Városliget (City Park) is a public park covering 1.2 square kilometres in the 14th district of Budapest. Its main entrance is Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere), one of Hungary’s World Heritage sites. In winter, the City Park has the largest artificial ice surface in Europe and it’s the centre of Hungarian bandy, a sport which mixes football (soccer) and ice hockey.
The first mention of the name comes from 1241 in the archaic form, Ukurföld. The area was formerly called Ökör-dűlő, meaning “Oxmeadow”. Around 1800 the official name was changed to Batthyány-erdő (Batthyány Forest) after its tenants, the Batthyány family. The first trees and walkways were established in 1751 and after the public park was created in the first decades of the 19th century, the present-day name, Városliget, was accepted.
The City Park was the main venue of the 1896 millennium celebrations of Hungary, by which time Andrássy Avenue, Millennium Underground and the Grand Boulevard were built.
The City Park is home to one of the world famous Budapest spas, the Széchenyi.
The B-group at the Bandy World Championship 2004 was held here as well as the Bandy World Championship for women in 2007.
The park includes several attractions, both for children and adults. Among them are sports grounds, playgrounds, meadows, esplanades, several statues (among others those of George Washington and Winston Churchill), museums, a botanical garden and a transport park for children.
The museums include the Vajdahunyad Castle, built in 1896 and presenting major art styles and housing the Agricultural Museum today; the Transport Museum of Budapest, constructed three years later; and the Aviation Museum of Budapest.
The flora and fauna are represented by the Municipal Zoological and Botanical Garden, founded in 1866, expanded and improved several times since, and the Budapest Circus that dates back to the 1970s.
One of the greatest attractions of Városliget is the Budapest Amusement Park (Vidám Park) with a separate amusement park for small children, a carousel and a roller coaster, Hullámvasút, built in 1922, which is 17 metres in height and travels 980 metres in five minutes. It is one of the ten remaining side friction roller coasters in the world.