Gaze at the grand building of the democratic government of the people of Hungary and enjoy its reflection in the Danube River.
Hungarian officials wanted to create a grand celebration of the country’s Millennial in 1896 so they constructed the Parliament Building (Orszaghaz) using London’s Westminster Palace as inspiration. Hungarian architect, Imre Steindl, created plans for the impressive structure and built it in a prominent position along the Pest side of the Danube River. The site was selected on this flat central location as a symbol of the city’s new democratic government rather than the lofty hilltop castles of royalty.
The design is neo-Gothic with turrets and arches. Hungarian monarchs and military commanders are remembered in 90 statues along the outer walls.
Walk the length of the 880-foot (268-meter) building, which contains 691 rooms. It’s the third largest parliament in the world. Much of the interior includes Renaissance and Baroque elements, including 88 pounds (40 kilograms) of gold decoration. It was designed to house two chambers of parliament in separate wings, with a 315-foot (96-meter) tall domed center structure for joint sessions. This large hall has 16 statues of kings and rulers from Hungary, Transylvania and Hapsburg.
Visit the interior rooms during daytime hours when Parliament is not in session, or observe plenary sessions on Monday afternoons and Tuesday mornings (with a reservation). There is a fee to enter the building. Once inside, take the 50-minute tour, which is offered in English and several other languages. Purchase tickets in advance since same-day ticket sales are sometimes limited.
The Parliament Building is one of the most photographed sights of Budapest. During the day its red dome contrasts against blue skies. In the evening, brilliant white or multicolored lights shine along the facade and reflect in the waters of the Danube. Take your own photographs to capture the memory, or purchase postcards or prints from a souvenir shop.
To get to the Parliament Building, take the metro or tram to the station at Kossuth Lajos tér, or bus or trolley.