Buda Castle is a historical castle and palace complex that was once the residence for the Hungarian kings. It is located in the southern tip of Castle Hill in Budapest, Hungary. It was also known as the Royal Palace and the Royal Castle in the past. Buda Castle is now considered as part of the Budapest World Heritage Site since 1987.
Buda Castle History
Buda Castle’s beginnings had a long history. The site in Castle Hill first became a royal residence when a castle was built on it by King Bela IV of Hungary sometime between 1247 and 1265. Over the course of time, other kings have enlarged the scope of the palace. King Sigismund, a Holy Roman Emperor, wanted to establish his status among the rulers of Europe. This required having a magnificent royal palace as a place of residence, which he chose to be Buda Castle. It became one of the largest Gothic palaces in the Middle Ages. But wars over the years have destroyed and damaged the original structure.
A new but smaller palace was built on the site in 1715. But it was accidentally burned down sometime in 1723.
Another castle was built on the site in 1749, with funds for the construction provided by Queen Maria Theresa. Work on the palace went on until 1758 after which financial difficulties caused a 7-year break on the construction. The Queen then continued allotting added funds in 1764 in order to complete the palace. This palace was also destroyed as well. Another palace was also built in its place but was also destroyed during World War II.
After the war, reconstruction plans of the palace were undertaken. After archeological research was conducted and plans of the medieval remains of the previous castles were studied, reconstruction was started around 1952. The reconstruction work was completed by 1966.
Buda Castle Today
The Buda Castle is a vast castle complex that has been reconstructed to display what it looked like then. But not all of the reconstructed parts of the castle are considered accurate as these portions of the castle lacked photographic as well as architectural evidences that would have enabled their reconstruction. With limited basis for some of the parts of the palace complex, the Buda Castle may not be a totally historical reconstruction, considering that several castles have already been built in its place. But the aim of the reconstruction was to be historically accurate where there are evidences and proof available.
The Buda Castle now stands as a Baroque-style palace. It currently houses several museums including the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Castle features the reconstructed gardens statues as well as the lavish castle interiors as accurately as possible based on historical proof available.