Buda Castle - Royal Palace, Budapest
The views on the Royal Palace from the Pest side are in daytime and at night one of the nicest castle views I know in Europe.
The location on the Buda hill dominating the wide Danube is exceptional.
The history of the Buda castle is complex and can be read with all details on Wikipedia, but the following is important for the understanding of what the visitors can see now.
Most of the exteriors we can presently see go back to the end of the 19th c.
From the 13th century on the Royal Palace suffered from battles and sieges.
Most destructive was the great siege of 1686 when the Austrian Habsburgs re-captured Buda occupied by the Ottoman army and destroyed the medieval palace.
Next important destruction happened at the end of 1944 when the Buda Castle was the last major stronghold of Budapest held by German and Hungarian Axis forces during the siege of Budapest by the Soviet army. Heavy fights and artillery fire rendered the palace into ruins.
The communist government decided in 1948 a modernist reconstruction plan. The exterior and interior of the palace were thoroughly modernized. The remaining interior, including undamaged rooms and halls were destroyed. Consequently the interior of the Royal Palace would be of no interest for the visitor if there were not the museums! (ref. my "Discovering Hungarian painters and sculptors.").
Important exterior parts that could have been restored were sadly demolished and the remaining façades were simplified.
Fortunately for the present visitors of Budapest these exterior changes are not much visible so that seen from Pest the palace remains quite nice and imo one of the nicest castle views in Europe I have seen.
The Castle was the residence of Hungarian kings for ages. The fortification system and the palace were built in the 13th century following the Mongol invasion. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times, and being renewed from time to time symbolizes the country itself.
Built on medieval foundations, the Renaissance structures were destroyed by the Turks. Later, the Baroque Palace burned down, then its reconstructed buildings were damaged during the War of Independence (1848). In the late 19 th century Miklós Ybl oversaw the reconstruction and enlargement of the Palace, which was completed in the neo-Baroque style by Alajos Hauszmann.
I would recommend you to do a nice walk on the streets of the hill from Becsi Kapu until the Castle. It's a good 20 minutes walk, but the old littel streets and houses, and the other sights are worth to see as well. Other way is to walk through the Chain Bridge and then go up to the Castle with the funicular.
Walking on the part of the Castle facing the Buda side, you will find a huge stone portal eith lions, which is the entrance of the very spacious Lions Garden.
As some other parts of the Castle, this square just got a new illumination, so it looks better then ever! :)
The formal Royal Palace stands high above Danube at the southern end of Castle Hill. It was Bela IV who first established a royal residence here in the 13th century. King Matthias rebuilt the palace in Italian Renaissance in the 15th century and in 1886 it was destroyed during battle with the Ottomans. The Habsburgs rebuilt it to a large castle with 203 rooms and in late 19th century and early 20th century the palace was extended and the dome built. During the Nazi occupation the palace was completely burnt out. As the palace was rebuilt again the interior was constructed to hold some museums.
Here you will find the Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest History Museum and Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art. Unfortunately it was a Monday when I was there and all the museums were closed.
In backyard of Buda castle there is the statue of Csikos – the guard of the horses. Its location (not the original one – the statue had been moved to it in 1945), former Ujvilag terrace is now called Csikos court. The statue is artwork of Hungarian painter and sculptor Gyorgy Vastagh, and it was erected in 1902.
Although it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, this is what dominated the skyline when you look across at Buda from Pest.
Now it contains the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum .
I really enjoyed the National Gallery which has a predominantly Hungarian collection from gothic to modern times. I normally get bored by Catholic religious artwork so I stuck mainly to the contemporary stuff. Some of it was really 'interesting' such as the multi video screen piece which consisted of old ugly naked men moving around in a bizarre timing. Like someone was pressing the FFW button then the REW button one after the other! Sorry that's what I remember most!
Other pieces were more normal and less revealing than that example! If you would like to see if the naked men are still there, or see what else the gallery has to offer, it is open from 10am-6pm every day except Mondays. It cost about 400ft if you are under 26 and 800ft if you are older.
The Budapest History Museum in wing E looks at the last 2000 years of history. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to go in but if you would like to have a loo it is open the same times as the art gallery except that it closes on Tuesdays. It was also 400ft.
Be careful using a camera in either of these places because they don't take kindly to it and will fine you!!!!
It is also pleasant to walk around the grounds if you are not into art or history! It's cheaper do this to if you don't have much money.
Buda castle dates back to 1265. It is located on top of Castle Hill, in Buda. Up until the 19th century, it was the official residence of Hungarian kings. Through its long history, it was destroyed and rebuilt several times, finally achieving its final form after World War II. First built as a Gothic palace, it took on a Renaissance style in the 15th century under King Matyas, then it became a Baroque palace in the 17th century, and it was decorated in a Rococo style under Maria Teresa, Queen of Hungary. The palace was almost completely destroyed during World War II, and its reconstruction was completed in 1966, during the course of which extensive archeological work was conducted to unearth the castle's history. The view of Central Pest from the castle's terrace is fantastic! The oldest remaining part of the royal palace now houses the Budapest History Museum, while most of the former royal appartments of Maria Teresa are now home to the Hungarian National Gallery. Another section of the castle houses the Sechenyi National Library, a research library that houses an important collection of historical documents (not open to visitors).
Buda Castle is in the Castle District of Budapest. It's sits high above the city and has spectacular views.Buda Castle was the home of the Hungarian Kings. The castle is currently under renovations to restore it to its former external glory. The interior of the palace is filled with a chapel, ballrooms, crypts, theNational Gallery and many works of art.
I rode the 95-meter funicular from near Chain Bridge and ended up at the magnificentBuda Castle (Hungarian: Budai Vár, Turkish: Budin Kalesi) which is part of the Budapest World heritage Site of 1987. You have to go here when in Budapest because the views are just spectacular!
A true Royal Palace, Buda Castle was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill, next to the Baroque and 19th century houses and public buildings of the old Castle District (Hun: Várnegyed). It is also linked to Adam Clark Square.
The Castle Hill where Budapest was founded is awesome - rising 48 meters above the Danube and giving those perfect KODAK views of the Danube. It has been conquered and re-conquered several times and it’s amazing that the whole complex still stands after all these years. The renovations of the 1950’s helped a lot to bring the place back to its previous glory.
Today, The Castle has 203 rooms and houses several museums, among them the Budapest Historical Museum and the National Gallery.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!
I made a video of my trip to Budapest!
Hope you like this video:
MT FIRST DAY IN BUDAPEST
(These pictures AREN`T COPIED! I photographed them in the Budapest History Museum on the 15th of september 2006. )
Budapest is the Phoenix Bird of the European cities. I don`t think that there is any other city in the Old Continent that has been destroyed and rebuilt so many times as Budapest. The Buda castle suffered 33 heavy attacks so far, from the XIII.century. In the 15th century, during the period of Matyas "the Just"(1458-1490), the richest king in Europe in that period, the Buda Castle and the Royal Palace were constructed in a splendid gothic-renassaince style. In 1541 the turks occupied the castle and the christians reconquered it only in 1686, destroying the biggest part of this area. The great Austrian empress, Maria Teresa (1740-1780) started to build a new castle in baroque style on the ruins of the previous one. At the end of the XIX century, the 2 world famous architects, Miklós Ybl and Alajos Hauszmann completed this architectual masterpiece wich for me was the most beautiful palace of the World: Ybl built the enormous western wing, while Hauszmann completed the eastern wing and created the neo-baroque cupola. Sadly the Royal palace was destroyed during the Siege in 1945.
The huge Royal Palace dominates the southern part of Castle Hill as seen from Pest, lighted beautifully at night. LIke the city it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. The original dates to King Bela IV in the 13th Century. It was replaced by a larger gothic structure in the early 15th Century and again by a Renaissance palace in the late 15th Century commissioned by King Matthias and his Italian wife Beatrix. It was one of the most extravagant buildings of its time.
During the years of Ottoman control, the palace was little damaged but also not well maintained and in serious disrepair. However, it was destroyed during the Christian reconquest of 1686 and gradually replaced and enlarged from that point. Further damage ocurred during the mid 19th Century upheavals, and again reconstructed by the Habsburgs after the concord of 1867. During WWII, the Germans used the castle as a command post and as the war ended the castle was again destroyed. This post war reconstruction includes features of the last several centuries and is used currently for cultural purposes housing the National Library, the Hungarian National Gallery, and the Budapest History Museum.
As imaged, the castle is imposing and dominating during daylight hours and lit spectacularly after nightfall.
In 1945, as you could see on the previous image, the Palace burned up and remained in ruins for almost 20 years. The nobile furnitures, the treasures, the paintings had been moved to other countries before the devastation and they`ve never ever returned. Nontheless the Palace could have been reconstructed, but the communists were on another opinion. They decided to modify the enteriours, the Facade, the Cupola. The so called Ybl wing of the Palace, wich didn`t suffer so many damages, at least from outside remained the same as before. In the 50`s big excavations were made and the archeologists found significant parts of the gothic Palace: the knight room, the Royal chapel, a big bastion and some completely intact rooms from the beginning of the XV.century (from the period of Zsigmond (Sigismund) of Luxembourg). Today the palace hosts the National Gallery, The Széchenyi bibliotheque and the Budapest history museum.
The terrace and the courts of the palace are decorated with some nice sculptural monuments.
The first and most original one sees when arriving by the funicular is the impressive "Turul" a mythological bird, made by Gyula Donáth in 1905, perched on a pillar of the neo-Baroque railing.
Prominently on the terrace overlooking the Danube river and the city stands the equestrian statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Beautiful neo-baroque statue made by sculptor József Róna around 1900 for another city that could not pay and so that the statue is now standing on the terrace of the Buda Castle.
My favored one is the spectacular Mathias fountain on the western forecourt of the palace. A group of hunters led by King Matthias standing on rocks with a dead deer and dogs. An excellent work by Alajos Stróbl. It is sometimes called the "Trevi Fountain of Budapest" (less crowded!).
My photo is from before the restoration.
This statue of the horse herd taming a wild horse was facing the riding school. This work of György Vastagh had success and was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900). It stands in the western forecourt of the palace close to the Matthias Fountain.
The history of this hill goes long way back...
31 times the hill got besieged , every time
leaving traces. So many history that the UNESCO
has put the hill on the world heritage list.
The first thing that asked for our attention
was the gate of the royal palace...
The castle itself has a 13th century foundation
but the walls and rooms are from a much
In 1686 when the Turkish got expelled
the castle was nothing more then a ruin.
Round 1750 the left wing got rebuild and
in 1890 the new wing got build in new Baroque style.
After world war II the building was left behing
completely destroyed again. A perfect opportunity
for archeological research and some really precious
things were found. The palace got rebuild again
and now houses a museum , a gallery and a library.
But I was feeling Hungry and had other things
in mind. :-)
The streets of the Castle area are simply beautiful. In an average year 7-8 million people visit the Castle area, and the zone of Fisherman`s Bastion is mostly very crawded, while these streets are allways so quiet and peaceful. Especially the Úri street (my favourite), and the Tóth Árpád promenade from wich you can have a great view to the Buda hills. If you visit Budapest, I suggest you to take a walk in these streets and feel their unique atmosphere.
The only thing I would change is the number of cars. You have to pay quite much, to enter with car in this area, but as you can see, there are maybe too many cars just the same. It would be much nicer if the Castle disctrict were an only pedestrian area.