The ELTE Botanical Gardens are worth visiting whatever the season because they always show a slightly different face, cherry blossom in spring, ochre and fire red in autumn. We sent photographer Zsuzsi Forgács round to capture the beauty of this gorgeous natural attraction, an oasis of colour in otherwise workaday District VIII.
Home to 8,000 species of plants, the ELTE Botanical Gardens feature a jungle-like palm house, the Victoria House with its Amazonian water lilies, and 200-year-old ferns.
First opened as the Hortus Botanicus at the University of Trnava in present-day Slovakia, the gardens first moved to Buda and then to Pest, near today’s National Museum. Sadly, much was destroyed in the great flood of 1838, so the gardens came under the auspices of Antal Festetics and his estate, at their current location.
Festetics built the historic little castle with its wild grapes, in fact an extension, as the original building was created by Márton Szeleczky. Habsburg royals Maria Theresa and Joseph II would visit to watch the military exercises on the fields of Rákos. Perhaps more exciting is the fact that the building is also located on the site of Renaissance King Mátyás’ hunting lodge from the 1400s.