The governing powers of Hungary are housed in the third largest parliament building in the world. A competition was held to find a suitable design for the building and it was won by Imre Steindl who completed the building in 1904. His design was inspired by the English House of Parliament. The building incorporates Gothic Revival elements and has turrets and towers but also has Renaissance and Baroque elements like the massive central dome. The Hungarian parliament has a Lower and Upper House; the Lower House is in the northern wing and the Upper House in the southern wing. They are joined by the Dome Hall. The northern wing also houses the Prime Minister’s offices and the southern wing houses the offices of the President of the Hungarian Republic.

The 112 year old neo-classical building has 691 rooms, 20km of stairs and reaches a height of 96 meters.  The surface area of the building is 18,000m² and it is 268 meters long and 123 meters wide. There are 27 gates, 13 elevators and 29 staircases. The building interior is opulent and ornate; 40kg of gold were used in the decoration together with half a million ornamental stones. Within the building there are 152 statues. During the Soviet era a red star adorned the top of the dome but it was removed in 1990.

The Parliament Building has a spectacular main staircase lined on either side by columns supporting elegant arches and statues line the staircase. Allegorical frescoes by Karoly Lotz cover the ceiling. At the top of the stairs is the circular Dome Hall and from here other spectacular rooms lead off in several directions. The Hungarian Parliament Building is not only one of the largest and oldest but definitely one of the most beautiful. Within the Parliament Building are the Hungarian Crown Jewels. The jewels have a fascinating history having been hidden from the Soviets and kept safely in the US Bullion Depository until 1978.

You can get the best photo ops of the Parliament Building by taking a river cruise or from across the river in Batthyany Square. When the National Assembly is not in session it is possible to take guided tours of the Parliament Building. The tour includes a peek at the Crown Jewels and tickets can be bought at gate X or online at EU citizens can get a discount on the tour price.

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