Perhaps the most recognizable building in Hungary’s busy capital, the Hungarian Parliament is one of the most imposing examples of neo-gothic architecture in Central and Eastern Europe. Construction began in 1885 and was finished 11 years later, just in time for the Millennium anniversary (Hungary’s 1000th anniversary). The building became fully operational six years later in 1902.
An international completion was held to find the proper design for the important edifice. The buildings that won second and third place were also built and are facing the Parliament building. They are presently home to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ethnography Museum.
The building was an impressive feat of engineering, architecture and logistics for the time and is still the third largest parliament building in the world. It is made up of a whopping 691 rooms, which are tied together by over 20 km of stairs. The only addition to the building since its original design was a red star added by the communist regime set in place after World War II. The star was removed after the 1989 revolution.
The building can rarely be seen in its full glory and is constantly being repaired as a repercussion of the effect pollution has on its limestone walls.
The building is situated in Lajos Kossuth Square, which is named after one of the most prominent political and cultural figures in 19th century Hungary. He was one of the key figures in bringing a democratic system in Hungary and is viewed both in Hungary as well as internationally as a freedom fighter.
The Hungarian Parliament houses over 386 representatives from all over the country as well as the Prime Minister. The PM position is considered the most important in the state, with the President holding a more ceremonial position, with full control only over the armed forces in case of war.
If you want to visit this beautiful historical building make sure you schedule your trip when the National Assembly is not in session. A tour generally lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and allows visitors to see several of the building’s most impressive parts, including the huge entrance hall, the House of Lords, as well as the Hungarian Crown Jewels. Tours are available in English as well as numerous other popular languages, facilitating easy access for most international tourists. The Crown Jewels are one of the most popular parts of the tour with their tumultuous and rich history delighting both locals and tourists.
While the building’s interior oozes elegance, luxury and character, the exterior is equally if not more impressive. Tourists can best view the building either from the Danube River, which flows directly in front of the building or from Batthyány Square located just across the Danube.