The neo-Gothic Parliament building, constructed according to the plans of Imre Steindl, was completed in 1902, and since then Kossuth tér has been considered a main square and the setting for Hungary’s most prominent national monument. Over the past 120 years, it has changed here and there but always been characterised by a military orderliness. Most of the more important buildings surrounding the huge square were already standing here a century ago, and those that were not, were constructed between the wars. Take a look at how this prestigious square has changed over the decades thanks to the work of communal photo archive Fortepan.

The square in its present form first appeared in 1804 thanks to a plan drawn up by János Hild. Of course, he did not yet envisage the square as it looks today. He parcelled out the northern half, while he earmarked a market for the southern half.

This became just a large pit and rubbish dump, which they started to fill in 1844, which is probably where the first name of the square comes from: Tömő (‘Fill’) tér. Nothing came of the subdivision either, because the place was taken over by the military, who built a small harbour and vehicle storage.

Parliament, designed by Imre Steindl, began to be built in 1885 and was completed in 1902, but already by 1898 it was thought – since the Ministry of Agriculture and the Kúria building were already in place – that the square would play an increasingly important role in the in the life of the country.

The name Tömő tér was changed to Országház (‘Parliament’) tér. During the Aster Revolution after World War I, at the suggestion of writer Gyula Krúdy, it was briefly renamed Köztársaság (‘Republic’) tér. At the end of 1919 it got its old name back but only until 1927. The square received its current name on the 125th anniversary of the birth of Lajos Kossuth, and János Horvay’s monument to the great statesman was also erected at that time.

Over the decades, the square has hardly changed at all. There was war-time damage and traffic has been regulated. Changes primarily affected the monuments on the square. The statue of Hungarian revolutionary leader Ferenc Rákóczi, unveiled in 1937 on the 200th anniversary of his death, stands undisturbed and has only undergone renovation once, when the reconstruction of Kossuth tér took place in 2010.

The rest of the statues fell foul of the Communist régime after World War II, and were removed. Original works or their authentic copies were later returned to their locations, no later than 2010.

This is how Kossuth himself, István Tisza, Count Gyula Andrássy and István Nagyatádi Szabó, all eminent politicians of the Habsburg era, returned to Kossuth tér.

The statue of poet Attila József, which sat in the place of the Andrássy statue for a couple of decades, remained in the square, but in 2014 it was moved to the banks of the Danube. The life of Kossuth tér was disrupted a little during the construction of metro line 2, when the station was opened to the travelling public on 22 December 1972.