Walking Tour on Andrassy Utca (Self Guided), Budapest

Andrassy Avenue, recognized as a World Heritage site in 2002, is a fine boulevard in the city that dates back to 1870. The entire stretch is lined with cafés, restaurants, luxury shops and cultural institutions. The long, wide road that connects Downtown and City Park is lined with trees and renovated villas and palaces. At the City Park end is the Heroes Square where the most important national monuments are located.
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Walking Tour on Andrassy Utca Map

Guide Name: Walking Tour on Andrassy Utca
Guide Location: Hungary » Budapest (See other walking tours in Budapest)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Author: kane
1
Hungarian State Opera House

1) Hungarian State Opera House (must see)

Set at the heart of Pest, on Andrassy Street, the Hungarian State Opera was officially opened to the public in 1884. Designed by Miklós Ybl, a key figure of 19th-century Hungarian architecture, this grand and elegant edifice represents a blend of Baroque, Renaissance and Revival styles and took nearly a decade to build, skillfully planted into the ensemble of affluent mansions nearby.

Although nowhere near the world's major concert halls in terms of size, the Hungarian Opera House is definitely one of the most beautiful. Flanking the building's main entrance, inside the niches, are the statues of Ferenc Erkel, author of the Hungarian National Anthem, and Ferenc Liszt, the most acclaimed Hungarian composer and reputedly one of the best pianists of his time. On the balustrade, surrounding the roof, are the 16 statues of Europe's greatest composers, such as Beethoven, Mozart, Verdi, Bizet, Puccini and Tchaikovsky. On the inside, the building is just as grand as it is on the outside, replete with marble columns and staircases, vaulted ceilings and lavish gold plating, complete with a rich chandelier weighing several tons(!), and ornate frescoes depicting scenes from the Greek mythology, not to mention the wealth of finest oil paintings and sculptures to be found in Budapest added to the decoration.

The acoustics here are said to be among the best in the world, ranked #3 in Europe after La Scala in Milan and Palais Garnier in Paris.

If you can't get a ticket or if opera isn't one of your things yet, consider taking a guided tour, run three times a day, to get a sense of what the high-society life in Budapest was like back in its heyday in the late 19th century. The tour will take you to the private balconies, smoking room, royal private staircase, and the bar area lavishly clad in crystal and Croatian marble.

Otherwise, if you're an opera fan, try to book yourself a ticket – if lucky, you just might succeed. The tickets are surprisingly not as pricey as you may think, but still, be prepared to dress up to the nines as it is a rather glamorous affair, after all.

Editor's note:
The building is being renovated until 2020, therefore Opera House performances temporarily take place at the Erkel Theatre. However, the Opera Shop and certain parts of the building can be visited even during renovation.
2
Pest Broadway

2) Pest Broadway

Often described as “Champs-Élysées and Broadway rolled into one”, the intersection of Nagymező Street and Andrassy Avenue in Budapest, commonly known as Pest Broadway, is historically renowned for its association with theaters and music. Situated close to the Budapest Opera House, the area is home to the Moulin Rouge nightclub, the Mai Manó House of Photography, the Ernst Gallery, and many other artistically influenced companies the presence of which makes it a cultural center of the city.

Among them are some traditional theaters, like the Thália and Radnóti and the Operetta Theatre, found at the nearby Nagymező Street. A place called Mikroszkóp is famous for its stand-up comedy, attesting to which is a statue of Hungary's most celebrated stand-up comedian, Géza Hofi, placed out front. The surrounding streets, leading toward the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, are quite big on the night entertainment. If you care to stroll down a bit in that direction, you will spot many cute sculptures and monuments along the way, as well.

There is a rich choice of fine dining on Pest Broadway too, including gourmet restaurants, quaint cafes and bars dotting the streets and largely contributing to the area's overall popularity with the locals and tourists alike.
3
Franz Liszt Square

3) Franz Liszt Square

Franz List Square is a very popular stop in Budapest. The location of anchored by the Academy of Music, but is also well known for its cafes and shops. On the corner of Andrassy ut 45, there is a place called the “Irok Boltja” in Hungarian. It means “Writer’s Bookshop” in English. You can find some of the best literary events in Budapest located here. It is definitely a meeting place for famous and not so famous writers, people who love to read, and even just the curious.

Two places of interest in the Square is the Menza restaurant (which is a local favorite) and the Icognito Bar (one of the oldest such establishments in the area.) Even if you do not visit these two places, you will find many nice sidewalk cafes, gardens, and benches to enjoy.

In the center of the Square is a statue of Franz Liszt. He was a famous composer and one of the best classical pianists who has ever lived. You will want to take note of the large hands on the statue, which allude to his skill on the piano. He was born in 1811, and was performing by the age of 9.
4
Academy of Music

4) Academy of Music

The Franz Liszt Academy of Music is a school of music and concert hall in Budapest, Hungary. It is often called the “Zaneakademia” by the local, which just refers to the fact that is, first and foremost, a place that teaches young musicians. It was founded on November 14, 1875.

This famous school also houses the Liszt Collection, which include several rare books and manuscripts. They were donated by the artist at his death. The AVISO studio is also housed here. It is a project between the countries of Japan and Hungary, which is designed to teach music students about sounding recording equipment and techniques.

Historically speaking, the institution was founded in 1919 as the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music. The original location of the Foundation was in I Liszt’s old home. The group renamed the Music school after Liszt in 1925. On a side note, Foundation purchased Liszt’s old home in the 1980s, and now use it as the Ferenc Liszt Memorial and Research Center.

In modern times, the school has around 900 students. It has been in continuous existence since 1875, and is the only music Academy anywhere in the world that was founded by the famous composer and pianist.
5
Oktogon

5) Oktogon

Oktogon, located at the junction of Andrassy Avenue and Terez Korut Street, gets its name from its octagonal shape. The buildings that are located at this junction form an octagonal shape and hence the name of the square ‘Oktogon’. The beautiful facades of the surrounding buildings reflect the neo-Renaissance style of architecture.
6
House of Terror

6) House of Terror (must see)

Located at Andrassy ut 60 in Budapest, Hungary is the so-called House of Terror. It is actually a museum proper, which houses exhibits that depict life under the fascist and communist regimes that dominated the political arena in Hungary during the 20th Century. In like fashion, it is also a memorial to the many people who died under those governments or were victims of torture and detention.

The official opening of the museum was on February 24, 2002. The facility is administered by Dr. Maria Schmidt, who has been the Director General since its opening. The building was purchased in 2000 and was intended to be the place where the story of the life of the Hungarians who lived through these hard times would be told into posterity.

It took a year to finish construction, as the building on 60 Andrássy Avenue was fully renovated inside and out. The architect was Attila F. Kovacs, and he was assisted by Janos Sandor and Kalman Ujszaszy. Akos Kovacs wrote the music that is the backdrop for the exhibits.

When you first view the building, one is struck by the stark architecture of the building. Its black passé partout, granite sidewalks, and blade colored walls really make it stand out against the more traditional buildings of the area.

Why You Should Visit:
Macabre but provides a good background to the recent history of Budapest.
Highlights include the propaganda room on the floor as well as the torture rooms in the basement (which are not for the faint of heart).

Tip:
English-speakers: hire the audio guide, as most pictures and exhibits don't have English captions.
Consider combining your trip with the Mai Manó House of Photography (if only to have a look at the building from the outside), a coffee at the magnificently decorated Book Café, and a visit to the Opera (check their website for the hours of tours in English) – all nearby.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm, closed on Mondays
7
University of Fine Art

7) University of Fine Art

The Hungarian Academy of Fine Art was originally founded in 1871. The building that now stands along the Danube was constructed in 1876. It is located on Pest Avenue, and connects with the City Park. The structure underwent some major construction in 1997, and the work was completed by 1998. The façade of the home of the art school displays some beautiful portraits of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Bramante.

The Academy was started as a school for master painters. Over the years, the courses of study have been expanded to many other areas of art.

On the opposite side of the academy is a Mulberry garden. There are five buildings located here, which are now studios. These studios are used by the students of the school, who study, and can receive a degree in sculpture, painting, graphic design, costume design and restoration, and multi media.

The Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1871. The central building, erected in 1876, is located on the most elegant avenue of Pest which connects the Danube with the City Park. The building was restored to its original beauty in 1997/8. The restoration includes the facade with sgrafitto portraits of Bramante, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, and also the Rector's corridor and numerous internal decorations.
8
Zoltan Kodaly Memorial Museum

8) Zoltan Kodaly Memorial Museum

The Zoltan Kodaly Memorial Museum was built in 1990 to honor the life and work of one of Hungary’s most famous 20th Century composers. He was also a famous Hungarian ethnomusicologist, and contributed greatly to the country’s study of musical history, linguistics, and philosophy. The location seeks to share this information, as well as being a place of historical preservation for the composer.

The museum also displays some personal effects of the musician. Visitors can also see his music saloon and library, which all belonged to the composer. In the spring of 1990, the workshops for Hungarian music history were also opened to the public from this location. The workshop is pretty much been left in the condition is in during Kodaly’s life.

The road on which the museum rests is also very famous. During his life, Kodaly lived at the Korond, which is named after him now. When the family first moved to the house, the street was named after Gyula Andrassy, who was the Prime Minister during the Constitutional Government of 1867. In 1949, the road was renamed by Stalin as the “Road of the Hungarian Youth.” During WWII, the circus was named after Adolf Hitler. The original name was restored in 1982.

Operation hours: Wednesday - Friday: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm & 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm. Visits are by appointment only.
9
Ferenc Hopp East-Asian Art Museum

9) Ferenc Hopp East-Asian Art Museum

The Ferenc Hopp Museum of East Asian Art is located in the home of its founder. It is a rather large villa that has provided lots of room over the years. The location has six full rooms, which houses one of the country’s most prestigious exhibits of Japanese and Chinese art. It houses classic examples of Asian ceramics, textiles, sculpture, porcelain figurines, Indonesian wayang puppets and Indian statuary. There is also a Lamaist sculpture and paintings from Tibet housed here.

Ferenc Hopp was born on 28, April 1833 in the village of Fulnek in Moravia in a German speaking family. He moved to the Pest region of Hungary in 1845. He became a successful businessman, who traveled throughout Europe and the United States. He did well enough as a businessman to be able to travel and collect the objects of art that are now housed in his home.

The formal organization of the Museum began in 1919, with the help of Zoltan Felvinczi Takacs and the Museum of Fine Arts. The place continued to make purchases in art, and receive donations, all through the 20th Century.

The museum currently houses over 20,000 objects of art. The collections represent the eastern countries of Japan, China, Indonesia, India, Korea, Vietnam, and the people of Islam. The adjacent library has over 22,000 volumes.

Operation hours: Wednesday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

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