Down Town Of Pest


This single word is the full name of this romantic concert hall and ballroom. It means something like ‘merrymaking’, a place for entertainments. It was intended as a concert hall and a ballroom and took seven years to build, beginning in 1858. It took so long partly because the builders needed several attempts to cope with the unusual task. When the building was finished in 1865, it was received with unanimous obtuseness. Some found it to be too unusual, some others to be too Hungarian. In its present form, rebuilt after war, it was re-opened in the winter of 1980.

Statue of Sándor Petõfi

The statue is a bit far from the taste of our times. It shows the poet at the age of 25, reciting his most famous patriotic poem, beginning “Talpra, magyar!” (Rise Hungarians!). Petõfi (1823-49) started as a poor student and strolling player and soon became the most popular poet of his time, also praised by literary circles. A genius, he was a master of poetic form. He introduced the vernacular into Hungarian verse, acquiring inevitably the title of the Robert Burns of Hungary. His short life was the full life of a man whose love was returned, who had taken part in a victorious revolution and who had become a soldier to fight for his country. He was killed in one of the last battles of the Hungarian War of Independence. After his death the rumors that he was still alive circulated round the country for years and years. Most recently, the rumors was acted upon by a self-mad millionaire, who sent a team to Siberia to dig up a grave. The corps they happened to unearth later proved to be that of a young lady. He is the first poet Hungarian children study in detail at school. There are lots of other things named after him: a museum, a bridge, an army camp, a radio channel, to mention just a few.

Hungarian Academy of Sciences

This institution, together with so many others, was founded in the second quarter of the last century, what is called Reform-Age. On the wall facing Akadémia utca the large relief immortalizes the moment when Count Széchenyi, in 1825, offered his whole yearly income for the foundation of the Academy. This was the first neo-Renaissance building in the city and was built between 1862 and 1864, to the plans of Friedrich Stüler, an architect from Berlin.