The square surrounding Arany János utca metro station near the Basilica, Podmaniczky tér, has just been relandscaped. Where there once was a cacophony of trolleybuses and old-school kiosks, there is now a verdant, pedestrianised space, embellished by a fountain. We paid it a visit.
Guarding the gateway to the business and culinary hub of the city, Lipótváros, Podmaniczky tér stands on the site of a building that was almost completely destroyed in World War II. The square and metro station were only unveiled as late as 1981, when this section of the blue M3 line was also opened.
Later named after the 19th-century writer and politician Frigyes Podmaniczky, it would become a terminus for two of Budapest’s red trolleybus routes and a home for rows of semi-makeshift kiosks proffering fast food and cheap clothes.
Now the fences have been taken down and the diggers moved away, we can reveal a pleasant space planted with more than 80 trees – although these will need to grow to provide real shade.
With the removal of the trolleybus terminus at the back and the cycle path across it, the square has become much more user-friendly for pedestrians. The statue of Podmaniczky himself was moved to the corner of Arany János utca, and a fountain now stands at one side of the square.
The redesign has been intelligently reconfigured, and the public benches provide a convivial spot for rest and recreation for the many workers nearby. Let’s hope the newly planted trees survive the winter to bloom in spring.