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Saint Stephen’s Hall: as Franz Joseph saw it

Saint Stephen’s HallBudapestGreater Budapest

Saint Stephen’s Hall, the gem of the Buda Castle, has been open to visitors in all its glory since 20 August 2021. This is a world-famous sight, which was the case as early as the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris.

This eye-catching room in the southern connection wing of the Buda Castle, which has a café and a gift shop on its ground floor, was created almost from scratch through the cooperation of great designers and specialists, and as a result of many years of art-historical research. Saint Stephen’s Hall was completely destroyed in World War II, and instead of being restored after 1945 but it was used as a warehouse and office. 

Saint Stephen's legacy is still alive today

During the National Hauszmann Programme, the original plans were hunted down and photographs searched for. During construction any and all objects found in Hungarian museums that had a connection to the original hall, as well as those uncovered as part of on-site excavations were used. You can get to the hall, whose rebirth brings it close to its original form, through the historical exhibition presenting special artifacts related to St. Stephen, including a bust that was made in 1635 in Zagreb. You can also admire an installation that was specially designed for the space by the world-famous Hungarian artist Sámuel Havadtőy. The exhibition shows how the place was made, and why it is one of the foremost achievements of Hungarian applied art. But also provides an insight into King Saint Stephen’s living legacy and into its contemporary artistic interpretation. 

Five-star card parlour

The furnishings and decorative elements of Saint Stephen’s Hall, which won the Grand Prize at the 1900 Paris World Exhibition, were made by the greatest Hungarian industrial artists. The ceiling and the wall coverings, which are embellished with thousands of wood carvings, the inlaid floor made of three types of noble wood and the gilded furniture covered with red velvet radiate royal elegance. The Romanesque room, which also has Hungarian features, was originally used for meetings. This is where noblemen awaited their audience, but it was also used as a card parlour. Isn’t it incredible that it was taken to pieces in 1900 and then rebuilt in Paris?

A coronation that began here

The 72 square-metre, five-metre-high "room", built based on the plans by Alajos Hauszmann, earned the sincere admiration and recognition not only of the public but also Franz Joseph, Austrian emperor and Hungarian king. 


A historical moment from 1916 can also be linked to this site: this is where the Holy Crown started its journey to the Matthias Church for the coronation of Charles IV and Queen Zita.


It's good to know that you can visit Saint Stephen’s Hall and the exhibition about it as part of a guided tour. You can also take a tour on a tablet computer if you prefer. You can sign up in advance online, or you can buy tickets at the ticket office on-site.