Heroes’ Square

Marvel at iconic statues at Heroes Square

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Heroes Square, with its magnificent monuments and rich history, is the heartbeat of Budapest, a must-see attraction that promises to captivate every traveler’s soul.

Crowd gathered in Heroes’ Square

Highlights

  • Marvel at the Millennium Monument, a grand tribute to the leaders of Hungary’s thousand-year history.
  • Stroll around the colossal statues of the seven chieftains of the Magyars, the founders of Hungary.
  • Immerse yourself in Hungarian art and history by visiting the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art, both flanking the square.

Directions

Riding the Rails to Heroes’ Square

Let me paint you a picture: you’re standing in the heart of Budapest, perhaps at Deak Ferenc Ter or maybe Vorosmarty Ter. You’re about to embark on a journey to one of Budapest’s iconic landmarks – Heroes’ Square. 

It’s as simple as hopping on the M1 metro, known as the yellow line, and taking it to the Hosok Tere station. 

The M1 metro line, a charming relic of history as the oldest metro line in continental Europe, conveniently runs along Andrassy Avenue and connects the city center with the City Park. 

A little insider tip? The metro operates from 4:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekdays and until 1:30 a.m. on weekends, so you have plenty of flexibility. 

As for the ticket, it’s just 350 HUF (about 1 EUR). You can purchase it from vending machines or at the station. 

Bus It to the Square

If you’re more of a bus person, don’t worry, Budapest has got you covered. From the Keleti train station, hop on the 20E, 30, 30A, or 79M buses, and you’ll find yourself at Heroes’ Square in just 15 minutes. 

Or, if you’re closer to Clark Adam Ter near the Chain Bridge or Nyugati train station, you can catch the 105 bus, which will get you to the square in about 20 minutes. 

Remember, bus tickets can be bought from newsstands, vending machines, the BudapestGo app, or on board with exact change – and they’re priced the same as the metro tickets. 

Take a Taxi for a Personal Ride

If public transport isn’t your thing, you can easily grab a taxi from anywhere in the city. The fare should not exceed 2000 HUF (about 6 EUR) from the city center. 

Hail one from the street or call a reputable company like Főtaxi, City Taxi, or Bolt. Just make sure to keep an eye on the meter to avoid any surprises and always ask for a receipt. 

Pedal Your Way to the Square

For the more adventurous souls, how about a bike ride to Heroes’ Square? There are plenty of bike rental shops and stations across Budapest. Donkey Republic, MOL Bubi, or Bikebase are just a few options. 

The rental fee varies, but you can expect to pay from 500 HUF (about 1.5 EUR) per hour to 3000 HUF (about 9 EUR) per day. The best part? You can enjoy a leisurely ride along Andrassy Avenue and the City Park, taking in the beautiful architecture and culture along the way.

Walking: The Best Way to Soak in the City Vibes

Finally, for those who love to explore on foot, walking to Heroes’ Square is a journey in itself. Follow Andrassy Avenue from Deak Ferenc Ter or Vorosmarty Ter in the city center, and you’ll be treated to sights like the Opera House, the House of Terror Museum, and Oktogon Square. 

The walk takes about 45 minutes and spans roughly 4 kilometers, but the immersive experience and the sights you’ll see along the way are well worth it.

What to see and do

A visit to Budapest is incomplete without a stop at Heroes’ Square. It’s not just a historical and cultural landmark, but also a lively and vibrant place to visit, brimming with art, architecture, nature, and entertainment. 

Here are some of the must-sees and top tips for making the most out of your visit to Heroes’ Square.

Click a Selfie with the Archangel Gabriel

Dominating the square is the Archangel Gabriel, the symbol of Heroes’ Square. He stands atop the central column, holding the Holy Crown and the double cross, embodying the divine mission of the Hungarian people. 

From your vantage point on the ground or the steps of the Millennium Monument, snap a selfie with this majestic figure. It’s the perfect memento to share on social media with the hashtag #heroesquare.

Delve into the Pages of Hungarian History

The statues surrounding the Millennium Monument are not just decorative, but also represent significant figures and events in Hungarian history. Stories of King Matthias Corvinus, known for his wisdom and justice, and Francis II Rákóczi, who led a rebellion against the Habsburgs, come alive here. 

A guided tour or a glance at the plaques can lend insight into these historical narratives.

Explore the Art Museums

Art enthusiasts, rejoice! On either side of Heroes’ Square sit two prominent art museums. The Museum of Fine Arts on the left boasts a remarkable collection of European art from ancient times to the 20th century. 

On the right, the Palace of Art exhibits contemporary art from Hungary and beyond. A combined ticket for both museums is available for 4000 HUF (about 12 EUR), or visit them separately for 2400 HUF (about 7 EUR) each.

A little insider tip: try to plan your visit on a Sunday, when both museums offer free admission. 

Unwind in the City Park

Behind Heroes’ Square, the City Park is the perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing. From the fairytale-esque Vajdahunyad Castle showcasing different architectural styles from Hungarian history, to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, one of the largest and most popular spas in Europe. 

If you’re an animal lover, the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, home to more than 1000 animal species and 2000 plant varieties, is a must-visit.

As you wander around the park, you’ll discover there is always something happening here.

Depending on when you visit, you might stumble upon the Budapest Ice Festival, complete with ice sculptures and skating rinks, or the Christmas Fair, a treat for all the senses with traditional crafts and delicacies.

Witness the Changing of the Guard

One of the most solemn ceremonies at Heroes’ Square is the changing of the guard at the Memorial Stone of Heroes. 

This tribute to all who sacrificed their lives for Hungary’s freedom and independence happens every hour, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 10-minute ceremony involves marching, saluting, and laying flowers at the stone, accompanied by music.

The Millennium Monument: A Testament to Hungary’s Past

The Millennium Monument, built to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian statehood in 1896, is a central attraction.

It features a statue of Archangel Gabriel atop a column, two semi-circular colonnades adorned with statues of historical figures, and a cenotaph honoring the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of Hungary. 

Look for the statues of King Stephen I, the first Christian king of Hungary, and Lajos Kossuth, the leader of the 1848 revolution against the Habsburgs, among others.

The Memorial Stone of Heroes: A Symbol of Sacrifice

In front of the Millennium Monument sits the Memorial Stone of Heroes, a large stone block placed in 1929. 

Inscribed with the words “To the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence,” it represents the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

The Palace of Art: A Neo-Renaissance Jewel

On the right side of Heroes’ Square, you’ll find the Palace of Art, a contemporary art museum and exhibition hall. 

Opened in 1896, its neo-Renaissance design by Albert Schickedanz and Fülöp Herzog is a sight to behold. Inside, the National Salon showcases Hungarian art from the 19th and 20th centuries, while the Ludwig Museum displays international modern art. 

The Kunsthalle hosts temporary exhibitions of various genres and media.

Insider Tips

For a different experience, visit the square at night when it’s beautifully illuminated and less crowded. You can also catch the light show that projects images and videos on the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art every evening from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Join a free walking tour that starts from the square every day at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable, and they will tell you many interesting facts and stories about the square and other attractions in Budapest.

Experience local culture and cuisine at the Heroes’ Square Market, held every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can find a variety of products, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, honey, bread, pastries, wine, and more. You can also taste traditional Hungarian dishes, such as goulash, langos, or chimney cake.

For street art enthusiasts, check out the walls and fences around the square, especially on the side of the Palace of Art. You can find some colorful and creative murals and stickers that express various messages and styles.

For a fun challenge, try finding the hidden symbols and secrets of the square and the monument. Look for the four-leaf clover on one of the columns, said to bring luck, or the initials of the architects and sculptors engraved on some of the statues and pillars.

If you’re visiting between November and March, don’t miss the Varosliget Ice Rink, one of the largest and oldest ice rinks in Europe. Which offers a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere. 

Imagine skating on a frozen lake, surrounded by the stunning views of the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Millennium Monument – it’s a magical experience. And don’t worry if you left your skates at home; you can rent a pair right there.

How to make the most of your visit

Savoring the Flavors Near Heroes’ Square

After soaking in the history at Heroes’ Square, you’re bound to have worked up an appetite. Luckily, you don’t have to wander far to find a mouthwatering bite to eat. From traditional Hungarian cuisine to international delights, the area surrounding the Square is a foodie’s dream come true. 

For a taste of luxury, head to Gundel Restaurant, which is tucked next to the Zoo. Here, you can dine on fine cuisine to the tune of live music. If you’re craving something more authentic and cozy, make your way to Paprika Vendéglő near the Thermal Bath. Trust me, their goulash is to die for! 

And for the coffee lovers out there, Café Miro Grande on Andrassy Avenue is a stylish spot to grab a creamy latte. 

Memories of Budapest: Souvenirs from Heroes’ Square

Don’t leave Heroes’ Square without a token to remember your visit! Gift shops are scattered throughout the museums and near the entrance of City Park. You’ll find everything from postcards and books to t-shirts and mugs. 

But for something truly unique, look out for miniature replicas of the statues from the Millennium Monument. They’re a great way to bring a piece of Hungarian history home with you. 

If art is more your style, you’ll love the paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts. And don’t miss out on the handicrafts from local artisans—they’re a perfect way to remember the vibrant culture of Budapest.

Public restrooms are available inside the museums and near the lake in City Park.  They’re clean, well-maintained, and only cost a small fee of 100 HUF (about 0.3 EUR) per use. 

And if you’re dining at one of the nearby eateries, you’re welcome to use their facilities too—just remember, it’s considered polite to order something first!

After you’ve had your fill of Heroes’ Square and City Park, Budapest has much more to offer. Take a leisurely stroll down Andrassy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lined with stunning buildings and upscale shops. 

Or head to the Jewish Quarter, a vibrant and diverse district home to the largest synagogue in Europe and the famous ruin pubs, converted from abandoned buildings. 

If shopping is on your agenda, Oktogon Square is your go-to spot, bustling with shops, cinemas, and cafes.

Did you know?: (5 Interesting Facts!)

  1. Heroes Square, or “Hősök tere” in Hungarian, is not just a pretty name. This famous landmark was erected in 1896 to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin in 895. Talk about a birthday celebration!
  2. The statues that adorn Heroes Square aren’t just random figures. They represent the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars, who led the Hungarian people from central Asia to the land we now know as Hungary. It’s like a stone-made history lesson!
  3. The central column of the square, topped by the archangel Gabriel, is a sight to behold. But did you know it’s actually a tomb? Beneath it lies an unknown soldier, symbolising all Hungarian heroes who’ve sacrificed their lives for the nation.
  4. Heroes Square isn’t just about the past, it’s also about the future. The Millennium Monument at its heart symbolizes peace and prosperity for the next thousand years. So, it’s a spot of hope amidst the history!
  5. The two buildings flanking the square aren’t just for show. On one side, you’ll find the Museum of Fine Arts, housing the largest foreign art collection in Hungary. On the other, lies the Hall of Art, a contemporary gallery showcasing modern Hungarian artists. So, it’s a culture vulture’s dream, too!

History

An Over 100-Year Timeline of Heroes Square in Budapest:

  • 1896: The construction of Heroes Square, also known as Hősök Tere, begins under the authority of Miklós Ybl, a prominent Hungarian architect, to commemorate the thousand-year anniversary of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin.
  • 1900: The square is officially opened to the public, showcasing statues of the founding fathers of Hungary and other major national leaders.
  • 1929: The iconic Millennium Monument, which dominates the square, is finally completed. Its central feature is a column topped by a statue of the archangel Gabriel, who is said to have offered St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary, a crown.
  • 1945: After World War II, the statues of the Habsburg kings are removed and replaced with new ones depicting national heroes to reflect the change in the political climate.
  • 1956: Heroes Square becomes a significant site during the Hungarian Revolution, with massive demonstrations taking place here against the Soviet rule.
  • 1989: The square serves as the symbolic burial place of Imre Nagy, a significant figure in Hungarian history and the Prime Minister during the 1956 revolution, further cementing its significance in the nation’s political and social landscape.
  • 2002: Heroes Square, along with the adjacent City Park, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, and the Vajdahunyad Castle, is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
  • 2013: The Museum of Fine Arts and the Hall of Art, both located on Heroes Square, undergo significant renovations, further enhancing the square’s cultural significance.
  • Present Day: Heroes Square is one of Budapest’s most visited tourist attractions, drawing countless visitors each year to its impressive monuments and surrounding cultural establishments. It continues to be a focal point for national celebrations, public concerts, and events.

FAQ

What is Heroes’ Square in Budapest known for?

Heroes’ Square, or Hősök tere in Hungarian, is one of the most important landmarks in Budapest. This grand square is known for its iconic monument complex featuring statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important national leaders. It’s also recognized for its impressive Millennium Monument, which was erected to commemorate the 1000-year history of the Magyars. So, from a historical standpoint, it’s a must-visit.

Where is Heroes’ Square located in Budapest?

Heroes’ Square sits at the end of Andrássy Avenue, right next to City Park in Budapest. It’s in the 14th district of the city, known as Zugló. If you’re visiting, it’s easy to reach via the M1 (yellow) metro line – just hop off at the Hősök tere stop.

What attractions are near Heroes’ Square in Budapest?

There’s no shortage of attractions near Heroes’ Square! Right next door is the City Park, home to the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, and Vajdahunyad Castle. You’ll also find two of Budapest’s prime art galleries – the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hall of Art – flanking the square. So, there’s plenty to explore around.

Is there an entrance fee to visit Heroes’ Square?

No, there isn’t. Heroes’ Square is a public space, open to everyone. You can visit anytime, day or night, without having to pay an entrance fee. However, the museums and galleries nearby do charge admission.

What is the best time to visit Heroes’ Square?

Heroes’ Square is always worth a visit, but it’s especially beautiful at dusk when the monuments are illuminated. It’s less crowded early in the morning or late in the evening. Plus, if you happen to be in Budapest during a national holiday, you might be lucky enough to witness a ceremonial event taking place in the square.