A Brief History of the Royal Palace
The first royal residence on Castle Hill was built in the 13th century, after the Mongolian invasion. It was extended in the 14th century, becoming probably the largest Gothic palace of the late Middle Ages. Construction continued in the 15th century, following the marriage of King Matthias Corvinus and Beatrix of Naples in 1476. Many Italian artists and craftsmen accompanied the new queen, bringing the Renaissance style to Buda. The palace was completely destroyed when liberating Buda from the Turks. In the 18th century, a small Baroque palace was built, which is identical with the core structure of the present-day palace. During the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the palace gave home to lavish ceremonies symbolizing peace between the dynasty and the nation. The process of rebuilding the Royal Palace continued in the 19th century, and it was finished in 1904. At the end of World War II, the palace was badly damaged. It was rebuilt once again, in Neo-Baroque style, using many original parts.
Things to Do and See at the Royal Palace
Today, Buda Castle is home to the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the National Library. Other attractions include the Lion Courtyard; the Matthias Well, a bronze statue of King Matthias; and the statue of the Turul Bird, the mythological bird of the Magyars.
Exhibitions in the National Gallery (Building B,C,D) feature the history and development of Hungarian painting. The collection also represents the past five hundred years of art in Hungary, including Medieval and Renaissance stonework, Gothic wood sculptures and Gothic altars. While many of the historic figures depicted on older works may be less recognizable for visitors, paintings from the late 19th century will be more familiar.
The Budapest History Museum (Building E) is dedicated to the history of Budapest. Although not many artifacts survived from the once famous medieval palace; however the museum features a modest selection of restored rooms.
Getting to the Royal Palace: Take the Funicular from Chain Bridge, the public bus serving Castle Hill called Várbusz from Széll Kálmán tér (formerly Moszkva tér) or one of the many paths leading up to Castle Hill