The Budapest Parliament and its treasures
Built between 1885 and 1904 the Budapest Parliament soon became the symbol of the Hungarian capital. Not just becuse its sheer size – nearly 18000 square metres – but because of its detailed decoration, inside splendour and eclectic diversity.
It is the most expensive building ever built in Hungary. The building has 691 rooms, 10 courtyards, 27 gates and 29 staircases. It also houses a public library with 500.000 volumes. The walls from outside are decorated by the statues of the most important historical figures of Hungary. The building is 268 metres long and 118 metres wide, it stretches along the Pest side of the Danube between the Chainbridge and Margaret Bridge. It’s dome is 96 metres hight, exactly the same height as that of the St Stephen Basilica, located also on the Pest side, only 5 minutes walk away.
Until the 19th century the Hungarian diet held its sessions on various places in the country, depending on which part was not under occupation or foreign rule. After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise in 1867, Hungary received more independence and finally an own constitution. As a result the establishment of a parliament building was also initiated. Since its handover, the Parliament is the seat of the leading governmental bodies. In Hungary the legislative body is unicameral. You can visit the building when the Parliament is not in session. The chamber of former Upper House is shown to the visitors. You can actually sit on the benches of the MPs.
Visiting the parlament: Guided tours in English daily at 10.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00. Tickets can be purchased at the visitor center. The tour shows the Main Staircase, the Dome Hall, the Coronation Jewels, the Deputy Council Chamber or the former session room of the Upper House.