Budapest 2023: How the city will change this year


  • Fürdős Zsanett

22/02/2023 4.09pm

Everywhere you walk, the city is full of cranes and scaffolding – sometimes marking completely new constructions, sometimes restoration work, and in some cases, sadly, the demolition of iconic or listed buildings. We rounded up what changes are expected in Budapest in 2023: this year will also see a number of improvements that will noticeably change the built environment we are used to. But change can be good: there are some great projects in Budapest this year in the areas of transport and green development. The Drechsler Palace, under renovation for years, will finally be completed in 2023, and it looks like the former palace of Archduke Joseph will be close to completion.

2022 had brought significant changes in Budapest: the new building of the Museum of Ethnography was completed and the MOL Campus, which changed the cityscape dramatically, was inaugurated – the latter being the first skyscraper in Budapest – but we were most looking forward to the completion of the renovation of the Opera House and the Chain Bridge. Now let's take a look at what's in store this year!

Castle District

Reconstruction work is underway on the former headquarters of the Red Cross Society and Archduke Joseph’s Palace, as well as the adjoining neo-Renaissance stables and palace garden. The exterior of the Red Cross Society's headquarters will be reconstructed according to Alajos Hauszmann’s and Dezső Hültl’s designs, while the interior will be given a completely modern appearance.

The original, restored stone is partly used for the construction, the plinth is already complete, and the ornate façade and roof cladding are being finished, followed by the restoration of the banqueting hall and the entrance according to the Hauszmann era later this year. Archduke Joseph's Palace façade on Szent György Square will be structurally completed by spring.

Plans for Archduke Joseph's Palace

Photo: Várkapitányság NZrt.

The reconstruction of the Karakas Pasha Tower in the Castle was completed last year and a café, shop, and new lavatories are expected to open this year. The restoration of the castle walls, bastions, towers, and rondelles is also ongoing. This year, several sections will be completed, including the Buzogány Tower and the south garden retaining walls. The reconstruction of the Buda Castle will enter another spectacular phase this year, with the renewal of the northern wing.

The Citadel's restoration will also continue, with the cutting of the ramparts, the functional redesign of the rondelle, and the necessary structural work starting this year. After having rebuilt the southern part of the rondelle, the walls will be repaired to look uniform. 

Plans for the renewal of the northern wing of the Buda Castle

Photo: Robert Gutowski Architects

The building of the Honvéd High Command is now structurally complete and reached its highest point last year: it regained its former dome and this year the decoration of the façade and the interior are being completed, with the building expected to reopen as a visitor centre. Although not part of the National Hauszmann Plan, the reconstruction of the neo-Gothic palace of the Ministry of Finance on the Szentháromság Square is expected to be completed by the end of 2023 and is also underway in the Castle District.

The neo-Gothic building of the Ministry of Finance under construction. The ornate main gate and domes will be restored

Photo: Rockstar Photographers - We Love Budapest

Monument reconstruction

In recent years, the restoration of historical monuments has been receiving increasing attention, which we welcome, even if our former palaces and magnificent buildings are often converted into luxury hotels. We applaud any such news, if only because our listed buildings are often so neglected that even skilled professionals are unable to bring them back from their terrible state, and instead of being renovated, they are demolished.

After years of renovation, it looks as if the Drechsler Palace, designed by Ödön Lechner, will be completed and opened this year, and the empty former Ballet Institute will be revived as a luxury hotel this summer. In December, the renewed Blaha Lujza Square was inaugurated, but it will only be fully complete when the reconstruction of the Corvin Department Store is finished, restoring the building to its 1926 classicist appearance. The building is expected to be finished in spring, with shops on the lower floors and offices on the upper floors.

Plans for the Drechsler Palace

Photo: Bánáti + Hartvig Építész Iroda

As part of the Steindl Imre Program, the full renovation and monumental reconstruction of the Palace of Justice is also progressing to return it to its original function as the home of the supreme court, the Curia of Hungary. The cleaning of the statues on the main façade of the building and the checking of their fixings has recently been underway, as it was discovered that the plinths of several of the 15 statues were only attached to the cornice by means of binding material. Also part of the Steindl Imre Program, the renovation of the Ministry of Agriculture is also progressing well, but it is still to be completed, although the two listed buildings are expected to be inaugurated at the same time.

Plans for the Ministry of Agriculture

Photo: Steindl Imre Program

The Károlyi Palace, and more specifically the public spaces of the Petőfi Literary Museum, have been renovated and reopened with an exhibition to mark the 200th anniversary of poet Sándor Petőfi’s birth. Future plans also include reconnecting the Károlyi Palace courtyard with the Károlyi Garden; this is largely complete, but work is still underway in the garden. The new campus of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University (PPKE) is being built in the Palace District, more specifically in the former block of the Hungarian Radio, and the building at 15 Bródy Sándor Street, a.k.a. the "Chimney Sweep House", will also be renewed. The run-down listed building will house the offices of the central department supporting the PPKE's operations, and its design will be launched this year.

The Petőfi Literary Museum

Photo: Rockstar Photographers - We Love Budapest

By spring 2023, the Aquincum Museum's Esplanade, a revitalisation of the public space along Szentendrei Road, which will include a wall of special attractions, is expected to be completed. The reconstruction of Budapest's iconic Art Nouveau hotel was recently revealed to be carried out by Archikon Architects, and this year we can expect to see the design plans for the revamped Gellért Hotel.

Plans for the Aquincum Museum

Photo: Aquincum Museum

Public spaces, transport, and all things green

This year there will be lots of positive changes to Budapest's public spaces and green areas, and the renovation of metro line 3 is nearing completion, so you can soon travel from Kőbánya-Kispest to Újpest-Központ without having to take a replacement bus. Since 23 January, the metro stops at Deák Ferenc tér and Ferenciek tere stations, by March, Arany János utca and Nyugati pályaudvar stations will be completed, and by May, Nagyvárad tér and Lehel tér stations will be delivered. The surface development of the Ecseri út station is linked to the renovation of metro line 3, with work starting in the spring and public choice of the name of the square to be decided by the end of February.

Plans for the M3 Ecseri út station

Photo: Ferencváros - Facebook

If all goes well, we will be able to cross the Chain Bridge on foot in the summer, which is currently open to buses, bicycles, motorbikes, and taxis, as the reconstruction of the pavements, the lower part of the bridge structure, and the bridge ends are being carried out. Although the Galvani Bridge was granted planning permission at the end of last year, it is not yet known when construction work will start, but the quayside development could continue from mid-2023. 

The current state of the Chain Bridge

Photo: Rockstar Photographers - We Love Budapest

For years, the closed-off area in front of the Városháza (City Hall has) been used as a car park, but with the removal of the car park and the opening of the Merlin Theatre, the new green main square of the capital could be the Városháza Park by the end of the year. The renewal of Hild Square is underway too, with trees, perennials, and annuals to increase the green space, the section between 12 József Attila Street and Hild Square will be pedestrianised, but the playground will be renewed and public lavatories will be installed. The works are expected to be completed by autumn. Work has also started on Szeszgyár Street, with the area already cleaned up and a community garden created, and the pedestrian walkway could be completed this year. 

Plans for the Városháza Park

Photo: Budapest Főváros Főpolgármesteri Hivatala

The design competition for the regeneration of the People's Park closed on 16 January, with the results to be announced in the spring, so it will be worth watching the news to see how landscape architects envision Budapest's largest public park. The results of the tender for the overall development of Városmajor were announced last year and further planning and consultation are underway. The situation is similar for the new public park in Csepel

This is how the Városmajor will look after the renovation

Photo: Az OpenSpace Kft. Tájépítész Iroda És A Deichler Jakab Stúdió Győztes Pályamunkája, Látványterv: Karlinger Manó

The construction of the planned canopy trail in Normafa has started, and the Municipality of Hegyvidék is organising a collection for the construction of the St Anna Chapel this year.

Starting the works in February, a new, 9,000 square-metre park is planned to be created in Újpest (Szent István Square) by the summer. 5,000 square metres of its territory are to be covered with grass, with more than a hundred trees, shrubs and flowers, and communal spaces are planned to take up the rest. See the planned result in this video.

The planned canopy trail at Normafa

Photo: Hello Wood


It seems that the wave of mega-investments will never end, as soon as one is finished, the next one starts. With the World Athletics Championships starting on 19 August, the National Athletics Centre will definitely be ready for this summer. The stadium will have a capacity of 40,000 seats but will be reduced to 15,000 after the World Championships. 

The revitalisation of the Corvin Quarter, which has been going on for more than a decade and a half, is nearing completion, with the residential buildings already completed. The Corvin Innovation Campus is also under construction, which will be followed by a park in front of it, named after Hungarian revered actress Irén Psota. 

A huge urban quarter is under construction at Lágymányosi Bay, with work continuing at BudaPart this year, and it seems that this momentum has inspired others, as a neighbourhood project is also starting this year in the area above Marina Beach. The 10 hectares of Marina City will see the construction of residential and office buildings, many of which will exceed 65 metres in height, but there are also plans to create a waterfront promenade and large green spaces for public use. 

This is how Psota Irén Emlékpark will look like

Photo: Futureal

There will be no shortage of plans and works this year, Budapest will once again undergo many changes, and it will be worth keeping an eye on how the city develops this year.

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