If we were to return to 1873, the year Budapest was born, we could cross the Chain Bridge and traverse the Tunnel, both built with contributions from the Englishman William Tierney Clark and the Scottish Adam Clark, and marvel at the Castle of Buda.
Yet many of the city’s now iconic bridges and buildings, which were built over the century and a half since, would be nowhere to be seen.
The driving force behind the large-scale renewal of the cityscape back then was the Metropolitan Council of Public Works, founded in 1870. Ferenc Reitter, the head of the Council's technical department, drew up the capital's regulatory plan and was responsible for managing the works. He was also responsible for the city plans for the Castle and Buda, as well as the sewerage plan of Buda and Pest, as well as the planning and construction of the quays of Budapest.
Matthias Church at Szentháromság square in Buda, around 1893 (source: Fortepan / Fortepan)
The monumental Parliament building was built between 1885 and 1904 using Hungarian materials and manufacturers. Designed by Imre Steindl, it combines historicist, gothic, renaissance and baroque styles. With its nearly 18,000 square metres, it is the second largest parliamentary builr decoration. The building has 29 entrances; 90 statues of great Hungarian historical figures on its façade; and 152 other statues inside the building. On either sding in Europe. It was built using 40 million bricks, 30,000 cubic metres of carved ornamental stone for the facing, and about 40 kilograms of gold foide of the dome, the chambers of the House of Representatives and the House of Lords are mementos of the former bicameral parliamentary system. Their identical size and design are meant to symbolise the equality of the lower house of the people and the historic upper house, while the dome symbolises the unity of the legislature. Besides hosting legislative work, the Parliament also has a visitor centre. Visitors can see the impressive chambers, the Holy Crown as well as the regalia.
Construction works of the wing bridge leading to Margaret Island (source: Fortepan / Fortepan / Album050)
Between 1895 and 1902, the Castle of Buda was renovated based on the plans of Frigyes Schulek, the neo-Romanesque Fisherman's Bastion was built and the Matthias Church gained its current appearance. All are an integral part of the Budapest skyline, which has held World Heritage status since 1987.
The same is true for Andrássy Avenue, which leads to City Park. It is 2310 metres long, its design based on a Parisian style, and boasts not only the Opera House but many other magnificent palaces and villas.
Blaha Lujza Square (then the junction of Népszínház Street and Rákóczi Street), the building of the Népszínház (the later National Theatre) around 1893. (source: Fortepan / Budapest City Archives)
Various districts have slowly taken on a new life enriched by the growing number of residential houses and public buildings. Andrássy Avenue and its neighbourhood became popular among the aristocracy and the upper middle class, a residential area bordered by the Nagykörút sprung up, and downtown banks, offices and shops have opened, while Buda became home to many governmental and administrative buildings. On the outskirts, industrial sites and working-class housing districts were established. The rapid development of transportation greatly contributed to connecting the expanding districts.
See also: The Birth of Budapest
The Alrite speech recognation (speech-to-text) program helped to write the publication.
Photo: Parliament seen from the Bem (Margit) quay. In the foreground is the paddle-wheel steamship Esztergom, around 1900. (source: Fortepan / Budapest City Archives / Photos of György Klösz)
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