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Inside the Budapest Parliament – grand stairs, central dome, and crown jewels

The Hungarian Parliament is a well-functioning legislative body that formulates laws and acts as a workplace for more than 700 office workers.

Though it is used for government proceedings in Hungary, the building is attractive as it contains many treasures.

This is a must-visit location in Budapest, as the interiors narrate how Hungary passed through many trials and tribulations to become the sovereign country it is today.

Read through the end of this article, which gives you a clear account of everything housed within this majestic building on the bank of the Danube.

If you are a lover of architecture and history, then this is your cup of tea! 

Note: Only a guided tour will let you explore the interiors of this building, so make sure to purchase the Parliament tour in Budapest with an audio guide ticket to venture into its chambers decorated with real gold and precious gems!

Inside the Budapest Parliament

The City Side Staircase XVII

The City Side Staircase
Image: Parlament.hu

Staircase XVII is one of the twenty-eight stairs in the House of Parliament, and your tour begins from here.

You climb up the decorative, gold-plated Staircase XVII to reach the most spectacular floor of the building – the main floor. 

You will take in the intricate statues, stained glass windows, and decorative frescoes during this climb.

Before exploring these attractions inside, make sure to read some Interesting facts about the Hungarian Parliament Building to make your experience even more indulging and unforgettable.


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The Grand Stairway

The Grand Stairway
Image: Abeaumonster.Typepad.com

The long and expansive grand stairways connect the upper and lower houses of the Parliament building. 

They are decorated with long red carpets that run a few kilometers with ornamental sidebars and statues exuding the opulence and artistry of the creators.

This stairwell will be the first grand location you encounter when entering the Parliament building, with stunning frescoes on the ceilings gleaming in golden light.

You can also see the bust of Imre Steindl, the designer of this building, as you walk down the stairs.

As you ascend these ivory-colored stairs, you will reach the Central Dome, where the crown jewels are displayed.

Stroll through the city of Budapest through this fun activity and get to know fun stories and facts about the major landmarks. Purchase the city discovery quest game and go on a city-wide treasure hunt with your friends or family.

Central dome/Dome hall

Central dome(Dome hall)
Image: Parlament.hu

This central dome is the heart of this structure that connects the houses of the Parliament and rises high above the building, measuring about 96 mts from ground level.

It reflects the Renaissance Revival architecture with a tall finial on the exterior that adds to its grandeur and height.

This is the most important and guarded area of the Parliament Building, as it houses Hungary’s crown jewels.

Photography is strictly prohibited in this particular location, and there are armed guards placed all over this place to watch the crown jewels and prevent visitors from clicking pictures.

The interiors of this grand dome are filled with ornamental stained glass windows and broad pillars with the crown jewels placed in the center.

Both Budapest Parliament and St Stephen’s Basilica are the same height in Budapest, and once, there was a rule that no building should be constructed above the height of these two historic landmarks.


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Crown jewels 

Crown jewels
Image: DailyNewsHungary.com

You will view the show’s star in the central dome that connects the upper and lower houses of the Budapest Parliament Building.

The holy crown in the dome hall is made of gold and studded with large sapphires and rubies with intricate metalwork topped with a crooked cross and dangling pendants. 

Due to its high historical and cultural value, it is kept inside a glass display with two armed guards for 24-hour surveillance.

If you are lucky, you may even see the Change of Guard, which happens every few hours.

This building is prestigious because it houses the holy crown of Hungary, which is also on the coat of arms.

It is a sacred relic of the Hungarians that people come to witness in the Parliament Building.

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.

The Lounge of the Chamber of Peers

The Lounge of the Chamber of Peers
Image: Imaginoso.com

After exploring the Dome hall, the tour enters the Lounge of the Chamber of Peers. 

Check out the pyrogranite sculptures, made of a unique material that was considered an innovation in its day.

This area houses the largest hand-knotted carpet in Europe, painting the lounge of the Chamber of Peers’ floor turquoise. 

Once you are done with the carpet, look up to see ornate gold gilded ceilings with paintings.

The Hungarian Parliament gleams in gold at the banks of the Danube every night. Check out to learn more about the Budapest Parliament at night!


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Upper house’s Chamber of Peers 

Upper house’s Chamber of Peers
Image: Wikipedia.org

This chamber is also known as the Old Upper House Hall and used to house the Upper House of Parliament till Hungary decided to turn into a one House Government.

While one hall in the lower room is still being used to formulate laws, the chamber of peers in the Upper hall is open for conferences and guided tours.

Visitors are taken on guided tours to only the Upper House of the Parliament Building since the Lower House’s Parliament Hall is in session at times.

Don’t miss the panels made of Slavonian oak, gold-plated decorations, horseshoe-shaped seating arrangement, and paintings of the coats of arms of Hungary’s royal families.

Parliament Museum 

Parliament Museum
Image: Parlament.hu

After touring the Parliament Building, you will visit its museum, located in the Béla Neÿ Hall of the Visitors Center.

This Museum was established in 2014 to collect, preserve, and exhibit the souvenirs from the historic building. 

The museum houses collections of the Parliament Building, including the giant red star that was once fixed on the central cupola (dome) during the Soviet reign in Hungary.

You can also look at pictures of the areas in the Parliament Building that are not covered in the guided tours.

The four permanent exhibitions combine traditional and multimedia technology:

  • History of the Construction of the Courtyard
  • 1956 Memorial
  • 1000 Years of Hungarian Legislation
  • Stone Museum

Note: The museum is open to visitors who have purchased a guided tour ticket to the Hungarian Parliament Building.

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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