City guide

Discover Art Deco treasures at the Kelenföld Power Plant

Photo : Kelenföld Power Plant
Múzeum Antikvárium

One of Budapest’s most important buildings turns 100 this year and instead of serving as home for one of the city’s notable residents or being a monument that commemorates a renowned saint, it provides more than half of the city’s thermal heating and a part of Hungary’s electricity supply. Buda’s monumental Kelenföld Power Plant is the perfect example of how remarkably buildings were constructed more than a century ago, even industrial facilities. During an exclusive event, we managed to visit this immense edifice to see its design and find out how hot water comes out of our taps in Budapest.

Found on the Buda side of the city near the Kopaszi Dam, the Kelenföld Power Plant supplies 60% of Budapest’s heating and hot water, and 4% of Hungary’s energy supply. While certain sections of this stunning site are crumbling – especially the areas that were sold and are now inactive – the interior of the facility is complete with modern machinery and technology.
Photo: Kelenföld Power Plant
A liquid fuel-oil reserve is also kept on-site as a backup that can last eight days in case ordinary supplies get scarce, while additional pipes lead from the oil refinery plant of Százhalombatta, south of Budapest. 
Photo: Kelenföld Power Plant
100 years of electrifying history
Built in 1914, this prominent power plant elegantly blends old and new – back in the early 1900s, the site served as the first boiler house and as an electricity-supply building in Budapest, while the construction was also Europe’s first electricity exchange. To commemorate its centenary, the Kelenföld Power Plant organized a guided group tour across its facilities, where little-known details were provided to visitors about the building’s history, while we also learned how thousands of Budapest’s apartments are being supplied with hot water and heating.

Photo: Kelenföld Power Plant
Photo: Kelenföld Power Plant

Industrial design
The construction of the building is an incredible example of thoughtful industrial design from the prewar era, and as a result, the Kelenföld Power Plant is protected as an “industrial heritage” edifice, while with its massive glass ceiling, the Art Deco control room is one of the building’s most remarkable features.

Photo: We Love Budapest
Photo: We Love Budapest

Hungary’s famous Zsolnay tiles enhance many of the plant’s corridors and to highlight the building’s detail-oriented design and architecture, the original tiles were laid down in a pattern that shows the maximum weight that the floor could carry without breaking. During the time-transcending trip it was fascinating to see an intricate collection of old-style buttons and switches that were used from the early 1900s to control Budapest’s power and thermal supplies a century ago and beyond. 
Photo: We Love Budapest
Unfortunately guided tours at the Kelenföld Power Plant are not available to the public, however if the facility organizes any open-day event on their premises in the future, we will provide updates on We Love Budapest.