World Heritage in Budapest – Budapest World Heritage Sites

You will find detailed info about Budapest World Heritage sites: Danube Panorama and the Castle District, Andrássy Avenue and more.

Budapest World Heritage Sites – World Heritage in Budapest

World heritage sites

Danube panorama and Castle district

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has listed the view of the Danube embankments and the Buda Castle District - which is one of the most beautiful and romantic parts of the city of Budapest - as a World Heritage site on the 11th of December, 1987. The latter is an ancient town district, giving home to some of the most important historical monuments in Hungary. While nearly 800 years passed since it has been originally founded, its beauty still stands unparalelled, despite earthquakes, fires, sieges and world wars. The buildings themselves in Budapest bear tell-tale signs of recent and ancient history.

Both the Pest and Buda embankments of the Danube streching from the Liberty Bridge all the way up to the Margaret Bridge, the area encompassed by the Chain Bridge and some of the buildings belonging to the Technical University, the Gellért Bath, the Gellért Hill with the Statue of Liberty and the Citadel, the Castle of Buda, the Baroque churches and Turkish baths of the so-called Water Town - these are all parts of the World Heritage today.

On the Pest embankment of the Danube, the listed items are the Parliament building, Roosevelt Square, the Academy of Sciences and the Gresham Palace (which today gives home to the Four Seasons Hotel).

There is much, much more to the Castle District than just a royal palace or a castle. This is also where the historical old town district is situated, with countless venues from where the beautiful panorama of Budapest may be admired. The visitors get a distinct feeling that they have travelled back in time, to a different, totally tranquil world, where the doorways of the Baroque residential homes hide historical Roman stones and beautifully carved sediles from the times of knights.

The former Royal Palace and its supply buildings are an organic but separate part of the Castle District. Some of today's most important cultural institutions, such as the Budapest History Museum (Wing E, southern end of the building), as well as the Hungarian National Gallery (Wings A-B-C-D) and the Hungarian National Library, named after the founder Ferenc Széchenyi (Wing F) have moved to the Royal Palace. The formal residence of the Prime Minister, the Alexander Palace, is the President's Residence and home today.

The most visited site is Trinity Square, dominated by one of Budapest's most characteristic building, the Mathias Church, which is over 700 years old. The church itself is almost of the same age as the Royal Palace, and gave home to many coronation ceremonies. Many kings and emperors left their mark on the church, even before the Turkish occupation, when the church was converted into a mosque and its walls whitewashed. Inside lie in their sarcophaguses King Béla the 3rd and his Queen; many visitors also visit the church for its vast ecclesiastical collection. Today's version of the church was finalized at the turn of the 19th century, when several smaller buildings were annexed to it and it was renovated in the Neo-Gothic style. It gives home to a great many concerts, due to its excellent acoustic properties. The Gothic tower of the Mathias Church, with the Fishermen's Bastion in the background, is one of the most frequently photographed tourist sites in Hungary.

Trinity Square also boasts the Baroque-style former Town Hall (today it's the Collegium Budapest building, housing the Hungarian House of Wines among many things), the Neo-Gothic former Ministry of Finance, St. Stephen's statue and the Fishermen's Bastion. The latter was designed and built between 1895 and 1902, replacing the former castle wall, and it offers breathtaking views of Budapest.

Next to Trinity Square stands the Hotel Buda Hilton, the first post-war modern international luxury hotel in Budapest, combining old and new with some success. The courtyard of the hotel encompasses the ruins a 13th-century Dominican cloister, and on the inside are the ruins of a church, giving home to summer theatre performances.

The depths of Castle Hill hides the Buda Castle Labyrinth, while the on the surface centuries' worth of cultural heritage remains. The cave labyrinth's enormous size is best described by the fact that during WWII, 20,000 German soldiers fit in there. The Buda Castle Labyrinth can be very dangerous for those who don't know this underworld city, but is is safely explored with a proper local guide. Before the arrival of the Magyars (Hungarians) in the 9th century AD, Celts and Romans have inhabited the area. The royal residence was moved here by Béla the 4th from Esztergom, following the Tatar invasion in 1241-42, because it was more fortifiable.

The Castle and its beautiful buildings are in strong architectural unity with the rows of residential homes on the Danube embankment and with the medieval Rudas Baths, as well as with the rocks of the Gellert Hill and the bridges spanning accross the Danube.

The oldest one of these bridges in the Chain Bridge, erected in 1849. The sleekest one is Erzsébet (Elizabeth) Bridge, which was one of the first suspension bridges in the world. The youngest one of them is Lágymányosi Bridge in the south, built to provide relief to the city nearly crippled by its newfound heavy vehicle traffic.

Accross the Danube, in Pest, stands the predominant House of Parliament, the Neo-Gothic star edifice by Imre Steindl master architect. Not far behind from it is the biggest church of Budapest, St.Stephen's Basilica, whose height is equal to that of the Parliament (96 metres). Not far from there, at the Pest bridgehead of the Chain Bridge stands the monumental Academy of Sciences. This part of the Pest side is crowned by the Secessionist building of the Gresham Palace, giving home to Budapest's most elegant hotel, the Gresham Four Seasons. The wonderful panorama is completed by the row of luxury hotels on the Danube embankment and the elegant buildings of the Redoute (Vigadó).

Andrássy Avenue and Heroes Square

Heroes' Square along with its surroundings, and Andrássy Avenue with the Millenium Underground Railway have joined the Buda Castle District and the view of the banks of the Danube on the UNESCO World Heritage List in the year 2002.
The avenue, named after former Prime Minister of Hungary Gyula Andrássy, is two and a half kilometres long and has three distinct parts. Its downtown section, a 1-kilometre part streching from Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Avenue all the way to the eight-sided Oktogon square, is lined with rows tall residential apartment houses and expensive shops in the housefronts. In its midsection, from Oktogon to Kodály Körönd, two tree-lined esplanades run parallel to the pavement, which used to be paved with wooden cubes for the sake of the nobility on horseback (today this part is a bicycle path and a walkway). The third part, between Kodály Körönd and Heroes' Square, the houses are farther away from the road, which widens at this point, and gives space to the magnificient mansions and villas, which, with their luxurious tranquil atmosphere, give the impression of a wealthy country town.

The road track of the most beautiful avenue of Budapest was decided upon in the year 1872. In about a decade from then, nearly all the buildings were ready; this is where Budapest's eclectic architectural heritage is found today. Many beautifully carved apartment buildings hide fountains, statues and breathtaking inner spaces and courtyards.

In the downtown part of the avenue, some say that the most impressive building is the State Opera House, others think that the former Institute of Ballet deserves this title. This part of the avenue also gives home to the Old Academy of Music, the Old Art Hall and the Budapest School of Performing Arts.

Between Oktogon and Kodály Körönd is a blue but gloomy building, which used to house the secret police of the Nazis in World War II, and also the state police of the Communist regime, the dreaded AVH. Today it is a museum called the House of Terror, commemorating the victims of these brtutal regimes in a permanent exhibition.

Between Kodály Körönd and Heroes' Square stands the recently renovated 5-star Hotel Andrássy, designed by the 1896 Athens Olympic champion swimmer Alfred Hajos. The Neo-Renaissance building of the Art School of Budapest, and the apartment-museum depicting the life of Zoltán Kodály are also in this part of the avenue.

 

The first underground railway of continental Europe, the Millenium Underground was built under Andrássy Avenue. Used by the public since the year 1896, it is still an important part of Budapest's transport system. The line was later extended to be able to transport people to new parts of the city beyond Heroes' Square in 1973.

Heroes' Square

Heroes' Square, where Andrássy Avenue concludes, is the biggest and most impressive square of Budapest. In the middle stands the Millenium Monument, with Archangel Gabriel on top, holding the double cross of Christianity and the Holy Hungarian Crown.

It was constructed to mark the 1000th anniversary of the arrival of the Magyar tribes. The pedestal below is occupied by the ornate horseback statues of the seven Hungarian leaders who led the Hungarian nation into the Carpathian Basin in 896 AD. The middle of the square is dominated by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, wreathed by all heads of state when officially visiting Hungary. The left side of the is bordered by the Museum of Fine Arts, which holds the world's second largest collection of Spanish Art, on the right side is the Art Hall, giving home to temporary exhibitions in Budapest. Behind Heroes' Square, the City Park Lake is perfect for boating in the summer, and ice-skating in the wintertime (the ice is artificial and of good quality). The entertainment and cultural facilities of the City Park (Budapest Zoo, Funfair, Municipal Circus, Vajdahunyad Castle, the museum of Agriculture and Transport, the Petőfi Cultural Hall and the Széchenyi Thermal Bath) are among the most sought after tourist sights in Budapest.

1061 Budapest, Andrássy út
Andrássy Avenue is a 2,310-metre boulevard lined with buildings in uniform architecture and linking the City Centre with the City Park. Andrássy Avenue, including the Millennium Underground Railway, running beneath the surface, as well as Heroes’ Square, located at is end, was recognised as a World Heritage Site in 2002. It accommodates the crème de la ...
1031 Budapest, Szentendrei út 139.
+36-1-454-0438
There used to be a significant Roman city on the site of today’s Óbuda with two open-air theatres, so it is possible to see Roman ruins in Óbuda even in an ordinary underpass.
1014 Budapest, Szent György tér 2
20-439-7325
The first, Gothic style palace was built during the reign of Louis the Great, King Sigismund and King Matthias (from the middle of the 14th century until the end of the 15th). It became a royal residence of European rank, with its Gothic and Renaissance elements. Buda was occupied by the Turks in 1541, and it was only retaken during the Christian siege of ...
1014 Budapest, Várhegyen
The Castle Hill was first populated and surrounded by walls by the Hungarians after the Mongol attack of 1241-1242, which devastated most of Hungary. Protective walls were erected around the hill. By the 14th century, it had just over 8,000 inhabitants. Enter the Castle District via the Vienna Gate (Bécsi Kapu), reconstructed in 1936, in commemoration of ...
1013 Budapest, Clark Ádám tér
The Budapest Castle Hill Funicular or Budavári Sikló is a funicular railway in the city of Budapest, in Hungary. It links the Adam Clark Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge at river level to Buda Castle above. The line was opened on March 2, 1870, and has been in municipal ownership since 1920. It was destroyed in the Second World War and reopened on ...
Budapest, Lánchíd
With the Buda Castle in the background, the Hungarian capital’s first bridge, now a monument, is a fascinating spectacle that has attracted many tourists to Budapest. The bridge was built upon the request of Count István Széchenyi by designer William Tierney Clark and engineer Adam Clark between 1839 and 1849. Like many other Danube bridges, the Chain ...
1118 Budapest, Citadella
The Gellért Hill is the capital’s popular excursion place. The Citadel can also be found here. It used to be a fortress, which was erected in 1854 by the Habsburg emperors after overcoming the Hungarian army in the revolution of 1848-49. A unique Budapest panorama, which is part of the world heritage, can be also enjoyed here. Other sights on the hill: the ...
1014 Budapest, Szentháromság tér 5.
The main façade of the Fisherman’s Bastion, running parallel to the Danube, is approximately 140 metres long. The seven stone towers with their pointed tops symbolise the leaders of the Hungarian tribes who conquered the country in 896. It was built in place of the old fortification walls in neo-Romanesque style between 1895 and 1902 on the plans of Frigyes ...
1118 Budapest, Gellérthegy
Gellért Hill is a 235 m high hill overlooking the Danube in Budapest, Hungary. It is part of the 1st and 11th Districts. Gellért Hill was named after Saint Gerard who was thrown to death from the hill. Now an affluent residential area, a number of embassies and ambassadorial residences line the streets which wind up the hill. Since 1987, the area is listed ...
1051 Budapest, Széchenyi István tér 5-6
+36-1-268-6000
An outstanding piece of Hungarian Art Nouveau architecture. Completed in 1907 on the plans of Zsigmond Quittner and the Vágó brothers, it served as the Budapest office of Gresham Insurance Brokers, London. The first floor used to accommodate the renowned Gresham Café, where the Gresham Circle, a group of Hungarian artists held their meetings. As of today, ...
1146 Budapest, Hősök tere
Located at the end of Andrássy Avenue, Heroes’ Square is the entrance to the City Park as well as one of the most spectacular venues in Budapest. The three main sites of the square include the Hall of Art, built in 1896, the Museum of Fine Arts, inaugurated in December 1906, as well as the Millennium Monument, linking both buildings visually. The latter ...
Budapest, V. kerület
Kodály Körönd is one of the two squares on Andrássy út (the other one is Oktogon). The four buildings on the square form a full circle, with Andrássy út and Szinyei Merse utca intersecting in the middle. Each of the four buildings has a small garden with chestnut and sycamore trees and a statue each (statues of Vak Bottyán, Zrínyi Miklós, Szondi György and ...
1118 Budapest, Gellérthegy
The Szabadság Szobor or Statue of Liberty in Budapest, Hungary, was first erected in 1947 in remembrance of the Soviet liberation of Hungary from Nazi forces during World War II. Its location upon Gellért Hill makes it a prominent feature of Budapest's cityscape. The 14 metre tall bronze statue stands atop a 26 metre pedestal and holds a palm leaf. ...
1014 Budapest, Országház u. 14.
+36-1-489-0716
The church is officially called The Church of Our Lady, and served as a coronation church from the 16th century on. Its vast ecclesiastical collection and treasury is open for visitors. During the centuries, the church underwent several major transformations, the first of which was the addendum of the Mary-gate (Mária-kapu), and in 1470, the 60-metre south ...
1146 Budapest, Hősök tere
At the front of the monument is a large stone cenotaph surrounded by an ornamental iron chain. The cenotaph is dedicated "To the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence." While some guide books refer to this as a "tomb" it is not a burial place. Directly behind the cenotaph is a column topped ...
1051 Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7.
The first metro line was conceived as a means of carrying passengers from the city centre to the City Park without the need for surface transport on Andrássy Avenue. The Diet of Hungary approved the metro project in 1870. Construction began in 1894 and was carried out by the German firm Siemens & Halske AG, employing 2,000 workers using state-of-the-art ...
1091 Budapest, Üllői út 33–37.
+36-1-456-5100
The palace housing the Museum of Applied Arts, a masterpiece of Hungarian Art Nouveau was built between 1893 and 1896 on the plans of Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos. The inner and outer ceramic cover of the building as well as the roofing are from the worldfamous Zsolnay porcelain Manufacture, Pécs. Classics of European applied arts give the core of the ...
1055 Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3
+36-1-441-4904
The Parliament, built in Neo-Gothic style and located on the bank of the Danube, serves as the permanent seat of the National Assembly. The building complex, the biggest of its kind in Hungary, was erected between 1884 and 1904 on the plans of Imre Steindl. The building has 691 rooms, and it is 268 metres long and the dome 96 metres high. Since 2000, the ...
1051 Budapest, Vigadó tér 2.
+36-1-354-3750
The most beautiful concert hall in Budapest, located along the Danube Promenade in Pest, was completed in 1865, replacing an earlier concert hall (designed by Mihály Pollack) destroyed in the Hungarian War of Independence in 1848-1849. The style is best described as Oriental and Hungarian Art Nouveau mingling with romance and a rich addition of uniquely ...
1051 Budapest Szent István tér 1
336-1-311-0839
It is the largest church in Budapest, the 96-metre dome of which can be seen from virtually all parts of the city. The Basilica’s construction begun in 1851, before being taken over by Miklós Ybl, one of the leading architects of the time in 1867 and completed by József Kauser in 1905. The Classicist-style building houses Hungary’s most sacred relic: the ...
1074 Budapest, Dohány u. 2.
+36-1-343-0420
Monday - Thursday: 10-16; Friday: 10-14; Saturday: CLOSED; Sunday: 10-16
The size of the building, which was inaugurated in 1659, reflects the significance of the Jewish population in the capital in that period. The synagogue was built in four years based on the plans with a Moorish style drawn up by a German architect, Ludwig Förster, who was a teacher at the academy of Vienna. Tivadar Herzl, who was a writer, journalist and a ...
1014 Budapest, Szent György tér 4-5-6.
+36 1 224 3700
inform@oszk.hu
+36 1 202 0804
The National Széchényi Library of Hungary was founded in 1802. It owes its establishment and name to a highly patriotic Hungarian aristocrat, Count Ferenc Széchényi. He - at the end of the 18th century - sought out Hungarian books in the country and abroad, brought them together in a single collection and donated it to the nation in 1802. In the following ...
1014 Budapest, Szentháromság tér
At the end of Tárnok utca is Trinity Square (Szentháromság tér), with many historical buildings and monuments. Here stands the Old Town Hall of Buda, which lost its original function when Buda, Pest and Óbuda were united in 1873. In its cellar the Hungarian House of Wines awaits its guests with a full representation of Hungarian winemakers, and offers a ...

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