Buda Castle is an imposing complex that overlooks the city of Budapest from an elevated position atop Castle Hill. Often referred to as the Royal Palace, Buda Castle has existed since the 13th Century and has been destroyed in battles and rebuilt several times.
Once inhabited by kings and ruling families, Buda Castle now houses the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the National Széchenyi Library. Other attractions in the complex include the Lions' Courtyard, Matthias Fountain and the statue of the Turul Bird.
The Hungarian National Gallery
The Hungarian National Gallery contains an overwhelming collection of Hungarian art from the 11th Century to the present. The largest collections include medieval and Renaissance stonework, Gothic wooden sculptures, Gothic altars and late Renaissance and Baroque art. Some pieces to look out for include the Romantic Nationalist paintings by Gyula Benczúr, the unique portraits by József Rippl-Rónai and works by the realist, Mihály Munkácsy.
The Budapest History Museum
The Budapest History Museum is dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of Budapest. The museum features a modest selection of restored rooms of the former Royal Palace including a Gothic chapel and the Knights' Hall. There is also a display of marble sculptures that once decorated the grand palace.
Another part of this museum looks at 2,000 years of Budapest history over three floors. The ground floor exhibits a showcase of Budapest during the Middle Ages, with important Gothic statues of courtiers, squires and saints. A wonderful exhibit on the first floor looks at the city from the Turkish occupation to modern times.
Entry and admission
Most visitors enter Buda Castle from St. George Square to the north. An ornamental gate dating from 1903 separates the Square from the castle. Admission to permanent exhibitions in the Hungarian National Gallery costs 1,400 Ft (approx. 6.50 AUD) or is free with a Budapest Card (a tourist card that offers many discounts and free travel around the city), with concessions available.
Temporary exhibitions have varied ticket prices. Admission to the Budapest History Museum costs 2,000 Ft (approx. 9.50 AUD) or is free with a Budapest Card. Concessions are also available.