After the Mongolian conquest in the 13th century, King Béla IV. ordered fortresses from stone to be built. The fortress of Buda was also founded at that time. The castle reached its golden age during the rule of the renaissance king, Matthias. He had it enlarged and transformed to a palace.
Later, during the Turkish occupation of Hungary, it was under Turkish rule for over 150 years. Not even the Habsburgs cared much about it, as the empire was ruled from Vienna. During the second world war it was badly damaged.
The Palace was founded around 1247, but the royal seat was in Visegrád until the 15th century. It went under major reconstructions several times.
Firstly, King Matthias converted the fortification to a palace, later Maria Theresa had it rebuilt and enlarged. In the 19th century the famous Hungarian architect Miklós Ybl got the comission to reconstruct it. From the original fittings unfortunately nothing was left. Today the buildings house the National Gallery, the National Library and the Historical Museum. From the panorama terrace there is a magnificent view of the Pest side.
One way of getting to the palace is by the funicular next to the Tunnel, which has a 95 metres long, 48% steep track and offers one of the most astonishing panoramas in the World – as mentioned in a popular travel blog. Dísz tér is to be found on the northern side of the palace. It was the place of the market during the middle ages, the place where executions were performed too.
Szentháromság tér (Holy Trinity square) is situated in front of the Matthias Church, it is the place, where all major streets of the castle district meet. In the middle of the Szentháromság tér a Holy Trinity coloumn was erected to commemorate the plague epidemic in 1709.
The first Town Hall of Buda faces the square, which was built after the end of the Turkish occupation. Off the beaten track in the smaller side streets one can still feel the atmosphere of old ages, you can see hidden courtyards, signs of the guilds, beautifully reconstructed citizenhouses. Tóth Árpád sétány also worth a walk. The Castle district of Buda is part of the World Heritage since 1987.
Buda Castle houses the annual Budapest Wine Festival in September.