The open weekend of the century-old houses, entitled "Budapest100" has been organized for the fourth time last weekend.
I’m sure everyone knows the Parliament, the Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion, but does anyone know that Budapest has a Winnie the Pooh Street? Although this street was not part of the weekend’s programs, a lot of architecturally interesting buildings could be better known under the Budapest100.
The fact, that Budapest’s image is characterized by a 19th–early 20th century charm is evident. This event, however, drew attention to the hidden architectural values. Between 26-27th April dozens of century-old buildings opened its doors to visitors: hotels, schools, factories, public buildings and many houses that also made birthday programs to the curious people. The special importance of this year was that these houses were made in the year of the outbreak of the First World War, which left its trace on these buildings.
(photo: Gergely Máté Oláh - budapest100.hu)
As each year, the Budapest100 has been organized in collaboration of the house-loving residents and volunteers to greet the century-old buildings. Any community could join the call if the construction of the house is related to 1914: it received the building permit in that year, the foundation stone laying ceremony was then or it has been handed over in 1914. Apartment buildings and institutions could join as well: this year, a total amount of 16 institutions (included Le Méridien Budapest and Danubius Hotel Astoria) and 43 private houses celebrated the centenary.
In addition to the open gates, family, cultural and professional programs were waiting for their visitors, like guided walks, games, concerts, picnics and rooftop cinemas. The institutions were usually made professionally organized programs. Le Méridien, for example unveiled the hotel's interiors on a historical walk in the building while the Astoria also organized a chamber exhibition besides a historical walk. In contrast, the festivities of the residential houses were more informal, where the nostalgia and the unbound good atmosphere dominated. The private communities made photo exhibitions, basement and attic visits, picnics and flea market. Many of them will renovate their house from the picnic’s and flea market’s income: install bicycle storages, exchange the mailboxes or get the porch railings repainted.
The atmosphere was completely different: while the programs of the institutions were characterized by an elegant, majestic sentiment, the events of the private houses were more informal: we had the opportunity to talk with the inhabitants and we could learn from the real human stories of the locals. And sometimes the story of a whole family could be followed through generations. For example, at one spot the program was the birthday celebration ceremonyof a 100-year-old lady living in the house.
(photo: Réka Bohus - budapest100.hu)
If you took a fancy for exploring Budapest after these, I recommend the Budapest100 event’s page (http://budapest100.hu) for city guide. Here you will find the full description of the participant buildings of the recent years. If you’re planning a walk around the town and would like to know exactly what is that you see, be sure to check out this collection.