Castle Quarter, Budapest
The central square in the Castle Quarter is Szentháromság tér (Trinity Square), with a large Baroque plague column designed by Barbier and Ungleich (1714). A number of particularly noteworthy buildings are grouped around the square.
A prominent sight in Budapest, The Church of Our Lady was built to completion in 1269. Reflecting a distinctly Baroque style, the Church served as a mosque during the Turkish reign.
On the southwest corner of Trinity Square (Szentháromság tér) stands the former Town Hall of Buda, now the home of one section of the Hungarian Academy of Science. This magnificent building was erected at the end of the 17th C from plans by the Italian architect Ceresola. The oriel balcony, small towers, courtyard and staircase are of considerable architectural and historical interest. Below the east oriel window can be seen "Pallas Athene", by Carlo Adami (1795).
Andrew Hess Square
This square is named after Andrew Hess, the first printer of books in Buda (1473). Medieval remains on the east side of the square were cleverly incorporated a few years ago into the architecture of the highly modern luxury hotel the Budapest Hilton. Among these important remains is the St Nicholas Tower (Miklós torony), a relic of the Late Gothic Church of St Nicholas of the Dominicans who had a monastery here. The monument to Pope Innocent XI was the work of J. Damko (1936). Behind the monument is the architectural complex known as "Vörös sün" (the Red Hedgehog), which dates from the 17th-18th C and which was later remodeled in Classical style.
Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture are features of Uri utca. The fine vaulting and the sedilia in the entrance of No. 40 are impressive. From No. 9 Gentlemen's Street there is access to the vast system of caves and underground passages which were dug in the castle hill in days gone by. This subterranean network covers about 24km (15mi.) in all. The German army was able to hold out here for a long time towards the end of the Second World War. A waxworks (panopticum) has been installed in part of the cave-system, portraying important events in Hungarian history.
The museum is housed in the first telephone operator center in Hungary, established in 1881. Centered around a switchboard which still works today, this "living museum" documents the history of the telephone.
Buda Castle Labyrinth
The atmosphere of historic times is created through the labyrinth of natural and artificial passages underneath the Buda Castle.
Kapisztrán Square is situated in the northwest of the Castle Quarter. It is named after a companion of the Turkish conqueror János Hunyadi. On the northwest side of the square stands the Museum of Military History (Hadtörténeti múzeum). On the southeast side there stood, until it was destroyed in the Second World War, the Church of St Mary Magdalene (Mária Magdolna templom; 13th-15th C); unfortunately only the Gothic tower now remains.On the southwest side of Castle Hill run the battlements named after Árpád Tóth. From here there is a fine view of the western parts of Budapest and the Buda Hills.
Országház utca (Parliament Street) is the principal street of the northern Castle Quarter, and Baroque and Classical architecture predominate here.The former Monastery of St Clare (No. 28), founded in the Middle Ages, was rebuilt by Franz Anton Hillebrandt in the 18th C. Thereafter it was the home of the State Parliament and the High Court of the Hungarian capital. The great hall of this building has been splendidly restored, and highly-valued cultural functions are held here from time to time.
St George's Square
Between the Castle Palace and the former Upper Town lies St George's Square (Szent György tér), where jousting tournaments and other equestrian games were held in the Middle Ages. On the south side of the square, near the castle, stands a beautiful ornamental fountain (1904) designed by Alajos Stróbl; it shows King Matthias Corvinus hunting.On the northeast side of the square stands Sándor Palace (Sándor palota), built in 1806 in the neo-classical style.
From St George's Square, Szinház utca (Theatre Street) leads north to Disz tér. On its east side an old Carmelite monastery was converted to the Castle Theatre (Vársinház) following its dissolution in the 18th C.The theater was designed by F. Kempelen in 1787. The building was damaged in the Second World War but was renovated and re-opened a few years ago in glittering new splendor.
Tárnok utca (Treasurer's Street) leads north to Szentháromság tér (Trinity Square) from the northeast side of Disz tér. Along this bustling street are a number of historically important buildings, which still display medieval, Baroque and neo-classical elements. The Arany Sas-patika (Golden Eagle Pharmacy; No. 18), dating from the 18th C, is now furnished as a pharmaceutical museum. The Arany Hordó guest-house (Golden Barrel; No. 14) retains its medieval painted façade.
Golden Eagle Pharmacy Museum
Golden Eagle Pharmacy Museum has complete set-up of several chemist's shops as well as exhibits presenting the progress of chemistry, in the building of the first chemist's shop.
Former Parade Ground
Disz tér (former Parade Ground) stands more or less in the middle of the Castle Quarter. This square, surrounded by several Baroque and Classical buildings, has in the past been a market place, place of execution and parade ground. In the center stands a pleasing Honvéd statue by György Zala (1893) which commemorates the War of Liberation of 1848-49.
Táncsics Mihály utca, the street where large numbers of Jews once lived, leads from the northern end of Andrew Hess Square to Bécsi Kapu (Vienna Gate). Two of the fine Baroque buildings here are the Erdóly-Palais (No. 7; 1769) and No. 23 which stands on medieval foundations. Nearby are the remains of an old synagogue. A prayer-house of the Jewish community of Buda was founded here in the 15th C.
Exhibition Galleries of the Office of National Cultural Heritage
Medieval Jewish Prayer House
The historical and religious museum houses documents and objects recalling the life and culture of the Jewish community of Buda, along with some carved stone relics and tombstones.
Museum of Music History
The exhibits at the Museum of Music History consists of 1,000 musical instruments from the 18th to the 20th C. Rare violins, folk, military band and other instruments are displayed.
Széchenyi National Library
The Széchenyi National Library has been housed in the southwest wing of the palace since 1985. This institution, founded by Count Ferenc Széchenyi in 1802, contains about 6 million documents, including well over 600,000 manuscripts and more than 180,000 maps. The highlight of the collection is the "Budapest Manuscripts", some of the oldest known medieval illuminated scripts.
Szentháromság utca leads from Szentháromság tér (Trinity Street) to the west wall of the Castle Quarter. A visit is recommended to Ruszwurm Café (Ruszwurm cukrászda; No. 7); steeped in tradition, it has stood here since 1827 on the site of its medieval predecessor. Nearby is an equestrian statue (G. Vastagh; 1937) to Andreas Hasik who was raised to the rank of field-marshal by the Empress Maria Theresa.
At the northwest corner of Andrew Hess Square is Fortuna utca (Fortuna Street), characterized by some very beautiful buildings in the Baroque and plait styles. The street is named after the Fortuna Inn (No. 4; now the Museum of Commerce and Catering).
Hungarian Museum of Commerce and Catering
Relics which once belonged to famous hotels, restaurants, cafés, places of entertainment, and baths are displayed at the Hungarian Museum of Commerce and Catering.