On Tuesday, several historic sites across Budapest welcome the public to observe Hungary’s 1848 Revolution against the oppressive Austrian Empire, featuring political speeches, military processions, and free programs citywide, with some events happening at the same locations where the uprising occurred. From the Hungarian National Museum to Kossuth Square to the Buda Castle, many Budapest landmarks attract a solemn crowd paying tribute to the noble struggle that began on this day, remembered with spectacular performances and informative displays.
Following the official flag-raising ceremony at 9am by Hungarian military officers on Budapest’s Kossuth Square in front of the prominently designed Parliament House, a festive procession marches towards the Hungarian National Museum, led by Magyar hussars amid lively tunes. Everyone is free to join the streaming parade that winds through Alkotmány Street, Bajcsy-Zsilinkszky Road, Károly Boulevard, Astoria, and Museum Boulevard, before reaching the museum grounds.
This is a key location of the uprising, where Sándor Petőfi – the nation’s revolutionary poet – is said to have stood on the stairs on March 15th of 1848 to passionately deliver the National Song, a poetic masterpiece that inspired the Hungarian revolution against the Austrian Empire. Every year on March 15th, the storied stairway of the National Museum is the site of official speeches and musical reenactments of Petőfi’s dramatic recital; this year the ceremony kicks off here at 10:30am. From the museum, the masses proceed to the Buda Castle, where a collection of free programs awaits visitors throughout the day.
This recently refurbished neo-Renaissance building – spanning the hillside from the Buda riverfront to the Royal Palace – features a captivating photo display in its southern wing, showcasing 300 images taken in Budapest and Vienna to introduce the various urban developments that occurred in both cities, while highlighting the similarities of these metropolitan projects. The northern part of Várkert Bazaar is home to another exhibit by Hungarian realist and expressionist painter József Koszta, introducing nearly 100 of his artworks.
With an expansive collection documenting the development of fine arts in Hungary, a visit to this stunning museum is a not-to-be-missed activity for art lovers in the Magyar metropolis, and on March 15th anyone can enjoy free entry here to view compelling works through various art styles of legendary Magyar painters like Mihály Munkácsy, István Csók, or János Vaszary, exhibited alongside medieval and Renaissance stone carvings, Gothic wooden sculptures, and much more. During this nationally observed day, the museum is open from 10am to 4:30pm, while from 11am to 2pm guests can try to create the Hungarian flag and the red-, white-, and green-colored cockade (a symbolic depiction of the ribbons worn by Petőfi and his fellow rebels) during creative workshops.
Between 10am and 6pm, the prominent exhibition space within the Castle District turns into a real-time history class, where numerous displays are arranged to evoke the revolutionary era, including the representation of a colossal cannon, a comprehensive weapon exhibition, hussar shows in front of the building on Kapisztrán Square, spectacular swordplay demonstrations, and fun handicraft workshops.
Creativity comes in handy for those who enter the Táncsics Prison on the Buda Castle grounds, where an assortment of challenging activities await those who are young at heart, including target shooting, power contests, traditional games, and several other historic exercises. The prison can be visited from 10am to 6pm.
Address: 1014 Budapest, Táncsics Mihály Street 9
Learn all about local customs at this symbolic location, where anyone can acquire the basic steps of the Magyars’ stomping folk dance, participate in a wide range of thematic games, or try to create Hungary’s flag and emblematic cockade that is proudly pinned to the chest of many Magyars on this day, while children can become immersed in Hungarian hussar practices, like saber fencing and horseshoe pitching. During the day, visitors can view the “We, Hungarians” exhibition – showcasing significant treasures of the Hungarian culture through 18 rooms – free of charge. The building is open for visitors from 10am to 5pm.
Address: 1014 Budapest, Szentháromság Square 6
The tempting scent of freshly baked bread and the aroma of classic regional pastries mingle in the air all along the Street of Hungarian Flavors in the Buda Castle, where the lengthy lanes running along Dísz Square, Szentháromság Square, and Hess András Square turn into an appetizing fairground. Here, visitors can sample assorted Hungarian meals, including crispy scones, sweet jams, and scrumptious cakes, and wash it all off with intoxicating local libations from 10am to 6pm.