Hungarian Parliament building and the meaning of 96
The Hungarian Parliament building was constructed in the late 19th century. To create a truly impressive edifice, a professional tender was organised and numerous great designs were submitted. The top three were so good, that in the end, all three parliament buildings were constructed and still stand today. (Find out what the other two have become used for on the tour!) As the great Hungarian millennium celebrations grew closer, it became a race
Although Hungarian parliamentary sessions were actually held there in 1896, before the great millennium, the final construction was not completed until 1903. The architect Imre Steindl was old and sick towards the end and died just a month before it was complete. His designs had been very advanced and included elevators, electric clocks and lights, (remember Frankenstein was only published in 1818, so electricity was still quite the new thing.) Heating was provided via underground steam ducts from a furnace building across the street, still in existence today. Get our tour guide to point it out to you!
Visitors who pay for the tour can view the inside upper hall and lobby,
the grand staircase and the dome chamber, which bizarrely hosts the crown jewels as well. The finished building is symmetrical, with a length of 270m, width of 123m and the top of the dome stands 96m high, purposefully designed that way to both hint at the conquest of Hungarian lands in 896 and to be exactly the same height, but not higher, than the dome of St Stephen’s basilica. No structures in the area may be built higher either.
Hungarian Parliament Info
Address: Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, 1055 Budapest . Map ref: 47.504630, 19.050319
Opening hours: Visitors centre open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat-sun 8am-4pm. Tours are the same, with some exceptions for parliamentary business. Most visitors just view the steps and the eternal flame from the square area. The inside can only be seen via guided tour – Information and booking at the underground visitors centre.
Cost: EU adults 1000 HUF. Non-EU Adults: 5200 HUF
Best time to see it: Early in the morning, or at sunset.