Heroes Square on a cloudy day

Heroes Square (Hősök tere) on a cloudy day

Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere) is situated in Pest at the point where the Sixth, Seventh and Fourteenth districts meet and is a beautiful sight that is also free to enjoy :-) . It is winged by two interesting buildings: the Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum) and the Hall of Art (Műcsarnok). It also faces Andrássy Avenue which has two buildings looking at the square, one is residential and the other one is the embassy of Serbia (former Yugoslavian embassy where Imre Nagy secured sanctuary in 1956). The City Park starts on the opposite side of the square leading to the Budapest Zoo (Állatkert), Széchenyi thermal baths (Széchenyi-gyógyfürdő) and the Fun Park (Vidámpark).

In the middle of the square is the Millennium Memorial, also known as Millennium Monument or Millenary Monument, which features statues of the seven tribal leaders who founded Hungary in the 9th century and several other outstanding figures from Hungarian history. The construction of the memorial was started when the one thousandth anniversary was celebrated (in 1896), but it was only finished in 1929 and the square got its name then.

Millenium Monument (Millenniumi emlékművet)

Millenium Monument (Millenniumi emlékművet)

In front of the monument is a cenotaph is dedicated “To the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence.” Behind it is a column topped by a statue of the archangel Gabriel with the Holy Crown of St. Stephen I (Szent István – the first king of Hungary) in his right hand. In his left hand the Gabriel holds a two barred apostolic cross, a symbol awarded to St. Stephen by the Pope in recognition of his efforts to convert Hungary to Christianity. At the base of the column is a group of seven mounted figures representing the Magyar chieftains who led the Hungarian people into the Carpathian basin. In the front is Árpád, considered the founder of the Hungarian nation. Behind him are the chieftains Előd, Ond, Kond, Tas, Huba, and Töhötöm (their costumes and their horses are considered to be more fanciful than historically accurate).

The back of the monument consists of two matched colonnades, each with seven statues representing great figures of Hungarian history. Topping the outer edge of the left colonnade is a statue of a man with a scythe and a woman sowing seed representing Labour and Wealth. In the corresponding position on the right colonnade is a statue of a man holding a statue and a woman with a palm frond representing Knowledge and Glory. At the inner top edge of the left colonnade is a male figure driving a chariot using a snake as a whip representing war, while on the facing end of the right colonnade is a female figure in a chariot holding a palm frond representing peace.

Aerial view of Heroes Square

Aerial view of Heroes Square (Hősök tere)

The other statues are: St. Stephen I of Hungary (Szent István) receives the crown from an emissary of the Pope, St. Ladislaus slays the Cumanian abductor at the battle of Marchfeld, Coloman prohibits the burning of witches, Andrew leads a crusade, Béla IV rebuilds the country after the Mongol invasion, Charles I of Hungary, Louis the Great occupies Naples, János Hunyadi at the battle of Nándorfehérvár, Matthias Corvinus with his scholars, István Bocskay and his Hajdú soldiers defeat the imperial forces, Gabriel Bethlen concludes a treaty with Bohemia, Imre Thököly at the battle of Szikszó, Francis Rákóczi II returns from Poland,  and finally Lajos Kossuth rallies the peasants of the Great Plain.

When the monument was originally constructed, Hungary was a part of the Austrian Empire and so the last five spaces for statues on the left of the colonnade were reserved for members of the ruling Habsburg dynasty, from left to right these were: Ferdinand I , Leopold I , Charles III, Maria Theresa and Franz Joseph. The monument was damaged in World War II and when it was rebuilt the Habsburgs were replaced by the current figures.

Heroes Square by night

Heroes Square (Hősök tere) by night

There is a Metro line 1 station at Heroes’ Square called Hősök tere and the 105 bus, 75 and 79 trolley buses run past the square. It is also only a 10-15 minute walk from Oktogon.

Please use the comment section if you have any questions about Heroes’ Square or any info to share.

Destination guide Dan.

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