Last updated: 10/01/2020
Discover the Buda Castle, one of the main attractions of Budapest, the beautiful capital of Hungary. The place is incredible, full of history and provides incredible views of the city due to its privileged location.
THE BUDDHA CASTLE
Buda Castle is a historic palace and home to the Hungarian kings. The first castle was completed in 1265, but what we see today is not the original version. The medieval palace was destroyed in the great siege of 1686, when Buda was captured by allied Christian forces. Currently, what you can see is a palace built between 1749 and 1769 in shack style. After the 1918 revolution and the fall of the Habsburg Dynasty, the Royal Palace became the seat of the new regent of the Kingdom of Hungary, Miklós Horthy, who lived with his family there between 1920 and 1944.
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During this period, the palace was the center of Hungary's political and social life. With the end of the Second World War, a series of efforts began to rebuild the palace, which had been severely destroyed, but many of the facades were simplified and some areas were not rebuilt. A series of rooms in the old medieval castle were rebuilt between 1958 and 1962. Since 1987, Buda Castle has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Currently, it houses some museums: the Budapest History Museum, which explores the history of Budapest from its origins to the end of the communist era, and the Hungarian National Gallery.
WHAT TO KNOW AT THE BUDA CASTLE
WHAT TO KNOW AT THE BUDA CASTLE
1. BUDA CASTLE GARDENS
The castle and its gardens have been decorated with works of art since its foundation in the 14th century. Many of the statues survived destruction during the siege of Budapest between 1944 and 1945 and were later restored. On the other hand, important works of art were destroyed during the controversial reconstruction of the castle during the 1950s and 1960s. The main monuments that can still be seen today are:
This fountain is depicted depicts a real hunting scene with a hidden love story. According to legend, King Matthias, the most handsome in Hungary, went hunting in disguise to find out exactly what was happening in the country. While hunting, he met a beautiful peasant girl named Helena (Szép Ilonka, in Hungarian). They fell in love, but when she found out he was the king of Hungary, she realized that being love would never be complete and ended up dying of a broken heart.
The fountain depicts a neo-Baroque-style statue of King Matthias (at the top) and a dead deer that was shot by him. Also, there are the 3 king dogs who are drinking water from a spring. On the left is the seated figure of Galeotto Marzio, the historian of the Italian court of King Matthias, who holds a hawk on his wrist. On the other side of the fountain is Szép Ilonka herself, who appears to be feeding a young deer. The fountain was designed in 1904 and built against the wall of the central wing of Buda Castle. Fortunately, she suffered minor damage during WWII.
Monument to Prince Eugene of Savoy
It is a neo-Baroque equestrian statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy, located on the Danube terrace. It was purchased in 1900 as a temporary solution until the planned statue of King Franz Joseph was completed. As this never happened, the statue was not replaced. It is decorated with bronze reliefs and depicts the Battle of Zenta in 1697.
This is a statue, erected in 1901, in which a wild horse is tamed. Originally, it was opposite the Riding School. However, the statue was damaged during World War II and removed during the 1960s for restoration. It currently stands on the west side of the Buda Palace, next to the Matthias Fountain.
The statue of the mythological bird Turul was built in 1905. The bird is a Hungarian tradition and one of its national symbols. It is ornate in a neo-baroque style and was heavily damaged during the Second World War, during the siege of Budapest. The statue was restored in the early 1980s.
This is a fountain built in 1912 that depicts two children wrestling with a fish. The fountain was removed in 1955 and re-erected on Rákóczi Square in Pest, but brought back to its original location in 1976. It was extensively restored in 2001.
Csongor and Tünde
These are two statues, from 1903, that represent literary figures from Mihály Vörösmarty's drama. Originally, they decorated the steps in front of the Hasburg Palace. However, the steps were demolished after the war, but the statues were saved and replaced in 1976.
Decorate the gardens of the Palace of Buda, four lion statues, from 1901, which are guarding the monumental gate that leads to the Praça dos Leãos. The animals outside the gate are calm and dignified, while the ones inside are menacing. A lion was broken in two during the war, but it was redone in the 1950s.
War and peace
The beautiful allegorical bronze statues of War and Peace stand next to the entrance to the Budapest History Museum. War and Peace are represented by angels, one with a trumpet and the other with an olive branch. Under the angel of peace is a returning soldier, while under the angel of war is a dead Ottoman soldier and former Hungarian warriors.
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The Budapest History Museum is located in the south wing of Buda Castle, in Building E, on four floors. It presents the history of Budapest from its beginnings to the modern era. The restored part of the medieval castle, including the Royal Chapel and the Gothic Hall with rib, belongs to the exhibition. Highlights of the display include Gothic statues of Buda Castle and a 14th-century silk tapestry decorated with Angevin coats of arms. Small gardens were recreated in the medieval zwingers (open areas within two defensive walls) around the oldest parts of the building.
Founded in 1957, the Hungarian National Gallery is located in buildings A, B, C and D of Buda Castle. Its collections cover all genres of Hungarian artists from the 11th century to the present, with a special exhibition focusing on Gothic altarpieces (housed in the former Baroque ballroom). The Palatine Crypt, the only interior of the ancient castle that still survives to this day, also belongs to the museum.
Among the artists who have works in the gallery are: Károly Alexy, Maurice Ascalon, Miklós Borsos, Gyula Donat, John Fadrusz, Béni Ferenczy, István Ferenczy and Miklós Izsó. Brassai and Ervin Marton, Mihály Munkácsy, László Paál, Károly Markó, Joseph Borsos, Barabás Miklós, Bertalan Székely, Charles Lotz, Paul Szinyei Merse, István Kiss, Béla Iványi Grünwald, Tivadar Kosztka Csontváry, József Rippl-Rónai and Károly Ferenczy.
The “F Building” of Buda Castle is occupied by the Széchényi National Library, the national library of Hungary. Founded in 1802, the national library is named after the Hungarian aristocrat Count Ferenc Széchényi, its founder. Its collection of rare and ancient books, codices and manuscripts contains 35 Corvina pieces from the famous library of King Matias Corvino.
WHERE TO EAT IN BUDA CASTLE
For the hour of hunger, a good request is the Budapest Terrace, a restaurant opened in 2012. The restaurant is located inside the Buda Castle and has incredible views of the Danube River and the city of Budapest. The place is open daily from spring to autumn from 10 am to 10 pm and serves drinks, delicious snacks, salads, pasta and a variety of hot dishes. Check the full menu in this link.
HOW TO REACH BUDA CASTLE
To get to the Castle, you can walk the stairs that are close to the famous Ponte das Correntes or the slope that is to the left of the funicular (this one is for the forts)! As the castle is on top of a hill, the most convenient option to reach it is to take a funicular. We recommend that you take the funicular up and walk down to admire the view of the Danube River and the attractions on the Pest side. See all information about the funicular in this link.
- Address: Sikló u., 1013 Budapest, Hungary
- Schedules: daily from 7:30 am to 10:00 pm
- Prices: HUF 1,200/ round trip: HUF 1,800
- Address: Szent György tér 2, 1014, Budapest, Hungary
- Budapest History Museum: Tuesday to Sunday from November to February from 10 am to 4 pm / from March to October from 10 am to 6 pm
- Hungarian National Gallery: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm
- National Széchényi Library: Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 8 pm (see details here)
- Free tour of the gardens, Patio dos Leãos and surroundings
- Budapest History Museum: HUF 1,800
- Hungarian National Gallery: HUF 2,200
- Even for those who have Budapest Card
We thank the Budapest Festival and Tourism Center for tickets to attractions including Buda Castle and Budapest city transport.
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