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through a ground floor window into a wind instrument workshop where the students’ instruments are repaired. Liszt-related music is for sale at the entrance.

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estate investment scene. In 2003 he baffled the business world and the arts scene with a press conference: he said he would donate 3 billion forints to a foundation promoting contemporary fine arts. He acquired the villa, at a good address, which used to house the “Club of Young Artists”, a legendary venue for great exhibitions and drinking parties. The Institution opened in April 2004. Andrássy út and Városliget 227 Kogart (“Ko” and “Ga” are from the name of the funder, “Rt” is “Corp” in A Lukács Hungarian) is aConfectioner’s very funny name in ca ut Hungarian. The founder lost B Andrássy út 88 – 90. some sympathy on the way i ad Ar byC  interfering the Andrássywith út 87 – 89. curators whom he apE D Andrássy pointed who instantly út 98. ca ut .u

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Walk FOUR

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A Lukács Confectioner’s One of them was the B Andrássy út 88–90 C Andrássy studio of Jenőút 87–89 Barcsay be lla 98 AD Andrássy u. (1900 – 1988), a út master of Press rHouse modern BEHunga­ ian painting. The same block has a Zoltán Kodály museum in what used to be the composer’s residence. Further along Andrássy út, beyond Kodály körönd, the road becomes even airier. The houses sit further apart and hide behind front gardens. Further still, the road is lined with detached villas. Unfortunately permission was given after World War Two to build four modern buildings on this stretch. Two of them are especially out of place and are of strikingly inferior quality. Iz a

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Former Press House (MÚOSZ-székház) 28E, 29A VI. And­ rássy út 101. ••• The plans for this fine art nouveau villa are missing from the archives. All we know is that it was built sometime between 1900 and 1903 for the “timber-king of Szolnok” (a country town in south-eastern Hungary, not far from Budapest) and that for a short time it housed the Turkish Embassy. No two windows on the building are the same. My favourite ornaments are the birds under the first floor windows and the stairs leading to the twin chimneys. Above the birds there are some strange, totally non-functional iron consoles which used to hold a large sign saying “Huszonötödik Színház” (25th Theatre), referring to the 25th professional theatre company in Hungary which

Walk FOUR

Kodály körönd is one of the city’s finest circles. It consists of four buildings whose shape forms a circle (körönd). Of the four, architectural experts usually favor the one at Kodály körönd 88 – 90. My favourite is Kodály körönd 87 – 89, perhaps because of its rambling turret-rooms.

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Café Lukács (Lukács cukrászda) 27G – 28A VI. Andrássy út 70. ••• The imaginative conversion of this building put an end to a decade of stagnation in the life of this café, which was one of the nicest of the handful of Budapest’s truly grand cafés. It once belonged to the Lukács family but was confiscated in 1949. It closed to the public and became the cafeteria of the secret police. When I was a student, you could choose between the Baroque splendour upstairs and the 1930s elegance on the ground floor. Service was considerably slower upstairs, but there one could admire the naked porcelain lady on the marble fireplace combing her hair. You can still buy various sized copies of this statue in most large souvenir shops. In the corridor leading to the service area on the lower floor, there used to be furniture that evoked the era of Jean Cocteau. This is all gone now. But there is new life. The times they are a-changin’ we sang with Bob Dylan, when I was twenty. But changes then in Hungary changed nothing. Now they do, at a Chicago pace again, in this second exuberant fin-de-siècle in Budapest’s history. The new café here is a typical showcase.

E  Press House

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The Old Kunsthalle – Academy of Fine Arts (Régi Műcsar­ nok – Képzőmű­vészeti Egyetem) 27F VI. Andrássy út 69. ••• This building was erected by Adolf Lang in 1877 and was financed by public contributions. It attempts to summarize Renaissance architecture, and somewhat resembles Palazzo Bevilacqua in Verona, Italy (1530). It says on its façade that it was financed by public donations. Now it houses the offices of the University of Fine Arts, and it has recently begun organizing exhibitions again. Everything inside, even the ceiling, is made of marble – some genuine, some faux. The State Puppet Theatre gives performances in the basement, which was the site of a legendary interwar cabaret. The building to the left was also built for the arts education, which is obvious when you look at the portraits on the façade: Bramante, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Dürer and others. (The building was designed by Lajos Rauscher, professor of the Academy – not yet a university, needless to say.)

2011.04.20. 15:49:47

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The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

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