First completed in 1265, Buda Castle (also called Royal Palace & Royal Castle) in Budapest is the historical castle complex of the Hungarian kings. Buda Castle is located on the southern edge of Castle Hill near the old Castle District famous for its medieval, Baroque and 19th century homes and buildings. The castle is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site list that inscribed “Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue” and is visited by thousands of tourists every year. The oldest section of the present day palace, Stephen’s Tower, was completed in the 14th century by Prince Stephen, younger brother of King Louis I of Hungary. During the long reign of King Sigismund of Hungary the castle was expanded into one of the largest Gothic palaces of the late Middle Ages. The final massive expansion of the castle occurred under King Matthias Corbinus in the late 1400s and stood until the medieval palace was destroyed during the siege of 1686. A new Baroque styled palace was built between 1714 and 1723 by King Charles III of Habsburg. This castle was also mostly destroyed by the great fire of 1810 as well as during an attack.
After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 a new castle was built making use of the remaining structures from the previous castles and a new wing and central domed structure were added. Today’s Buda Castle is comprised of 203 rooms and home to several museums including the Budapest History Museum as well as the Hungarian National Gallery. Located in the southern wing of Buda Castle, the 4 floor Budapest History Museum displays the history of Budapest from the beginnings through the end of the Communist era. It also houses the restored part of the Medieval Royal Palace which includes the Royal Chapel and the spacious Gothic Hall. Outside of the museum there is an easily accessed tower and walkway that give you some amazing panoramic views of Budapest and the Danube. The Hungarian National Gallery is home to a variety of amazing Hungarian artwork spanning the ages, from Gothic wooden statues to contemporary works, if it’s a Hungarian masterpiece it’s probably there.
The castle grounds are decorated with amazing statues which have survived through the years to this day. The amazing Matthias Fountain is a sight to see, it features a depiction of a group of hunters and hounds being lead by King Matthias Corvinus. Created by renowned sculpture Alajos Strobl, it is the most photographed object in the palace. Another site to see is the Monument of Prince Eugene of Savoy, this equestrian statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy is located on the Danube terrace, high above Budapest. Created by Neo-Baroque sculptor Jozsef Rona, in 1900 it was added as a temporary placeholder until a planned equestrian statue of King Franz Joseph could be completed. The statue of Franz Joseph was never completed so Prince Eugene has remained in its place for over a century. At every twist and turn there is something unique and beautiful to see. Truly a wonder of European history, Buda Castle is a fantastic journey for the eyes and soul.
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