If you enjoy remarkable Gothic architecture, then the largest building in the capital of Hungary is a must-visit attraction to add to your bucket list.
1. It’s located on the eastern bank of the Danube River
The Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the most prominent landmarks in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. It’s located on the eastern bank of the Danube River, the second-longest (after the Volga River) and one of the most famous rivers in Europe.
This is on the Pest side of the city, which is the flat area of Budapest and by far the largest as well, covering about two-thirds of the city’s total area.
When you take a look at this magnificent building you quickly understand why it’s considered to be one of the most famous landmarks in both the city of Budapest and the country of Hungary.
2. Planning of the building started after the 19th-century unification of Budapest
Budapest has an extended history, starting as a Celtic community that was transformed into the ancient Roman city of Aguincum. The Hungarians didn’t arrive in the region until the late 9th century.
The main city that was established was Buda, one of the most thriving cities in Europe during the Renaissance in the 15th century. The modern-day city of Budapest was eventually established in 1873 following the unification of 3 cities called Buda, Óbuda, and Pest.
The city carried quite some weight back then as it was the co-capital of the huge Austro-Hungarian Empire, a status it lost following World War I in 1918.
It was in this period in the late 19th century that the plans to build a new structure which was to become the main meeting place for the National Assembly of Hungary.
3. It was built in the Gothic Revival style and features a Renaissance dome
The design of the structure was determined through an international architectural competition. The winner was a Hungarian architect named Imre Steindl (1839-1902).
The building was constructed in the Gothic Revival style and is for the most part symmetrical, both the exterior and interior. It features a Renaissance-style dome which is located at the central point of the building, facing two identical parliament halls.
4. It took nearly 2 decades for the building to be completed
Building this enormous structure was an enormous endeavor, so much that it took 19 years to complete between 1885 and 1904. The structure was already inaugurated in 1896, though, the supposedly 1000th anniversary of the country.
A labor force of 100,000 was involved to cement the 40 million bricks together. The building was elaborately finished with about half a million precious stones and 40 kilograms (88 lb) of gold.
This is quite astounding for a final touch, don’t you think?
5. It remains the largest building in Hungary until today
The building was constructed on a monumental scale. It has a length of 268 meters (879 feet) and a width of 123 meters (404 feet). The central dome reaches a height of 96 meters (314 feet), making it one of the tallest structures in the city.
This number 96 isn’t an accident as well because this is a reference to the establishment of the country in the year 896, an event that resulted in the conquest of what ended up becoming the Kingdom of Hungary.
The building takes proportions of some of the most famous palaces in Europe as well as it features 691 rooms, of which over 200 are offices. It consists of 4 floors and has a total floor area of 18,000 square meters (193,800 square feet).
More interesting facts about the Hungarian Parliament Building
6. The height of 96 meters made the Hungarian Parliament Building the tallest building in Budapest together with St. Stephen’s Basilica which has the same height. We say “was” because both buildings are about to be surpassed.
It pretty much means that the city is absent of towering skyscrapers, but one is still being built between 2019 and 2022 called the “MOL Campus.” This modern structure will serve as the headquarters of the MOL Group, an oil company in the country, and reach a height of 150 meters upon completion.
7. Even though the main façade of the building faces the Danube River, the official entrance to the building is located on the opposite side. This entrance is located on one of the city’s most important squares called “Kossuth Lajos Square.”
8. The façade of the building facing Kossuth Lajos Square is very important in Hungary. It’s here that Mátyás Szűrös, a Hungarian politician, declared the Hungarian Republic following the Fall of Communism.
He did so from one of the balconies on this part of the building and this event happened on October 23, 1989.
Today, only one of the building’s halls is used by the National Assembly of Hungary. The other rooms and halls are used for conferences and guided tours inside the building.
9. The building is decorated with a total of 242 statues. These depict a wide range of Hungarian rulers, Transylvanian leaders, and military leaders who played an important role in the history of the country.
10. Even though the building looks amazing from the outside, the interior is equally impressive. The most amazing feature inside the building is the 16-sided central hall which leads to all the main halls of the building.
From the magnificent halls to the elaborately decorated corridors, the interior of the building is astounding. This makes the guided tours a must if you plan to visit Budapest.