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The famous buildings of the capital’s premier park were erected by enthusiastic Budapest citizens to commemorate the country’s millennium in 1896.

The City Park
The City Park

 

At the imposing Hősök tere (Heroes’ square) the Archangel Gabriel raises the Holy Crown to a height of 36 m. The centre of the square is occupied by a colonnaded monument commemorating the millennium of Hungary’s conquest.



A group of sculptures represent the Magyar chieftains, including their legendary leader Árpád, who led the conquering tribes from Asia into the Carpathian Basin. Between the pillars statues of kings, generals and politicians of Hungary can be seen.

Heroes’ square
Heroes’ square

 

On opposite sides of the square are the two principal art museums of Budapest. The Museum of Fine Arts contains the country’s prime art collection. Its old masters section boasts the largest collection of Spanish masters outside Spain as well as an equally superb collection of works by masters of other nationalities, including Bellini, Brueghel, Corregio, Dürer, El Greco, Giorgione, Goya, Murillo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raffael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian and Velasquez. Famous pieces from the 19th century include those by Delacroix, Gauguin, Monet, Renoir and Corot.

Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Fine Arts

 

The other museum is called Műcsarnok (Palace of Arts), and it is the country’s largest exhibition hall, a suitable venue for major temporary exhibitions.

Palace of Arts
Palace of Arts

 

Erected on Széchenyi Island, Vajdahunyad Castle is an imitative anthology of some of old Hungary’s famous buildings and architectural styles ranging from the Romanesque to the Baroque. Of the imitation buildings, the most important is the replica of the Castle in Vajdahunyad in Transylvania (today in Romania).



It houses the Agricultural Museum, the first of its kind, established in 1896. The nearby lake is a romantic setting for boating in summer and ice skating in winter.

The Széchenyi Baths complete with thermal pools, Turkish steam baths and tubs, swimming pools and a water park (11 Állatkerti körút) is Europe’s largest spa baths.

The Transport Museum (11 Városligeti körút) houses one of Europe’s oldest collections of transport history memorabilia.

The 135-year-old Budapest Zoo, built in the Art Nouveau style, was the first of its kind in the world. The other popular amusement facility in the City Park is the Metropolitan Circus.

Budapest Zoo
Budapest Zoo

 

The Palace of Wonders at 19 Váci út is Central Europe’s first interactive ‘playhouse’ of science, popular with children. So is the Park of Hungarian Railway History (95 Tatai út) with trains that visitors can drive.

Good to know about The City Park

  • City park (Városliget) is a landscape public park in Central Budapest. Városliget was among the first public parks in the world open to the whole public
  • The area used to be a meadow and popular hunting area for noblemen. It was turned into a city park at the beginning of the 19th century
  • It used to be the main venue of the 1896 Millenium Celebrations, Hungary's 1000th anniversary. Many attractions were built then such as Heroes' Square or Vajdahunyad Castle
  • Other attractions include: the Zoo, Budapest Circus, Széchenyi Bath, Városliget Pond (an ice rink in winter)
  • The Városliget ice rink is the largest open air ice rink in Europe
  • Vajdahunyad Castle is an architectural museum presenting the major building styles used in Hungary for Romanesque to Baroque. Part of the building is a replica of an existing castle in Vajdahunyad, Romania
  • Vajdahunyad Castle was first built out of cardboard for the Millienium Celebrations. It was so popular that a permament, stone building was erected
Városliget ice rink
Városliget ice rink

This immense square attributed to the architect Albert Schickedanz is surrounded by the Museum of Fine Arts and by the Art Gallery.

Name: Heroes' Square
Category: Architecture, castles and historic districts
Location: 1068 Budapest, Hősök tere

Description

Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere) belongs to Budapest’s World Heritage Sites. The square, together with the monument built for the millennium of Hungary’s foundation is a mustsee. The freedom emanating from them will definitely get to you. If it still doesn’t satisfy you, here are the Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum), the Kunsthalle (Műcsarnok), the Vajdahunyad Castle (Vajdahunyad vára) and the City Park (Városliget), that’s bound to be refreshing after so much culture. Finally, those who feel like experiencing something more intense should check out the Zoo or the Municipal Circus, both of which located nearby.

Heroes’ square
Heroes’ square

 

This immense square attributed to the architect Albert Schickedanz is surrounded by the Museum of Fine Arts and by the Art Gallery. In the centre a column and behind two colonnades in a circle arch with a set of statues and sculptures: the monument to the Thousandth Anniversary. In front of the column, two soldiers perform a well rehearsed ballet before the tomb of the unknown soldier. It has always been a great place for meeting for mass demonstrations, popular celebrations or rejoicing.

Wander around the impressive and huge square and admire the wonderful composition of the statues.



Good to know about Heroes' Square

  • Heroes' Square (Hősök tere) is a grandiose square at the end of Andrássy Avenue; the two forming a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2002
  • The two imposing buildings on each side are the Museum of Fine Arts and Hall of Art
  • The Millennium Memorial dominates the square comprising of a Corinthian column in the center and two semicircle colonnades in the background
  • The construction of the memorial started in 1896 to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of Hungary's existance
  • At the base of the central column, the mounted figures represent the 7 founding fathers of Hungary; at the top Archangel Gabriel holds St. Stephen's holy Crown
  • Both colonnades feature 7 statues of important figures of Hungarian history, e.g. first king, St. Stephen, or Lajos Kossuth, leader of the independence war of 1848-49 against Austria
  • The 4 statues on the top of the colonnades represent: War (left, inner edge), Peace (right, inner edge), Work and Welfare (left, outer edge), and Knowledge and Glory (right, outer edge)

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Take a look at the Menu "Attractions" to see what other tourist sights are around.

Hero Square on the map

 

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A colossal Neo-classic building fronted by a portico with eight Corinthian columns with a Greek inspiration.

Name: Museum of Fine Arts
Category: Museums and art
Location: 1146 Budapest, Dózsa Gy út 41.
Phone: + 36 1 469-7100
Internet: http://www.szepmuveszeti.hu/main

Description

This Museum is closed for a renovation until spring, 2018.

The Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum) has been presenting the world-famous elite of visual arts for years, so one could see the works of, for instance, Lucien Hervé, Fernando Botero and William Kentridge. The 2012 season also has some excitement to offer for aficionados of painting and photography in the works of Pieter Bruegel, Paul Cézanne and the contemporary Chinese arts.

Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Fine Arts

 

A colossal Neo-classic building fronted by a portico with eight Corinthian columns with a Greek inspiration. In the basement, the department of Egyptian antiquities gathers together pieces illustrating the different eras in ancient Egypt. On the ground floor, Greek and Roman antiquities, drawings and prints, art from the 19C It is on the 1st floor in the gallery of Old Masters that the masterpieces are concentrated, reflecting the great European Schools from the 13C to the 18C.



Good to know about the Museum of Fine Arts

  • The Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum) is housed in an imposing neoclassical building built between 1900 and 1906
  • It is Hungary's largest collection of international art comprising more than 100,000 pieces
  • The collection displays a wide range of artistic eras and genres
  • The majority of the collection was amassed by the Habsburgs who once ruled the country
  • The Fine Arts Museum features Raphael, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Goya and also a collection of ancient Egyptian and Greek art
  • The musuem is particularly strong in Spanish art with masterpieces of El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Ribera, Cano, Zurbarán and Goya THINGS TO DO THERE

Tip: The tickets to the temporary exhibition give access to the permanent one as well.

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Take a look at the Menu "Attractions" to see what other tourist sights are around.

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Once you have discovered the charms of Inner Pest and the Castle District on Day 1, it is time to broaden the scope with a walk around the Outer Ring Boulevard (körút). Note that as you walk the körút, the name changes from district to district.

Start: New York Palace Hotel.

 

New York Palace Hotel

The New York Life Insurance Company originally commissioned the building, which opened on October 23, 1894. During the 1900s, its cafe was a center of intellectual life in the city, with writers and journalists as frequent patrons. After many years of remodeling and revitalizing the original eclectic style with a strong Italian renaissance influence, the Boscolo hotel chain reopened the hotel and its legendary cafe in 2006. The detailed reconstruction is worth admiring and returning to see in the evening when lit up.

New York Palace
New York Palace

 

Walk toward Oktogon, noting the grand turn-of-the-20th-century architecture of Pest. At Oktogon turn right and walk up to Andrássy u. 60.

Terror Háza (House of Terror)

First the headquarters of the secret police of the Nazi Arrow Cross regime, when the Soviets liberated Hungary, it immediately turned into the headquarters for the Communist secret police. This building is the setting of some of the most horrific days of 20th-century Hungary, which lasted for more than 50 years. Hundreds were tortured and murdered in the basement by both regimes. The Nazis’ primary victims were Jews, but the Communists targeted anyone who spoke out against the government.

House of terror
House of terror

 

The building is a museum functioning as a memorial to the victims of both Fascism and Communism and is an everlasting reminder of the effect of oppressive regimes in Hungary. However, it has caused continual controversy since it opened in 2002, especially because the building’s overhang has the word “TERROR” stenciled on it, which is quite striking when the sun shines through it.

Andrássy Boulevard

Strolling up the majestic Andrássy Boulevard toward Heroes’ Square and City Park, you are taking the UNESCO World Heritage Site tour. The boulevard is lined with trees and a wealth of beautiful apartment buildings, many of which are now used as embassies. In addition, there are restaurants and museums scattered along the way leading to Heroes’ Square. This is Pest’s greatest boulevard.

Andrássy Boulevard
Andrássy Boulevard

 

Once you reach the end of Andrássy Boulevard, adjacent to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Műcsarnok, and City Park, you'll find:

Heroes' Square

Heroes’ Square was created for the millennium in 1896 (remember the reoccurring 96), which celebrates the arrival of the Magyar tribes in the Carpathian Basin in 896. The statues represent the chronology of some 1,000 years of Hungarian history. The seven statues on the left side are all Hungarian kings. On the right side, they are all famous Hungarians, but only one was a king. In 1896 during the famous world exhibition, this space was the apex of some 200 pavilions that made up the festivities. Many festivals are still held here.

Heroes' Square
Heroes' Square

 

To your left you will find the Museum of Fine Arts. The museum is the main repository of foreign art in Hungary. It has one of central Europe’s major collections and it is considered one of the most important art collections in Europe. Free 1-hour tours are offered by highly trained docents Tuesday through Friday at 11am and 2pm and Saturday at 11am.

Walk through the park and you will arrive at:

The Széchenyi Baths

After a long day, you deserve to rest and relax. Nothing could be better after a day of touring than a soak in a thermal. This is one of the largest spa complexes in Europe and the first thermal bath on the Pest side. Chances are if you have seen photos of men playing chess on floating chessboards, the men were in this thermal. It is mixed men and women and bathing suits are mandatory.

Széchenyi Baths
Széchenyi Baths

 

See post “Thermal Baths”.

After your afternoon of thermal bathing, you may want to head back to your hotel to rest, but if you have done so at the thermals, then head out for dinner. You can take the Yellow metro from Széchenyi and go one stop to Mexikói or choose a dining spot from post "Where to Dine in Budapest," but either way make a reservation.

Some Nighttime Culture

Spend an evening attending an opera at the Opera House. It is a premier venue. The Opera House is magnificently beautiful inside. The fine arts are alive and well in Budapest, and a nighttime cultural event is the way to round out your short stint in the city. Note that performances usually start at 7pm not the customary 8pm.

Opera House
Opera House