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known crusader for Budapest’s built heritage. She has probably lost lots of money trying to realise her dream of combining reasonable prices and high-profile cultural programmes with a café with a comfortable atmosphere. There are exhibitions, lectures and all kinds of events. Monument to the martyrs of 1956 (Új Köztemető, 301-es parcella – New Public Cemetery, Plot No. 301) X. Kozma utca 8 – 10., open daily 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round, and stays open longer as it darkens later (closes at 8 p.m. in May, June and July). This monument (1992) was funded by public donations and erected after sculptor György Jovánovics had won the competition for its design. The site is in the remotest part of the cemetery and was covered by weeds until 1989. The martyrs of the revolution, among them Prime Minister Imre Nagy, were buried here face down in unmarked graves, far away from visitors. The monument is a complex work of art, relying in its symbolism on the will of one of the executed revolutionaries, István Angyal, who mentioned a “big white piece of stone” in a moving and sincere document which he wrote on death row. In the centre of the monument there is a column that is exactly 1956 milli­ meters high. As a former conceptual artist, Jovánovics asked the National Measurement Authority to verify that it was really 1956 millimeters in length. Lehel Market (Lehel piac) XIII. Lehel tér, open Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 6. a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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This surprising market hall was built in 2002 by László Rajk on the site of a 100 year-old open-air market. Rajk, who was a liberal MP for two terms (until 1998) designed this market hall for a sleepy and ugly junction where middle class Terézváros (from over the rail tracks) and Újlipótváros meet the working class neighbourhood of Angyalföld. This building is Rajk’s chef d’oeuvre, and his unmistakable attraction to theatre and film is obvious in it. He calls his style “radical eclecticism”. The building’s design was a shock to most neighbourhood locals and to professional critics. It’s “a joke” and “the collapse of Totalitarianism, narrated in the language of the Wild East”, wrote a famous, elderly architect in a long review. The more I see the building, the more I appreciate it, especially when I use it. The garage is located on the top of the building, which forces us to use the gallery space, which is often a weak and unused part of older markets. Café Zila (Zila kávéház) XVIII. Üllői út 452., www.zilakavehaz.hu, open daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Located in Pestszentlőrinc, an eastern outskirt of Budapest, this large café was once a shooting range. It was built by a trigger happy, horse racing aristocrat named Miklós Szemere, who was immortalized in many late 19th-century stories. The place opened in 1903 and the Latin saying over the main entrance reads: Caput Gloriae Virtus (virtue is the highest glory). In 1928 shooting was banned here since it disturbed the neighbours. The building instead was used as a banquet hall for the neighbourhood, which was then a small town. From 1949 it became used as the changing room for a city bath. In 1984 permission was given to László Zila, a confectioner, to start a pastry shop. In 1998 he bought the adjacent building and began a meticulous, awardwinning renovation. The Napoleon Courtyard VI. Hajós utca 25. This art nouveau building has three façades. It really should be admired from a distance, but it sits on a very narrow street. Notice the building’s fine glass windows and its many small details. High above, in the middle of the façade, the figure of Napoleon looks down on the pedestrian street. No one walking there would guess that he was being watched by the emperor. By the way, “courtyard” is just a nickname – we can’t actually enter the building.

Lehel Market

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VIII. Népszínház utca 16. I had the pleasure of living in this typical building in the Józsefváros district for two years. With two inner courtyards,

2011.04.20. 15:50:00

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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...

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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