Heroes Square: Monumental statues commemorating the 1000-year-old state

Vivi Bencze | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Back to the end of the 19th century, Hungary celebrated the 1000th anniversary of its existence by an almost one-year-long series of celebrations. During that year of national festivities, together with previous two decades, numerous buildings, roads and monuments were built to make Budapest a beautiful and sublime city even today. All of this was possible to happen by disengaging the tight bond with the Habsburg Empire. Therefore, as a direct consequence, Hungary finally could enjoy self-expression of its own free will again. These constructions involve the House of Parliament, the Grand Boulevard, Andrássy Street, Liberty Bridge and Heroes Square among others. I am now going to introduce to you guys the latter one, with its monumental statues, commemorating the 1000-year-old state of Hungary.

The impressive location of Heroes Square

Heroes Square is Budapest’s widest and most characteristic square, and it’s considered one of the most important tourist attractions in the Hungarian capital. Not surprisingly though, given the fact that it’s situated at an impressive location in the neighbourhood of City Park, Heroes Square is the Park’s entrance practically, and it counts as the end of Andrássy Street as well - where you can find for instance the House of Terror too. As a part of the World Heritage Site, Heroes Square is framed by the Museum of Fine Art and the Art of Gallery. Also in the proximity of the square and its more than 100-year-old group of statues, one can find the Gundel Restaurant, where you can eat the best traditional Hungarian dessert - Gundel pancake. You can also find here one of the world’s oldest zoos, the widely-known Széchenyi Bath, as well as the Castle of Vajdahunyad.

Emblematic figures looking back at us

Well, you already know the brief origin and history behind, as well as where to find the Square and what else to do around, when you visit this compulsory touristic destination. Now, let’s get to know the heroes and emblematic figures, who are looking back at us. The main part of the Memorial consists of two elements. Both the left and right peristyle include seven statues from the Hungarian history. Under each and every one, there is a relief, presenting a typical scene of the particular hero. On the left peristyle the statues of “Work and Prosperity” and the “War’s horse-drawn carriage” are placed, while on the right side the memorial of “Knowledge and Glory”, and the “Horse-drawn carriage of Peace” can be seen. The 14 heroes’ individuals are the following:

Saint Stephen I. (969/980-1038)

  • The first Hungarian king and the founder of the Hungarian state

Saint László I. (~1046-1095)

  • Hungarian and Croatian king

Könyves Kálmán (~1074-1116)

  • King of Hungary, Croatia and Dalmatia. His nickname: Well-read Kálmán.

András II. (~1176-1235)

  • His remarkable reign is one of the most mentioned parts of Hungary’s history.

Béla IV. (1206-1270)

  • The founder of Buda Castle and rebuilder of Hungary after the Mongol Invasion.

Róbert Károly (1288-1342)

  • One of the most powerful Hungarian kings of all times.

Lajos Nagy (1326-1382)

  • King of Hungary, Croatia and Poland. One of the most influential leaders in Europe.

János Hunyadi (~1407-1456)

  • Governor of Hungary, excellent General and Voivode of Transylvania.

Matthias Corvinus (1443-1490)

  • King of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Galicia and Bulgaria.

István Bocskai (1557-1606)

  • Lord and General of Transylvania and Hungary, political leader and statesman.

Gábor Bethlen (1580-1629)

  • Lord of Transylvania, King of Hungary. The heyday of Transylvania is attributed to him.

Imre Thököly (1657-1705)

  • Lord of Upper-Hungary and Transylvania, the general and mediator between the Habsburgs and the Turks.

Ferenc Rákóczi II. (1676-1735)

  • Lord of Transylvania and Hungary. Leader of one of the most significant wars of independence.

Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894)

  • Governor-President and intellectual leader of Hungary’s War of Independence.

In addition, at the centre, you can see the Millennium Monument with Gabriel Archangel, whose 480-centimetre statue is standing on a 36-metre-high pillar. In his hands, he is holding the Hungarian royal crown and the apostolic double cross. This statue won the Grand Prix of the Parisian World Expo in 1900. Next to it, the statues of the seven Hungarian chieftains from the time of Hungarian land conquest can be seen, namely: Árpád (supreme leader) at the front, Tétény, Ond, Kond, Tas, Huba, and Előd. The whole of these monumental statues, commemorating the 1000-year-old state back in 1896, makes every local very proud, as it is constantly reminiscent of how influential and considerable power Hungary was over the past 2000 years. The nimbus of the country might have faded by now for the heyday of our nation, but Heroes Square will always picture the potential and power existing in my compatriots.

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