Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Budapest - Parliament

This was the view outside our hotel room. The Danube view room cost more, but it was worth it.  We saw dinner boats, barges, big boats and this - the Hungarian Parliament.  Look at this!  It's just an amazing confection of a building.

From Wikipedia, we learn the following:
  • Budapest was united from three cities in 1873 and seven years later the Diet resolved to establish a new, representative Parliament Building, expressing the sovereignty of the nation. An international competition was held, and Imre Steindl emerged as the victor; the plans of two other competitors were later also realized in the form of the Ethnographical Museum and the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture, both of which face the Parliament Building. Construction from the winning plan was started in 1885 and the building was inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896, and completed in 1904. (The architect of the building went blind before its completion.)
  • About one thousand people were involved in construction, during which 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones and 40 kilograms (88 lb) of gold were used. After World War II the legislature became unicameral and today the government uses only a small portion of the building. During the communist regime a red star perched on the top of the dome, but was removed in 1990. Mátyás Szűrös declared the Hungarian Republic from the balcony facing Lajos Kossuth Square on 23 October 1989.

The first time we walked by the Parliament, we saw some sort of military ceremony.  They did a beautiful, highly choreographed display.

They're looking at each other while they execute the moves.  At the end, the commander spoke to the crowd, but it was in Hungarian so we don't know what was said.

This is the back of the building, with the standard guy on a horse.

The inside is just amazing.  All of the work was done by Hungarian artists, using Hungarian materials.

A ceiling detail.

The legislative area.

There are many statues of prominent Hungarians on many of the support columns.

I took this picture in another church.  These are replicas of the crown jewels.  The real ones are in the Parliament, but photos are not allowed; and since there were armed guards in the room, we complied.  The crown has been lost, stolen, and recovered many times since the 1100s.  If a Hungarian king's coronation coincided with the crown being missing, the people would not accept him as a legitimate ruler. At the end of WWII it was turned over to the US army.  It was held in Fort Knox until the 1970s.  President Carter returned it to the Hungarian people, with stipulations that the Communists not take it.  A good wiki on the jewels can be found here.  If you look carefully, you can see that the cross is crooked.  No one knows when or where that happened.

To go in the Parliament building, you must be in a tour.  They do offer English tours, and it is all well worth seeing.


  1. The historical buildings in Europe are so elaborate it must make the US seem boring on your return! ;-)

  2. They do over shadow the US buildings. The painted churches, especially in Germany, are my favorites. Some of them are just over the top gorgeous. Ours pale in comparison.