Art Nouveau Buildings in Budapest

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Do you have a favourite style of visual arts? Mine is Art Nouveau.

 

This is an art movement that was most popular during the turn of the 20th century – also known as Secession or Jugendstil style. Artists who followed this style wanted to separate themselves from contemporary academic art.

The architects, painters, sculptors and handicraftsmen often used floral or geometric patterns, undulating building ornamentation, bright colours and gold in their work. They also preferred soft, round shapes instead of right angles.

 

For art and architecture lovers I have collected a list of some of the awesome Art Nouveau buildings in the center of Budapest.

This is definitely not a complete list of all the Art Nouveau in in the city but I have included just a few of my absolute favourites.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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1. Residential Building – Deák Ferenc utca 17.

 

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Late Art Nouveau Building – Déák Ferenc utca, Photo: Virág

 

One of my favourite buildings is opposite the Kempinski Hotel. It is a late Art Nouveau building with huge metal and glass surfaces on the facade; this is specific to the department stores built at the beginning of 20th century, and its cupolas have characteristics of the baroque style.

2. Residential building – Aranykéz utca 2.

 

Undoubtedly one of the most striking elements of the building is the tower with arabesque motifs on the corner of Aranykéz and Régiposta streets.

I was lucky enough to get into this residential building and was able to admire the fancy doorway, look up to the painted vault, wall tiles and columns, and look down upon the patterned floor.

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Lobby of Aranykéz utca 2, Photo: Virág

 

3. Thonet House, Residential Building – Váci utca 11/A.

 

The uniquely designed early Art Nouveau facade (1888-1890) is covered with tiles decorated with pyrogranite (a type of ornamental ceramic). The wrought iron balconies, the original wooden portals and the statues make this building distinctive.

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Tiles on the Building of Váci utca 11/A, Photo: Virág

 

4. Török-bankház: Szervita tér 3.

 

Its prodigious ornament can hardly be seen as it is high up on the top.

In the center piece sits Virgin Mary, the patron of Hungary with the Hungarian holly crown on her head and the sword of the first Hungarian king, Saint Stephen, in her hand.

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Facade at Szervita tér 3, Photo: Virág

On her left and right there are two angels standing and in the background the nobility and the common people are marching. The golden colour dominates in this masterpiece.

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Detail of the Facade, Szervita tér 3, Photo: Virág

 

 

 

5. Four Seasons Gresham Palace – Széchenyi István tér 5-6

 

This is another wonderful masterpiece of Art Nouveau, on the Pest side of the Chain Bridge, facing Castle Hill and the Tunnel on Buda side.

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Exterior of Gresham Palace, Photo: Rita Picareta

I find some parts of the building ethereal. Here you can visit the lobby, the lounge area, the bar and the restaurant.

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Lobby of Grasham Palace, Photo: Philcalvert

 

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Interior Detail of Gresham Palace, Photo: Steve Silverman

 

6. Bedő-ház, The House of Hungarian Art Nouveau – Honvéd u. 3.

 

Although quite small, this collection is a paradise for enthusiasts of this style.

What you should expect: As the building is a collection of furniture, statues, paintings and objects like household items, pottery and clothing of art nouveau style on three floors, it’s rather like a warehouse, not an exhibition. Unfortunately there are no descriptions of items, but if you are a fan of this style you’ll absolutely love it.

The exterior of the building is nicely restored and is one of the most stunning examples of the era. http://www.magyarszecessziohaza.hu/mainen.php

 

 

7. Postatakarékpénztár Postal Savings Bank – Hold utca 4.

 

What a splendid building from the beginning of the Art Nouveau period. It used to be the headquarters of the Hungarian Royal Savings Bank, now it serves as the Hungarian State Treasury. Look for the bees and the beehives on the frontage, they symbolize frugality.

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Bees and a Beehive, Photo: Virág

We can discover Hungarian folk art, as well as Asian elements, as seen in the Museum of Applied Arts (Iparművészeti Múzeum).

 

8. Museum of Applied Arts:  Üllői út 33-37.

 

The Museum of Applied Arts is a masterpiece of Hungarian Art Nouveau. It has many specialities like its enormous dome and its interior, evoking oriental splendour. Observe the tiles with Hungarian ornamentation on the exterior and interior walls as well as the colourful tiles on the roof.

 

9. Palace Hotel, today Hotel Novotel Budapest Centrum  Rákóczi út 43-45 

 

The ceramic ornaments and the very fitting “Palace Hotel” lettering on the facade of this building give a unique appearance.

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“Palace Hotel” Lettering, Photo: Steve Silverman

On the top part of the facade a wooden porch can be seen that references Transylvanian architecture.

The most beautiful part of the interior is the restaurant on the ground floor and you can partially visit other areas of the building too.

 

10. Liszt Ferenc Music Academy – Liszt Ferenc tér 8.

The exterior is lavishly decorated with frescos, painted glasses and mosaics. Its concert hall is a wonder. After a few years of renovation this Art Nouveau building from 1907 reopened in 2013.

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Music Academy, Photo: my cousin Mészöly Nóra

 

11. Párizsi Nagyáruház / Divat Csarnok: Andrássy út 39.

 

The city’s first significant department store was opened in 1910 in a late Art Nouveau style.

 

Recently the building operates as a bookstore and on the first floor there is a wonderful café that used to be a ball room. Every local and tourist should admire its splendour.

In its time it was famous for its astounding sized hall, four floors in height with marble pillars, the gilded staircases and its elevators with glass windows.

Visit its roof top bar. The view is fantastic there.

 

12. Hungária Fürdő, today Continental Hotel Zara – Dohány utca 42-44.

 

This awesome building was built in 1908 and 1909 as a multifunctional premise: swimming pool, steam bath, club, office and apartment building. The swimming pool was altered to a cinema already in the 20’s.

After a few decades the building deteriorated so much that there were plans to tear it down leaving behind only the facade. Fortunately, the interior was saved from destruction and now we can admire some parts of the building as it was altered to a hotel.

Pop in to see the Art Nouveau lobby with the prodigious turnstile made of copper and the admirable Zsolnay tiles.

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Lobby of the Hotel, Photo: Virág

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Turnstile Made of Copper, Photo: Virág

 

13. Glücksmann House, Residential Building – Dob utca 8.

 

Built in 1913, this residential building with glazed ceramic tiles (yellow tulip motifs) needs a renovation. It is easy to imagine how beautiful this building once was.

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Dob utca 8, Photo: Virág

 

14. Gellért Hotel and Bath –  Szent Gellért tér 1.

 

Completed in 1918, Gellért Bath was the capital’s first luxury facility; it was considered the most modern thermal bath of its time. Back then a small hospital with 30 beds belonged to it.

The arched entrance of the bath opens from the Gellért hill side and the statues there symbolize healing. Inside, the two big thermal pool divisions are richly decorated and the walls are covered with colourful tiles.

 

From the lobby, which is paved with colourful mosaics, we get to the central hall. Look up and you will see the gallery and the coloured glass windows and when the sun shines in, the cheerful beams of light will appear.

Read more about the bathes.

 

Contact us: http://katonaapartments.hu/

info@katonaapartments.hu

These topics may also interest you:

Arriving at Budapest Airport -­ How to Exchange Money and Where to Buy Bus Tickets

Which Bath to Choose in Budapest?

The Amazing Metro Line 1 in Budapest is 120 Years Old

Your Shoes Were Made for Walking: Jewels of Budapest by Foot

Day trip from Budapest to Szentendre

About the authors: Virág and János

Virág, a native of Budapest, and János, who’s been living in the city since 1997 are real fans of the capital of Hungary and try to awake the enthusiasm of others. They are dedicated to helping tourists to make most out of their stay.

Here you can read more about them: http://katonaapartments.hu/

 

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Which Bath to Choose in Budapest?

Visiting any of the baths is a great way to get fresh and well again after all the walking you do while sightseeing in our fabulous capital. You just can’t beat this type of relaxation.

If you have never been to any of the baths in Budapest, there are three that I would highlight to learn more about the Hungarian bath culture.
Rudas, Széchenyi and Gellért, all three have unique features and will surely be memorable. If you have already been to these three baths you should visit some others, like Veli Bej and Király.

 

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Lobby of Gellért Bath, Photo: Miroslav Petrasko http://www.hdrshooter.com

 

General Rules and Procedure

Different baths have different rules and procedures. I’ve collected some that are probably common to all baths.

The prices and the services available are displayed in English at the entrance. In some baths the hosts and hostesses will give you a hand.

In most baths you will receive a ‘wrist watch’ to wear which will grant you access into the baths as well as being a ‘key’ to your locker, which magnetically locks and unlocks.

If you are a rather bashful type you can choose the individual changing cabins instead of the shared locker rooms. The changing cabins are more private and comfortable but cost a bit more.

Before entering the pools showering is obligatory and, also, a step through a foot bath is required.

Shooting photos in baths is not allowed.

What to Pack

– Bathing suit/swimming trunks – Anything from speedos to board shorts for men and bikinis or one piece outfits for women.

– Flip-flops or plastic sandals – Not required, but advised as you have to walk between the pools some of which may be outside.

– Your own towels – You can also rent towels but depending on the bath the rented ones are rather like bed sheets (bathing sheets) and their absorbency is almost zero.

– Soap and shampoo

– Plastic bag to pack your wet towel and bathing suits in after the baths

– Swimming cap for lap pools (for lane swimming) – They can also be bought on site or rented with a deposit. It is usually only the lap pools where it is obligatory to wear, so for bathing it’s not necessary.

– A bathrobe in colder weather may be a good idea as getting from one pool to the other in chilly weather is a quick dash without a robe especially when you visit the outside pools as well.

Rudas Bath

Who Should Go?

Rudas is primarily about relaxation. This bath is most suited to adults without children as the services of Rudas Baths cannot be used by under 14s. Those with children should choose either Széchenyi or Gellért or one of the beaches in the summer time, eg. Palatinus on Margit Sziget (Margaret Island). Here even just toilet trained children are allowed into the pools.

For the night owls I suggest the night bathing every Friday and Saturday night from 10:00 PM until 4:00 AM but unfortunately the sauna world is not available during this time.

If you plan to visit with livelier friends, I suggest Széchenyi. The Saturday night SPARTY is probably for you. (Continue reading below for more information on SPARTIES).

What Not to Miss in Rudas

The oldest and youngest parts of the complex are the most interesting ones: The 500 year old Ottoman octagonal indoor pool and the brand new roof top pool. In the latter, you will surely be amazed by the view; you can enjoy a soak in the warm water whilst watching the sunset and the lights of Budapest. You will even see the spectacular Parliament building from the rooftop terrace.

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Octagonal Pool in Rudas Bath, Photo: Ted Sullivan

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Roof top pool in Rudas Bath, photo: Virag

During colder months it may be a bit uncomfortable to get to the rooftop pool as you have to walk through the outside terrace.

In fact, walking around Rudas can be a bit confusing as there are a few zigzagged pathways and stairs but it’s worth it when you find hidden rooms like a steam room or a salt chamber. You definitely don’t want to miss those.

If you get a bit peckish during your visit, there is a very nice restaurant that serves gourmet food and lovely teas and coffees. If you go during the week between 11am and 5pm they often have a lunch time menu which you pay for as part of a ‘special ticket’ which includes both the lunch and your entrance. Ask us for the ticket during your check-in.

How to Get to Rudas

Rudas is only just outside the city centre so it doesn’t take long to get there. From Ferenciek tere metro stop cross Erzsébet híd (Elisabeth Bridge) with bus number 7 or 107 (907 or 973 at night) and get off at Rudas Gyógyfürdő or you can walk across, it won’t take longer than 5 minutes, take a left at the end of the bridge and the bath is along the river front.

Warning about Rudas

The 500 year old octagonal pool covered with a cupola (a domed roof) is just for males only or females only during the weekdays (Monday and Wednesday and Thursday for males, Tuesday for females). The other parts of the bath can be used by both sexes during the whole week. For mixed groups the best time to visit is on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays so that all can enjoy the historical part of the bath.

Széchenyi Bath

Who Should Go?

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Thermal Pool in Széchenyi, Photo: Thierry Kennes

The water of the bath is not recommended for children under the age of 14, although children can still enter Széchenyi. In the case of very young children and babies, he/she can enter the pools only if toilet-trained. However, your children will surely enjoy the thermal outdoor activity pool with a jacuzzi and whirlpool.

Have you ever thought about dancing in the pool? Does it sound weird? Well, on Saturday nights, Széchenyi is open for those who are looking for a special party experience in the hot water. These parties called SPARTIES are mainly suited to young adults but it’s definitely worth going there, whatever age you are, because of the amazing venue and the visuals. Check their timetable as the Sparties are not held every Saturday.

What Not to Miss in Széchenyi

Look for the elderly Hungarian men sitting in the water and playing chess. Quite an odd attraction of the baths but whenever I have been they are always there in the warmest outside pool on the right hand side.

You may not think it but it’s a fabulous feeling to sit in the hot baths outdoors in cold winter weather with the mist floating over the water and when snow falls this adds to the experience.

Also, I find the ornamentation of the lobby at the back side of the building wonderful; the whole building is filled with lots architecture of its time.

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Lobby at the Back of Széchenyi, Photo: Virag

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Lobby at the back of Széchenyi, Photo: Virag

How to Get There

Széchenyi bath (Széchenyi Fürdő) has its own stop on the yellow metro line (metro no. 1) and it’s not hard to miss as the building is bright yellow.

Other Sights in the Vicinity of Széchenyi

There are many other attractions near the bath which you could visit before or after you experience the baths such as Heroes Square (5 minute walk), Vajdahunyad Castle (3 minute walk), the Zoo (2 minute walk) or Műcsarnok Museum (5 minute walk)

Gellért Bath

Who Should Go?

This bath is suitable for everyone except babies. There is an outdoor children’s pool and a wave pool which are suitable for kids and the adults can enjoy the steam rooms and saunas. Note that the wave pool is only available through the summer months.

What Not to Miss in Gellért

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Swimming Pool in Gellért, Photo: Carlos Espejo

The Gellért Thermal Bath built in a Secession (Art Nouveau) style opened its gates in 1918 so you can enjoy the beautiful architecture and wonderful Art Nouveau ornaments.

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Thermal Pools in the Gellért Bath, Photo: Sergey Melkonov, Flickr

 

 

 

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Lobby of Gellért Bath, photo: Sergey Melkonov, Flickr

 

Don’t miss the outside wave pool in warmer weather and the steam baths all year round.

How to Get to Gellért Bath

Take metro line 4 till Gellért tér stop or from Pest side cross Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge) on foot and the bath is located within the building of the four star Gellért Hotel with the entrance on the Gellért Hill side. Gellért hotel is a rather grand building so it’s easy to spot.

Other Sights in the Vicinity

Like with Széchenyi baths, Gellért baths also has many other attractions nearby like the Cave Church (2 minute walk), Gellért Hill and the Citadel (15-20 minute walk up to get to the top) or Great Market Hall (10 minute walk) on the other side of river Danube.

Contact us: http://katonaapartments.hu/

info@katonaapartments.hu

These topics may also interest you:

The Amazing Metro Line 1 in Budapest is 120 Years Old

Your Shoes Were Made for Walking: Jewels of Budapest by Foot

Day trip from Budapest to Szentendre

Hungarian Local Food Products


About the authors: Virág and János

Virág, a native of Budapest, and János, who’s been living in the city since 1997 are real fans of the capital of Hungary and try to awake the enthusiasm of others. They are dedicated to helping tourists to make most out of their stay.

Here you can read more about us: http://katonaapartments.hu/