Budapest is a large city and one that is extremely rich in history.
From the Inner and the Outer Ring of Pest to the monuments in the heart of the Buda part of the city, there are numerous sights and exploring the capital of Hungary can turn out to be a race to see as much as possible. During the frantic runs, some pretty interesting sights get simply passed by, without taking the time to recognize what they have to give. To make sure you don’t miss out on some interesting information, we present you with some sights that you definitely shouldn’t miss while exploring.
This building, commissioned at the end of the 19th century (finished in 1884) to mark the Hungarian millennial in 1896 (celebrating 1000 years since the Hungarians arrived in the Carpathian Basin and founded their state), is the pride of Budapest’s residents. It was built in the neo-Renaissance style, although it is riddled with some Baroque elements. It also hosts 16 statues of the world’s greatest composers, with two prominent spots being reserved for the two of the greatest Hungarian composers Franz Liszt and Ferenc Erkel (who composed the Hungarian national anthem, among other things).
Inside, there are beautiful ornaments, with frescoes and sculptures, and many a kilogram of gold was spent on beautifying the interior.
The Timewheel is exactly what you would think it is. A giant wheel that is used to measure time. Now, if you imagined something like a clock, you’d be wrong. It is, surprisingly or not, a giant hourglass. It houses tiny particles of glass (instead of sand), which fall into the lower reservoir from the upper one, marking the passage of time. As the particles have to run out at some point, the hourglass needs to be reset, and this is done every New Year’s Day, in a ceremony of turning the wheel (which requires four persons and, astonishingly, lasts for 45 minutes).
It was thought of and planned out in the 1990s, but, it took a long time before it was realized and, finally, on 30th April 2004, it was inaugurated to commemorate Hungary’s entrance to the European Union. Being behind the Heroes Square, it is easy to miss, but it is definitely worth seeing the largest hourglass in the world.
Perhaps the most unique structure in whole of Budapest, the Vajdahunyad Castle was never intended to last as long as it has. It was primarily made out of cardboard and wood (although designed by a famous Hungarian architect, Ignác Alpár) and was intended to be an exhibition of sorts. Once again, to mark the Hungarian millennial, Alpár designed a castle which would be a combination of all the architectural styles that were present in Hungary for the past 1000 years. It was comprised of 21 buildings (modelled after already existing houses throughout the Hungarian Kingdom), with the most intriguing and lively being the wing that was modelled after the Hunyad Castle in Transylvania.
During the celebration of the millennial, the make-shift castle held an exhibition comprised of all the relevant moments from Hungary’s history. After the celebration, in 1904, instead of having it torn down, because of the people who loved it so much, the city decided to make it into a permanent building using stone, which is why we can enjoy it today.
Drawing youth from all over Budapest, this lovely and lively little square is located near the Faculty of Law, after which it takes its name (Egyetem means ‘University’ in Hungarian). During the day, the square is filled with young students on their way to or from the faculty, as well as those enjoying breaks or sitting here to study. In the evening, however, all those books are replaced for bottles of wine, as the students return here to have their night’s fun.
Also, aside from looking great, the square houses some quaint places where you can sit and have a coffee, like the turn-of-the-century coffee house, which were very common in Budapest and Vienna at the end of the 19th century.
Of course, this is not all there is to know about these buildings, but if this has sparked your curiosity, you can take a look at our bike tour which comprises all these places and more. We have a lot more interesting information and places waiting for you.