Hungarian Parliament Building

Budapest, Hungary | C.1896

Photo Credit: Tatiana Costa

A failed insurrection, a subsequent military dictatorship, and an eventual compromise between the Kingdoms of Hungary and Austria all led to the creation of the Hungarian Parliament Building. After decades of political turmoil, Hungary restored a sense of sovereignty and in 1880, the Diet proposed building a new parliament building in commemoration.

Through much of the 19th century, Hungary was the center of a territorial conflict between the ruling House of Habsburg, young Austrian monarch Franz Joseph I, and native Hungarians known as Magyars who sought independence from the overarching monarchies. What resulted was the Austria-Hungary Empire, a dual monarchy which ruled the region until WW1.

The empire’s capital was born in 1873 when three cities — Buda, Óbuda, and Pest — merged into one, creating Budapest. Seven years later, talks of a new parliament building began. The Diet held a design competition and selected the plans of architect Imre Steindl, who would later go blind and pass away before the building’s completion, never getting to see his work come to fruition.

After 19 years of construction, the Parliament Building was complete. Over that period of time, a team of 10,000 people were involved in its construction which required 40 million bricks, a half a million precious stones, and 88 lbs of gold. Influenced by London’s House of Parliament, the building is designed in the Gothic Revival style and faces the Danube River.

Political crises on a national and international scale continued to pervade Hungary well after the construction of the Parliament Building. The Building has endured two World Wars, uprisings, and another revolution over the last century, and today is still used by the National Assembly of Hungary.

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