Combine the visit with a stroll along Andrássy avenue, and try to visit both by day and night — it’s quite a different experience
Heroes’ Square was built in 1896 to mark the thousandth anniversary of Hungary. One of the major squares in Budapest, it is found at the end of Andrássy Avenue, next to City Park. It is among the most visited tourist attractions in the city, hosting the Museum of Fine Arts and the Mücsarnok Hall of Art, but it is particularly famous for its Millennial Monument.
Set in the middle of the huge plaza, the Millennial Monument is fittingly colossal. It celebrates the grand history and culture of Hungary since its inception. At its front sits a large stone cenotaph surrounded by an iron chain. The cenotaph reads: “To the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence.”
Archangel Gabriel stands on top of the central pillar, holding the holy crown and the cross of Christianity. Below are the seven chieftains of the Magyars who led the Hungarian people into the Carpathian Basin, including Árpád, who is considered the founder of the Hungarian nation. To either side important historical figures stand atop towering colonnades. Altogether, they are awe-inspiring.
When the monument was originally built Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so the five spaces for statues were reserved for members of the ruling Habsburg dynasty. When the empire dissolved after WWII they were replaced with statues of Hungarian freedom fighters.
A hero’s welcome
The square is very historically significant: it was here, for example, that 250,000 Hungarians gathered to witness the reburial of Imre Nagry in 1989. Nagry was the former Primer Minister of Hungary who led the 1956 uprising against the Soviet occupation and was summarily executed in 1958. The Heroes’ Square is a patriotic emblem for the Hungarian people, so it was only appropriate that he return there.
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