From Oktogon to Heroes' Square


From Oktogon the Andrássy út becomes wider. In the section after the Great Boulevard, the houses at Nos. 52, 62 and 57 are characteristic and noteworthy eclectic buildings (in the latter, which is the old Academy of Music, Ferenc Liszt, one of the founders of the Academy and its first director, lived when he stayed in Budapest). Nos. 69 and 71 houses the Academy of Fine Arts. No. 69, built between 1875 and 1877 in Italian Renaissance style, has an ashlar façade with a full-length balcony with Corinthian half columns and a baluster railing on the first floor. Frescoes by Károly Lotz decorate its vestibule and first-floor corridors. This building houses the State Puppet Theatre as well. No. 71, an eclectic building with lovely sgraffiti on its façade, was built in 1875. The predecessor of the Academy of Fine Arts, the first Hungarian school of drawing was founded in 1777, during the reign of Maria Theresa, in the Fortuna Hotel on Castle Hill. In the middle of the nineteenth century the Italian Jacopo Marastoni opened an artists' academy in Pest; among his disciples were the renowned artists Károly Lotz and Bertalan Székely. The present Academy was inaugurated in 1871.

No. 73-75 is the headquarters of the Hungarian State Railway's administration. One of the two copper relieves commemorates the railwaymen who died in the world wars, the other was erected in 1946, the centenary of the Hungarian railways. The avenue then again widens into a circular open place, the Kodály körõnd (Circus), bordered by four mansions with arched façades. We can find here the Archive and Museum in memory of Zoltán Kodály. Under the old plane trees stand four statues: Vak (Blind) Bottyán, an eighteenth-century "kuruc" general of the independence fights of Rákóczi; Miklós Zrínyi, the defender of Szigetvár in 1566; György Szondi, the other legendary hero of the wars against the Turks, and Bálint Balassi, an outstanding lyric poet of the sixteenth century. Of the surrounding buildings, the handsome row of loggias over the double courtyard of Nos. 83,85 and the wrought-iron gate of the building at No. 88 are worth a Iook.

After the Körönd, Andrássy út becomes less closely built up and from Bajza utca onwards the houses are surrounded by gardens: many foreign missions are situated here and it has become the diplomatic district of the capital. At No. 101 are the premises of the Association of Hungarian Journalists and No. 103 houses the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts. The capital's most beautiful avenue ends in the artistically composed Hôsök tere.