Comments and Updates on Blue Guide Budapest

Blue Guides celebrate their centenary year with this new edition of Blue Guide Budapest, an in-depth companion to the history, art, architecture, food, wine and thermal baths of this exceptional city.

View the book’s contents, index and some sample pages, and buy securely from blueguides.com here »

Budapest is a city in constant renewal, with important renovation and reconstruction taking place all the time. For updates, as well as reader comments on the new edition, see below.

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Gravatar: Blue GuidesBlue Guides
13.07.2018
09:04
Gül Baba's Mausoleum

The renovation of the türbe of the dervish Gül Baba, who died in the same year as the Ottoman conquest of Buda (1541) and which is a project partly financed by the Turkish government, is now partially complete and open to the public. This is a holy site for Muslims and re-landscaping of the gardens around the small mausoleum has been extensive. You approach up a flight of new stone-clad steps, past terraced plots (Magnolia Garden, Lavender Garden, Rose Garden, all planted with the said plants) to a paved area with a commemorative chestnut tree, a brand new visitor centre and a starkly paved broad forecourt. The tiny little türbe is now completely enclosed and partly obscured by the new buildings: getting a good view of it is difficult. A promenade walkway leads to the edge of the hill, from where there are fine views (as shown in the illustration here: the spire of the Matthias Church and the Royal Palace (National Gallery) are prominent in the distance). As yet the türbe itself is still inaccessible.

Gravatar: Blue GuidesBlue Guides
27.06.2018
13:06
THE SEUSO TREASURE

When Blue Guide Budapest went to press, the extraordinary trove of late Imperial Roman silver known as the Seuso (or Sevso) Treasure had not yet gone on public display. As of yesterday, it is on show in the Hungarian National Museum, well lit and excellently captioned, in a separate room on the first floor. We have written about the silver more than once on this website: a fully updated post will appear shortly. Meanwhile, below, is a detail from one of the pieces of the hoard, the beautiful strigilated washbasin.

We have written about the silver more than once on this website: a fully updated post will appear shortly.

Gravatar: Blue GuidesBlue Guides
21.06.2018
14:02
Andrássy út

The old Párizsi department store, with the late 19th-century frescoed ballroom of the former Terézváros Club (Blue Guide Budapest pp. 197-8), has now found a new role as the "Andrássy Adventure Centre" with the TeamLab Future Park, an interactive experience aimed at children. The frescoed Lotz Room upstairs at the back, until recently a café, is at present empty but there are apparently plans to reopen it as a café again. Ask at the ticket desk to be allowed to go and look at it (there is no charge but you can't go beyond the cordon at the entrance). Still, it is worth it; the room is resplendent with mirrors and gilding and the frescoes are splendid, by Károly Lotz, the foremost decorative painter of his day, and assistants including Árpád Feszty. Feszty's brother Adolf, incidentally, was the architect of many of the fine town houses that line Andrássy út itself. The likeness that appears as one of the personifications of the arts and industries around the cornice (the joiner; very grainy photo taken from too far away) is said to be a self-portrait by Árpád Feszty. But it could equally well be his brother.

Gravatar: Blue GuidesBlue Guides
08.06.2018
13:38
Soviet labour camp memorials

The English word Gulag is commonly used to denote the Soviet forced labour and internment camps of the post-WWII period. In fact there were two categories of such camps, both of them designated by a Russian acronym. There were the GUPVI camps, to which prisoners were deported en masse, and the GULAGs, where individuals were sent, often as a result of arrests on trumped-up charges. There are memorials in Budapest to the victims of each, clearly distinguishing between the two. In the heart of central Pest, very close to the Parliament building, is Honvéd tér, a square containing a playground and beautifully maintained public park, planted with ornamental trees and shrubs including a lovely Japanese maple. Here you will find the GULAG memorial, set up here in 1993. It takes the form of a stylised figure in Carrara marble, criss-crossed with stylised barbed wire. Further from the centre in Ferencváros, occupying a wartime concrete bunker designed for head personnel of the Hungarian Railways, is the Malenki Robot Memorial, curated and maintained by the Hungarian National Museum and honouring prisoners of the GUPVI camps. Blue Guide Budapest has the contact details for arranging a guided tour. Outside the old bunker is a railway wagon adorned with relief sculptures of the deported.

Gravatar: Blue GuidesBlue Guides
08.06.2018
11:32
Dandár Baths

A tip for those who plan to visit the Dandár Baths: bring a bank card with you. The downstairs buffet has recently stopped taking cash. Another thing you might take along is a set of chess pieces. The hotter of the outdoor hot pools is equipped with a chessboard and when we last visited, players had been making do with dark and light pebbles.

Gravatar: Blue GuidesBlue Guides
24.05.2018
14:10
Blaha Lujza tér



As plans to rehabilitate Blaha Lujza tér, a wide and busy square in the heart of Pest, take shape, the removal of the 1960s’ aluminium cladding on the Corvin department store finally began yesterday (23rd May). The store, an elegant and fashionable emporium in its heyday, was built in the 1920s and was an excellent example of the new architectural Historicism that was popular in Hungary after the First World War. Now, as the aluminium panels come down, a grimy former splendour is being gradually revealed: ionic pilasters, a running key pattern, Neoclassical medallions and a mask of Hermes. The building, badly damaged in the 1956 Uprising, was never restored. Instead, in 1968, its battered lineaments were encased in functional metal sheeting. A full-scale renovation of the building is planned. According to the Józsefváros (8th District) local government website, the newly restored building will be used for cafés, restaurants and offices. Blaha Lujza tér was also once the site of another grand building, the National Theatre, which was demolished in 1965 during the construction of the M2 metro line.

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