The Hungarian Parliament Building is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings, a notable landmark of Hungary and a popular tourist destination of Budapest. It lies on Lajos Kossuth Square, on the bank of the Danube. It is currently the largest building in Hungary.
Budapest was united from three cities in 1873 and seven years later a new, grand Parliament Building was established. An international competition was held and construction from the winning plan was started in 1885. The building was inaugurated eleven years later, on the 1000th anniversary of the statehood, and completed in 1904.
Similar to the Palace of Westminster, the Parliament Building is built in the Gothic Revival style. The building has a symmetrical façade and a central dome. Also from the inside the parliament is symmetrical and thus has two absolutely identical parliament halls, of which one is used for the politics and the other one for guided tours.
It is 268 m long and 123 m wide. With its height of 96 m, it is one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest, along with St Stephen’s Basilica. The interior includes 10 courtyards, 13 passenger and freight elevators, 27 gates, 29 staircases and 691 rooms.
Inside and outside, there are altogether 242 sculptures on the walls. Over the windows, there are pictures of coats of arms of kings and dukes. On the façade, statues of Hungarian rulers, Transylvanian leaders and famous military people are displayed. The main façade faces the River Danube, but the official main entrance is from the square in front of the building. The main entrance is the stairs located on the eastern side, bordered by two lions.
When entering the Parliament, visitors can walk up great ornamental stairs, see frescoes on the ceiling and pass by a bust of the creator, Imre Steindl, in a wall niche. Other statues include those of Árpád, Stephen I and John Hunyadi.
One of the famous parts of the building is the sixteen-sided central hall, with huge chambers adjoining it: the Lower House (the National Assembly meets here nowadays) and the Upper House (until 1945). The Holy Crown of Hungary, which is also depicted in the coat of arms of Hungary, has been displayed in the central hall since 2000.
Due to its extensive surface and its detailed handiwork, the building is almost always under renovation.
Imre Steindl, the architect of the building went blind before its completion.
About one thousand people were involved in the construction, during which 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones and 40 kilograms of gold were used.
Mátyás Szűrös declared the Hungarian Republic from the balcony facing Lajos Kossuth Square on 23rd October in 1989.