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Szent György tér - Sándor Palace, Ministry of Defence, Teleki Mansion

The building of the Weapon storehouse (Zeughaus) in Szent György square, 1890s

The L-plan Square of Szent György (Saint George) situated in the northern foreground of the Buda Royal Palace is one of the youngest squares of the Castle District. There was no square on this site during the Middle Ages, but two densely crowded streets - today's Színház Street and the predecessor of Szent György Street - used to be located here in the north-south direction.

At some point in the twenties and thirties of the 16th century, the southwards continuation of the streets was cut in two by a gigantic transversal wall, which was built to divide the square from the civil part of the town, and was attached to theRoyal Palace as a forecourt. The so called northern outer wall - which was built at this time - marked the boundary of the southern side of the square, but the full shape of the square was not completed until the end of the Turkish era. By 1684 and 1686 the medieval buildings that were located in a 50-60m strip north from the wall were all destroyed, and replaced by a massive inner defence-wall, a Turkish construction, that was erected on the western side.

The L-plan which was similar to its present appearance, was developed gradually and slowly at the end of the Baroque era when the ruins of buildings that used to stand here - such as the Szent-Zsigmond Church - were cleared (after 1769). The enclosure of the square in the Baroque style took place gradually. Following the re-occupation (1686), the need for military purpose buildings increased. This is when the gigantic building of the Zeughaus (ammunition magazine) was constructed at the southern side. This simply designed building burnt down in 1723, and was replaced in 1730 by a Baroque style building with far more detail. This new building was a determining element of the townscape right until it was demolished at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. As a result, the square was for a long time referred to as Zeughaus Platz. On the site formally occupied by the medieval Franciscian monastery (on the former site of today's Sándor Mansion) at the eastern side of the square, two barrack buildings were erected, while a third artillery barrack was situated at the southern section of the western side, close to the earlier mentioned Turkish inner defence wall. The northern side of the square consisted of the waterworks and civilian buildings that became visible following the demolition of the Szent Zsigmond Church and the provostry. As a result of the demolition work, the square, which was extended northwards, was further enlarged from the northeast by the Carmelite Church (later the Castle Theatre), which was originally part of the Carmelite Street (today: Theatre Street).

From the 1860s the area was renamed several times. As a result of an incorrect historical topographic identification, this previously non-existing square was named after Szent György (Saint George) Square, which was located to the north - on the site of today's Dísz (Parade) Square, and from this point onwards it was referred to as Georgi Platz.

Archduke Joseph's palace (Teleki palace) in Szent György squareAnother significant moment in the history of the square was the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, when the location became the place for noble representation. First the Mansion of the Teleki counts was erected on the empty spot of the western side (1790), then opposite, to replace the two barracks, the Mansion of Count Sándor Vince (1806) was built. These two buildings had different owners and functions throughout the years. (Between 1867 and 1945, the Sándor Mansion hosted the headquarters of the Prime Minister's office and since 2002 has been the residence of the President of the Hungarian Republic).

In 1852, the Monument to Hentzi, commemorating the imperial military governor who died during the 1849 siege, was erected in the middle of the square, and as a result the Square was for a short while referred to as Hentzi Platz, before being again named Szent György Square.

In the 1850's, at the southwestern side of the square, the artillery barracks and the western section of the palace's outer wall were pulled down and replaced by the royal stable, which stood on this site, with minor alterations, right until the 1960's.

The building of Sándor palace, around 1890At the northern side of the square, the construction of the Hungarian Royal Ministry of Defense brought new changes between 1879 and 1881. Later the new military headquarters were attached to the building's northern side facing Parade Square. 

Two other constructions took place on the Square at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. At the western side, the building of the former Teleki Mansion was rebuilt and expanded for Habsburg Archduke Joseph. The first phase of the demolition work saw the pulling down of the Zeughaus building, which was replaced by two brand new palace wings (today buildings "A" and "B"). 

During the 1944 - 1945 siege, the buildings on the square suffered extensive damage. Only two were restored: Building "A" of theRoyal Palace in the 1960's, and following an external reconstruction in the 1980's, a completion of the Sándor Mansion in 2000-2002. Buildings on the western side such as the royal stable and the Teleki Mansion were entirely demolished, while the complex of the Ministry of Defense was only partially pulled down. Important archeological excavations are currently being carried out on most of this site.

The building of the Ministry of Defence with the Hentzi statue, around 1895

Szent György square in ruins, 1945