On a whim, I have ended up in Hungary, the capital of which is a city of two halves. With no prior research conducted, my friend and I left the hostel and simply went exploring the streets and hills of Budapest.
After paying a nominal fee to take a cable cart up one particular hill, we found ourselves at Buda Palace, now home to the national gallery. As a European citizen I got a half price discount, so entry was only 600 HUF. The cloakroom is “free and obligatory”.
The building itself is incredible, as expected from a palace. It was first constructed in 1265, but came into disrepair once the Turkish occupied the county in 1541. Once they were driven out however, restoration commenced, adopting the ‘Baroque’ styling which was popular at the time.
The artwork contained within the Palace is all of Hungarian origin, and largely painting and sculpture. One thing that is immediately apparent is how religion played a large part of all artists’ inspiration. The panel paintings and decorative alters are al several hundred years old, and depict several scenes from the Bible.
While one may perceive this as normal and fine, there is a violent an horrifying history surrounding the religion of Hungary, with people of multiple faiths being killed over the years. CONTINUE RELIGION OBSRVATION
I also felt that the gallery, although impressive visually, was somewhat sterile. While it is not uncommon for quiet personal reflection to occur in galleries, there is often at least some background noise, or low murmurs. The Buda Palace was deathly silent, fitting giving the gory and dark history some of the artwork represents. The air inside was dry and unmoving. Even the noise of the city outside, bustling and lively was somehow filtered out through the palaces decorative walls.
The Hungarians are very patriotic, and look back on their past with a sense of regret at the loss. They once had an empire, and now are known as the bath and sex capitals of Europe. This romantic mourning is producing some concerning ideologies, like a return of Fascism and the desire for a ‘Greater Hungary’. While neither I nor my friend has experienced anything too untoward, it is not unknown that there is a movement of racism and anti-Semitism in the country that may soon overshadow the beauty of the city.