Hungarian Parliament Building

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Hungarian Parliament Building ( 640x480 )
Hungarian Parliament Building (Országház) is one of the world’s greatest legislative buildings and, of course, one of the most famous Budapest’s landmarks. It is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary. It lies on Kossuth Lajos Square.

After three cities, Buda, Obuda and Pest, united and created Budapest, National Assembly needed a new seat. The competition was published in 1882. Imre Steindl, a professor at the Technical University, won it, although there were other two plans considered. They were built as well, but never became the seat of the Assembly. One of them is now Ethnographical Museum, other Ministry of Agriculture. The construction began in 1885 on 12 October and was completed in 1904. The architect of the building never saw the building completed, he became blind before it was finished.

The parliament building was built in Gothic Revival style with a central dome and a symmetrical façade. The main façade is the one facing the Danube River; however the main entrance is from the Kossuth square side. It is 268 metres long, 123 metres wide and 96 metres tall. The building covers 18,000 square meters of surface area. Its interior includes 10 courtyards, 13 passenger and freight elevators, 27 gates, 29 staircases and 691 rooms (out of them, more than 200 office rooms). There are 90 statues and the coats-of-arms of various cities and counties adorn the exterior while on the interior walls can be found 152 statues and motives of national fauna. The statues are mainly of Hungarian rulers, Transylvanian leaders and famous military people. The main entrance is bordered by two lions.

The most notable parts of the interior are gigantic ornamental stairs opposite the main entrance, frescos on the ceilings, stained glass, mosaic paintings by Miksa Róth and hexadecagonal (sixteen-sided) central hall, with huge chambers adjoining it: the Lower House (today the National Assembly meets here) and the Upper House (until 1945).

The northern and southern wings of the building each serve one house of the legislature. The northern wing houses the offices of the Prime Minister and in the corner rooms the Speaker of the Parliament has his offices, while the southern wing contains those of the President of the Republic. They are connected by an enormous dome hall, which was once the site of unified sessions.

Due to the Parliament Building’s extensive surface and its minute details, it is almost constantly under renovation.
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