The sun had just risen when I walked towards Andrássy út, or Andrassy Boulevard, on a summer morning. Clouds were blocking the sunlight, but when I reached Erzsébet Square, they started to disappear and shine on the Hungarian capital. I crossed into Andrássy út, where the right hand side was still in the shade. I soon stumbled upon sculptures on the facade of a building, lanterns, decorated doors, elements omnipresent on the entire length of this rich boulevard. It was still quiet, and I could enjoy the great architecture to the fullest. At times, I just stood outside a building, looking up the wall, discovering always more fine details making it look like a work of art.
When I reached the Opera House, I crossed the street, since I wanted to have a closer look. This is a richly decorated building, which the sun was just touching at this early moment in the day. The ceiling of the portal just outside the building is painted in grey, white an gold, with angels, trompe l'oeuil sculptures; outside, there are many more sculptures and statues on the facade and the roof, almost an overkill of decorated details. Walking further up Andrássy út, I discovered many more buildings that made me halt, lion heads sticking out of a wall, faces sculpted on the facade, angelic sculptures adorning the windows of another mansion, frescoes, and more. Iconic buildings in an iconic boulevard: Andrássy út is the most expensive street of Budapest. There are several squares on the avenue, with small parks, giving Andrássy út some breathing space and making for a welcome interruption for those walking the avenue as the attraction it really is.
The upper part of the street seems to be a little wider, with gardens in front of the mansions, often housing embassies. When I reached the end of Andrássy út at the Heroes Square, I crossed to have a closer look at the enormous monument here, which also allowed me to look back at the avenue I had just walked. On my way back, I sticked to the other side of the street, thus seeing even more of the palaces lining this World Heritage avenue, of which the Academy of Fine Arts struck as one having the finest decorations on its facade. The history of the street goes back to the early 1870s when it was decided a new street needed to be planned . The best architects of the time helped to make the palaces of the street stand out, and from the start it was an avenue for the wealthy. Named after the prime minister of the time, it was renamed three times in the 1950s: inevitably called Stalin Avenue in 1950, it was renamed to Avenue of the Hungarian Youth after the uprising of 1956 and People Republic Street in 1957; it would only get its original name again after the end of communist rule in 1990.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Andrássy út (Hungary). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Andrássy út.
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