You might have already noticed that I really love old buildings. I love the ones in Poznań, where I live, I love those in Copenhagen – tall ones, beautiful and neat, but the ones that I find most fascinating are in Budapest. Large houses, usually not in a perfect condition, but with an unique atmosphere. In most cases they have those typical Budapest courtyards with staircases ouside the buildings; usually also a tiny old lift, sometimes they have beautiful tiles or other decorations. And usually, they are very old. Fortunately, as it turned out, there are many people in Budapest who find those buildings important and interesting. Since a couple of years they organize an urban festival, that celebrates these old buildings and that allows people like me, that are fascinated by them, to have a look inside and to learn more about the city’s history. I don’t remember how I heard about the festival for the first time, but I remember that I truly couldn’t wait for the spring to come, to take part in the Budapest100 celebrations.
Budapest 100 is an urban festival organized since 2011, that celebrates 100-year old buildings. As it says on their website: “Budapest100 is a unique organic program mobilizing the entire city and its ultimate goal is to start a tradition and to draw our attention to the buildings surrounding us and the human values that are around us every day.” During one spring weekend, different houses arount the city are open to visitors, volunteers take care of them – telling their stories and preparing many fun events, like small concerts, photo exhibitions or guided tours. In many cases you can also have a look not only into the courtyards, but also to places not accessible every day – like roofs of basements.
Unfortunately, the festival is prepared mostly for hungarians. Only in some buildings there was information in English, and many of volunteers were a bit too shy to speak English. But they were all really kind and friendly, so we still had a lot of fun, walking around the old houses, looking at the old photos, or listening to the concerts. I loved the atmosphere of the houses, it was really great to have a look at their everyday life, see the small details – beautiful tiles, or how people decorate their gardens. There was also one building that we won’t forget, but I will tell you more about it in the next post.
This year’s festival will take place on 16th and 17th April. What I can understand from its website (which is still mostly in hungarian), this time it will focus on one of Budapest’s most important streets – Nagykörút, or the “Grand Boulevard”. It connects Margaret bridge and the Petőfi bridge, which means that it cuts through all the main districts of Pest. I always loved having long walks there, as you can perfectly see the changing atmosphere of each district – it’s really great that this year it got its own festival. More information about Budapest 100 can be found here: www.budapest100.hu. Hopefully some more information in English about this year’s edition will be published there soon. I especially like the part of the website that collects maps from each festival – you can see there lists of featured buildings and even see photos of their outsides and insides. So if you can’t travel to Budapest in the spring, but you’re interested in architecture and city’s history, just have a look there! 🙂