This grand building, the Royal Palace of Buda (Királyi Palota in Hungarian) is located on the top of the cca. 70 meters tall Castle hill in Buda, in the southern, royal part of the Castle district, which is part of the 1st district of Budapest. The Castle district is famous for having medieval, baroque and neo-classical houses, churches and public buildings. Getting up to the top of the hill is easy: one can do it either by foot, public transportation (bus number 16) or by the Castle Hill Funicular. The Castle district has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1987.
In the 1200s, after the one year long Mongolian invasion of Hungary, they constructed a castle and palace complex for defensive purposes on the top of the hill, and for hundreds of years it was the residence of Hungarian kings, nowadays there is not much left from the original castle. The name of the quarter has not changed, it is still called Castle district. The building with the big green dome in the southern part on the top is the Royal Palace. The massive baroque palace that occupies most of the site nowadays, was built between 1749 and 1769, at a time when Hungary was part of the Habsburg ruled Austrian Empire.
In 1867 the Austrian Empire made a compromise with the Hungarians and the Austro-Hungarian Empire was born. During the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918) the palace was home for many splendid ceremonies which symbolized peace between the Habsburg dynasty and the Hungarians. At the end of the second World War the palace was really badly damaged, and it was rebuilt in neo-baroque style. They used many original parts during the reconstruction, but most of the once magnificent palace and rooms were renovated quite modestly.
Today the Royal palace is home to the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the National Széchenyi Library. If you visit the National Gallery, you can have a look at the history and development of Hungarian paintings. Their collection represents the art in Hungary in the past 5 hundred years, it includes medieval and renaissance stonework, gothic wood sculptures and altars as well. The Budapest History Museum – not surprisingly- shows the history of Budapest to its curious guests. The museum also features a humble selection of restored rooms of the Royal Palace.
Around the Palace you will find some attractions: The Lion courtyard, the Matthias well with the bronze statue of King Matthias and the statue of the Turul bird, a mythological bird of the ancient Hungarian tribes.