About Hungarian Parliament Buildings
The Hungarian Parliament Buildings (Orszaghaz) are some of the oldest in Europe and were built in the nineteenth century in a dramatic Gothic Revival style. Characterised by peaked towers, an ornate limestone facade and a spectacular dome, the Hungarian Parliament Buildings are reminiscent of the UK’s Houses of Parliament.
History of the Hungarian Parliament Buildings
The architect of the Hungarian Parliament Buildings, Imre Steindl, was chosen following a competition to design them in 1885, but became ill in the course of their construction. In fact, by the time they were completed in 1904, he had become blind. Construction itself was a mammoth effort: it’s thought around 100,000 people were involved in construction, with over 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones and 40kg of gold used in the Gothic revival design.
The dome is 96m tall, reflecting the fact that 1896 marked the 1000th anniversary of Hungary’s existence. During Communist rule, when the nation was known as the People’s Republic of Hungary, a red star was put on top of the dome. This was later removed in 1990.
Today, the Hungarian Parliament Buildings are home to the National Assembly of Hungary as well as a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can enjoy the many works of art both inside and outside these incredible buildings, from frescoes and stained glass to the many statues scattered throughout.
The Hungarian Parliament Buildings today
The Hungarian Parliament Buildings are part of the main Budapest UNESCO World Heritage site, and the outside is picturesque – soak up the view in a café on the square. Note that you can only visit the Hungarian Parliament Buildings by way of a guided tour – tours in English run regularly but can get booked up quickly in the summer. If you’ve got specific time constraints, it’s worth booking ahead via Jegymester.
The tour is well worth your while – a glimpse inside the ornate rooms is always special, and there’s a kind of magic and awe evoked by buildings walked by such powerful people the world over.
Getting to the Hungarian Parliament Buildings
The buildings are on the River Danube: the nearest metro station is Kossuth Lajos tér, a couple of minutes walk away. However, the buildings are easily within walking distance from other attractions in central Budapest.