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Budapest starts renovation of two city landmarks

Budapest starts renovation of two city landmarks

Work on József Antall Quay will commence on 7 June, Blaha Lujza Square comes next

Two important public areas of the Hungarian capital will get an exciting new look for nearly HUF 5 billion (EUR 14 million) in the next year and a half, the Budapest Transport Centre (BKK) has announced. Renovation works on József Antall Quay will commence on 7 June, while Blaha Lujza Square’s turn will come a few weeks later, in early July.

József Antall Quay

Named after the late József Antall, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Hungary (1990-1993), the quay on the Danube Pest side is a favourite landmark, offering a panoramic view of the World Heritage-listed city with the Chain Bridge (now also under reconstruction) in the foreground.

For a start, the renovation of József Antall quay will be carried out in the section between the lower quay, Kossuth Square and Margaret Bridge so as to make this part walkable. The unused paved surfaces between Kossuth Square and Margaret Bridge, which today occupy valuable public space along the Danube, will be eliminated. 

The stepped shoreline will be preserved, but the retaining wall of the Garibaldi Street ramp will be moved inwards. Thanks to the new sidewalk, the residents and guests of the capital will be able to admire the panorama while walking. 

Moreover, the coastline will become greener, as 35 trees will be planted during the project’s implementation. The reconstruction of the quay will cost about HUF 1.5 billion and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.  

Blaha Lujza Square 

The renovation of Blaha Lujza Square, one of Budapest's busiest transport hubs and meeting places with a significant historical and cultural legacy, is an old debt of Budapest’s administrations. Now, half a century later, the iconic square bearing the name of Hungarian actress and singer Lujza Blaha (dubbed “the nation’s nightingale”), will acquire a wholly new character.   

The plans for the square renovation were completed in 2019, but the actual work was delayed owing to revenue shortages and the reworking of the project by the new city government to take communal needs and climate change challenges into account.

The cost of the project is HUF 3.47 billion, with the central government’s share of HUF 1 billion allocated on condition that the money can only be used until the end of 2021. This entails more intensive work and additional expenditure on the part of the contractor, but the Metropolitan Municipality hopes to conclude the renovation by the end of 2022.

Barrier-free junction

The main task of the renovation is to make Blaha Lujza Square a barrier-free junction. In the spirit of this, new pedestrian crossings will be created, among other things.

In the course of the work, Blaha Lujza Square will be transformed into a greener downtown community space with a unified image suiting today’s urban needs. 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.

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 and the Theatre Memorial which stands at the site of the demolished Hungarian National Theatre, will also be renewed.

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