Országház in Hungarian, translates to be the “House of the Nation” or the “House of the Country” in English and is today the home of one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings and a spectacular building on the banks of the Danube in Budapest. Today it continues to be largest and tallest building in Budapest.
In 896 the seven Magyars tribes settled in the Carpathian Basin under the leadership of Árpád. With their 1000th birthday approaching it was decided to build a new Parliament building in celebration of this momentous event. The winning design by Imre Steindl was chosen in 1882 and in 1885 began the process of building a this most incredible structure. The building was inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary in 1896 though the actually construction wasn’t finished until 1902.
Steindl based his designs on the Neo-Gothic aspect of the Houses of Parliament in London, however he also incorporated other styles indicative to central Europe, such as a central dome which incorporates a Neo-Renaissance type of construction. From the inside the Parliament is symmetrical with two identical Parliament halls, one of which is used for Parliament and the other is used for guided tours. In 1944, after WWII the Hungarian people decided to change to a unicarmel Parliament, a one house parliament so now we can all see this most impressive of interiors as well as the exterior.
The statistic alone are staggering, the building was completed in 17 years with over 1000 labourers, mainly convicts, working at any one time. The building is 268m (879ft) long and 123m (404ft) wide. The distance to the top of the dome is 96m (315ft) and is reference to the year the Magyars arrival here. More than 40 million bricks where used In its construction incorporating 10 courtyards, 29 staircases and 691 rooms including more than 200 offices. The decoration of the interior used more than half a million precious stones and over 40kg (88lb) of gold.
The Vaulted Hall
Supported by 8 columns carved from a single block of Swedish marble, a gift from the Swedish King
Under frescos by Károly Lotz, the Dome Hall is surrounded by ceramic statues of the countries rulers, including Árpád, the original Magyar, and a line of Hapsburg rulers. In the centre is the Sacred Crown of St. Stephen, sceptre, orb and sword, known as the Coronation Insignia they were placed here in 2000.
A highlight of a visit to Budapest.
A guided visit of the Hungarian Parliament building is included on: