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The Budapest Castle District is situated on the southern tip of Castle Hill on the southwestern side of the Danube. It is famous for its medieval, Baroque and 19th century buildings. In 1987 Buda Castle was declared part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Only people who live here or work in the area, guests of the Hilton Hotel, taxis and the Castle bus (Várbusz) have permission to drive up here, other cars are banned from the Castle District.
History of Budapest Castle District
After the Mongol attacks (13th century) first inhabitants occupied the area. Golden Age began in the Renaissance when the Royal Court moved here. During the 15th century Buda became one of the most influential cities in Europe. Between 1541 and 1686 area was ruled by the Turks. After a devastating war which left the Castle District in ruins, the Habsburgs took back the hill. As the result of long reconstructions the Castle was given its current Baroque appearance. Following WWII the buildings had to be rebuilt but the medieval city has been kept.
Royal Palace (Királyi Palota)
This was the residence of Hungarian kings. Built in the 13th century, the Palace was destroyed and rebuilt many times. During the 19th century reconstructions followed in neo-Baroque style. Under the palace ruins of the medieval and renaissance palace were excavated.
Wienna Gate Square (Bécsi Kapu tér) and its surroundings
The only existing old town-gate. In the Middle Ages the place served as a Saturday Market. Charming houses invite visitors to take a glance in Medieval and Baroque times. Walking along the Europe Grove we can admire various types of rare trees planted by mayors of major European cities in 1972.
The Military Museum is located behind the Maria Magdalene Tower (15th century).
Holy Trinity Square (Szentháromság tér) and its surroundings
The centre of Budapest Castle District is at Holy Trinity Square. The Matthias Church (Mátyás templom) built in Gothic style, was the coronation church of Hungarian kings since King Matthias. During the Turkish occupation it was formed into a mosque which left the cathedral with a mystic, Eastern atmosphere. Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 9.00-17.00, Sunday 13.00-17.00.
The Fishermen’s Bastion (Halászbástya) offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Danube, the Parliament and Pest.
In the cellars of the neo-Gothic style House of Hungarians Wines, 700 Hungarian wines represent the country’s 22 wine region. The Waxwork Exhibition (Budavári Panoptikum) furnished in the labyrinth of caves beneath the Castle Hills introduces the history of Hungary. Temperature is around 14°C and humidity is 90% so bring a sweater or coat with you.
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10.00-18.00.
Budapest Castle District Opening Times
It is free to wander around the Castle District, but if you like to enter some of the Medieval buildings, Baroque-styled rooms or other sights you may join a tour. For more information on sightseeing tours please visit http://www.budapestsite.com/budapest-sightseeing-tours/.
Getting to Budapest Castle District
The Castle Hill Funicular (Sikló) from Clark Ádám tér at the Buda end of the Chain Bridge (Lánchíd) stops right at the castle. The track (100 m) takes about 10 minutes. The Castle bus (Várbusz) departs every few minutes from Moszkva tér (reached by M2, red subway line or tram 4, 6).