Hidden treasures of Budapest – part 2
Posted by Ágnes Taraszovics · Feb 1, 2016

After the first part, we continue presenting the beautiful, but hardly known buildings of Budapest. In this second part let’s meet Károlyi Palace.

Let us introduce one major monument of the capital’s neoclassical architecture, Károlyi Palace in Károlyi Mihály Street. This home of the Petőfi Museum of Literature should not be confused with the Károlyi Palace at the Pollack Mihály Square (designed by Miklós Ybl), or the Károlyi Palace under 11 Múzeum Street (by Skalnitzky & Pucher)! Once we will write about them too, but now let's concentrate on the one in Károlyi Street.

The history of the palace can be traced back to the time of liberation from the Turkish occupation: the plot and the palace on it became the property of the Károlyi family in 1768. And things start to get interesting here, because the three acres provided huge opportunity to combine the unique architecture of the imposing manor houses and the characteristic features of an elegant city palace. The U-shaped wigs embraced the baroque style French garden, which is nowadays known as Károlyi garden and operates a public park.

The neoclassical building known today has to be thanked to György Károlyi, who extended and modernized the building by supplying it with its main staircase, modern stables, a library and rich decoration. The palace was well-known at that time for its bright soirees, where even Franz Liszt played the piano. After the uprising and war of independence in 1848-49, Haynau formed his headquarters here and let the count's family to use only a few rooms.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Mihály Károlyi modernized the palace with modern bathrooms, new kitchen equipment and also new garages have been built in place of some stables. By this time, the building looked like nowadays. There is a beautiful balcony above the middle triple gateway; and the pediment is decorated with the coat of arms of the Károlyi family. After crossing the arched entrance, we will get to the red marble staircase, which is decorated with cast iron railing and candelabras. The part above the foyer is ruled by a huge glass roof with ornate iron structure, and the walls are adorned with the Károlyi family’s portrait gallery.

By now, only five rooms preserved its original design, thanks to the renovation completed in 2000. The most impressive is the five-windowed Grand Hall, where three huge mirrors are glistening above the marble fireplace. The walls of the Grand Hall and the three-windowed white Balcony room located next to it are covered with artificial marble. The original decoration of the next Red salons hasn’t been maintained, the stucco ceiling was destroyed. The mural of the so-called Lotz Hall, that can be seen nowadays, got here later and depicting the Muses.

Fun fact: Although the real estate is owned by the capital since almost 90 years, they had reserved a suite for the Count’s family at the end of the north wing until 1997.

Address: 16 Károlyi Street, 1053 Budapest

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