steindl

10

The world’s third largest parliament building – the Hungarian Parliament

The Parliament building, a magnificent example of Neo-Gothic architecture (although displaying Renaissance and Baroque characters too), is just over 100 years old. In the 1880’s an open tender was held for the design of the Parliament building. Construction based on the winning plan of Imre Steindl, and began in 1885 .The building was inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary of Hungary, during the Millenium Celebrations in 1896, and fully completed in 1902. Both runner-up designs were also built facing the Parliament building. One is the Museum of Ethnography and the other is the Ministry of Agriculture, both of them just on the opposite side of the square, where the Hungarian Parliament stands today.

The Budapest Parliament building is the third largest Parliament building in the world. It has 691 rooms, 20 kilometers (12,5 miles) of stairs and at 96 meters (315 feet) it is the same height as the Saint Stephen Basilica. The date reminds to the conquest of the Carpatian Basin by the ancient Hungarian tribes, according to the chronicles which has happened in 896. During the Communist era a large red star was added to the central tower above the dome of the building, but after its downfall, the star was removed.

In the construction of the Hungarian Parliament about 100,000 people were involved, and during it 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones, and 40 kilograms (88 lb) of gold were used. The Hungarian Parliament’s Building was built in the neo-Gothic style, it has a symmetrical façade and a central dome. The dome is neo-Renessaince. Also from inside the parliament is symmetrical and thus has two absolutely identical parliament halls out of which one is used for the politics, the other one is used for guided tours.

The main façade overlooks the River Danube, but the official main entrance is from the square on the east side of the building. Inside and outside, there are altogether 242 sculptures on the walls. The façade displays statues of Hungarian and Transylvanian rulers and famous military figures. The coats of arms of kings and dukes are depicted over the windows. The east stairs is flanked by two lions.

One of the most famous part of the building is the great ornamental stairs, with frescous on the ceiling and the bust of the creator, Imre Steindl, in a wall niche. Other statues include those of Árpád, the tribeleader from whom the first royal dynasty originates from and King Saint Stephen, the first christian king of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom. The great staircase leds to the other famous part of the building, the hexadecagonal Ceremonial Hall, under the dom of the parliament. Through two twin saloons on both sides of the Ceremonial Hall two huge chambers adjoining it: the once upon a time Lower House and the Upper House. Today Hungary’s National Assembly is unicameral and meets in the Lower House, while the Upper House is used as a conference and meeting room. The Holy Crown of Hungary, which is also depicted in the present coat of arms of the Hungarian Republic, together with the coronation sword, orb and cepter, has been displayed in the Ceremonial Hall since 2000.

“This idea of listening and really looking and beholding, that comes in when people ask well, how shall we practice this gratefulness? And, there is a very simple kind of methodology to it: stop, look, go. Most of us caught up in schedules and deadlines, and rushing around. And so the first thing is that we have to stop, because otherwise we are not really coming into this place of moment at all. And we can’t even appreciate the opportunity that is given to us because we rush by and it rushes by. So stopping is the first thing. But that doesn’t have to be long. When you are in practice, a split second is enough to stop. And then you look. What is now the opportunity of this given moment? Only this moment, and the unique opportunity this moment gives. And that is where this beholding comes in.”

—Br. David Steindl-Rast

We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: for having good weather, to have slept well last night, to be able to get up, to be healthy, to have enough to eat. There’s opportunity upon opportunity to be grateful; that’s what life is.
—  David Steindl-Rast