Although the Vajdahunyad Castle in the City Park of Budapest may look like a historical building telling eerie tales, dating back to the medieval times, the castle was in fact built some 120 years ago, in 1896, for the 1000th birthday of conquest of the Carpathian Basin by the ancient Hungarian tribes, the Millenium Celebrations. The main venue of the 1896 Millennial Fair of Budapest was the City Park . And if you expect to visit a Haunted Castle, facing the dark side of history with vampires, phantoms and ghosts, you will be slightly disappointed to learn that the castle is a friendly museum of agriculture, and has never been an actual royal or noble residence.
The original building of the Vajdahunyad Castle (officially called in 1896 the Historical Building Complex) was just a temporary structure made of wooden planks and cardboard designs, and served as exhibition pavillon of the Hungarian architects. Even its plain name was descriptive signifying that it is nothing more than a complex of various historical buildings from all over the territory of the historical Hungarian Kingdom. Vajdahunyad Castle is actually the name of an old Hungarian Gothic Castle in Hunyadvar hence Vajda-Hunyadvar (Hunyadvar was part of Austria-Hungary before 1919, now found in Romania), and though the castle in City Park includes details from several other notable buildings, the name remained.
The concept of Vajdahunyad Castle Budapest was also to blend the various architectural styles into one composite castle. The design of Ignac Alpar contains the architectural details of 21 buildings, some only in minor additions, while others as main characters. The castle has three main parts. architecturally:
Romanesque style of the middle ages is represented by the partial copy of the church and monastery of Ják, a village near to the Austrian border. The Church of Ják was in fact the monumental basilica of the Benedictine monastery, most probably finished in 1256. The church was picked as the best representation of the Romanesque architecture in Hungary (somehow it managed to survive the many battles against the Ottoman Turks, the fires and other damages). In fact the huge basilica cannot be seen in Budapest, where only the fascinating gate was copied rather than the whole building. The exact replica of the Portal of the Church of Ják shows the characteristic church gates of the 11th and 12th century, already blending in with the Gothic style where the portal was the main location for adding sculpted figures and images of the Bible. The Ják chapel of the castle in the City Park served as resting place and auditorium for Emperor Franz Joseph I during the Millenium Celebrations, later on in the World War I was a temporary hospital, today a popular wedding place.
The Gothic age, the 14th -15th century in Hungary, most stikingly represented by the original Castle of Vajdahunyad, whose characteristic turrets and wooden beams strike the visitors as the leading theme. The land where theoriginal castle was built was a gift from King Sigismund, Hungarian monarch to the grandfather of King Matthias, and Matthias’s father, John Hunyadi erected the enormous and beautiful Gothic castle as a noble place for the knights, with tall, strong defense towers, drawbridge, Knights’ Hall, Capistrano Tower, and Drummers’ Tower. The Gothic Building Complex within Budapes’st Vajdahunyad Castle include Neboisa Tower, the Knight’s Hall of the original Vajdahunyad Castle, the smaller replica of the Shrine of the Zapolya Chapel, Dome Facade, and the Apostle Tower of the Segesvar Castle. The Gothic part has got some renessaince elements too, as the Hunyadi Loggias and the sgrafitto decoration on the walls.
The Baroque palace in Vajdahunyad Castle is the replica of Austrian palaces in the Austro-Hungarian Monarch, like Buda Castle and Godollo Palace. The cupola over the main entrance was inspired by the Karoly Gate in Gyulafehervar, the Katalin Gate is from Brasov, with the balcony from the Town Hall of Bartfa. All those cities today parts of Slovakia resp. Romania. The German facade viewed from the lake reflects the German architectural style with sgrafittos, featuring the 50 meter tall German Tower topped with an onion dome. The early French renaissance influence is shown on the French Tower with a dolphin atop. The Baroque building is home to the Hungarian Agricultural Museum today.