B bábi, Tibor

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Buda Castle – The Royal Castle area is one of the most attractive sites of Budapest. It is built on the top of Buda Hill, on the right side of River Danube. Buda and its environs were inhabited from time immemorial. The area is known for its Celtic settlements from the 3rd century BC. In the first decades BC, Transdanubia (Dunántúl) was conquered by the Romans, who incorporated it into the Roman Empire under the name of Pannonia. Aquincum, now Óbuda, was the capital city of Pannonia Province. Following the Romans, it was occupied by the Huns, then by Eastern Goths, Longobards and Avars. The Magyars settled here in 896-900, and established their first settlements on the island of Csepel and in Aquincum. In the 13th century King Béla IV (1235-1270) built a fortified castle on the hill for protection against the Tartar-Mongol attacks. This castle was made into a Gothic-style palace. Aquincum was given the name Óbuda (Old Buda). It was named after Prince Buda, brother of Etele. During the reign of King Mátyás I (Matthias Corvinus, 1458-1490) it became a Renaissance-style royal residence. The castle was enlarged and reshaped, and churches were erected on the site (Mátyás Church, Maria Magdalena Church). After the Turks captured Buda in 1541, the town deteriorated rapidly until its recapture in 1686. The three-month-long siege caused significant damage to both the castle and the town itself. Just some baths, chapels and bastions remained from the Turkish times. Rebuilding started on the medieval ruins. The new Royal Palace was built in the French Baroque style between 1748 and 1777, designed by József Hillebrand. During the second year of the War of Independence in 1849, the retaking Hungarian forces again caused considerable damage, but it was repaired in the next decade. After the 1867 Compromise with Austria, significant development took place in the castle. It reached its peak at the Millenneum year of 1896. Towards the end of World War II, first Allied bombings, then the Soviet Army’s siege from 24 December 1944 to 13 February 1945 ruined most of the buildings, seriously damaged the Castle, being the last stronghold of the German and Hungarian defence force. The reconstruction was slow, completed only in the mid 1980s. The palace was completely rebuilt, its dome heightened, the whole complex modernized. Today it is the country’s most important cultural center. It houses the Budapest Historical Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery, the Ludwig Museum, and the Széchényi National Library. Most of the buildings are designated as historical heritage sites. – B: 0942, 7103, T: 7103.→Huns; Avars; Aquincum; Buda Castle District; Várpalota; Budapest; Budapest Siege.

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