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Fascinating facts about the Parliament Building of Budapest – history and architecture

The Budapest Parliament is one of the tallest and largest buildings in Hungary and the third largest legislative building in the world. 

The Hungarian Parliament sits majestically on the Pest side of the River Danube, attracting over 700,000 visitors annually.

The building has shaped Hungary over the course of 120 years and has many interesting facts that are bound to enthrall you. 

For instance, did you know that  Imre Ferenc Károly Steindl, the architect of the Hungarian Parliament, went blind and could never see the building he had designed? 

What’s worse – he died a few weeks before the parliament could be inaugurated.

Continue reading for more such trivia about the Parliament Building in Budapest.

Facts about the Parliament Building of Budapest

The best of Budapest

The best of Budapest
Image: Fcit.usf.edu

This Hungarian Parliament Building is so massive that it has 10 courtyards, 13 elevators, 27 gates, 29 staircases, and 691 rooms. 

As a matter of fact, this is a workplace for more than 800 people!

Its witty designer has incorporated numbers that signify milestones in Hungarian history in all the major constructions within this building. 

The 96 steps of the main staircase and the 96-meter-high dome signify Hungary’s year of settlement (896).

The entire layout of this building is perfectly symmetrical and joined with a central dome.

Nearly 10,000 people were involved in constructing the Budapest Parliament Building

Visiting Budapest Parliament? Since the Parliament Building of Budapest is in function at all times, only a guided tour allows you to view its interiors for security reasons. So make sure to Book Your Ticket to explore what’s inside the Parliament Building of Budapest.


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A jungle of staircases

A jungle of staircase
Image: Parlament.hu

There is no shortage of staircases in this building, amounting to a total of 29 staircases.

The City Side Staircase XVII is the first staircase you encounter when you enter the Parliament Building. It leads to the main hall.

As you venture further into the Parliament Building, prepare to be awestruck by the grandeur of the stairway. 

The grand stairway, divided into two parallel sets, is a sight to behold. A long red carpet flows down like a majestic cascade, adding to the grandeur of the scene.

If you were to run across or tumble down all the stairways, you would cover a staggering 19 km (12 miles) in total! A feat that truly showcases the vastness of this architectural marvel.

The red carpet that covers these stairs runs for three kilometers.

The Hungarian Parliament at night is a sight to behold! It is known not only for its architectural marvel but also for its sparkling night views over the Danube. So go on and book your cruise along the Danube, which will take you along to see all the lit-up landmarks on either side of its banks. 

The tragic tale of its designer

The tragic tale of its designer
Image: Wikipedia.org

The architect of the Hungarian Parliament, Imre Ferenc Károly Steindl, was not handpicked, but he won this opportunity by participating in an international competition.

It took almost two decades to construct the building that houses the National Assembly of Hungary. 

Even though he gave Hungary its first parliament building, the sad part is that the creator himself did not live to see his masterpiece getting completed.

By the time it was completed, he went blind, and a few weeks before it was inaugurated, he passed away. 

Want to solve a murder mystery in Budapest? If you want to get rid of guides and go on to explore this beautiful city by yourself with a dash of twist, then you should book the Self-Guided Mystery Tour in Budapest.

The movie “I Spy” starring Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy was extensively shot in Hungary, with scenes showing important landmarks like the Hungarian Parliament, Buda Castle, and the Chain Bridge.


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Fruit of different inspirations 

Fruit of different inspirations
Image: Wikipedia.org, Westminster-abbey.org

The Parliament Building of Hungary is a product heavily influenced by many other major landmarks in various countries. 

The central dome of the Parliament Building is an influence of the Kirche Maria vom Siege in Vienna.

Also, the Palace of Westminster in London influenced its overall design, while the Vienna City Hall inspired its grandeur and scale.

One reason Imre Steindl won the parliament design competition was that his entry resembled the Palace of Westminster. 

Hop on a bicycle and explore the city from its streets! Grab the Budapest Highlights Bike Tour tickets and pedal through the city landmarks (including the Hungarian Parliament Building). Learn more about the history of Hungary from a guide in this 2-hour tour.

A jewel that houses the crown jewels

A jewel that houses the crown jewels
Image: Wikipedia.org

Imre Steindl incorporated real gold and precious gems in the decoration of the stairways and the ceilings of the Budapest Parliament Building.

Forty kilograms of gold and half a million precious stones are studded on the ceilings and decorations, adding to its grandeur.

The crown jewels are among the oldest in Europe, and what makes them even more precious is that they are one of the two Byzantine crowns that survived; the other is housed in the Hungarian National Museum.

This golden crown, adorned with precious stones and enamel works, has been worn on over fifty heads to symbolize power!

The crown, scepter, mantel, and orb are displayed in the central hall with armed guards on a 24-hour watch. 

The crooked cross of the crown: Did you know that this golden crown was actually damaged? The cross that tops the Hungarian holy crown was slightly bent to the left in the 17th century during a careless storage attempt. It has remained the same to this day, and many pictures and paintings of kings depict it.

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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