Budapest Sights

Királyi Palota (Royal Palace)

  • Szent György tér 2 Map It
  • Castle District
  • Castle/Palace/Chateau

Published 01/10/2017

Fodor's Review

A palace originally built on this spot in the 13th century for the kings of Hungary was reconstructed in Renaissance style under the supervision of King Matthias during the 15th century. That, in turn, was demolished as Buda was recaptured from the Turks in 1686.

The Habsburg empress Maria Theresa directed the building of a new palace in the 1700s. It was damaged during an unsuccessful attack by revolutionaries in 1849, but the Habsburgs set about building again, completing work in 1905.

Then, near the end of the Soviets' seven-week siege in February 1945, the entire Castle Hill district of palaces, mansions, and churches was reduced to rubble. Decades passed before reconstruction and whatever restoration was possible were completed. Archaeologists were able to recover both the original defensive walls and royal chambers, due in part to still surviving plans and texts from the reigns of Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund and King Matthias.

Freed from mounds of rubble,

the foundation walls and medieval castle walls were completed, and the ramparts surrounding the medieval royal residence were re-created as close to their original shape and size as possible. If you want an idea of the Hungarian home-life of Franz Josef and Sissi, however, you'll have to visit the baroque Gödöllő Palace. The Royal Palace today is used as a cultural center.

In front of the Royal Palace, facing the Danube by the entrance to Wing C, stands an equestrian statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy, a commander of the army that liberated Hungary from the Turks at the end of the 17th century. From here there is a superb view across the river to Pest.

The Royal Palace's baroque southern wing (Wing E) contains the Budapesti Történeti Múzeum, displaying a fascinating permanent exhibit of modern Budapest history from Buda's liberation from the Turks in 1686 through the 1970s. Viewing the vintage 19th- and 20th-century photos and videos of the castle, the Széchenyi Lánchíd, and other Budapest monuments—and seeing them as the backdrop to the horrors of World War II and the 1956 revolution—helps to put your later sightseeing in context.

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Sight Information

Address:

District I, Szent György tér 2, Budapest, Budapest, Hungary

Map It

Published 01/10/2017

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