The Citadel and the view of the city


The Citadel, the fortress on top of the hill, was built between 1850 and 1854 by the despotic Habsburg authorities to control the city after the suppression of the Hungarian War of Independence. The walls in the east-west direction are 200 metres (220 yds.) long, 4 to 6 metres (13-20 ft.) high and at some points 3 metres (10 ft.) thick. In 1897 the Austrian troops left the fortress, and in 1899 the city of Budapest, which bought it, had the walls symbolically demolished -as can still be seen next to the main gate-but then it was again used to house Hungarian soldiers. During the 1944-45 siege it was from the Citadel (and from Castle Hill) that the encircled German troops kept the city under gunfire until their final surrender. Today the Citadel serves as a look-out terrace and has a restaurant. The former barracks have been converted into a tourist hostel.

Looking northward from the hilltop the Buda hills and the Pilis mountains can be seen. On the Buda side, we can almost look into the streets of Castle Hill and recognise the southern fortifications of the Royal Palace. Directly below us we see the slopes of the former Tabán district converted into a park. The Tabán was once a Turkish suburb of small houses. All the Danube bridges are visible; the nearest are Elizabeth Bridge and Liberty Bridge; towards the south we see Petôfi Bridge and the Southern Railway Bridge with the Lágymányosi Bridge beside ( its the newest bridge in the city, it was finished in 1995), towards the north the Chain Bridge, Margaret Bridge, Árpád Bridge and the Northern Railway Bridge . On the Pest side the dome of the Parliament building dominates the view, with the churches of the Inner City further south; eastwards the mass of houses of Pest extend far over the plain. In the distance we can discern the hills encircling the city, the relics of the former Danube "terraces". Immediately in front of us, a direct continuation of Liberty Bridge, lie the former large residential districts of Ferencváros (Francis Town) and József Város (Joseph Town). To the south, in Buda, the domed building at the foot of the hill is the Gellért Hotel and Spa; the blocks further down along the Danube belong to the University of Technology. Still further new housing estates rise from the level districts of Lágymányos and Kelenföld, and on Csepel Island we see the smoking chimneys of the largest Hungarian industrial plant, the Csepel Works.