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The sweeping views of Budapest from this fortress atop the hill were once valued by the Austrian army, which used it as a lookout after the 1848–49 War of Independence. Some 60 cannons were housed in the citadel, though never used on the city's resentful populace. In the 1960s the Citadel was converted into a tourist site. Its outer perimeter includes a café and a beer garden. Within the walls you'll find a small graphic exhibition (with some relics) of Budapest's 2,000-year history, and a World War II bunker exhibition as well as a surprisingly hard-to-locate hotel.
Szabadság szobor. Visible from many parts of the city, the 130-foot-high Szabadság szobor, just below the southern edge of the Citadella, was originally planned as a memorial to a son of Hungary's then-ruler, Miklós Horthy, whose warplane had crashed in 1942. However, by the time of its completion in 1947 (three years after Horthy was ousted), it had become a memorial (known until recently as the Liberation Monument) to the Russian soldiers who fell in the 1944–45 siege of Budapest; and hence for decades it was associated chiefly with this. From afar it looks light, airy, and even liberating.
A sturdy young girl, her hair and robe swirling in the wind, holds a palm branch high above her head. During much of the communist era, and for a couple of years after its close, she was further embellished with sculptures of giants slaying dragons, Red Army soldiers, and peasants rejoicing at the freedom that Soviet liberation promised (but failed) to bring to Hungary. Since 1992 her mood has lightened: in the Budapest city government's systematic purging of communist symbols, the Red Combat infantrymen who had flanked the Liberty Statue for decades were hacked off and carted away. A few are now on display among the other evicted statues in Szobor Park in the city's 22nd district. Just behind the statue is a small, open-air exhibit of Soviet artillery used in the 1944–45 seige of Budapest.
- Address: District XI, Citadella sétány, Gellért-hegy and Tabán, Budapest | Map It
- Phone: 1/279–1964 museum cashier
- Cost: Fortress: Free. Bunker: 1,200 HUF
- Hours: Fortress: year-round daily. Bunker: May 1–Sept. 30, 9–8; Oct. 1 –Apr. 30, 9–5
- Website: www.citadella.hu
- Metro 47 or 49 tram.
- Location: Gellért-hegy and Tabán
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