The Royal Palace, also known as Buda Castle, was built in 1265 on the southern slope of Castle Hill. It is important to mention that the castle was rebuilt more than 30 times due to the fact that it suffered immense damages in times of conflagration and invasion.
Budvári Palota, as it is the name in the Magyar language, was erected in the 13th century by the King Béla who, after seeing the results of the Mongolian invasion, decided to transform the castle into a fortified citadel which would stop any future attacks.
The castle was strategically built as anyone who had control over the edifice controlled the entire valley. Because of its position, it was rather difficult to conquer the citadel thus giving the Hungarian rulers the upper hand when it came to military confrontations.
But even so, the castle changed hands quite a lot of times. The original edifice was constructed in the Gothic style, but since its erection, it underwent constant modification – the palace having been extended more than 300 times. It was during the reign of King Mathias that the palace went through its “golden years.”
A complete annihilation of the edifice occurs in 1686 when the Habsburg army decides to free Budapest of its Ottoman occupation. In the fights in which the two armies are engaged, the royal palace fells victim.
But the Habsburgs built another palace on the same place, but smaller than the former, at the beginning of the 18th century. Unlike the architectural design of the previous one, the new castle is representative of the Baroque Style. But this new construction does not hold its ground for long as the 1848 Independence War leaves its mark on the building.
The reconstruction work which took place at the end of the 19th century bought immense modifications to the castle, almost doubling its dimensions. One change consisted of a large wing being added at the back of the construction. During World War II, the German troupes sought cover inside the walls of the castle before being finally defeated by the Allies in 1945.
Another reconstruction takes place after the war and during these works the foundations of the constructions built in the Gothic and Renaissance styles come to light. These elements are incorporated within the Royal Palace upon its rebuilding process. And the result consists of a mixture of architectural styles which transform the edifice into a symbol of the Hungarian history and architecture.
At present, the Royal Palace is the home of three museums: the History Museum of Budapest, the Hungarian National Gallery and the Contemporary Art Museum.
At the National Art Gallery there are more than 100.000 pieces of art on display which track the evolution of the Hungarian people from the Middle Ages and up to the 20th century. The History Museum of Budapest contains archeological evidence dating from the Roman period and up until the 13th century.
The best way for tourists to reach the Royal Palace of Budapest is to take the cable tramway from the Clark Adam Square. On Castle Hill, tourists can also visit the church where Matei Corvin got married and where Franz Liszt sung the Coronation Mass in 1867, as well as the Sandor Castle, which is the Office of the Hungarian President.