About Fisherman’s Bastion
The Fisherman’s Bastion (Halaszbastya) in Hungary, along the eastern part of Budapest’s Castle Hill, is a beautiful set of walkways and terraces built between 1895 and 1902.
Resplendent with turrets and towers that resemble a fairytale, the Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the city’s most iconic sites and has 7 towers in all, each representing one of Hungary’s tribes.
Whilst the name implies some sort of coastal fortification, Fisherman’s Bastion is not coastal nor a defensive structure. The name actually refers to the fisherman’s guild, which once protected this part of the medieval walls.
Today, the Fisherman’s Bastion is part of the city of Budapest UNESCO World Heritage site.
Fisherman’s Bastion history
Under King Bela IV of Hungary, Castle Hill became a more prominent fortification as the administrative centre of the country. The original walls of Fisherman’s Bastion were built in the 18th century, forming part of the walls for a castle over the former circular Híradás.
During the Middle Ages, these walls were protected by a guild of fisherman and overlooked the fish market – thus earning the structure its name, ‘Fisherman’s Bastion’. The fisherman lived under the walls in the Fishtown or Watertown.
Over the centuries, the walls deteriorated as rain loosened the rocks and Austrian military leadership refused to spend more money on the area as the castles (Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle) did not meet the modern standards.
However, architect Frigyes Schulek, who was at the time restoring the Matthias Church, made Fisherman’s Bastion part of his plan: the castle should be restored to match the newly glorious church. The structure as we see it now was therefore built between 1895 and 1902 in the Neo-Romanesque style over the base of the Buda Castle walls.
During World War Two, the Fisherman’s Bastion was damaged during sieges yet was once again restored.
Fisherman’s Bastion today
Open all year, day and night, the 7 turrets of the Fisherman’s Bastion stand tall and proud against the Budapest skyline representing the 7 tribes of Hungary. The chapel inside the bastion is particularly stunning, and in the centre of the plaza do not miss the sculpture of St Istvan, the king who brought Christianity to Hungary.
After having a look around the castle, stop at the cafe on the terrace for a coffee and snack. From there you can also enjoy a beautiful view across the Danube river, especially in the evenings, and visiting the balconies are without charge. Alternately, viewing the Fisherman’s Bastion from the other side of the river at night is a great chance to appreciate its impressive architecture.
Getting to Fisherman’s Bastion
You can reach the Castle District via buses 16, 16A, 116 and 916, all stopping at Szentháromság tér. Trams 17, 19, 41, 47, 49 and 56 also run along the riverbank on Bem rkp., only a 7 minute walk from Fisherman’s Bastion.