Royal Palace in Budapest


"Royal Palace" or otherwise the Buda Fortress is a majestic architectural complex, the history of the construction of which begins in the Middle Ages. The former residence of the monarchs rises on the Buda Hill, which offers a picturesque view of the Danube and the capital as a whole. On the other side of the river is the second part of the modern capital - Pest.

The Royal Palace in Budapest has become not only a historical, but also a cultural center. It is one of the main tourist destinations in the Hungarian capital, which has experienced many events and transformations during its existence.

History of the Buda Castle: the beginning

The first defensive fortifications on this hill were built in the 13th century under the leadership of Bela IV. A good location on a hill, protected on one side by the bank of the swift Danube, suggested good protection from the raids of the Tatar-Mongol. Over time, the fortress began to grow and an ancient city was formed - Buda. It was he who would later become the capital of the modern Hungarian state.

During the reign of King Sigismund I, the Buda Castle was significantly expanded and became the largest in Europe in the 15th century. And Buda became the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary. The next monarch, Matthias, built a new Renaissance-style Buda castle. Which was not destined to stand for long.

Turkish invasion

With the invasion of the Turks, Hungary ceased to exist as an independent state, the fortress was destroyed and lost its significance for many years. It is difficult to imagine that barracks and even stables were arranged in the luxurious halls of the royal residence.

Only at the end of the 17th century the city was liberated. But restoration work was started only in the 18th century at the insistence of the Roman Emperor Charles VI. But these buildings did not last long. In the middle of the 19th century, the revolutionary army led by Artur Gergei burned down the entire complex. A few years later it was restored, and in 1875 a new large-scale construction began, led by the Hungarian architect M. Ybl, which was completed already at the beginning of the 20th century.

Troubled 20th century

The renovated Buda Fortress in Budapest has become one of the most beautiful symbols of the country's new era. But the revolution and the Second World War became the next tests for the complex. During the Nazi occupation, the German command was located here, and during the liberation, the "scorched earth" tactic was used. As a result, most of the buildings were destroyed again. The restoration significantly changed the original appearance of the complex, which became available to tourists in 1966. It is worth noting that restoration work is being carried out here to this day.

Today Buda Castle in Budapest is one of the main attractions. It occupies a large area and consists of many different objects, therefore the fortress is also called "a city within a city". To get acquainted with all the buildings and significant places, you need to spend a whole day.

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The main attractions of the complex

Today, for tourists visiting Budapest, Buda Castle is becoming one of the must-see destinations. This large-scale complex will surprise everyone with a variety of buildings, monuments, fountains and other unique objects. It reflects the entire history of the city from the dense Middle Ages to the present.

The palace in Budapest and the surrounding cultural and historical monuments combine different architectural styles, becoming a kind of eclectic system. These are the medieval ruins of the castle, and the Renaissance style, and the neoclassical palace of Sandor, and the Gothic Church of Matthias. Such a variety of attractions, together with the National Gallery and Museum, attract tourists of a wide variety of interests and preferences. Let's take a closer look at some of them.

Funicular Sciclo

You can get to the top of the hill where the castle is located by bus or on foot. But to get more vivid impressions, admire the scenery from above and enjoy unusual transport, you can use the funicular.

These are small wagons running on an ascending and descending path. A short stop awaits you about halfway, with access to a special forged bridge over the road. Here you can look around, see the Hungarian capital from a new perspective, and take beautiful photographs.

The value of this lift also lies in the fact that it was put into operation at the end of the 19th century, and since then little has changed in its appearance. Therefore, you will see a real rarity in action.

The funicular operates all day from 7:30 am to 22:00 pm, the trailers arrive at intervals of 5-10 minutes. One way fare is 1200 HUF for adults and 700 HUF for children (3-14 years old). In both directions the price will be 1800 HUF for adults and 1100 HUF for children. Children under 3 years old, the trip is free.

Matthias Church

The tallest structure of the fortress has become one of the most impressive. In any photo of the Buda complex, you will see an 80-meter Gothic spire, directed to the heavenly heights. Colored tiles play brightly in the sun and immediately attract the eye. This is the Matthias Church, consecrated in honor of St. Mary. It is located between the Fisherman's Bastion and the Holy Trinity Square.

Over its centuries-old history, it has been repeatedly transformed and forcibly "re-baptized". So, during the Turkish invasion, this magnificent building was used as a mosque. These days, excellent organ concerts are often held here due to the good acoustics. Also, in addition to its main purpose, it is also used as an observation deck.

Adam Clark Square and Kilometer Zero

It is located at the foot of the hill, on which the Buda Castle is located, Budapest here, in fact, originates. This is due to the fact that a large stone zero rises on the square, symbolizing the zero kilometer, i.e. the beginning of the way. It is from this place that the distance from the capital to any city in Hungary, as well as many highways, begins.

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The square was named in honor of the builder of a large chain bridge, which at one end goes to the square, and the other to Pest, connecting the two parts of the city over the wide Danube. You can also see the Arc de Triomphe, which adorns the entrance to the automobile tunnel under the hill. An interesting fact is that the length of the tunnel is absolutely equal to the length of the chain bridge. There is a comic story among the locals that this was done in order to hide the bridge in the rain.

Sandor Palace

This monument of architecture was erected at the beginning of the 19th century. During World War II, the palace was completely destroyed. Later it was restored, but it was not given any special cultural value. This is evidenced by the fact that until 1978 there was a warehouse here.

And only since 2003, Sandor Palace became the official residence of the President of Hungary. You can only admire it from the outside: the palace is closed for tourists almost all year round. Only in September, an exhibition of the country's heritage, open to the general public, is held here annually.

In addition to the architectural features, you can admire the daily changing of the guard at the entrance. More recently, the usual combat teams have been supplemented with spectacular elements, for example, juggling weapons.

Fisherman's Bastion

Despite the name, this place never had any defensive significance, but was intended for the beautiful background of the Matthias Church. This is a square with a 140-meter gallery, which seems to "embrace" the church, and 7 towers, symbolizing the tribes that once formed the Hungarian state. In the Middle Ages, fish was traded here, and in return, fishermen pledged to defend this part of the fortress wall in case of attack. Hence the name.

In the middle of the square there is a monument to the first Hungarian king Istvan the Holy. He is depicted on a horse, and on the pedestal are scenes from the life of the ruler.

From here also opens a picturesque panorama of the Pest side of the capital, to which there are bridges across the Danube. First of all, you will see the incredible beauty of the Parliament, reflected in the waters of the river - the real pride of the inhabitants of Budapest.

Hungarian National Gallery and Museum

The National Gallery of Hungary is located on the territory of the Royal Palace. Here are collected and presented the works of many artists in Hungary and not only. The complete collection of exhibits numbers over 100 thousand exhibits. This volume requires as many as three wings of the Royal Palace to accommodate. The Hungarian National Gallery is open every day, except Mondays, from 10 to 18.

Also noteworthy is the Historical Museum, which through its expositions acquaints visitors with the history of Hungary from antiquity to the present. Various objects and artifacts from different historical periods are presented here. These are household items, dishes, clothing, ceramics and textiles, samples of local artisans, photographs, etc. A special place is occupied by exhibits obtained in excavations by archaeologists.

Monuments and fountains of Buda Hill

One of the most popular monuments is the bronze bird Turul, which, according to legend, prompted the way for nomadic tribes to this area, which later became the center of Budapest.

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Impressive is the majestic statue on horseback, depicting the Austrian commander of Savoy, who won one of the decisive battles with the Turks. By the way, they are also depicted here - in miniature form under the hooves of a horse.

Another legendary bird, the statue of which you will see at the gate of Corvinus is a raven with a ring in its beak. According to legend, a raven stole a wedding ring from the wedding of King Matthias. The bird was caught, but the bad sign turned out to be prophetic: soon the king's young wife died.

During the excursion, you will come across many sculptures that amaze with their beauty. In addition to the monuments, you will certainly be enchanted by the unusual fountain, which "merges" with the wall of the Royal Castle and is one with it. This large structure depicts Matthias hunting scene with many characters, retinue and hounds.

Festivals and celebrations of the Buda Palace

Every year Budapest attracts tourists with exciting events. For example, in August, the Hungarian Crafts Festival is regularly held on the territory of the fortress. Masters from all over the country come to it to amaze tourists and show their skills.

The Beer Festival has also become popular; its guests are welcomed here every year at the end of August. And at the beginning of September, lovers of alcoholic beverages will also have a Wine Festival. You can find out more about the dates, ticket prices and organizational issues on the official websites of the city.

For everyone who wants to see what the Buda Fortress is like, Budapest will open from a new side. Take the time to visit the complex, and vivid memories of a lifetime are guaranteed. Have a nice trip!

Getting there

Address: Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary.

Those who want to know what the Buda Fortress is, how to get to the complex, in order to get acquainted with all the objects, you first need to decide on which side the excursion will start. There are two directions: from the royal palace and from the Fisherman's Bastion. For the first option, the following methods are possible:

  • bus routes # 16 and # 105 to the Clark Adam ter stop, then you can walk, take the funicular or take the same route 16;
  • tram No. 19 and No. 41 to the same stop, and then in any way described.

If you decide to start the route from the Fisherman's Bastion, then you can also get here in several ways:

  • bus route No. 16, No. 16A, No. 116 to the stop Szentharomsag ter;
  • metro (red line) to the Szell Kalman ten station, then you will need to walk for about 20 minutes.

In addition, taxi drivers will always come to the rescue and take you to the Royal Palace of Budapest.

Helpful information

Hours of operation Royal Palace:

Buda Castle and castle courtyards - around the clock, seven days a week.
National Gallery: Tue-Sun 10: 00-18: 00, Monday closed.
Museum of the History of Budapest: March 1-October 31 - Tue-Sun 10: 00-18: 00; November 1-February 29 - Tue-Sun 10: 00-16: 00, Monday closed.
Sciclo funicular: Mon-Sun 7: 30-22: 00 every 5-10 minutes.

Official site:

Most of the premises of the palace are closed at 18 or 20 hours. Some bars and restaurants are open until 23-24 hours.