The Citadel in Budapest is a 19th century fortification on top of Gellert Hill. The fortress was turned into a lookout tower / stronghold, which provides one of the most stunning views over the river Danube.
During the 1848-49 Hungarian revolution, the freedom fighters managed to rebel against the Austrians for almost 2 solid years with their newly founded Hungarian government and ministries. Many of them were executed and imprisoned after the failed attempt, and the Habsburg emperor thought it best to erect a frightening stronghold to watch over Budapest. Haynau, the Austrian commander feared of his violent temper, was behind many of the bloody acts to suppress the Hungarians, and it was he who carried out the building works of the Citadel too. Earlier he was fanatical and zealous to fight against the Italians in Brescia (1848), and his brutality earned him the privilege to pour his full hatred onto the Hungarians. His nicknames were various, Italians know him as the “Hyena of Brescia” Hungarians as the “Hangman of Arad” (executing 13 Hungarian revolutionary generals in 1849 in the town of Arad), and Austrian soldiers referred to him as the “Habsburg Tiger” and the “Women flogger” for whipping women who showed sympathy towards the fallen soldiers. He soon became hated all over Europe, wherever he went (his quarrels forced him to resign in a year, in 1850), he had to hide to avoid being beaten up in Brussels, London, etc. He died in 1853, at the age of 67. Well, Hungarians got Haynau at the peak of his dark career, and also got the Citadel as a memento. The main gate and walls of the Citadel was symbolically destroyed in 1900. The remaining part was seroiusly damaged during World War II by RAF’s bombs, as German army used the Citadel as last precinct. Later on Soviets used it to overthrow another Hungarian revolution in 1956 – tanks fired into the city of Budapest and managed to suppress the tragic Hungarian revolution against the Soviet dictatorship. Inside there is a WW2 museum / bunker – the air raid shelter, which was built in WWII – on 3 floors with 17 rooms, displaying contemporary armories and wax figures.
The Citadel is a U-shaped 19th century fortress of about 220 metres long, 60 metres wide, and 4 metres tall, with 60 cannon complements – basically taking up the whole plateau of the Gellert Hill. Citadel is a favourite lookout tower and venue for amateur and professional photographers, and most importantly, a romantic place in Budapest, where many first kisses and last kisses have been given as well as sweeping proposals made.