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A cultural centre for one and a half centuries: the Pesti Vigadó

The Pesti VigadóBudapestGreater Budapest

The Pesti Vigadó, this astonishing building, has played a vital role in the cultural life of Budapest since 1865. In addition to cathartic concerts and amazing stage performances, contemporary art presentations are also on offer. You will find folk art, applied art, music, architecture, theatre, film and photography exhibitions and performances at the Vigadó – it passes on the treasures of visual culture to every generation. Visit this must-see Budapest destination, which has been the centre of social life for ...

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From sombre stones to dance hall, from dance hall to cultural treasure chest

The splendid building of the Pesti Vigadó looks back on a century-old history: at the time of the victory over Turkish occupation in 1686, a sombre stone structure stood in its place: the fort defending the city. A dance hall called the Redoute was built here – “merely” 147 years later, in 1833 – by public demand of Pest residents. The building took its rightful place in history as one of the top achievements of Classicist architecture, and the very centre of the highest level of contemporary Hungarian culture!

However, the War of Independence of 1848-49 – one of the most defining events of Hungarian history – did not treat the building of the Redoute kindly, and Frigyes Feszl, one of the most illustrious masters of Hungarian architecture of the Romantic style, was subsequently commissioned to rebuild the palace. The newly rebuilt Pesti Vigadó then became a venue for diverse programs in the following decades: ice skating balls, costume balls, the Széchenyi Ball (named after “the Greatest Hungarian”) were all organized here, but the unification of the cities of Pest, Buda, and Óbuda – in other words, the birth of Budapest as we know it – also originated here.

The building was severely damaged during World War II, its former beauty reduced to tatters. However, this “second Vigadó” also hosted some excellent artists, until it was shut down in 2004. Finally, in 2014, after large-scale renovations, the Pesti Vigadó became one of Europe’s most important total art centres once more and has remained a splendid venue for cultural and social events ever since.  

Famous performers on the Vigadó stage

The mission of the Pesti Vigadó has always been to promote cultural diversity and to provide the highest standard in art for its cherished audience – as is amply demonstrated by the fact that its halls have played host to such august artistic personages as: 

  • Franz Liszt
  • Johann Strauss, Jr.
  • Claude Debussy
  • Ernő Dohnányi
  • Béla Bartók
  • Annie Fischer
  • Richard Strauss
  • Sergei Prokofiev  

Venues at the Pesti Vigadó

A number of halls are available in the uniquely beautiful building, awaiting visitors with enthralling exhibitions and events.  

  • Vigadó Galéria has no fewer than five richly decorated exhibition halls, hosting high-level exhibitions in various genres.
  • You can participate in cathartic concerts and a variety of cultural events and conferences in the stunning Banquet Hall.
  • The Southern and Northern Halls and the Makovecz Hall (named after the famous Hungarian architect) serve to present smaller concerts, events, and book presentations.
  • Sinkovits Imre Chamber Theatre is an auditorium with fixed seat rows, suitable for presenting large-scale theatre productions.
  • The Fogadótér is a popular venue for press conferences and book presentations.
  • And last but not least, the Panorama Terrace, facing the Danube, provides a breathtaking view of the fabulous Budapest landscape, Buda Castle and the Citadella.  

Visit this magnificent art centre building, and you will find a surprise around every corner! Take a virtual tour in the Vigadó, to experience a taste of its true glory before your visit!