Every year on the occasion of Hungary’s March 15th national holiday, several historic Budapest sites welcome the public to honor the Magyars’ 1848 Revolution against the oppressive Austrian Empire with programs including political speeches, military processions, and free activities citywide, with some events happening at the same locations where the insurgency occurred. From the National Museum to the Parliament to the Buda Castle, major Budapest landmarks welcome crowds with spectacular performances and stimulating displays to pay tribute to the honorable struggle that began on this day.
From 8am to 12:30pm, visitors can admire the impressive Parliament House on Kossuth Square both outside and inside during an open day, when guided tours take groups around the building to see the Grand Stairway, the stately Dome Hall, and the treasured Holy Crown of Hungary. From 8am to 9:45am – due to official celebrations on Kossuth Square – the Parliament can temporarily be accessed through gate XVII, while after 9:45am admission is granted through gate XII.
Beginning at 9am, Hungarian military officers fill Budapest’s Kossuth Square to raise the Hungarian national flag amid rhythmic drumbeats in front of the Parliament House, followed by a festive procession led by Magyar hussars that marches towards the Hungarian National Museum. Everyone is free to join the streaming parade that winds along Alkotmány Street, Bajcsy-Zsilinkszky Road, Károly Boulevard, Astoria, and Múzeum Boulevard, before reaching the museum.
Considered as one of the key locations of the uprising – where in front of thousands of spirited Magyars, Hungarian poet Sándor Petőfi is believed to have delivered the “National Song”, a poetic masterpiece that inspired the Hungarian revolution against the Austrian Empire – the storied stairway of the National Museum is the site of official speeches and musical reenactments every year on March 15th. This year the ceremony starts here at 10:30am, and from the museum the masses proceed to the Buda Castle, where several free programs await visitors throughout the day. On this day, the National Museum is open from 2pm through 6pm, offering free entry to visitors.
From 10am through 6pm, a collection of family-friendly programs animates Buda’s Castle District at multiple locations, including solemn live music shows on Dísz tér (11am-5pm); Hungarian folk music and folk-dance performances at the statue of Magyar hussar András Hadik, found at the intersection on Szentháromság Street and Úri Street (11am-5pm); andconcerts and dance classes in Szentháromság Square (10:30am-6pm). Meanwhile in Clark Ádám Square, historic reenactments portray what the life of Hungary’s historic cavalry officers was like in 1848 (10am-6pm).
On March 15th, Budapest’s beautiful neo-Renaissance riverfront esplanade – spanning the Castle District hillside before the Royal Palace – evokes the 1848 Revolution with fashion shows featuring period costumes, hussar performances, and crafts workshops for children, all happening throughout the day between 10am and 6pm.
Boasting a vast display that chronicles the development of fine arts in Hungary, the National Gallery is a prominent locale for art lovers in Hungary’s capital, and on March 15th anyone can enjoy free entry here to view captivating works of renowned Magyar painters, like Mihály Munkácsy, Károly Lotz, or János Vaszary, exhibited alongside medieval and Renaissance-era stone carvings, Gothic wooden sculptures, and much more. During this nationally observed holiday, both the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions are open to anyone to view free of charge.
Soldier-molding workshops, war games, dance classes, and several other stimulating activities complete the permanent military-themed displays at the Museum of Military History within the Castle District, with varied programs happening here from 10am to 6pm. Furthermore, visitors can browse through a collection of handmade products at the museum’s temporary crafts fair, and devour scrumptious chimney cake specialties.
Address: Budapest 1014, Kapisztrán tér 2-4
An assortment of challenging activities welcome young and old at this historic building, where Hungarian teacher and journalist Mihály Táncsics was kept incarcerated for his radical political convictions, and from whence the insurgents freed him on March 15th in 1848. Games include target shooting, strategy games, and several escape-themed exercises, all happening between 10am and 6pm.
Address: 1014 Budapest, Táncsics Mihály utca 9
Visitors at Magyarság Háza can immerse into local customs, including acquiring the basic steps of the Magyars’ stomping folk dance, participating in thematic games, and attending workshops to create Hungary’s flag and emblematic cockade that is proudly pinned to the chest of many Magyars on this day. Children can learn about Hungarian hussar practices, like saber fencing and horseshoe pitching, while during the day the establishment’s in-house exhibition – called “We, Hungarians” and showcasing significant treasures of Hungarian culture through 18 rooms – is open to anyone free of charge. The building welcomes the public from 10am to 6pm.
Address: 1014 Budapest, Szentháromság tér 6
The aroma of freshly baked bread wafts in the air across several streets in the Buda Castle, where the lengthy lanes running along Dísz Square, Szentháromság Square, and Hess András Square turn into a tasteful fairground. Various stalls offer select Hungarian meals, including crispy scones, sweet jams, scrumptious cakes, and intoxicating drinks from 10am to 6pm.
From 11am to 2pm, scenes of the 1848 Revolution come alive at the Museum of Ethnography, which provides playful workshops for families to enable children to make their own cockades, hussar shakos, or scarves in the national colors of Hungary. Besides the creative activities, the museum’s viewing halls – including even the temporary displays, like the recently opened “Bocskor, Boot, Paduka – Adventures in Footwear” exhibition showcasing hundreds of shoes from various continents and eras – can be accessed free of charge from 10am through 6pm.