Walking down on Andrássy Avenue from Oktogon towards City Park, the spacious Heroes’ Square and the nearly 40 m high column with a statue on the top draw the eye.
The imposing, open plaza is one of the top emblematic and most photographed sights of Budapest.
Location: at the end of Andrássy út, next to City Park in the VI. district
Getting there: M1 (yellow) metro line, Hősök tere station
The monument was built for the 1896 Millennium celebrations, that’s why it is called Millennium Monument.
Hungary celebrated the 1000th anniversary that its ancestors found a place to settle down in the Carpathian Basin. Every part of the monument plays tribute to determining parts of Hungary’s history.
The memorial won the first prize at the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. The monument was completely finished in 1929 and the square received its name then too.
The 36 m high Corinthian column dominates the square with Archangel Gabriel on its top holding St. Stephen’s Crown. According to the story, Gabriel appeared to St. Stephen in his dream and offered him the crown of Hungary.
Pope Sylvester II indeed sent a crown to him acknowledging Hungary and King Stephen as a defender of Christendom.
Today you can view the Holy Crown in Budapest Parliament.
The equestrian statues of the seven Magyar (Hungarian) tribes’ chieftains encircle the column.
The seven tribes lead by Árpád arrived first in the Carpathian Basin around 896 AD to find out whether the area was suitable for settling down.
A semicircled colonnade encompasses the column with statues of Hungarian kings and heroes.
From left to right you can see:
King St. Stephen – Hungary’s first king, founder of the Hungarian state
- King St. László– a noble and strict king, several miracles are attributed to him
- King Kálmán Könyves King Coloman de Beaiclerc-annexed Croatia and Dalmatia to Hungary
- King András II – participated in the Crusades
- King Béla IV – rebuilt the country after the Mongol invade in the 13th century
- King Charles Robert – created a strong and wealthy Hungary in the first half of the 14th century
- King I Nagy Lajos (Luis the Great)-son of Charles Robert, during his reign Hungary reached the greatest expansion of its territory
- King Matthias – a Renaissance King who made Buda Europe’s cultural centre in the 15th century, Matthias Church in Buda castle is name dafter him.
- István Bocskai– as a result of his fight against the Habsburg reign Transylvania became independent in 1606
- Gábor Bethlen – prince of Transylvania in the 17th century, leader of an anti-Habsburg uprising
- Imre Thököly – leader of Hungarian Protestants against the Habsburg rule
- Ferenc Rákóczi- leader of the War of Independence against the Habsburgs in the 18th century
- Lajos Kossuth – great patriot and statesman, leader of the 1848/49 War of Independence
Symbolic figures reside on top of the corner pillars:
- Work and Welfare
- Knowledge and Glory
The Hungarian War Memorial stands in front of the column commemorating heroes how had died for the independence of Hungary. A popular spot for wreath-laying ceremonies on national holidays.
The square has witnessed several 20th century key events of Hungary’s history. During the Communist era the place saw coreo graphed demonstrations on holidays.
The reburial ceremony of Imre Nagy, leader of the 1956 revolution took place here in 1989. Today you’ll find many skateboarding teenagers on Heroes’ Square manoeuvring among tourists.
Two great museums flank both side of the Square:
- Museum of Fine Arts – both its permanent and temporary exhibitions worth a visit –Note: the Fine Art Museum is closed due to a massive renovation project. It will reopen in 2018. Some of the collection (50-60 items) can be viewed in the Hungarian National Gallery located in Buda Castle in buildings A, B, C, D of the Royal Palace. (address: Szent György tér 2., Buda District I., )
- Hall of Art (Műcsarnok) – Hosts Hungarian and international contemporary art exhibitions. Open: Tue-Sun: 10.00-18.00, Thursday: 12.00-20.00, Closed on Mondays and most National/Public Holidays.
Budapest’s most popular park, the City Park (Városliget) stretches behind Heroes’ Square. You can see the parks most spectacular architecture, Vajdahunyad Castle from the square.
The City Park abandons in attractions especially for kids:
- Holnemvolt Park (the former Amusement Park, closed in fall 2013)
Read more about Budapest History.
An enchanting restaurant on a small island with Mediterranean and Hungarian cuisine.
Robinson is the best-value choice in the area, even if it’s not a budget place.
The lake side location and its above average cuisine make your dinner memorable. Nice offer of local and international wines.
Main dishes: 2700 – 8 900 HUF.
Address: Állatkerti körút, on a small island on the lake
Open: Mon–Sun: 12:00–16:00, 18:00–23:00
Tel: +36 1 343 3776
Only if you curious about and must try this once legendary place then have authentic Hungarian dishes in the famous Gundel restaurant.
If not for the somewhat uninspiring cuisine than drop by for the elegant, turn-of-the-20th-century decoration. Because of its fame it’s still one of the most expensive restaurants in Budapest.
There’s Sunday brunch between 11.30-15.00: all-you-can-eat buffet for 6 500 HUF, 3 400 HUF for children under 12 years of age and free for kids under 4.
An extensive wine list with offers from their own cellar as well as other wineries in Hungary.
Prices: Soups: 3 600 – 4 800 HUF, Main dishes: 5 800- 49 000 HUF (a langouste dish), Desserts: 2 200 – 2 900 HUF, 3-course daily menu: 3 900 – 6 500 (you can get way mor better and cheaper than this in other restaurants of the city)
Address: Állatkerti körút 2., XIV. district
Open: Mon–Sun: 12.00 – 24.00
Tel: +36 1 321 3550
Bagolyvár (Owl’s Castle)
If Gundel is too expensive for you, try Hungarian home-style cooking in Bagolyvár next door. Slightly lower prices but quality is unfortunately not better. Update: the place used to have good reputation and quality food but not anymore: Tastless meals from low-quality ingredients.
Daily menu (3 courses): 2 900 – 3 900 HUF, Hungarian falvors menu: 4 700 HUF (goulash soup, chicken paprikas, and Somló sponge cake) main dishes: 2 600 – 5 900 HUF.
Address: Állatkerti körút 3., XIV. district
Open: 12.00 – 23.00
Tel: + 36 1 468 3110