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A plethora of architectural styles

Almost all architectural styles have left their mark on Hungary and its capital city, so wandering around in the various neighbourhoods feels like time travel. It is enough to look around and we find ourselves jumping back centuries in time in seconds: the typical buildings of the various eras are in perfect harmony with each other wherever we go. 


In the 18th century, baroque was clearly the dominant style in Hungarian architecture; baroque palaces and mansions mushroomed all over the country. Even though the majority of the city’s architectural heritage was not built in this style, Budapest has several baroque buildings. Among them, for example, the Castle District in Buda, a crown jewel of the city, where the medieval centre’s besieged buildings were rebuilt in baroque style, while also preserving the Gothic and Renaissance details whenever possible. 


In the first half of the 19th century, Hungarian classicist architecture was born at the end of a transitional period of searching for styles, to counter baroque and late baroque styles, representing purity, balance and modesty. Hungarian classicist architecture’s top achievement and most emblematic work was the contemporary centre of culture, the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest. 


Romanticism, a style often associated with finding new ways, covers the last period of the Hungarian Reform Era, the revolution and the freedom fights as well as the subsequent Habsburg absolutism and the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. Budapest’s most significant romantic buildings are the Pesti Vigadó, the palace of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Dohány Street Great Synagogue, but many residential buildings, apartment blocks and city palaces also have elements of the romantic style.


The three decades between 1870 and 1900 were a period of exceptional economical, social and cultural development for Hungary, the results of which are also visible on the streets of Budapest. The boom after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 brought remarkable prosperity for the city; when walking the streets of Budapest, it is largely monuments from this period that we typically encounter. In was in this era that the House of Parliament, a representation of the Hungarian state, built predominantly in the Gothic Revival style, was constructed; as was the Opera House, a Renaissance Revival temple of culture, or the also Neo-Renaissance Saint Stephen’s Basilica with its breathtaking view of the city. 

Art Nouveau

The main principle of art nouveau was to break with the past and look for new modes of expression. Many of the important public buildings in Budapest are linked to this style, for example the Liszt Academy and the Museum of Applied Arts; and it quickly became popular in other cities and towns as well, for example, in Szeged, Kecskemét, Pécs and Debrecen, to mention only the biggest.

Move around like a Hungarian