Várkert Bazár

History

For the most of us Hungarians, Castle Garden Bazaar means the place where the almost cultic club of Budapest, the Budai Ifúsági Park (Buda Juvenile Park) once operated.

The number one summer club of Budapest, the Budai Ifjúsági Park opened its gates on 20th August 1961. There were approximately 2000-2500 juvenile visitors on the concerts held in the Park. The Bergendy Band, Kati Kovács and the Benkó Dixiland Band all gave concerts here.

The Park was originally created as a dance club and in the ‘70’s the staple bands of the Hungarian rock-and-roll era, like the Illés, the Omega, the Piramis and the Karthago, bands who were known also beyond the Iron Curtain, all gave concerts here.

The first and the most famous director of the Park was László Raják, who considered maintaining order as the first priority. One could only enter the Park in proper clothing and rig. The following extract from the Entry Rules of 1962 account for this:

‘Information for visitors to the Budai Ifjúsági Park:

Entry is only allowed for boys above the age of 18 and for ladies above the age of 16. Tie, light coloured shirt and jacket is obligatory. No duck trousers. Following trespasses are punishable by expulsion:

Dancing in an inappropriate manner, dancing twist on a non-twist hit, one lady twisting with multiple boys, boys twisting with boys, and any other behaviour that draws unnecessary attention.’ (Entry Rules 1962)

The club hosted several legendary concerts between 1961 and 1984; however, the place finally had to be closed down due to the continually deteriorating structure of the building. For example in 1980 several young people were injured when a stone railing collapsed during an EDDA concert. 

 

MEDIEVAL ARTIFACTS ON THE AREA OF THE CASTLE GARDEN BAZAAR

During the reconstruction works inter alia ceramics, everyday items, jewellery and weaponry dated from the Turkish and the medieval era were unearthed by the archaeologists. At the north-eastern part of the area, next to Várhegy the remains of stone structures, brick flooring and a packed mud floor dating back to the times of Turkish rule were also found.

Also from the Turkish times remained a sink with iron bars that had a pitted filter attached to it to prevent larger pieces of dreg to enter the gutter. The area south to the Vízhordó scales were considered as outlying areas during the Middle Ages and in the 16-17th centuries were mostly used for cemeteries. These cemeteries were later destroyed during the sieges of 1684 and 1686.

In the northern part of Castle Garden Bazaar cannon-foundries operated in the 16-18th centuries. During the field-works the main walls of eight Turkish-era buildings were discovered where several hundred carved stone and cast-iron bullets were found most probably from the time of the Recapturing of Buda in the year 1686. These foundries are remembered in the Öntőház courtyard and the Lépcsőpavillon (Staircase Pavilion) by the wall covered in Corten steel, decorated by series of holes and stylized cannonballs.

 

THE CASTLE GARDEN BAZAAR IN THE 19TH CENTURY

In the 19th century rapid development began on the Pest side of the Danube with an imposing row of palaces and a pedestrian mall, while the Buda side retained its rural 18th century appearance with single-floor buildings.

At the beginning of the 1870’s the idea of creating a representative building complex and an ornamental garden at the base of Várhegy was born. Miklós Ybl, who was a well-known and celebrated architect by that time, was charged with the task of creating the final plans. The Castle Garden Bazaar was constructed from 1875 to 1883 in neo-renaissance style based on the plans of Miklós Ybl. The building complex is one of the most beautiful creations of the Hungarian romantic style; ever since its opening in 1883 it has always been regarded as an undisputed masterpiece with its beauty and balanced proportions.

The one-time stores were later also used as studios; Alajos Stróbl, the creator of the Mátyás fountain in Buda Castle and of the statue of János Arany found in front of the National Museum worked here from 1884. 
 

THE CASTLE GARDEN BAZAAR IN THE 20TH CENTURY

For the most of us Castle Garden Bazaar means the place where the almost cultic club of Budapest, the Budai Ifúsági Park (Buda Juvenile Park) once operated.

The number one summer club of Budapest, the Budai Ifjúsági Park opened its gates on 20th August 1961. There were approximately 2000-2500 juvenile visitors on the concerts held in the Park. The Bergendy Band, Kati Kovács and the Benkó Dixiland Band all gave concerts here.

The Park was originally created as a dance club and in the 70’s the staple bands of the Hungarian rock-and-roll era, like the Illés, the Omega, the Piramis and the Karthago, bands who were known also beyond the Iron Curtain all gave concerts here.

The first and the most famous director of the Park was László Raják, who considered maintaining order as the first priority. One could only enter the Park in proper clothing and rig. The following extract from the Entry Rules of 1962 account for this:

‘Information for visitors to the Budai Ifjúsági Park:

Entry is only allowed for boys above the age of 18 and for ladies above the age of 16. Tie, light coloured shirt and jacket is obligatory. No duck trousers. Following trespasses are punishable by expulsion:

Dancing in an inappropriate manner, dancing twist on a non-twist hit, one lady twisting with multiple boys, boys twisting with boys, and any other behaviour that draws unnecessary attention.’ (Entry Rules 1962)

The club hosted several legendary concerts between 1961 and 1984; however, the place finally had to be closed down due to the continually deteriorating structure of the building. For example in 1980 several young people were injured when a stone railing collapsed during an EDDA concert. 

THE RENOVATION

The state of the Castle Garden Bazaar continually deteriorated from the 1980’s and finally led to the closure of the building. Several plans were made for the reconstruction and for the utilization of the Castle Garden Bazaar.

The development of the Castle Garden Bazaar was not just a simple reconstruction – meaning just the authentic renovation of the building complex and of the connecting gardens that form a World Heritage Site. No, it was much more: in the reconstructed building complex exhibition halls and a multifunctional event hall have also been formed. A visitor’s center for tourists was created housing restaurants and an info point.

The development started based on the Government Decree 1375/2011. (XI. 8.) on the reconstruction of the Várbazár, on the long term development of the Buda Castle District, on the revitalization of the Buda Castle Royal Gardens and on the settling of the traffic difficulties of the Buda Castle District and its surroundings.

The investment, directed at expanding the touristic services of the Hungarian capital was realized within the framework of the New Széchenyi Plan Central Hungary Operative Program of the European Union and of the Hungarian State, in the project ‘Development of Várkert Bazár’ id. No.  KMOP-3.1.1/E-12-k-2012-0001. The total amount of the financial assistance was 7.400.000.000 HUF.

During the reconstruction a building complex with a total surface area of 8.988 sq. meters was renovated, 17.722 sq. meters of new area was built including the subterranean garage and a garden and courtyard of 8.734 sq. meters was developed. Thanks to the development of Castle Garden Bazaar a new cultural attraction and public area has been created where visitors of any age may find an interesting program.

The project was realized by Várgondnokság Közhasznú Nonprofit Kft in close cooperation with Pro Regio Közép-Magyarországi Regionális Fejlesztési és Szolgáltató Nonprofit Közhasznú Kft, acting as an intermediary body. The authorization and design plans were created by Középülettervező Zrt under the direction of chief designers Ferenc Potzner and Péter Pottyondy.

Gallery