Take a tour with us inside some of Budapest's most famous landmarks as seen through Márk Mervai's lens. Márk was granted special access to these historic buildings for an upcoming photo exhibition.
The Neo-Gothic palace that houses the Hungarian Parliament sits elegantly on the Danube. Step inside however, and you'll find an opulent Baroque-style interior with marble colonnades, wide staircases, chandeliers and frescoes and lots of gilded decor. In fact, 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of 23-carat gold was used to decorate the interior. The Parliament building has 691 rooms and 20 kilometers (12,5 miles) of stairs and it is the third largest Parliament building in the world. The building also houses the Hungarian Crown Jewels, a truly priceless piece of history. Guided tours of Budapest's Parliament are available when the National Assembly is not in session.
New York Palace
The New York Palace, which houses the famous New York Café, is a must-see. This Neo-Renaissance palace opened in 1894 and the café, located on the first floor, soon became a popular spot among writers, poets and editors. The café was also considered as one of the most beautiful coffee houses in Budapest. It's lavish interior, which was recently restored by the new owner Boscolo Hotels, has a fountain, Venetian chandeliers, ceiling frescoes and bronze statues. It's connection to New York is the New York Life Insurance Company, which commissioned the building. Step inside, the wow-factor is guaranteed.
State Opera House
Another Neo-Renaissance building with a rich interior is the State Opera House. The aim here was to express the celebration of music down to the finest details. The mythological themed interior design follows Parisian and Viennese trends of the time. The fresco on the ceiling depicts Olympus and all the Greek gods. The Opera House is also decorated with a number of statues, colonnades and staircases. The auditorium seats 1289 people. Guided tours are offered daily at 3 pm and 4 pm in several languages. The building truly comes alive in the evenings during performances, so be sure to attend one.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
It took more than half a century to build the St. Stephen’s Basilica. The reason for the lengthy construction (1851-1906) was the collapse of the dome in 1868. The Basilica's Neo-Renaisannce interior is decorated by famous Hungarian artists of the era. One of the most beautiful artworks is the oil painting by Gyula Benczúr in which St. Stephen holds up the crown and asks the Virgin Mary to become the patron of Hungary. The beautiful stained glass windows were designed by Art Nouveau artist Miksa Róth. When visiting the Basilica be sure to walk up the spiral staircase (364 steps) for some of the best panoramic views of Budapest.