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Budapest's Blaha Lujza Square to undergo major overhaul

Budapest's Blaha Lujza Square to undergo major overhaul

The iconic hub will be transformed into a pedestrian-friendly area with extra green spaces

Blaha Lujza Square, one of Budapest's busiest transport hubs and meeting places with a significant historical and cultural legacy will undergo a comprehensive renovation – for the first time in fifty-five years, Budapest Transport Centre (BKK) has announced. The iconic square, named after the famous Hungarian actress and singer Lujza Blaha who was dubbed “the nation’s nightingale”, will be renovated with HUF 2, 67 billion (EUR 7,473 million) in Budapest Municipality and Hungarian government funding. The part allocated by the government, HUF 1 billion, can only be used until the end of 2021.

Reconstruction will take a year and a half

Reconstruction works will begin right after the conclusion of the business contract by April 2021, and are expected to take roughly a year and a half. Design agency Közlekedés Fővárosi Tervező Iroda Kft. won the public tender for the square’s new look way back in 2018.

But following the local government elections in October 2019, the newly elected leadership of the Capital had to amend the completed plans, taking into account communal needs, challenges posed by climate change and dwindling of Budapest’s investment portfolio. During the process, a series of public consultations were launched.

In the long run, Blaha Lujza Square will be transformed into a liveable downtown community space with a unified image. Quality spatial architectural solutions will restore the intellectual and cultural heritage of the square, increase the pedestrian-friendly spaces, and eliminate the network of service roads and car parking lots that currently fragment the area by creating additional green spaces.  While maintaining the number of valuable trees now present, 65 new trees will be planted alongside more than 1 000 square metres of grass and vegetation.  

The centrepiece of the square – the iconic Mushroom Fountain, will be renovated. The Theatre Memorial which stands at the site of the demolished Hungarian National Theatre, will also be renewed.

Barrier-free square

The junction will be completely barrier-free, with new pedestrian crossings put in place, and a restored underpass.  Traffic organization will also change – drivers will be able to turn directly to the right from Rákóczi Street to the two-way Márkus Emília Street and to József körút. Somogyi Béla Street will be one-way from Gutenberg Square to Stáhly Street. 

Cycling enthusiasts will not be let down, as there will be more bicycle supports installed together with two MOL Bubi collection stations. As part of a separate project, a small building for cultural purposes will be erected on the square, and the ample space in front of it would allow even larger events to be held.

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