Plans have been prepared for the reconstruction of the Citadella, the historic fortification atop Budapest’s Gellért Hill. The project should be completed by the Spring of 2023, and is expected to cost around HUF 20 billion (EUR 550 million).
The Citadella has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1987, and is currently a popular tourist attraction as well as a nature reserve.
The purpose of the reconstruction is to make the area more accessible and to provide a greater number of features. Not only will the completed project connect the two sides of Gellért Hill with a large staircase opening towards the Liberty Statue, it will give the Citadella a renewed purpose for everyone.
Ambitious Plans for Budapest’s Citadella
The Citadella’s roundel will be remade into a museum for Hungary’s historic struggles for freedom, while its inner area will be converted into a park designed by Artist Design Studio and Pagony Landscaping and Gardening Ltd.
The visualizations of the plan show newer areas to sightsee from. The northern bastion will provide views of Erzsébet bridge and Pest, while the Eastern terrace will give a good view of the Freedom bridge. The southern bastion will face Kelenföld, and the museum’s roof-terrace will look out to Margit Island, Buda Castle, and Széna Square.
The reconstructed Citadella will contain an exhibition area, a restaurant, renewed fortress walls, a giant garden, a 400 square meter artificial lake, and a 200 square meter courtyard fountain. The most striking feature will no doubt be the 35-meter-tall Hungarian flag in the middle of it all.
The Citadella’s reconstruction will be done by Lőrinc Mészáros’ ZÁEV Ltd. and István Garancsi’s Market Ltd. with a budget of HUF 20 billion (EUR 550 million).
Budapest’s chief architect, Zoltán Erő, considers the plan to be a bit astonishing, but says it is a good starting point. According to him, the planned openings of the Citadella’s walls are a bit big, they should be tighter and more alley-like, and the stairs from the statue should be less steep.
A Historic Location Which Has Served Many Purposes
Hungary’s Gellért Hill has been a historic location for centuries, its relevance spans all the way back to Roman times, when a fortification was built atop it. During the time of the Hungarian Kingdom a chapel was built, followed by a palisade during the Ottoman conquests.
At the beginning of the 19th century an observatory was built, which was used as a fortification to protect Buda from Austrian invasion in 1849. The location was officially purposed as a military base after the 1848 revolution, but the constructed fortress would not see action until the Soviet invasion of Budapest at the end of the Second World War.
The Liberty Statue was placed in front of it in 1947, after which the Citadella slowly lost its militaristic air. Today it is considered to be among Budapest’s best tourist locations thanks to the excellent views it provides of the city.
In the featured photo, the visualization shared by the nonprofit Várkapitányság on April 22, 2021, showing what the reconstruct Budapest’s Citadella is expected to look like. Featured photo via Várkapitányság/MTI