The Royal Palace on the Castle Hill of Budapest
On the western side of the Danube, on the hill of marl stands the Buda Castle with the Royal Palace as part of the World Heritage Sites. Inside the mountain is a labyrinth and on the surface are preserved the architectural and cultural monuments of many centuries.
“The three pearls of Europe are three cities, Venice on the waters, Firenze on the plain and Buda on the mountain”, as the travellers of the past times said.
Today we will present you the Royal Palace on the Castle Hill of Budapest.
The first Royal Palace in Buda
The first Gothic Palace was continuously built during the reign of Louis the Great (Nagy Lajos), King Sigismund, and King Matthias (from the the midle of the 13th century until the end of the 14th century). It was a luxurious royal residence of European level.
The Turkish rule
From 1541, during the Turkish occupation the condition of the Royal Palace was constantly deteriorating. The Christian forces could recapture Buda only in 1686. The three-month-long siege caused considerable damages: the Gothic Royal Palace on Castle Hill, and residential buildings were almost completely destroyed, and a total of 300 people survived of the local residents.
The restoration of the Castle
After the Turks were driven out the buildings were restored in the fashionable baroque style of those times using the Gothic and Renaissance details that survived. In 1715 they began to build a Baroque Castle that was much smaller than the original building. The Royal Palace on the Castle Hill of Budapest was extended later in the nineteenth century, its area became more than double of the previous, and it was also built an other wing in the back of the yard, which today gives place to the Széchenyi Library. The architects, Ybl Miklós and Hauszmann Alajos decorated the Baroque Castle with Art Nouveau elements. The Habsburgs never lived there, they were only visiting the castle.
The Second World War and the reconstruction of the Royal Palace
During the siege of Budapest in the Second World War the Castle area and the Royal Palace served as the last refuge for German soldiers. The palace was badly damaged again, its dome was broken and the facade became unrecognizable. The reconstruction of the Royal Palace in Budapest started in 1950. The leading architects of that period have chosen to return to the 18th century Baroque style while maintaining the larger size of the building from the 19th century. This way was established the present Baroque facade, which is not similar to any of the previous frontages of the old castle. This is probably because the architects in the middle of the 20th century did not like the eclectic style, although today the eclectic architecture is one of the most important values of Budapest.
The Royal Palace as a cultural place
The Royal Palace on the Castle Hill of Budapest has become one of the main cultural and tourist attractions of the city. The palace houses the Hungarian National Gallery, the History Museum of Budapest, and the National Széchenyi Library.
Famous festivals in the courtyard of the Royal Palace
The Savoy Terrace of the palace in the summers and autumns is the main scene of legendary festivals lasting for several days.
The most popular programs in the Buda Castle are: the Celebration of Crafts, the Buda Castle Wine Festival, the Buda Castle Beer Festival, the Brandy and Sausage Festival and the “Sweet Days” festival of chocolate and sweets.