Budapest’s tallest building serves as home to politics

3 minutes to read

Yes, we are talking about the Hungarian House of Parliament, whose construction started at the end of the 19th century, alongside with numerous elements of the capital city’s sublime panorama - including Andrássy Street, Heroes Square and many more. The headquarters of the Hungarian Parliament and, for instance, the Parliamentary Library, counts as the third biggest parliamentary building in the whole world. Besides that, it is Budapest’s tallest building, which serves as home to politics since 1896. This year was the Hungarian state’s 1000th anniversary of existence, but also the date of its very first parliamentary session, held in the still-being-built House of Parliament. In this upcoming article of mine, I am going to present you one of the most majestic parts of our capital’s landscape, that can be perfectly admired from Buda Castle or Citadel, to give you some insider's tips.

Hungarian Parliament Building
Hungarian Parliament Building
Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, 1055 Hongrie

The roots of the House of Parliament

14 years after the foundation of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, and after the centuries of battling, a tender was launched for a newly-built house of parliament. The year is 1881, and the tender’s submission deadline ended in 1883, of which winner was certain Imre Steindl, who by the House of Parliament created the artefact of his lifetime. Until this very day, the finalised edifice based on his construction plans is considered one of the most impressive buildings all over the world. Belonging to the roots of the Hungarian House of Parliament, the national identity was so strong at the time, that using only domestic building material had been a fundamental condition of the subsequent execution. The only exception were those eight marble monoliths, placed right next to the main stairs – they were transported from Sweden.

The process of the construction

The full process of the construction took 19 years, as the first hoe strike happened on 12 October 1885, and the building was finalised in 1904. Unfortunately, Imre Steindl was unable to see the final steps of his most significant performance, as the House of Parliament was officially launched five weeks after his death, and the detail works took further two years. In an average, approximately 1,000 people worked at and for the construction continuously throughout these several years. The 176,000-cubic-meter ground was moved, 40 million bricks and 40 kilograms of gold were used during the construction. Most of the gold was applied to the ceiling of the building, providing the inner space with a magnificent sight when you step in. The House of Parliament is fully symmetric and consists of two session rooms: the House of Commons and the House of Lords (Lower House and Upper House in Hungarian). In contrast to the red colour of the carpet in the House of Commons, the one being in the House of Lords is blue, since there was the saying that the lords’ blood was blue.

For the daily parliamentary sessions, only the House of Commons is used, while the House of Lords can be visited by tourists – you have to book a guided tour beforehand. Also faction sessions, conferences and formal receptions are held in this house too. The Saint Crown and all the coronation badges – except the robe – are kept here as well. Before 2000, they were held in the National Museum. Although Budapest’s tallest building serves as home to politics firstly, it is truly unmissable to visit it as civilians too, even only to take a few pictures of it. I assure you without any bias that this edifice will hold you completely spellbound.

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The author

Vivi Bencze

Vivi Bencze

Hello, my name is Vivi and I'm from Hungary, always excited to explore as many places as I can. I live in Budapest and my motivation is to make you explore Hungary the way I see my country.

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