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the courtyard a tomb and a sundial can be seen.

Entrance to the Catacombs I. Úri utca 9. There is an underground labyrinth, about 10 kilometres in length, under Castle Hill, the ear112 The Castle liest traces of man are from half a millionArea and Váci Utca years ago. The caves were first joined up by the Turks for military purposes. In the 1930s an air-raid shelNational Theatre (Várszínház) 6C I. concrete Színház reinforcements. utca 1 – 3., ter for ten Dance thousand people was formed, by using ••• This building was Today a section of about 1,5 kilometres can be visited. comp­ leted in 1736 a late-Baroque church of theAfter Water always drips in in limestone caves andstyle this as onethe is no exception. Order ofthe Our Lady of Mount aCarmel. 1784places. Joseph II temperadisheavy rain, dripping resembles shower inInsome The solved this religion’s as he mostOnly others. ture is 14 degrees Celsius,congregation, the humidity isjust about 90 did percent. a street sign onmonastery the wall reminds us of the time during and World II when The was converted to a casino, theWar church gavethousands livedThe through siege down here; some say that the postwayoftopeople a theatre. latterthe was designed by Farkas Kempelen, man even came deliver their letters for a chess while. (There is another who was alsodown the to inventor of the famous automaton. entrance from Lovas utca 4.)

TheCastle Castle Theatre Theatre ininCross The crossSection section

National Dance Theatre – Castle Theatre (Várszínház)

The had a wooden and could seat 1,200inpeople. 6C theatre I. Színház utca 1–3. Thestructure building itself was completed 1736 as the Performances wereofheld in German, but the first writtenstyle. in In church of the Order Our Lady of Mount Carmel in a play late Baroque Hungarian was also performed here. The theatre been rebuilt 1784 Joseph II dissolved this religions congregation, justhas as he did most others. several times,was butconverted the wooden structure remained untilto 1924 The monastery into a casino, the church gave place a theatre. when a part of the gallery collapsed. The next performance was not until 1978 when a new theatre, made of marble and concrete (but seating only 264 people), was opened. Unfortunately, the dress circle and the foyer are not separated, so even the slightest sounds from outside can be heard. And there are always some sounds from outside. For more than two decades this theatre was used as the studio of the National Theatre. But since 2002 it has housed the National Dance Theatre, which hosts productions from Hungary and abroad. The President’s Office at Sándor Palace (Köztársasági Elnöki Hivatal) 6D I. Szent György tér 1 – 2., ••• Sándor Palace is one of the finest landmarks of Hungarian Classicism (Johann Aman and Mihály Pollack, 1806, conversion by Miklós Ybl, 1867). The palace, which is in a fabulous location, was converted to the prime minister’s office in 1867. It operated as such

PARK_Budapest_belivek_v065.indd 112-113

The Castle Area and Váci Utca


until 1944 when it was almost completely destroyed during the siege. For almost 60 years it was a mere ruin with an uncertain future. Then in 2000, the government (which at the time was one highly sensitive to symbolism) decided to recreate the prime minister’s office here. No expenses were spared, but as one critic said: “it was no reconstruction, rather recreation”. But it was a wonderful job, in every respect. (Architect: Ferenc Potzner, interior designers: Éva Magyari, Béla Pazár, ornaments: Kornél Baliga.) To put the prime minister’s office there, far away from the ministries and Parliament building, was strongly criticized, however. The president of the republic move here instead. His study is on the riverfront, near the balcony on the left, and there is a vast painting on his wall of count Lajos Batthyány, the first Hungarian prime minister, who was shot dead by the Austrians on October 6, 1849. Unfortunately, the palace can be visited by ordinary mortals only during the European Heritage Weekend, which is the last weekend of September. The changing of the guard happens daily at noon. By way of the fine web site, you can take an extraordinary virtual tour of the inside of the palace.

Walk ONE

Walk ONE

A rest: Korona Patisserie – Dísz tér 16.

Royal Palace (Királyi palota) 6G, I, K – O ••• Since the Royal Palace is also a pseudo-historic building which incorporates many of the original parts, its history is similar to that of the Matthias church (although the palace is younger than the church). Even though between 1892 and 1918 the Buda Castle was officially one of the royal seats, the royals have never been residents here, only visiting guests. The first palace on this site was a gothic and renaissance one which was added onto for 300 years. It was totally demolished by the Christian army that liberated Buda from the Turkish occupation in 1686. In 1715 work started on a completely new, and much smaller Baroque palace. By 1779 the palace had expanded and after some minor reconstruction, it had almost doubled in length by the end of the 19th century. A huge wing was added to the back and it is now 304 metres-long. All the halls on the ground floor opened into one another. The neo-Baroque palace, which also had some art nouveau elements, had a false dome with an attic underneath. The reconstruction by Miklós Ybl and Alajos Hauszmann was finished in 1904. At the end of World War Two, the palace was the last stronghold of the besieged German troops. The roof fell in completely and most of the furniture was destroyed. At the end of the 1940s, experts decided that the palace should not be restored in its original form, although it would have still been possible to do so using the ruins and the plans. They declared that they wanted

2011.04.20. 15:49:14

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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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