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the structure has had to be shored up with enough timber to make a forest. The tenants in the rear courtyard are especially dependent on each other and the moving spirit of the building is Mr. Laci, the janitor, who accepted all sorts of duties, even delivering packages in his old Volkswagen. Naturally, he also brought soda water bottles up for the tenants and let repairmen into their flats. I hope he still lives there, in good health, and is still looking after the building. The church in VIII. Rezső tér This Catholic church, which has a central arrangement and a dome, is situated on the main square of an eighth district residental area from the 1910s. It was built after a competition in which only neo-Classical designs were accepted. The church was finished in 1928, with ornamentation that recalls the time of the Hungarian settlement towards the end of the 9th century. The huge bulk of the building can be seen far off from Üllői út, which is the main road leading southeast (and to the airport), though only few people try to get any closer.

Eight Streets and Squares VIII. Mátyás tér This square, which is in the heart of the József­ város district (a sort of Budapest Harlem), is surrounded by single-storey and six-storey buildings, workshops and pubs. The unique atmosphere perhaps comes from the fact that the traditional Jewish middle-class here share the area with gypsies originally from Koszorú utca and Tavaszmező utca. There is a touching statue of a tin plate Christ on the corner of Tavasz­ mező utca.

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to be subsidised by the Turkish government. Next to the tomb there is a small look-out tower. VIII. Baross utca This is the main street of the Józsefváros district, leading from elegant Kálvin tér, through increasingly poorer parts, and finally, to the suburbs. Many joiners and upholsterers opened workshops here and their typical products are often mocked by the name “Baross utca style”. This nickname refers to richly ornamented, old-fashioned furniture which has not changed for years and is bought almost exclusively by the trades people living in the area. From Horváth Mihály tér on, the street looks like the main street of a provincial town. XV. Drégelyvár utca This is the main street of the Újpalota housing estate which consists of ten-storey apartment blocks, and now also has a good confectioner’s and a second-hand bookshop. Unfortunately, the trees are growing slowly and may never reach as high as the tenth floor. Recently hundreds of small shops opened on the ground floors. Budapest is a city of a million small entrepreneurs, and the shops change hands and characters all too often. II. Napraforgó utca This street is in what is called the “experimental housing estate”. Built by an entrepreneur in 1931 (with the city’s support), architecture buffs will be interested in this place which consists of 22 cleverly arranged small buildings sitting close together. On one side, the back of the buildings overlook a small stream called Ördögárok. The names of the architects can be seen on a memorial column in the middle of the plot.

VI. Városligeti fasor Formerly called Gorky Lane, this is one of Pest’s most attractive streets. Leading from Lövölde tér to Városliget, it runs parallel to Andrássy út but is much quieter. The rows of horse-chestnut trees grow unmolested too. There are old and modern villas here, as well as embassies and schools. The legendary Lutheran Grammar School, where a dozen Nobel prize winning émigré scientists were educated, sits on the corner of Bajza utca. The school was closed in 1950 and reopened in 1989 but is still struggling to regain its reputation.

XIV. Abonyi utca This short street between Városliget and the busy Thököly út is elegant, expensive, and almost totally free of noise and dirt. The street consists of 1920s buildings built for diplomats and generals. Halfway along the street there is a landmark red brick school building which is the former Jewish Secondary School, built by Béla Lajta in 1934. Now it bears the name of Miklós Radnóti, the catholic poet who was Jewish by birth and killed by the Fascists in a forced labour camp in 1944. This is a rare school for kids from the ages of six through 18 which has an atmosphere both inspiring and funny. Some adolescents look down on their fellow students being brought by cars.

II. Gül Baba utca This steeply rising, cobbled street near the Buda end of Margit híd leads to the tomb of Gül Baba, a 16th century Turkish holy man. The “Father of Flowers” died in Buda in 1541 and his memorial is the northernmost Islamic holy place

XIX. Kós Károly tér Construction on this working-class housing estate began in 1909. The estate, called the Wekerle-telep, was named for the Prime Minister who initiated the work. Over 900 houses were built here in varied formats and the centre

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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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