The Parliament of Budapest in Hungary

The Parliament of Hungary, better known as Budapest, is the legislative body of the Hungarian nation. It is a building that rises imposingly in front of the majestic Danube. Undoubtedly, one of the most outstanding constructions of this beautiful city.

The Parliament of Budapest, the second largest in the world

The history of the current building where the National Assembly of Hungary meets began in 1843, when a proposal was made to move the Hungarian diet from Pozsony, today Bratislava, to the new capital, Budapest.

Almost forty years passed before a tender was awarded for the construction of the Parliament. This was in the year 1882, and the winner was Imre Steindl, a professor at the Technical University.

architectural eclecticism

Although we observe that the building is neo-Gothic in style, some elements that break with it stand out. This is not surprising, since Steindl was in favor of an architectural eclecticism. This consisted of moving away from architectural purism and mixing the basic forms of the different styles.

Steindl left this way of understanding architecture reflected in the Budapest parliament, as he crowned the clearly neo-Gothic building with an enormous dome, a characteristic mark of Renaissance architecture. And it’s not that he winked at some elements of these two styles, rather he fused them.

You just have to see the similarities that exist with the Palace of Westminster in London, one of the maximum expressions of the neo-Gothic style. In turn, the dome is not located in a marginal place of the building, but is a central part of it. This gives the building a unique character.

It took 17 years to build this colossal building 268 meters long, 123 wide in the center and a total of 18,000 square meters. The exterior is adorned with 90 statues and the coats of arms of various cities and counties. Inside, we can find up to 152 statues and 700 rooms.

The symmetrical structure of the building conforms to the functions of a bicameral parliament. Each of the wings of the building, the north and the south, serve to house each of the cameras. After the Second World War, the offices of the Executive are also housed in the building. In the north wing, those of the prime minister, and in the south, those of the president of the Republic.

A tour inside the parliament

The interior of the Budapest Parliament occupies a space of 473,000 cubic meters. In all this space we find many rooms and corners worthy of mention, such as, for example, the great main staircase, the dome room, the rooms used for the meeting of the chambers or the Library of Parliament.

The grand main staircase

An imposing staircase rises from the main hall of parliament, leading visitors directly to the dome hall. This part of the building was one of the most brilliant creations of the architect, since not only its great size impresses, but also the whole set of works that surround it.

The room that houses this staircase is supported by a set of columns over six meters high and weighing four tons. In addition, a series of statues linked to the history of this nation observe everyone who ascends the stairs. On the ceiling, we can admire three frescoes in which the constitutive elements of the Hungarian nation are represented.

The dome hall

Once the great main staircase is completed, we arrive at the dome hall. This room consists of 16 corners, which offer a feeling of spaciousness. On the other hand, although the ceiling of the room is not as high as the dome, it has a height of no more and no less than 27 meters.

This room was, together with the main entrance, the first rooms to be completed. That of the dome forms the heart of the building and at one point it housed the combined sessions of the two houses of parliament.

Surrounding the room, we can see 16 statues and coats of arms representing different Hungarian monarchs. As you can imagine, these statues were made by the most famous sculptors of the time.

Strolling through the hall of the dome, we are witnessing a history lesson of this countryand not only for the royal statues, but also for the marble tablets distributed around the room, where some episodes of the country’s history are exposed.

This impressive room is surrounded by others equally beautiful. An example of this is the Hunter Hall, a decorated room that houses the Parliament dining room. Two other smaller rooms are born from the Hunter room, one where the deputies’ cafeteria is and the other, known as the Tapestry Room, is where the press conferences are held.

representative chambers

When the visitor stands in the center of the dome hall, they have the opportunity to admire, provided the doors are open, the speaker’s lecterns of the two chambers that existed in Parliament when it was designed. If we position ourselves looking towards the south wing, we will see the current Chamber of Deputies.

If we look to the north, we will visualize what was the Upper House, since since 1944 the Hungarian representative system has been unicameral. Both rooms are a marvel for the senses, as they are delicately decorated.

However, tourists will have the opportunity to access only what was the old Upper House, since the lower house is where the Legislative Power still meets today.

The Library of Parliament

Libraries are an element that can never be missing in a parliament. These are normally first level institutions in which documentation of all kinds is housed. Perhaps the greatest exponent is the Library of Congress of the United States, but the Library of Parliament in Budapest is also extremely important.

This functions as the National Library, it is specialized in law, recent history, United Nations publications and, obviously, in everything related to parliamentary action.

The Library of Parliament offers services that extend to all citizens that you require of them. Also, if you make use of it, you will enjoy reading in a really beautiful environment.

Budapest and its Parliament, an unmissable cultural visit

Budapest is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in Europe. In it, you will be able to trace the history of this continent and its relationship with other parts of the globe.

In addition to all this, you will have the opportunity to visit one of the largest and most beautiful parliaments that exist in the old continent. Undoubtedly, a visit that lovers of European culture cannot miss.

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