Pest Tourist Attractions
Until its union with Buda and Obuda in 1872 Pest was an independent town, but for a long time its development was hampered as it was overshadowed by the neighboring royal town.
Nevertheless, for a long time Pest had close links with Buda. The Romans maintained a "castrum contra Aquincum" at Marcius 15 tér, the purpose of which was to protect the Danube crossing. The Hungarian rulers who resided in Buda visited Pest from time to time to attend services in what is now the Inner City Parish Church. By the 15th C Pest had become prosperous. At this time the town was surrounded by fortifications which followed the course of the present Inner Ring.It was in the 19th C that Pest became most prosperous as the home of craftsmen, traders and merchants; this is evidenced by the numerous fine buildings which are still standing today. At that time the principal focus of population shifted from the Buda to the Pest side of the river. As early as 1830 there were well over 60,000 people here, the majority of them living in the rapidly growing suburbs. The inner city of Pest forms the central business district of the Hungarian capital. Pest is the seat of the most important organs of government and state and leading cultural institutions (universities, museums, churches, etc.)
The Neo-Gothic Parliament Building is a huge landmark resting on the bank of the Danube. It was completed in 1904 and is one of the most outstanding buildings in Budapest.
This is the oldest church in Pest, originating in the 11th C and added on to over the years. During the Turkish occupation it was a mosque, later it was restored in Baroque style, and again in Classical style.
The huge St Stephen's Basilica has a 96 m high central dome, as well as two high towers. The interior is graced with important works of art.
On this square stands some impressive architecture, including the Parliament Building, the Ethnographical Museum and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food building.
Roosevelt Square, near the Chain Bridge, is named for U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. On the north side is the Renaissance style Hungarian Academy of Science.
Váci utca is known for its countless shops selling, clothing, jewelry, arts and crafts, and much more.
The Franciscan Church and monastery dominates the north-western side of Ferenciek tere. This church dates from the mid-18th C. It is in Baroque style and is the successor to a monastery built on this site in the 13th C and which the Turks turned into a mosque. The tower over the choir was designed by F. Wieser in 1858.On the main front facing Ferenciek tere the building decoration is somewhat restrained. The façade is adorned with statues of St Peter of Alcantara, St Francis and St Anthony, as well as the arms of the Franciscan Order (over the doorway). On the north-west exterior wall (Kossuth Lajos utca) can be seen a bronze relief by B. Holló (1905) commemorating Baron Wesselényi, who saved numerous people from drowning during the great flood of 1838.The magnificent High Altar was preserved from the original furnishings. The richly decorated side altars and the wooden pulpit are 19th C On the walls are paintings by K. Lotz (1895) and V. Tardos-Krenner (1927).The pretty Naiad Fountain in front of the church is a copy of one by J. Fessl and F. Uhrl (1835).
Freedom Square (Szabadság tér), laid out in the last century after the demolition of a barracks where many Hungarian freedom fighters of 1848/49 were executed, forms with the surrounding buildings one of the most charming architectural ensembles of Budapest.On the west side stands the Exchange Building, on the east the Hungarian National Bank (Magyar Nemzeti Bank). Both of these buildings were designed by the architect Ignác Alpár and date from 1905. The former Exchange is in Secessionist style, while the National Bank is a first-class example of a Late Classical building. The northern arc is lined by buildings in the Neo-Romanesque-eclectic manner. Near the bank, but oriented towards Hold utca, is the former Post Office Savings Bank (No. 4) by Ödön Lechner, who was here anxious to create a new Hungarian architectural style. The building, which was opened in 1901, is characterized by variegated majolica decoration.
Budapest - Former Post Office Savings Bank
The bank was built in 1901 to the design of Ödön Lechner, the architect who endeavored to fuse Hungarian folk elements with the art nouveau style of his time. The external decoration, Hungarian folk motifs and traditional Art Nouveau elements, make it noteworthy.
This square, lying in the very heart of the city of Pest, commemorates the writer Mihály Vörösmarty (1800-55); there is a marble monument (1908) to the poet. Around the square stand some faithfully restored commercial offices. On the north side of Vörösmarty tér can be found the renowned Café Gerbeaud, which has been a popular meeting-place since the beginning of this century. On the west side of Vörösmarty tér will be seen the rear of the Pest Redoubt ("Vigadó"). Intended for festival occasions and all kinds of musical entertainment (Liszt, Brahms and Bartók all appeared here), the Vigadó was built between 1859 and 1864 to plans by Frigyes Feszl (1821-84), and is one of the most remarkable creations of Hungarian Romanticism. It was severely damaged at the end of the Second World War, but after very many years of careful restoration it was again opened in 1980.In the Vigadó Gallery are exhibitions of works by famous artists.
Budapest - Gerbeaud Confectionery
Gerbeaud Confectionery is one of the most famous cafe's and confectionery's of Budapest. It was established by Kugler Henrik, a Hungarian pioneer, in 1858. It was later bought by Emil Gerbeaud who made it a real success.
Martinelli tér was still in use as a market place in the last century, but today it has become a busy traffic intersection in Pest. Two well-restored office and business premises are deserving of mention; these are the former Török Bank (No. 3; 1906 by Hegedüs and Böhm) and Béla-Lajta House (No. 5, built 1912), with a noteworthy glass façade and rich ceramic decoration.Of architectural interest is the Servit church (Szerviták templom), on the southeast side of the square. Built in the 18th C and rebuilt in the 19th C, it has a very fine Baroque interior.Nearby lies Biermann István tér, with a beautiful Danaid fountain by Sidló (1933).
The bank of the Danube on the Pest side of the river between Chain Bridge and Elisabeth Bridge is locally known as the "Danube Corsõ (Dunakorzó). From here, especially when illuminated at night, there is a fantastic view of the Fishermen's Bastion, Matthias Church, Castle Palace, the Gellért Monument, the Citadel and the Freedom Monument on Gellért Hill. The large luxury hotels Duna Inter-Continental, Fórum and Atrium Hyatt stand along the Danube Corso.
The modern Elisabeth Bridge (Erzsébet-híd) replaces a predecessor built at the turn of the century which, for many years, was the largest arched bridge in the world and which was destroyed in the Second World War. The modern suspension bridge, built between 1961 and 1964 to plans by Pál Sávoly, is 378m (1239ft) long and 27m (90ft) wide.There is a sculpture by György Zala of the earlier Hungarian Queen Elisabeth, who was murdered in Geneva in 1898.
Archduke Joseph Square
This square is named after Archduke Joseph of Habsburg, who was elected Palatine (the King's deputy) of Hungary in 1796 and who did a great deal for Budapest. His monument in the square was the work of J. Halbig (1859.)The buildings around the square still retain something of the atmosphere of the last century. This is especially true of No. 1 (1825), built by J. Hild, the outstanding representative of Hungarian Classicism, No. 5 (1859), which was designed according to the ideas of the great Romantic architect H. Máltás, and No. 7, built in classical style in 1833 by L. Zofahl.Nearby stands the ultra-modern administration building of the Ministry of Finance (Pénzügy-minisztérium).
Museum of Flags
The Museum of Flags was established from a private collection that has about 3,000 flags from countries around the world. Many of the flags were donated by heads of state and rulers.
City Hall of Budapest
This Baroque building, which is now the home of the Municipal Council of Budapest, was built between 1716 and 1728 to designs by Anton Erhard Martinelli. Its first use was as a home for those wounded in the Austro-Turkish campaign. Above the doorways of the main façade are two fine reliefs, commemorating Emperor Charles IV (Hungarian King Charles III) and Prince Eugene of Savoy.In the south entrance gateway on Kossuth Lajos utca there is a statue of Pallas Athene by Adami (1785). At the southern end of the building can be seen a relief bym. Kovács (1949) commemorating the rebuilding after the Second World War.
On Kamermayer tér stands an aluminum monument by the artist B. Szabados in memory of the first Mayor of the newly formed city of Budapest in 1873.To the south are the Regional Council Offices, a building with three inner courtyards. It was built mainly in the 19th C, and it is where the elected members of the nineteen Regional Councils hold their meetings. The architects responsible were János Hild and, in particular, Mátyás Zitterbath jnr. In the first courtyard, which is surrounded by arcades, can be seen memorial tablets honoring the freedom fighters of 1848/49 and the victims of the Uprising of 1956.
Almost 2ha (5 acres) in extent, Erzsébet tér (Elisabeth Square; formerly known as Engels tér) was once the site of a cemetery. In the center of a lawn stands the Danubius Fountain, designed by Ybl in 1883 and originally set up on Kalvin tér. The figures on the fountain, by Fessler, symbolize "Mother" Danube and her "Daughters", the three main tributaries, the Drau, the Tisza and the Save.Of considerable architectural merit are the buildings in the classical manner in József Attila utca on the north side of the square.
Ferenciek tere, the busiest square on the southern part of the "shopping center", has several architectural styles and is one of the most charming squares in the town.On the side facing the Danube are two pleasing buildings protected by towers, Klothild Palace and Mathild Palace, built in 1902 in Eclectic style.On the north side of the square lies the attractive complex of buildings known as Paris Court (Párizsi udvar), built in the most beautiful art nouveau style with elements of Italian and Turkish architecture.
Ady Memorial Museum
Endre Ady (1877-1919) is a Hungarian poet of world rank. The interior of this memorial museum, set up in his last apartment, recalls the home furnished and equipped by the poet and his wife.
Budapest Exhibition Hall
Hungarian and foreign artists whose works are exhibited represent the most diverse trends in contemporary painting sculpture, installations, photography and the applied arts.
Petõfi tér (Petõfi Square) is named after the great Hungarian lyric poet Sándor Petõfi. The bronze Petõfi monument in the square is by Adolf Huszár (1882).On the east side of Petõfi tér stands the three-aisled Greek church (Ortodox Egyházi templom), erected in 1789 and rebuilt in the 19th C to plans by the famous architect Ybl. Inside this large church are fine works of art by Nikolaus Jankovits, Anton Kochmeister and others.
The Pest Concert Hall, a masterpiece of Hungarian Romantic architecture, was opened in 1865. It has seen the appearance of such celebrities as Franz Liszt, Wagner, Brahms, Richard Strauss, Bartók and Kodály.
György Ráth Museum
Drawing on a collection comprising 20,000 Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Tibetan-Nepali and Mongolian pieces, the Ráth Museum also has a memorial room dedicated to György Ráth, the art collector and author.
Street of the Free Press
The Street of the Free Press (Szabad Sajtó útja) links the Elisabeth Bridge with busy Franciscan Square, on the southern edge of the Pest shopping center.