The Batthyány tér and its neighbourhood


A few years ago, with a station of the east-west Metro line and the terminal of the northern suburban railway, Batthyány tér became an important traffic junction. St. Anne's Church (built by Máté Nepauer, Kristóf and Mihály Hamon,1740-62), which faces the square, is a beautiful example of Italian Baroque ecclesiastical architecture introduced into Hungary by Austrian artists. The two towers, topped by ornate spires and the portal with its allegoric statues dominate the exterior. The interior is covered by an oval-shaped dome. The pillared high altar with its group of statues also dates from the eighteenth century.

The houses at Nos. 3 and 4 are also ancient monuments. The latter was an inn around 1770, and was the starting-point of the Vienna stage-coaches. The theatrical performances and balls of Buda were also held here. On the northern side there formerly stood a monastery and hospital, its church built by Franciscan friars between I731 and 1756; later on it became a convent of Elizabethan nuns. The carved benches and the groups of statues on the altars are particularly beautiful. In front of the building stands the statue of Ferenc Kölcsey, author of the Hungarian National Anthem.

A few minutes' walk northwards in Fö utca takes us to the building at No. 82-86. In a little park stands the Turkish dome of the Király baths, built between 1566 and 1570 on the orders of Pashas Arslan and Sokoli Mustapha. To the original Turkish building neo-Classic wings have been added; inside, the re- construction after the Second World War revealed some Baroque arcaded corridors built when the building was renovated in the eighteenth century, as well as a neo-Classic pillared courtyard. The baths got their name from their owners in the early nineteenth century, the König family (König meaning "king", in Hungarian király). Only a few steps away, at No. 20 Bem utca is the Foundry Museum, and a little further on, at No.14 Mecset utca, there is a Turkish monument : Gül Baba's Tomb.