Northeast from Budapest’s city center is a 302 acre enclave of green space, simply named City Park. The origins of the park date back to the 13th century, however, it wasn’t until the early 19th century that it became a public park. It is often cited as the first public park in the world. Much of the grounds were gussied up for Hungary’s millennium celebration in 1896. Besides the many paths that weave through Budapest’s City Park, there are also museums, a castle, thermal baths, ponds and many, many monuments.
Budapest’s City Park Sights:
The castle was originally constructed of wood and cardboard for the 1896 celebrations, with the clear intent to tear it down once the party was over, but it gained such popularity that it was reconstructed using stone. Four distinct architectural styles (Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque) are incorporated to replicate some of Hungary’s finest architecture. The main castle, built in the Renaissance style, is patterned after the Transylvania Castle (which is in Romania, but was part of Hungary at the time). The Romanesque Benedictine chapel is modeled after those of the 13th century. The mansion decorated in the Baroque style houses the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture.
Budapest has more than 120 natural springs – and about 25 thermal baths that feed the naturally occurring hot water into elaborate, fancy and playful pools lined with jets. We haven’t yet ventured in, but the grandiose Szechenyi Bath complex is impressive from the outside.
Fourteen of Hungary’s most legendary leaders are featured in the grand, pillared Millennium Monument, which wasn’t actually completed until 1929. The center column acknowledges the seven Magyar tribes that settled the area in the year 896, with the archangel Gabriel topping it at about 120 feet.
The vast square also includes the Hungarian War Memorial and two museums, Museum of Fine Arts and Hall of Art, flank each side of the square. In addition to the tourists posing with the modern art sculpture, skateboarders breezed through the square and a small rally or peaceful protest was taking place off to one side.
We want to know: Have you been to Budapest’s City Park? What did you enjoy most about it? What other parks do you like in Budapest? Tell us in the comments!