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The History of Buda Castle after 1686


Clearing the rubble in the Buda Castle, 1945Reconstruction work started immediately after the fighting. The first task was the removal of the rubble. It was carried to the Vérmezo at the foot of the hill. First the housing blocks had to be rebuilt. During the reconstruction of the buildings the architects - together with art historians and archaeologists - tried to take advantage of the destruction. Based on building surveys several medieval architectural elements were displayed, thus many baroque and classicist buildings which had been built after 1686 were given back their medieval façades - partly or entirely.

At first 'neutral' buildings were built in place of the destroyed houses in order not to disturb the arcitectural environment. From the 1960s buildings reflecting trends in contemporary architecture appeared, thus enriching the complexity of styles aleady present in the castle district. A typical example of this is Hilton Hotel. The modern building was built near the neo-gothic Matthias Church, saving the baroque façade of the burnt out Jesuit college and integrating the remains of the medieval Dominican church as well.

Two-storey house at 31 Úri streetThe most important archaeological investigation took place in the palace quarter. The first excavations looking for the remains of medieval palaces were quite successful. The fate of the huge building complex was undecided for a long time. By 1948 it was decided that the royal palace would be rebuilt keeping the characteristic features of its outlines. Its façade would be simplified, but its rooms would be completely rebuilt. In 1957 the government decided to place cultural institutions in the palace: museums, the national gallery and the national library. The reconstruction of the huge building was finished by 1985. The National Széchenyi Library was the last to move in the wing looking to Krisztinaváros. Besides these public collections, the Várszínház (Castle Theatre), small museums in the houses of the bourgeois city, and several research institutes of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences can also be found here. However, the castle quarter did not turn into a lifeless museum city: the majority of the houses kept their original function.

Bécsi Gates square in the Buda Castle

Szentháromság square in the Buda Castle, the Matthias Church and the Hilton HotelThe reconstruction of the buildings of Szent György tér, between the palace and the bourgeois city, took the longest. On the western side all the buildings - amidts the restorable palace of the archduke with its stables - were pulled down in the 1960's in order to display in a park the medieval ruins excavated. The facade of the Sándor Palace standing on the other side of the square was reconstructed in 1989-1990, and after reconstruction finished in 2002 it became the office of the Head of State. The ruins of the headquarters of the army and the group of buildings of the Home Office in the middle of the square remain as a reminder of the destruction wrought by war.

The castle district is a conservation area with a great number of listed monuments. The number of tourists it attracts and the fact that in December 1987 UNESCO declared the castle and its environs to be part of the World Heritage shows its outstanding importance in our cultural heritage.

The Royal Palace of Buda from the Elisabeth Bridge