City guide

Budapest plans to make Blaha Lujza tér green and accessible

Photo : Budapesti Közlekedési Központ
Blaha Lujza tér

One of Budapest’s busiest and most-neglected intersections is about to receive a modern-day revamp. Recently revealed plans for the reconstruction of Blaha Lujza tér show green spaces replacing the current car-park area and new zebra crossings making the square accessible for those with limited mobility. Meanwhile, Corvin Department Store will also get a facelift as the massive aluminium layer currently covering the statuesque façade would be removed. Works are to be completed by the end of 2019.

A rushing mass of more than 200,000 people a day, a never-ending flurry of cars, buses, metro trains and trams. This is Blaha Lujza tér, a high-traffic zone both underground and on street level. However, this central square – named after Lujza Blaha, a Hungarian actress and singer popular in the early 1900s – has been slowly deteriorating in the past decades, leaving the space a gloomy hub for commuters passing the dilapidated scenes day and night.

Photo: Krisztián Bódis / We Love Budapest

Recently, several plans have been on the table to renovate the square, with no final deadline for completion. However, new announcements by Budapest officials confirm that Blaha Lujza tér will finally get an extensive makeover by the end of 2019. Current plans would eradicate the parking zone that would also affect the adjacent narrow road outside Corvin Department Store. This could be transformed into new parkland.

Photo: Norbert Juhász / We Love Budapest

According to latest proposals, the infamously unappealing Blaha underpass will get a makeover, a major step anticipated by many traversing the subterranean walkway regularly. An additional zebra crossing would be established for multi-lane Rákóczi út, making Blaha Lujza tér accessible for people with limited mobility. Rehabilitation also calls for better traffic control around the neighborhood and new bicycle lanes could also be installed.

Photo: Norbert Juhász / We Love Budapest

Earlier city reports confirm a major reconstruction of the Corvin Department Store, home to popular party place Corvin Club. Opened in 1926, this former landmark used to be one of the most elegant shopping destinations in Budapest, its ornate Classicist frontage a major feature. Then in 1967, the impressive statues and iconic columns adorning the outer walls were hidden behind a massive aluminium cast and the Corvin has been stuck behind it ever since. As part of the restoration works, this metal shell will be also removed. Plans should be finalized this year.