New sites to visit in Budapest
Rumbach Street Synagogue
The Rumbach Street Synagogue was built in 1872, designed by the famous Viennese architect, Otto Wagner in Moorish-Revival style. The synagogue is located in a small side street in the Jewish quarter, and was originally built for those who found the liturgy of Dohány Street Synagogue too innovative, and sought a more traditional way in their religion.
During the Siege of Budapest in early 1945, a bomb damaged the structure of the ceiling and the staircase, and the glass windows were broken. However, the real devastation began in the late 1970s, and the roof of the ruined building was torn down in 1979. From then on, rain, snow and birds were given free access to the synagogue space. It was closed for decades until the renovation has begun. From last year the building is open again: The octagonal, balconied, domed synagogue intricately patterned and painted in Islamic style is exquisitely beautiful.
The synagogue is not only a religious place, but also used as a concert- and theatre hall. A small exhibition awaits visitors on the 2nd level, plus a nice and cosy coffee shop makes the visit complete.
St Stephen’s Hall
The Royal Palace in the Castle District is used by several different institutions today. One of them is the Budapest History Museum, and the newly restored historic St Stephen’s Hall is located inside the Museum.
The historic hall was created to host small receptions, and it was one of the most important interiors of the Palace during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. It was the place to guard the crown right before the coronation ceremony of Charles IV, the last King of Hungary.
Unfortunately, the wonderfully decorated hall was severely injured during the 2nd World War, and its majestic interior was completely demolished after. After a long-term restoration the hall is now open for visitors: the beautiful carpets and curtains, the parquet inlay, furniture and even the breath-taking fireplace made of Zsolnay ceramics were recreated following the original plans and photos taken before the 2nd World War.