Royal Palace of the Buda Castle
The first palace built in the 13th century in Buda Castle was the court of King Béla IV. This palace was totally destroyed during the centuries, not even a piece of stone can not be seen today. Later on the son of Anjou Charles Robert started a new palace, better to say a roundtower, which still stands nearby the Habsburg Palace. This tower – the so called Maul Tower – was enlarged in the beginning of the 15th century by King Sigismund with a Kingth’s Hall and a royal chapel, and this expansion became the base of King Matthias’s world famous, beautiful renessaince court. From this renessaince palace, – where several living rooms, spacious yields, the legendary library of the Corvina Codexes, big, trimmed gardens, terraces, winecellars and observatory, and even an alchimist workshop located – only the basement and some cellar remained.
The building we see today was rebuilt and expanded by Empress Marie Therese after the Turkish reign, in the beginning of the 18th century. The palace at that time had three wings, and neither the famous Matthias Fontain, neither the lionstatues did not existed, not even talking about the green dome coronating the passage between the wings. The fourth wing, the passage and the dome was built when Hungary prepared for the Millenium Celebrations held in 1896. Though the name of the building complex is Royal Palace, never-ever any king lived inside its walls. The palace was intented to be the home of Joseph palatine, but he preferred to live outside the walls, int he city of Pest. The Sigismund-chapel of the palace, where first Queen Catherine of Podebrady, the first wife of Matthias Corvinus was buried in 1464, an official burial place of the Habsburg family too.
Over the centuries the palace has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, first in 1686 during the siege of the Holy League. The Buda Castle suffered several damages last time int he WWII, when the Royal Palace was burning for a total week. The palace was recontructed by 1966 with parts of the 15th-century Gothic palace remains built into the reconstruction. The Royal Palace gives home today the Budapest History Museum and the Hungarian National Gallery, which exhibits only the artpieces of Hungarian masters. The Buda Castle Quarter, is now a World Heritage Site, declared in 1987.
(Photo of the Sigismund-chapel by Graziano Skyrunner and MPeti)