The Parliament building

The Parliament building, which has become the symbol of the capital, was built between 1880 and 1902 to the designs of Imre Steindl. The alluvial soil of the Danube bank had to be reinforced by a two- metre (7 ft.) deep concrete foundation so that it support the colossal building, which is 268 metres (300 yds.) long and 123 metres (140 yds.) at its greatest width has ten courts, 27 gates, and 29 staircases. The exterior of the building is adorned with lace-like Gothic pinnacles and 88 statues representing Hungarian rulers princes and military commanders. On the Danube side an unbroken line of arcades dominates the building, with neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance motifs. In the centre of the building, in Kossuth Lajos tér, is the main entrance, flanked by bronze lions, behind which the ornamental staircase leads to the hall under the dome.

Guided tours are organised to see the interior. The 27-metre (82 ft.) high hall beneath the dome - which in 1896 saw session of Parliament in honour of the millennium of the Conquest of the country and where today state awards are presented - is decorated all Ground with the coats of arms of the former Hungarian counties. On the heads of the sixteen clustered pillars the statues of Hungarian rulers can be seen. The interior of the building has been symmetrically arranged, because the Hungarian parliament was originally composed of two houses: the rooms were built around the assembly halls of the Upper and Lower Houses- now the Congress Hall and the Assembly Hall respectively - with the Delegation Hall in the centre. Some interesting ornaments of the lobbies are the painted pyroganite statues. The frescoes, paintings and tapestries- The Works of Mihaly Munkácsi, Károly Lotz and Gyula Rudnay, among others - depict scenes from Hungarian history and legends.

The office of the Ministers and the Prime Minister, as well as the Parliament Library, are also to be found in the parliament building. In the hall under the dome a Christmas tree is set up every year for schoolchildren.