Andrássy Avenue – Budapest’s Champs Elysees in Hungary – is an iconic boulevard which links Erzsébet tér (Elizabeth Square) with Városliget (the City Park). Flanked by Eclectic Neo-renaissance palaces and houses featuring fine facades, staircases and interiors, it was recognised as a World Heritage Site in 2002 along with the Millennium Underground Railway. It was decreed to be built in 1870, to discharge the parallel Király utca from heavy traffic and to connect the inner city parts. The construction began in 1872 and the avenue was inaugurated the 20th of August 1867.
We took the underground from Elizabeth Square and with a few stops up and down to the City Park, here is a short guided tour:
Millennium Underground Railway or M1:
This is the second oldest underground line in the world and was built from 1894. It took 2000 workers using up-to-date machinery less than two years to complete it and was built entirely from the surface (with the cut-and-cover method). Completed by the deadline, it was inaugurated on May 2nd 1896, the year of the millennium – the thousandth anniversary of the arrival of the Magyars (click all pics to bigify and enjoy):
With eleven stations, nine underground and two overground, the length of the line was 3.7 km at that time; trains started in every two minutes. It was able to carry as many as 35,000 people a day (today 103,000 people travel on it on a workday).
The street’s realization was a blend of the plans proposed by the top 3 competitors Lajos Lechner, Frigyes Feszl and Klein & Fraser. Its palaces were built by the most distinguished architects (led by Miklós Ybl) of the time, financed by Hungarian and other banking houses.
These were mostly finished by 1884 and mostly aristocrats, bankers, landowners and historical families moved in. It was named in 1885 after the main supporter of the plan, Prime Minister Gyula Andrássy. Let me give you a couple examples of the impressive architecture:
The Heroes’ Square:
Hősök tere (in Hungarian) is one of the major squares of Budapest, rich with historic and political connotations. It lies at the end of Andrássy Avenue (with which it comprises part of an extensive World Heritage site), next to City Park. The square is surrounded by two important buildings, Museum of Fine Arts (pic on the left) and Palace of Art (on the right):
The central site of the square, as well as a landmark of Budapest, is the Millennium Memorial – Millennium Monument or Millenary Monument – with statues of the leaders of the seven tribes that founded Hungary in the 9th century and other outstanding figures of Hungarian history:
The construction of the memorial was started when the one thousandth anniversary was celebrated (in 1896), but it was finished only in 1929 and the square got its name then.
The City Park:
Let’s end this tour up and down Budapest’s Champs Elysees – its main entrance is Heroes’ Square – to Városliget (German: Stadtwäldchen; literally City Park), a public park of 302 acres or 1.2 km². The first mention of the name comes from 1241 in the archaic form, Ukurföld. In the 18th century the area was called Ochsenried in German. Around 1800 the official name was changed to Batthyány-erdő (Batthyány Forest) after its tenants, the Batthyány family. After the public park was created in the first decades of the 19th century the present-day name, Városliget was accepted. It’s impossible to cover this park’s beauty with just a few pics, but let me give you a few examples:
Left: Entrance of a fortress. Right: The Anonymous’ statue
Of course in a place like this – perfect for recreation – you find The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest (Széchenyi-gyógyfürdő) – the largest medicinal bath in Europe. It might not look like that from the entrance (but again shows beautiful architecture):
However, once inside, you see the pool. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs; their temperature is 23C (74F) and 25C (77F), respectively:
This is my third post about our adventures in the beautiful city of. I hope you enjoy this as much as I love sharing it (and that I don’t warn you out!). The next once will be about Margit recreational island and even to some restaurants – so stay tuned!
#0: All pics from Budapest at my Flickr account.
#1: Budapest the capital of Hungary in the Heart of Europe
#2: House of Terror and Dohany Great Synagogue
#3: This post
#4: Hungarian paradise on Margaret Island and Park
#5: New York Café and Hungarian cuisine as food traditions in Budapest