Importance of Heroes’ Square and Why You Shouldn’t Miss it
Heroes’ Square is one of the most famous sights in Budapest, and for a good reason. The spacious square with beautiful architecture is absolutely breathtaking. In addition, this majestic place is surrounded by myths and history, as it displays the most significant figures from Hungary’s past.
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The legends and myths surrounding Heroes’ Square
There are 36 statues altogether on Heroes’ Square, and they all tell different stories, from different times. Let us guide you through the meaning of each of these statues so you get to feel the true essence of the city.
A statue of the Archangel Gabriel is displayed in the middle of Heroes’ Square on a 118-foot column. This is the ensemble’s highest, most monumental pillar, and it can be spotted from far away cruising on Andrássy Avenue. He holds a double cross in his left hand and the Holy Crown in his right.
According to a legend, Pope Sylvester II had a dream in which Archangel Gabriel spoke to him. His suggestion was to hand the crown over to the first envoy who arrived the next morning. Even though previously the pope promised the crown to the Polish prince Mieszko, the Hungarian prince Stephen received it instead. This way, Saint Stephen became the first Hungarian king.
The statue on Heroes’ Square is not only loved and cherished by Hungarians but also won the grand prize at the 1900 Paris World Exhibition.
Seven conquering leaders
Under the Archangel, you can find beautiful bronze equestrian statues. These represent the conquering leaders of the seven Hungarian tribes. According to the book of a Hungarian chronicler, called Anonymous, in the year 872, the seven Hungarians – Álmos, Előd, Ond, Kond, Tas, Huba, Töhötöm – left the land of Szittya in search of a less populated place with good resources. The leaders held a council and decided to go to Pannonia because it was once the land of the Scourge of God, the Hun leader Attila. For this reason, the seven leaders wanted to settle there by right of inheritance.
They elected Álmos as their leader, took an oath, and made a blood pact according to pagan habit, sealing their vow. According to the oath, they and their descendants will always have the sons of Álmos as their leader and everyone will benefit from the property they acquire.
They and their sons will be members of the leader’s council and officials of the tribal association. If their descendants become disloyal or incite discord between the leader and his relatives, their blood will be drawn, and they will be cursed.
Great historical figures
In the arcades, there are 9-foot bronze statues of historical figures who played an active role in the creation of modern Hungary. Each is accompanied by a relief depicting a historical scene typical of the age or activity to which the person belongs:
Left side of Heroes’ Square
- On the left side, the display starts with King Saint Stephen, who received the crown from the Pope on Christmas of 1000. He had to go to an epic war against his brother, who fought to keep the pagan customs and kill him to bring Christianity into Hungary. He was crowned on the ice of the river Danube, to make it even more iconic.
- The next is King Saint László, a well-liked, kind royal, who is still the protective saint of many European churches. The statue represents László defeating the valiant Kun, who kidnapped innocent girls. One time the Kun kidnapped a girl whom he thought he knew, so he went after the kiddnapper and saved her from him. Although the girl turned out to be someone different than he thought initially, it was still considered a chivalrous act.
- King Kálmán Könyves was a knowledgeable and educated leader. In the years of his reign, far fewer witch trials were held in Hungary than elsewhere in Europe. Kálmán forbidding the burning of witches made him even more famous.
Heroes’ Square also gives place to:
- Andrew II led a crusade to liberate Jerusalem.
- Béla III, who rebuilt the country after the Tatar invasion.
- King Louis the Great is pictured entering Naples in 1384.
- Starting from the right side there is governor and general János Hunyadi, who stopped the Turkish invaders with his victory in Nándorfehérvár.
- King Matthias Hunyadi, the son of János, is one of the most famous and often-mentioned kings in Hungarian history, with many tales of justice and righteousness connected to his name. If you ever hear a Hungarian say, ‘there was only one dog market in Buda’ don’t be surprised. It is a saying that originates from one of the tales about Matthias, and it means ‘this favorable opportunity was a one-time occasion only’. Another interesting fact about him is that he liked to put on peasant costumes and roam around, testing the honesty and integrity of his subjects. What an ingenious way to get honest reviews!
- Transylvanian prince István Bocskai is represented in Hajdú battle with the imperial mercenaries.
- Prince Gábor Bethlen of Transylvania allied with the Czechs in 1620, shown on display.
- Thököly Imre Kuruc leader and Transylvanian prince defeated the Labancs in the battle of Sikszó in 1679.
- Ferenc Rákóczi II, prince of Transylvania. On display, Tamás Esze welcomes Prince Rákóczi, returning from the Poles, with his army of serfs.
- Lajos Kossuth called the people of the Great Plains to arms with the Cegléd recruiting speech.
At the top of the two semicircular colonnades, you can see the two-horse chariots of War and Peace, as well as the allegorical bronze figures of Work and Prosperity, Knowledge, and Glory.
The Heroes’ Memorial Stone was added here later. It was placed in the square in honor of the heroes of World War I.
The designer behind Heroes’ Square is Albert Schickedanz. He was a renowned painter and architect, and he focused most of his work on designing and building Heroes’ Square.
On the two sides of Heroes’ Square, you can find the popular Palace of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, both designed and built by Albert Schickedanz and Fülöp Herzog in an eclectic-neoclassical style. The first museum hosts temporary exhibits of contemporary art. It has a bookstore, a library, and a coffee shop for visitors to enjoy.
Opposite it, the Museum of Fine Arts hosts national and international exhibitions where you can gaze at artworks from every country and era. The gallery holds the second-largest collection of Egyptian art in Central Europe.
Why you shouldn’t miss Heroes’ Square on your trip to Budapest?
Did you like what you have learned about Hungarian history so far? Guess what, there’s more! Heroes’ Square is a must-see destination, and it is amongst the top things to do in Budapest not only because of its divine beauty but its historical significance as well. If you want to get the essence of local history and culture, you shouldn’t miss visiting Heroes’ Square.
In this square, you can get familiar with the most important monuments and figures of Hungarian history, all while enjoying the breathtaking surroundings. In addition, Heroes’ Square hosts a number of cool events that you can visit throughout the year, from pumpkin carving contests to free concerts.
We recommend visiting the square in sunny weather to enjoy the view without disruption and don’t forget your warm clothes if you decide to visit during winter. The best way to get there is by enjoying a pleasant stroll through the city on an E-Magine MonsteRoller which we will detail later in this article, or trying out the Metro line M1, the historic metro line that makes you feel like you are time traveling.
Nearby attractions and facilities worth visiting
If you are in Heroes’ Square, make sure you visit these spectacular attractions for a wholesome and cool experience in the city. A unique and significant development project is underway to reimagine the entire area of Városliget, where Heroes’ Square is located. Visitors will find newly built architectural phenomenons and renovated historical buildings, with renewed infrastructure. The project added a lot of new attractions and a great park to Budapest, so it is certainly worth seeing.
House of Music
This is a contemporary cultural landmark dedicated to music. It is a truly unique building telling the history of music over the past 2,000 years.
House of music in a summer night by Palkó György
Museum of Ethnography
The renewed Museum of Ethnography is a cultural space where past and present science and transmission of knowledge combine. The architecture in itself is worth visiting, it is the famous curved building completely melted into nature.
This is a magnificent castle where many events are held, and it is a vibrant cultural spot during the summer. Another interesting fact about this place is that it is a smaller copy of the Transylvanian Count Dracula’s castle.
The rink is one of Budapest’s main attractions during the winter, as locals and tourists love to slide through the ice for hours and enjoy snacks and hot beverages afterward.
At the zoo of Budapest, you can observe different animal species, and enjoy a tasty Hungarian chimney cake while at it.
For full relaxation after all the sightseeing, there is no better place than Széchenyi thermal bath. Featuring three ginormous outdoor pools, fifteen smaller inside pools, saunas, massage parlors, and beer spas, it is the most popular destination for relaxation for tourists and locals alike.
Looking for a fun way to explore these magnificent sights? The good news is that almost all these spots are included in our Heroes’ Square tour, so you can explore these unique places in a fun way.
Budapest Heroes’ Square E-Scooter Tour by E-Magine
Turn the city into your playground and discover all this beauty on a MonsteRoller electric scooter, having a good time! Our Heroes’ Square tour offers an immersive experience exploring the square’s rich history, myths, legends, and iconic landmarks.
Are you looking for a comfortable and fun alternative to discovering the city? MonsteRoller electric scooters feature wide wheels, a low platform, and zero emissions. You can cruise through the city like an eco-friendly bike gang! Riding feels more like surfing and makes you feel completely safe. Of course, you can ask for a helmet; we are happy to provide it for extra safety. The online booking process is safe and secure, and you can make sure you have your spot reserved.
The two-hour tour starts at our downtown store on Bécsi way, then cruise through Andrássy Avenue, we explore Heroes’ Square and the City Park and admire the Vajdahunyad Castle. Next, we proceed to Budapest Zoo, Széchenyi Thermal Bath, House of Music, Museum of Ethnography, we ride across the Ruin bar district, and stop by the Synagogue.
Are you looking for a comfortable and fun alternative to discovering the city? The MonsteRoller electric scooter is definitely faster and more comfortable than walking through the city or using public transportation packed with people. Our local and professional tour guides will provide insightful information on the historical and cultural significance of Heroes’ Square and all the sights visited, while ensuring that your personal experience is the best it can be.
Did we spark your interest?
All in all, we can say that Budapest has many gemstones, and Heroes’ Square is definitely one of them. The unique architecture, the vibrant atmosphere, and all the sights nearby make it a must-visit attraction on your trip. Along with the beautiful view, you can also learn a few exciting things about Hungary’s history and the legends surrounding the country’s past.
For a unique and memorable sightseeing experience with E-Magine Tours, book your MonsteRoller Budapest Heroes’ Square Tour today!