The Hungarian Parliament Building (Országház or Parlament) is one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings, a notable landmark of Hungary and a popular tourist destination in Budapest. It is situated in Kossuth Lajos Square (Kossuth Lajos tér), on the Pest bank of the Danube. It is currently the largest building in Hungary, and the second largest Parliament in Europe. Similar in design to the Palace of Westminster, it was built in Gothic Revival style with a symmetrical facade and a central dome by Imre Steindl. It is 268 m long, 123 m deep and 96m high; the number 96 refers to the nation’s millennium, 1896, and the conquest of the later Kingdom of Hungary in 896. Statues of Hungarian rulers, Transylvanian leaders and famous military people are on the facade of the building.
Budapest was united from three cities in 1873 and seven years later the National Assembly resolved to establish a new, representative Parliament Building. A competition was set, which was won by Imre Steindl, but the plans of the other two competitors were also developed and face the Parliament building. One serves today as the Ethnographical Museum and the other as the Ministry of Agriculture. Construction from the winning plan was started in 1885 and the building was inaugurated on the millennial anniversary of the country in 1896, although only completed in 1904 and Imre Steindl went blind before its completion, so never saw the result of his grandest architectural plan which includes 40 kilograms of gold.
During the Communist regime, the government added a large red star to the central steeple at the dome of the building, but after its downfall, the star was removed from the steeple.
Since the end of the Second World War the government, being single chambered, only uses a small amount of the building. It was from the balcony of the Budapest Parliament, facing Kossuth Lajos Square (Kossuth Lajos tar), that Mátyás Szűrös declared the Hungarian Republic on the 23d of October in 1989.
When entering the Parliament, visitors can walk up great ornamental stairs, see frescoes on the ceiling and pass by the bust of the creator, Imre Steindl, in a wall niche. Other statues include those of Árpád, Stephen I and Hunyadi János. One of the famous parts of the building is the hexadecagonal (sixteen-sided) central hall, with huge chambers adjoining it: the Lower House, where the National Assembly meets today, and the Upper House. The Holy Crown of Hungary, which is also depicted in the coat of arms of Hungary, has been displayed in the central hall since 2000. Further features include the stained glass and glass mosaic paintings by Miksa Róth. Due to its extensive surface and its detailed handiwork, the building is almost always under renovation.
Groups can only visit the Parliament Building with advanced booking. To book in advance: (+36 1) 441 4904, firstname.lastname@example.org. Individual visitors are not required any advanced booking. Tickets are available at the gate on Kossuth Square. The Ticket Office is open: Monday-Fridays from 08:00-18::00, Saturday from 08:00-16:00 and Sundays from 08:00-14:00.
EU citizens can visit the Parliament Building free of charge upon proof of nationality. For non EU citizens the entrance tickets cost 3 200 Ft for adults and 1 600 Ft for students.
Tours are held in different languages:
English: 10:00, 12:00 and 14:00
German: weekdays 11:00 and 15:00, Sundays 11:00
Russian: weekdays 15:00, Sunday 12.30
Hebrew: 10.30 and 13:30
Italian: weekdays 11.30 and 16:00, Sunday 11.30, May 1-September 30. Sunday 12.15
Spanish: weekdays 11.30 and 16:00, Sunday 11.30 a.m.
For more info on guided tours and opening hours check out the official Hungarian Parliament website.
You can get to the Hungarian Parliament by Metro line 2 to stop Kossuth Lajos tér, tram number 2 and trolley bus numbers 70 and 78.
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Destination guide Dan.