Heroes’ Square (Hősök Tere) In Budapest
Heroes’ Square, also known as Hősök tere in Hungarian, is a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site that stands as a symbol of Hungarian pride and history. Located at the end of Andrássy Avenue, next to City Park in Budapest, this iconic square captivates visitors with its monumental dimensions and neoclassical architecture. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the rich history, stunning architecture, and significant statues that make Heroes’ Square a must-visit destination in Budapest.
How to Get to Heroes Square
Address: Budapest, Hősök tere, 1146 Hungary
- By Metro: The easiest way to get to Heroes’ Square is by taking the M1 (yellow) metro line. The stop is called “Hősök tere”. The M1 line is part of Budapest’s historic underground railway, the oldest in continental Europe.
- By Bus: You can also get there by bus. Bus lines 20E, 30, 30A, and 230 all have stops at or near Heroes’ Square.
- By Car: If you’re driving, the Square is at the end of Andrássy Avenue, a major road in Budapest. However, parking might be limited due to its popularity.
- By Bike or On Foot: If you’re already in the city center, you could also consider walking or cycling. Budapest is a fairly bike-friendly city, and there’s a direct and scenic route along Andrássy Avenue.
Always be sure to check the most recent transport information for any changes to these routes and schedules.
A Brief History of Heroes’ Square
Heroes’ Square has its roots in the grand “Millennium Festivities” held in Hungary at the end of the 19th century. These celebrations marked the 1000th anniversary of the arrival of the Magyars, the ancestors of the Hungarians, in the Carpathian basin. As part of these festivities, Heroes’ Square was constructed to commemorate this historic event. The square became a focal point for the construction of other notable landmarks, such as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Műcsarnok, an art gallery, both of which still grace the square today.
During the Hungarian People’s Republic, which lasted from 1948 to 1989, Heroes’ Square served as a gathering place for forced assemblies and state-controlled events. However, with the fall of the communist regime, the square regained its significance as a symbol of national identity and witnessed pivotal moments in Hungary’s history, such as the reburial ceremony of Imre Nagy, the leader of the 1956 revolution.
The Architecture of Heroes’ Square
Heroes’ Square is a masterpiece of neoclassical architecture, designed by architects Albert Schickedanz and Fülöp Herzog. The square features a grand semicircular colonnade, with a total of 14 statues and reliefs that pay homage to significant figures in Hungarian history.
The left colonnade showcases statues and reliefs depicting notable Hungarian kings and their accomplishments. King Stephen I, the founder of the Hungarian state, is depicted receiving the crown from the Pope at Christmas of 1000. King Ladislaus I is shown slaying a Cumanian abductor, while King Coloman is portrayed prohibiting the burning of witches. The reliefs continue with King Andrew II leading a crusade, King Bela IV rebuilding the country after the Mongol invasion, and King Louis I occupying Naples.
On the right colonnade, statues and reliefs honor influential leaders and events in Hungarian history. John Hunyadi is depicted stopping Turkish invaders at the Siege of Nandorfehervar, while King Matthias Corvinus is shown surrounded by his scholars. The colonnade also features Prince Stephen Bocskai, whose Hajdu soldiers defeated the Habsburg imperial forces, and Prince Gabriel Bethlen, who signed a treaty with Bohemia. Other notable figures include Prince Emeric Thokoly, who led a successful kuruc army against Austrian troops, Prince Francis Rakoczi II, who was welcomed back to Hungary by a peasant army, and Governor Lajos Kossuth, a great patriot and statesman.
At the top of the semicircular colonnades, allegorical bronze figures represent War and Peace, as well as Labour and Wealth, Knowledge and Glory. These symbolic figures add depth and meaning to the overall design of Heroes’ Square.
The Millennium Monument: A Tribute to Hungary’s Ancestors
Dominating Heroes’ Square is the Millennium Monument, a towering column topped by the Archangel Gabriel. This iconic monument was specifically constructed for the 1896 Millennium celebrations, marking Hungary’s 1000th anniversary since its ancestors settled in the Carpathian Basin. The Archangel Gabriel holds St. Stephen’s Crown, symbolizing the divine connection between Hungary and its first king.
Surrounding the column are seven equestrian statues representing the seven Magyar tribes that arrived in the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century. These tribes, led by Árpád, played a crucial role in Hungary’s formation and development. The Millennium Monument, together with Andrásy Avenue, has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2002, further solidifying its cultural and historical significance.
The Memorial Stone of Heroes and Commemorating WWI
In addition to the statues and reliefs, Heroes’ Square is also home to the Memorial Stone of Heroes, a robust slab honoring the heroes of World War I. This stone serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by countless individuals during the war. The inclusion of the Memorial Stone completes the narrative of Heroes’ Square, paying tribute to both historical figures and those who fought for their country in more recent times.
Exploring Heroes’ Square and Nearby Attractions
A visit to Heroes’ Square offers not only a glimpse into Hungary’s rich history but also access to several other notable attractions nearby. The Museum of Fine Arts, located on the square itself, houses an extensive collection of artwork spanning various periods and styles. From classical masterpieces to contemporary pieces, the museum offers a diverse and enriching cultural experience.
Adjacent to Heroes’ Square is the Műcsarnok, an art gallery renowned for its Hungarian and international contemporary art exhibitions. A visit to this gallery provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant and ever-evolving world of modern art.
City Park, also known as Városliget, stretches behind Heroes’ Square and is a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. Within the park, you’ll find the iconic Vajdahunyad Castle, which showcases stunning architecture and hosts various cultural events throughout the year. Other attractions in City Park include the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, Széchenyi Baths for a relaxing thermal bath experience, and the former amusement park, Holnemvolt Park.
Dining Options near Heroes’ Square
After exploring the wonders of Heroes’ Square and its surrounding attractions, you may find yourself craving a delicious meal. Luckily, there are several dining options in the vicinity to satisfy your culinary desires.
Robinson Restaurant, located on a small island on the lake in City Park, offers a charming and enchanting dining experience. With a focus on Mediterranean and Hungarian cuisine, Robinson provides a delightful menu that is sure to please any palate. From local specialties to international favorites, this restaurant offers a range of options to suit every taste.
For those seeking a taste of Hungarian tradition, Gundel is a legendary restaurant that has been serving authentic Hungarian dishes for decades. While it may be on the pricier side, Gundel is known for its elegant turn-of-the-century decor and exquisite cuisine. From hearty soups to delectable desserts, a meal at Gundel is a true culinary experience.
Where is Heroes' Square located?
Heroes' Square, known as Hősök tere in Hungarian, is located at the end of Andrássy Avenue and next to City Park in Budapest, Hungary.
Why is it called Heroes' Square?
It's called Heroes' Square because it features statues of the leaders of the seven tribes that founded Hungary in the 9th century, along with other important national leaders.
What is the significance of Heroes' Square?
The square was laid out in 1896 to mark the thousandth anniversary of Hungary. The centerpiece, the Millennium Monument, was completed in 1929 and pays tribute to important figures in Hungary's history.
What monuments or structures can I see at Heroes' Square?
You'll see the Millennium Monument in the center of the square, with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front. Behind the monument, there are two important art galleries: The Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art (or Kunsthalle Budapest).
Can I visit Heroes' Square at any time?
Yes, Heroes' Square is an open public square, so you can visit it any time. However, the museums have their own operating hours.
Is there an admission fee to enter Heroes' Square?
No, it's free to visit Heroes' Square. There may be admission fees for the museums on the square, though.
Can I take a guided tour of Heroes' Square?
Yes, many city tours in Budapest include a stop at Heroes' Square, and some tour guides may offer specific insights into the square's history and significance.