There is a special place in the heart of Budapest, where the gastronomy, nightlife, culture and the variety of locals and tourists meet within a 60,000-square-meter arcade to eat whatever they fancy, to play some games or to attend an exhibition. This place is a concentration of what Budapest is all about and has a reputation of the essence of the Hungarian capital’s extraordinary diversity and exceptional facilities. This captivating place is not else than Gozsdu Courtyard (Gozsdu Udvar, if we want to be authentic), which is situated in the very middle of Budapest, in the neighbourhood of Deák Ferenc Square and Andrássy Street, the busiest part of the 145-year-old metropolis.
If you have not been to this fabulous place or Budapest yet, and you would like to imagine what it exactly is, you just have to put an arcade with yards, houses, restaurants, bars and passages together. Starting with the fantastically creative catering units, providing multiple different cuisines, you can also play several coin-operated games and even walk along a market, where at the weekends you will surely find something to take home as a souvenir.
Gozsdu Courtyard’s history dates back to the very beginnings of the 20th century, while the name behind it has a Romanian origin. Here is why. Emanoil Gojdu (or Manó Gozsdu) was a Romanian-born, Hungarian citizen, working as a lawyer and politician in the 19th century. He was a real patron at his time, who was very proud of his origin, but loved Hungary and honoured the Hungarians too. He was the very first out of Pest’s attorneys, who inaugurated the Hungarian language into the case management. And in addition, he had a very good relationship with Ferenc Deák, one of the most remarkable statesmen in the nation’s history. After his death in 1870, he bequeathed all of his fortune to those Romanians who lived in Hungary or Transylvania and practised the Eastern Orthodox Christianity. In his will furthermore, he decided to start a foundation, which later ordered the construction of the Courtyard’s complex in 1900. The project proved to be a winner investment, as it thrived into one of Budapest’s most vivid commercial spots.
It contains seven buildings (six original and one newly-built), which straddle seven different yards. Its promenade stretches through 200 meters with 12,000-square-meter commercial space. Between 2002 and 2009, the complex got fully renewed. The Courtyard, by the way, was a part of Budapest’s ghetto during the Second World War, between the end of November 1944 and the middle of January 1945. In 1952, Gozsdu Courtyard got nationalised, then 47 years later, in 1999, privatised as an aftermath of the regime change. The UNESCO even declared it to be part of the World Heritage.
Today, with the rich history behind, however, it serves all the generations’ entertainment and other cultural and social demands. Every year, almost one million people turn up here, including loads of tourists. As I mentioned, Gozsdu Courtyard’s arcade is located in the busiest part of Budapest, so you are in a constant proximity of the very essence, that Budapest can offer.
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