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Buda Castle District restored to its former glory

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The Buda Castle District is not only one of Budapest's most famous tourist attractions, but it is also a symbolic site of Hungarian statehood. The National Hauszmann Programme aims to restore this iconic site to its former glory. It's worth taking a long walk through the restored buildings and visiting real gems like St Stephen's Hall.

The 750-year history of the Castle District of Buda spans significant eras, alternating between periods of growth and ruin. Royal residences and state buildings rose from the ground, only to suffer severe damage in a succession of sieges, battles and dictatorships. Launched in 2014, the National Hauszmann Programme aims to restore the Castle District to the splendour it enjoyed in its the heyday at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The programme was named after acclaimed Hungarian architect Alajos Hauszmann, who led the reconstruction of the Castle District during the most glorious period of the palaces of Castle Hill.


Before the Second World War, the Castle District was the residence of the Head of State, and also home to several ministries. However, the magnificent buildings were severely damaged during the siege of the city during the war. During the 1960s and 70s, several buildings were simply demolished or rebuilt, which took away the more or less unified architectural image of the Castle District. 

From the Castle Garden Bazaar to the Main Guard

The first step in the rebirth of the Castle District, the reconstruction of the Castle Garden Bazaar took place between 2011 and 2014. Today, the magnificent gardens provide the setting for the harmonious coexistence of past and present, architectural beauty and cultural events, as we walk through the neo-Renaissance gardens and exhibition halls up to the Castle District, which offers a wealth of beauty. 


Passing by the station of the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular, we arrive at Sándor Palace, which, although built as a private palace actually served as the residence of Hungarian Prime Ministers from 1867. Today it is the residence of the President of the Republic. Known as the Castle Theatre for a long time, the adjoining former Carmelite monastery now serves as the headquarters of the Prime Minister's Office. In addition to the two government buildings, it’s also worth taking time to visit the former Riding Hall and the High Guard buildings, where there are more architectural wonders to take in, but where you can also enjoy delicious food and drink. 


The immediate surroundings of the Riding Hall have also been renovated in recent years: a lift from Palace Road provides access to the Csikós Courtyard for those who want to the Castle District as easily as possible. One of the most beautiful historic staircases in the country, the Stöckl Staircase connects the Hunyadi Courtyard with the Castle.

A real gem in Buda Castle

When in the Castle District, don't miss a real gem of the Palace of Buda Castle, the restored St. Stephen's Hall, which was reopened on 20 August 2021. Originally it was the pinnacle of Hungarian applied art at the turn of the century. An award winner at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, the hall was designed by Alajos Hauszmann, with contributions from some of the most renowned artists of the time. The reconstructed St. Stephen's Hall hosts two exhibitions, with the first presenting the creation and rebirth of the hall and the second featuring a special installation with King Stephen’s Exhortations. In addition to the magnificent furnishings including a Zsolnay fireplace, the room features a bust of St Stephen, pyrogranite paintings of the kings and saints of the Árpád dynasty, and a faithful replica of the Holy Crown.