Renowned widely for its delectable cuisine, avant-garde architecture, breath-taking sceneries, rich folk art, ancient to modern thermal spas, lively festivals, and brave history, Hungary is quite the country to please the mind of a hungry explorer. Regardless of anyone’s taste and expectations, the country sits atop in its unrefuted and inviting form. 

Hungary’s marvellous architectural waltz from Gothic Revival and Neoclassical to Modern and contemporary architecture have rendered it a sojourn spot in so many of our bucket lists.

Thus, let us go through more reasons to visit it:

10 Reasons why Architects should visit Hungary
View of the Danube River_©John Selfridge.jpg

1. The Hungarian Parliament Building

Overlooking the Danube river, the Hungarian Parliament Building is a blend of Gothic Revival style symmetrical facade, Revival Renaissance style central and Baroque style interiors. The structure is embellished with sculptures, ornamental stairs, frescoed ceilings, stained glass and glass mosaics. 

Oddly, each day of the year is portrayed by one of the 365 towers that make up the structure. The hexa-decagonal (sixteen-sided) central hall, which is flanked by two massive chambers: the Lower House and the Upper House, is one of the building’s most prominent features.

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Central Hall ceiling under the dome_©Ken Kaminesky.jpg
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Chamber of the Lower House of the National Assembly of Hungary_©Ken Kaminesky.jpg

2. Balna (Formerly known as CET Building)

Also built along the Danube river, the landmark Balna building is an enthralling sight and should be visited. It houses a modern shopping, cultural, and entertainment centre. The Balna’s architectural deconstructivism and urban expression evolve with the direction of the flow of Danube, and its form depicts the smooth and affable body of a whale. 

The building has been magnificently transformed from 19th-century public warehouse buildings into a 21st-century colossal multifunctional complex.

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3. National Theatre and Palace of Arts

Love for the stunning blend of Revival architecture and a passion for the performing arts would be good enough reasons for any architect to visit the National Theatre and Palace of Arts in Budapest, Hungary. With a picturesque garden embodying memorials, horseshoe-shaped servicing areas, studio and open-air stage, state-of-the-art technology which enables lifting various sections of the stage, this recreational cluster is an architectural delight. 

A symbolic gate leads to the form of a ship, which serves as the theatre’s foundation and is surrounded by a pool of water, through which the demolished National Theatre’s tympanum emerges. There was also a ‘ziggurat’ built in the park that functions as an exhibition space.

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View of Palace of Arts_©Duna-Dráva Cement Ltd..jpg
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Ship form at one of the entrances_©Duna-Dráva Cement Ltd..jpg
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Another entrance to the National Theatre and Palace of Arts_©Duna-Dráva Cement Ltd..jpg

4. Siofok Evangelical Church

Located at the quaint village of Siofok resides this queer Lutheran evangelical church. The church is a product of the fusion of vernacular architecture with modern techniques wherein wood has been availed as the natural building material by architect Imre Makovecz. 

The main facade is edified with wings and windows as eyes to manifest an angel that protects those who enter. Enriched with symbolism, every piece of timber used signifies strength and serenity.

Siofok Evangelical Church - Sheet1
Siofok Evangelical Church_©GC1VCAH Makovecz church in Siofok (Traditional Cache) in Hungary created by mjdgm (geocaching.com).jpg
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Wings at the entrance_©Bjourn Roose
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Inside the church_©Siófok, Evangélikus templom és paplak – Makovecz Utak.jpg

5. Buda Castle or Royal Palace

Being rebuilt, restored or modified since the 14th-century, the Gothic style Buda Castle is a sight to behold. The palace was planned symmetrically and at the centre of its massive edifice sits a central dome. The geometric layout of the plan makes it much easier to navigate through. 

A complex system of mediaeval fortifications surrounds the castle wing.  The castle also houses a National Gallery in its main wing, a museum in the south wing and a National Library in the Castle District.

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View of the Buda Castle_©Varius.jpg
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Buda Castle Chapel_©File Buda castle interior church.JPG – Wikimedia Commons.jpg

6. Matthias Church

The Neo-Gothic style Matthias Church in Budapest is a part of the Buda Castle hill complex and is an attraction for architects. While the exterior of Matthias Church has the historical elegance of typical Gothic churches with delicate turrets, the coloured tile roofs suggest that this church is not following the usual formula: once inside, you will be greeted by one of the most enticing combinations of warm lights and shadows, beautiful stained-glass windows, far-reaching arches, century-old wooden pews, mediaeval remains, and colours of orange, brown, golden hewed frescos reaching from floor to ceiling.

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Ornamented interors _©Allan J Scullard.jpg

7. Vajdahunyad Castle

Would you believe that this stone and brick set castle as it exists today once stood in wood, plywood and papier-mâché? So was its nitty-gritty in 1896. After a decade passed, original materials were switched with stones, bricks and other decorative materials to make the castle sturdy and lasting. 

The architecture of this castle includes elements of Vajdahunyad castle (Corvin castle, now in Romania), the clock tower in sighişoara (Romania), Romanesque Church in the Yak (Hungary), the Baroque esterházy Palace (Austria) and several other castles, towers, churches and historical sites. Thus, it showcases various styles such as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque with infinite grandeur.

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Vajdahunyad Castle_©Johnny Chin.jpg
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Agriculture Museum at Vajdahunyad Castle_©Curious Expeditions.jpg

8. The Ark on Danube River

The Hungarian Canoe Federation has built a version for a floating yacht with a porting location, changing rooms, ship storage, training and education centre, community and exhibition space anchored in front of the Federation Building. This yacht thus acts as a community centre for athletes and their events. 

Two steel bridges link the ground and the uppermost deck of the yacht, which has a receiving area as well as the event room. Also, two wide glass-covered panels are sunken on the floor, allowing viewers to see what is going on below.

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The Ark on the Moscow Promenade_©Kovács Apor.jpg
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Two steel bridges connect the land with the upper deck level of the floating boat_©Bujnovszky Tamás.jpg
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Open area for events and other gatherings_©Bujnovszky Tamás.jpg

9. Hungarian State Opera House

The Hungarian State Opera is one of the greatest centres of integrated arts and also amongst the best acoustical theatres in the world. The three-storeyed horseshoe-shaped opera house is fashioned in Neo-Renaissance style with elements of Baroque ornamentation and frescoed ceilings. 

The symmetrical façade’s design is based on a musical theme. There is also a royal box located midway between the three-storeyed house. The main hall is adorned with a colossal bronze chandelier that illuminates the striking frescoes of the hall.

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Hungarian State Opera House_©Kevin John Cottrell
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House Area_©Ken Kaminesky.jpg
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Grand Hallway of the Opera House_©Betty Zhang.jpg

10. Hagymatikum Baths

A trip to Hungary is incomplete if you do not visit any of the country’s splendid thermal baths. The town of Makó, on the country’s southern outskirts, was strewn with the precious example of architect Imre Makovecz’s distinctive “Organic” style Hagymatikum Baths. This mushroom-shaped hall conceals a mind-bending hot-water wonderland. 

A towering tree trunk gradually rises to a starburst skylight in the wood-beam roof in the grand hall’s core. The interconnected lower pools — which flow into each other like a lazy river — are shaded by a canopy, which also provides a soothing upper deck. Hagymatikum is essentially a pilgrimage for both architecture enthusiasts and spa lovers, merging unique architecture with modern thermal-bath facilities.

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Deck area above bath pools_©Archilovers.jpg
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Towering tree at Hall’s core_©https__ludoapartman.hu_media_uploads_latnivalok_megnyilt-a-makoi-hagymatikum-furdo35d2f1a6c3da09dd77e75ad71f406868

We hope that these ten architectural wonders have persuaded you to visit this cultured and enticing land of Hungary.

References

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Archilovers (2016). Thermal bath Hagymatikum | AGROB BUCHTAL. [online] Archilovers. Available at: https://www.archilovers.com/projects/175203/thermal-bath-hagymatikum.html#info [Accessed 3 Apr. 2021].

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Curious Places-Blogspot (n.d.). Curious Places: Lutheran Church (Siofok/ Hungary). [online] Curious Places. Available at: http://curious-places.blogspot.com/2011/06/lutheran-church-siofok-hungary.html [Accessed 4 Apr. 2021].

Dube, R. (2002). The Civic Gothic Legacy: Parliament Buildings of Ottawa, London and Budapest. [Undergraduate Dissertation] pp.7, 43, 56. Available at: https://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1456&context=hp_theses [Accessed 2 Apr. 2021].

HiSoUR (2018). Historical Architecture in Hungary. [online] HiSoUR – Hi so You Are. Available at: https://www.hisour.com/historical-architecture-in-hungary-32740/ [Accessed 2 Apr. 2021].

Kicsiny, M. (2020). The History Behind Budapest’s Diverse Locations. [online] Progressive. Available at: https://progressiveproductions.eu/insights/hungary/budapest-architecture-history-buildings-filmmakers.

Klaos, Y. (2019). Matthias Church in Budapest (Matyas Templom). [online] Guides travels life-globe.com. Available at: https://life-globe.com/en/matthias-church-budapest/ [Accessed 3 Apr. 2021].

Klaos, Y. (n.d.). Vajdahunyad Castle, Budapest (Vajdahunyad vara) – an eclectic complex. [online] Guides travels life-globe.com. Available at: https://life-globe.com/en/vajdahunyad-castle-budapest/ [Accessed 3 Apr. 2021].

SZÍNHÁZ, N. (2002). Theatre Database / Theatre Architecture – database, projects. [online] www.theatre-architecture.eu. Available at: https://www.theatre-architecture.eu/en/db/?theatreId=185 [Accessed 2 Apr. 2021].

Theatre Architecture (n.d.). Theatre Database / Theatre Architecture – database, projects. [online] www.theatre-architecture.eu. Available at: https://www.theatre-architecture.eu/en/db/?theatreId=132 [Accessed 3 Apr. 2021].

Vajdahunyad Castle (2019). History of Vajdahunyad Castle Budapest | Vajdahunyad Castle. [online] Vajdahunyad Castle. Available at: https://vajdahunyadcastle.com/history-of-vajdahunyad-castle-budapest/ [Accessed 3 Apr. 2021].

Wikipedia (2005a). Hungarian Parliament Building. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Parliament_Building [Accessed 2 Apr. 2021].

Wikipedia (2005b). Hungarian State Opera House. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_State_Opera_House [Accessed 3 Apr. 2021].

Wikipedia (2006). Matthias Church. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthias_Church [Accessed 2 Apr. 2021].

world, S. (2020). A white porous yacht is the new community centre on Danube River in Budapest. [online] www.stirworld.com. Available at: https://www.stirworld.com/see-features-a-white-porous-yacht-is-the-new-community-centre-on-danube-river-in-budapest [Accessed 3 Apr. 2021].

 

Author

An architecture student who is a besotted reader and believes that writing is for the soul. She is always receptive and surmises that learning is growing which is fuelled by her fascinated for history, travel, architecture and literature.

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