The Heroes’ Square in Budapest (Piata Eroilor din Budapesta)

The Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere, in Hungarian) is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Budapest. The Square is located in front of the Central Park, at the end of the Andrassy Bulevard – this being one of the most important streets in the Hungarian capital city, and is a monument which has been inscribed in UNESCO’s Universal Patrimony. The square bears high political and historical meaning, having been constructed in 1896 in order to commemorate 1000 years since the Magyar population had migrated in the Carpathian Basin.

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The monument is formed of two semicircles which are adorned from above with various symbols – for peace and war, for work and wellbeing, for knowledge and glory. On the sides, the Heroes’ Square is decorated with sculptural representations of some of the most relevant figures of Hungarian history: kings, governors and other famous personalities.

The reason for which those people had been included in the monument in the form of statues is presented by means of a small slate situated at the bottom in which the most important moment from that person’s life (relevant for the Hungarian history) is described.

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In the middle of the square stands erect, on a tall column of 36 meters, the statue of Archangel Gabriel. At the bottom, surrounding the column, tourists will gaze on equestrian statuettes. These are meant to honor Árpád Göncz, the former President of Hungary (who had played a major role in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956), and the seven leaders of the Magyar tribes. It should also be noted that the descendants of Árpád were the ones to institute the royal dynasty in Hungary.

The construction work for the memorial under discussion was initiated in 1896, as it has been aforementioned, but the completed monument was to be revealed four years later, in 1900.

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When the work began, Hungary was part of the Austrian Empire. This goes to explain why the last five spaces within the row of columns were left unfilled initially. These were designated to hold the sculptural representations of the ones who were to rule the Habsburg Dynasty. Thus, the ones to fill in the spaces were Ferdinand I, Leopold I, Charles III, Maria Theresa and Franz Joseph. But WWII left its imprint on the monument, in as much as it had to be reconstructed after the war. With this occasion, the Habsburg rulers were replaced and in their place were included the figures we can see at present.

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Another element of interest in the Heroes’ Square is the Monument of the Unknown Soldier which has been constructed in the honor of the soldiers who had fought and died for the independence of their nation.

The square has on each side an edifice dedicated to art: on the left, one can find the Museum of Fine Arts, while on the right, is the Gallery of Art. Both of them are worth your time, so if you ever go to the Heroes’ Square make sure you do not miss your chance to visit them. Throughout the years, the museum and the gallery had been in competition with one another in their attempt to attract a large number of tourists. The result was that there had been temporary exhibits held here with works of art of renowned painters such as Van Gogh or Rembrandt.

 

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Behind the commemorative monument lies a bronze plate in the exact place that marks the drilling site of an artesian well. This project was undertaken by Vilmos Zsigmondy, who finished the work in the later part of the 19th century (1878). This well is close to 1000 m in depth (971m) and it produces 831 liters/minute of hot water.