Two impressive buildings rise to the skies on Ferenciek tere, the twin Klotild palaces. With their ornate façades and striking architecture, these two jewels have long been admired by visitors. Renovation of the southern edifice has just been completed, restoring the symmetry of these twin landmarks once again.

When viewed from Astoria, the Klotild palaces, with their 48-metre high towers, almost serve as a gateway to Elizabeth Bridge just beyond. The idea can be linked to the Archduchess Mária Klotild, the wife of Archduke Károly József, as the buildings were erected on her initiative between 1899 and 1902, according to the plans of Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl.

The Neo-Baroque pair were built with an iron core structure – unusual at the time – which was then covered in stone cladding, and decorated with windows by famed mosaicist Miksa Róth. The upstairs apartments were heated with stoves done out in bright Zsolnay tiling, and were the first in the city to have an elevator. Peering up, you can still see copies of the Archduke’s crowns on the towers today.

The BÁV antique shop long operated in the north building, while the south saw the famous Downtown Café and then the Lidó Casino. Time has taken its toll on the buildings, with renovation last completed in 1968. A luxury hotel opened in 2012 in the north building, only to close again in December 2018, when it was bought by a Qatari businessman. Since then, there has been no news about what might be next in store. However, a new luxury hotel will open in the south building, and will house a Michelin-starred restaurant run by Eszter Palágyi of Costes fame.

Nicknamed Klotild and Matild (north and south, respectively), the two buildings are enjoying their recent facelifts. The area at the base is still cordoned off as interior design is in progress, but the refurbished façade can now be enjoyed in all its glory.