In the latest installment of our new (semi)regular segment, Wow! Really?, we examine little-known or unexpected facts about Hungary and Hungarian culture.
An eyesore on the Budapest skyline since 1971, the SZOT Resort was originally a resort for those who were ill, especially those suffering from rheumatism or other respiratory problems.
Seated atop Buda’s Rózsadomb (Rose Hill), the site where the resort stands was originally believed to be impossible to build on. While they succeeded in bringing the SZOT Resort to life, however, it may not have been the best idea to build there; since the construction of the resort building, and of the garage that was added at a later date, cracks began appearing in nearby houses. It would seem that pouring colossal concrete foundation into a steep, unstable hill was not the wisest of decisions.
Nevertheless, the view from the resort is undoubtedly stunning. From this location, one can see almost all of Budapest laid out as if in miniature, from the bridges crossing the Danube to the Royal Castle, from the Citadel to the Parliament, all of this architecturally and visually stunning city unfolds below, all while standing on a balcony in a building that looks more like a parking garage than a resort:
The resort was in operation until the fall of Communism. After 1989, the resort was closed, and following a partial demolition of one section of the building, it remained empty for years. While there were plans to renovate and reopen the building during the 1990s, ultimately nothing came of them, and the resort that was once a jewel of the socialist system continued to slowly crumble.
While abandoned, the SZOT Resort even served as a setting for a film, Utolsó vacsora az Arabs Szürkénél (Last Dinner at the Arabs Gray):
Over the course of the 2000s, plans emerged to fully renovate the concrete monstrosity. This planned renovation would have added two additional stories to the building, a fact that raised the ire of the Budapest Capital City Planning Committee, many other organizations, and area residents themselves, who all felt such an expansion would be nothing more than a further blight on the cityscape.
Fortunately for the renovation’s opponents, once again plans came to naught, and the building continued to sit, empty as before.
But finally, it seems, the long-abandoned building has finally found a buyer: Hungarian multimillionaire businessman György Wáberer, who has close ties with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, is said to be in talks to purchase the property from CIB Bank by the end of the year. In addition, it appears that as of now Wáberer intends to
As of now, then, it would seem that this cement socialist phoenix may indeed rise from the ashes, taller and more obtrusive than ever before.
Via 24.hu and blikk.hu
Images via 24.hu
Video via YouTube