By the walls of Buda Castle, in a Turkish garden lined with fig trees, roses and quinces, you can sit and read in peace on a handy bench, away from the tourist hordes flooding Budapest’s most popular landmark. Nearby, a fountain decorated with Moorish patterns bubbles beneath the Pasha Karakas Tower, providing a further Eastern touch. It’s all part of the National Hauszmann Programme to revamp and revive Buda Castle according to original plans drawn up by the famed architect over a century ago.
The surroundings of Buda Castle have been changing quite rapidly in recent months, from the reconstructed Archduke Joseph’s Palace to the former headquarters of the Red Cross Society. Construction has been going on for some time, and you’re bound to see a National Hauszmann Programme as you wander around this historic quarter overlooking the Danube on the Buda side.
But the National Hauszmann Programme to regenerate the area – in line with the vision of the architect of the same name commissioned to do the very same job around the turn of the last century – is not limited to buildings alone. If you walk down the Stöckl steps and go all the way to the castle walls, you’ll now find a Turkish Garden nicely tucked away.
It harks back to the Turkish quarter that stood here during the Ottoman era, stretching between the lower and upper castle walls and then simply called the New Quarter or, in Turkish, Jeni mahallen. During the recapture of Buda Castle in 1686, the quarter was destroyed, trees were planted in its place and it continued to function under the name Újvilág-kert (‘New World Garden’) until the end of the 19th century.
In this recently revamped spot, everything feels a little Mediterranean, Balkan even, surrounded by fig trees, quince trees, and red, yellow, pink and white rose bushes. A decorative fountain with Moorish patterns completes the picture.