Natural Theatre was opened in 2002 between the Petőfi and Lágymányosi bridges. It was originally in Blaha square until the mid 60’s when communists closed it down. For a while, the government was toying with the idea of putting the theatre underground at Deak Square, but they ultimately wanted to create a new cultural center (Millennium City Center) in Budapest further away from traffic and other tourist attractions. The theatre can fit up to 619 guests and has a moving stage! It is also surrounded by a beautiful park filled with statues of famous Hungarian actors.


Palace of Arts

Palace of Arts

Also known as Müpa Budapest, the Palace of Arts is located near the Rákóczi Bridge. The building contains the Bartok National Concert Hall, the Ludwig Museum and the festival theatre. It opened in 2005 purposefully near to the National Theatre to help boost the artsy Millennium City Center. Here you can hear live classical music, study paintings by Picasso or see a modern play.




BRIDGES


Margaret Bridge

Margaret Bridge

This bridge leads from Pest to Margaret Island. If you haven’t been, take a nice stroll across the bridge and take a peek at the beautiful Danube river. On the other side you will find an amazing park with magical fountains, a petting zoo, waterpark and plenty of places to have a picnic. 5  years ago the bridge was under construction and they sectioned off half for pedestrians and half for cars and trams - making it easily walkable!


Chain Bridge

Chain Bridge

The Chain Bridge was the first to be built that crossed the Danube, joining the Buda and Pest sides. It opened in 1849, and at the time was one of the largest suspension bridges in the world. There are a pair of lions on each side of the bridge, all without tongues!


Elisabeth Bridge

Elisabeth Bridge

The Elisabeth bridge is situated at the narrowest point of the Danube river. The original version of this bridge was sadly blown up during World War II (like many other parts of the city). It was not rebuilt in its original form, but instead made more modern.


Liberty Bridge

Liberty Bridge

The Liberty Bridge is the shortest in Budapest and was originally built for the Millennium World Exhibition in 1896. At the very top of the structure, you can find turul statues. Turul are birds that were very prominent in Hungarian mythology. Crossing the bridge will bring you right to the bottom of Gellert Hill!


Petofi Bridge

Petofi Bridge

This bridge is named after Hungarian poet and revolutionist Sándor Petőfi. Like many other bridges, the original was destroyed towards the end of World War II but was rebuilt between 1950 and 1952. Crossing the bridge on the Buda side you can find the University of Technology and Economics and many local bars and open-air pubs perfect for spring and summer.


Lágymányosi Bridge

Lágymányosi Bridge

Formerly called the Rákoczi Bridge, this structure was made in 1995 for a world exhibition that never actually took place. It’s the most Southern bridge in downtown Budapest and at the end you can find the National Theatre and Palace of the Arts!


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