Pesti Vigadó, one of Hungary’s most famous theatres, was finished in 1864. It was built on the place of its predecessor, which was destroyed following the Hungarian revolution of 1848 as a form of retribution.
Following the defeat of the revolution in 1859, architect Frigyes Feszl created a completely reformed, new design for the building. He mixed the Hungarian architecture with Moor, Romanesque and Gothic elements. Feszl’s concept gained so much popularity, that it was used on the construction of numerous buildings all over Hungary at the time.
Since its opening, Pesti Vigadó was a centre of the cultural life and entertainment in Budapest. It was the venue for the gala dinner in 1867, following the coronation of the Austrian emperor and Hungarian king, Franz Joseph I.
There is a long list of famous composers who performed in its beautiful concert hall, which includes, Richard Wagner, Johann Strauss Jr., Pietro Mascagni, Antonín Dvořák, Claude Debussy, Arthur Rubinstein, Richard Strauss, Sergei Prokofiev, Sviatoslav Richter and Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi. The Vigadó was also the home to the largest amount of Franz Liszt’s performances.
Pesti Vigadó was the place where the National Anthem of Hungary was performed for the first time, and it was also the venue for the certification of unifying the three cities of Pest, Buda and Óbuda into the city we call Budapest.
The building was heavily damaged in the final months of WWII. The reconstructions lasted for almost 35 years, and the concert hall temporarily reopened in 1980. Its latest restoration works continued for 10 more years, when the building finally opened in its current form in the year 2014 to welcome you in its full glory.
Budapest Gala Concert sitting map in Danube Palace
After the Hungarian Parliament Building, the St. Stephen's Basilica is the second highest (96 meters tall) building in Budapest, and it is one of the most important Roman Catholic churches in Hungary. The Basilica was named in honour of St. Stephen, the founder of the Kingdom of Hungary. It was decided to build a church after the Great Flood of Pest in 1838 because hundreds of people had taken refuge there, fleeing from the water. The construction of the church began on 14th August, 1851 and the foundation-stone laying ceremony was on 4th October.Read more...
The Dohány Street Synagogue
Today the Great Synagogue in Dohány Street, which has been one of the most renowned landmarks of Budapest for a long time, serves as the main synagogue of the local Jewish community.
In 1991 a monument dedicated to the memory of the Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust was installed in the rear courtyard of the synagogue, in a small park named after Raoul Wallenberg. The Holocaust memorial, the work of Imre Varga, resembles a weeping willow whose leaves bear inscriptions with the names of the victims and boasts the inscription: Whose agony is greater than mine. 240 non-Jewish Hungarians, righteous among the nations who saved Jews during the Holocaust are inscribed on four large marble plaques. The memorial was made possible by the generous support of the New York based Emanuel Foundation for Hungarian Culture, with funds raised by private donors.Read more...
This building was erected (between 1898 and 1900) on the site of a former arsenal, as a result of an architectural competition. The architects, Aladár Arkay and Mór Kallina were to face a rather demanding project: to design a building in a pre-existing block which should function both as a theatre and a library in order to satisfy the expectations of the residents of Buda.
There used to be a restaurant on the first, and a café on the ground floor of the Vigadó. The relatively simple eclectic appearance of the building is compensated for by some magnificent art nouveau decoration inside: an impressive hall, the wide marble staircase and pillars, a spacious richly-decorated theatre hall and a splendid 301-seat theatre. Nowadays, performances of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble approximately 120 times annually can be seen here.
The Danube Palace was built between 1883 and 1885, in a splendid Neo-Baroque style according to the plans of Vilmos Freund. At that time it was known as the casino of Lipótváros – but not in the term of gambling, but an aristocratic club for entertainment. From when it was built till the Second World War the Palace served as a place of culture, supported many young artists, and even Bartók, Kodály, Dvorák played in its first-class concert hall. Since 1951 the building has been carrying out the cultural programs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.Read more...