Buda Castle at night

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Buda Castle at night ( 640x480 )
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Buda Castle (Budai Vár) in the capital city of Hungary – Budapest is the historical castle of the Hungarian kings. In the past it was also the Royal Palace and the Royal castle. It is the largest building of the Castle Hill located on its southern tip. The Buda Castle was declared the part of the Budapest World Heritage Site in 1987.

The site of present day Buda Castle was first inhabited by royal family of King Béla IV of Hungary between 1247 and 1265, although there is no archeological evidence about it. The first part of Buda Castle was built by Prince Stephen, Duke of Slavonia in the 14th century. Since then, the palace was in constant changes. The Castle was significantly modified by Sigmound of Luxembourg in the first part of the 15th Century, its Hall of Knights being one of the greatest in Europe in that time. It was probably the largest gothic palace of the late Middle Ages. The Palace was converted into the Rennaissance-style palace by King Matthias Corvinus, but this didn’t survive the Ottoman invasion, occupation and battles of the reconquest. The reconstruction started in the second half of the 18th Century by the Queen Maria Theresa. In the late 19th Century during the reign of the Austrian-Hungarian Emperor and King Franz Joseph got Buda Castle its present day look. The Palace was heavily destroyed again during the Second World War when it almost totally burned out, but was carefully restored.

There are two museums situated in the Buda Castle today. One of them is the Historical Museum of Budapest. It shows the history of Budapest from the beginning to the communist era. Other museum is Hungarian National Gallery (with great collection of Hungarian paintings and sculptures). Besides museums, one can walk through the courtyard and observe the architecture of the castle or the gardens in the medieval "zwingers" (walled enclosures). There is also a closed-off well, and a magnificent view of the surrounding area, the Castle District.
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