Sunday, March 6, 2011

looking up

Saturday I joined a group of people on an architectural tour of Budapest. It was 3 hours of walking around town looking up and noticing some beautiful architectural details. It was an amazing day with the sun shining bright and the buildings being lit up like on a stage. The one thing that I learned (that I should have maybe known) is that many buildings in Budapest have Zsolnay Pyrogranite Porcelain on the facades. In the last 1800's Zsolnay developed this material that has withstood ages of weather and war. I had no idea the amount of Zsolnay used on buildings in Budapest. As our guide Jeff pointed out, it is one of two things that Hungary has that no other European city can boast...the other being the thermal baths.

Enjoy the photos. And if your coming to Budapest and looking for a tour or you live in Budapest and want to learn more about our beautiful city, check out

The whole facade of this building is Zsolnay and it is amazing that it is still untouched from the past 100 years! Absolutely beautiful!
I love the folk details.
Below is what I imagine when I think of Zsolnay-the iridescent greenish ceramic.
One of my favorite coffee houses in Budapest-Art Nouveau cafe. While your sipping your cup-o-joe in the cafe, you are surrounded by old furniture of the secessionist period. You are pretty much sitting in the museum.
Notice the sunflower balcony-all Zsolnay.
The side gate at the Gresham Palace aka Four Seasons. If you click on the website you will see a huge Chiholy glass piece in the lobby. A bit of pacific northwest in Budapest:)
The Treasury Building
She looks like she could walk off the building.
One of the most beautiful and saddest buildings in Budapest. The inside is fit for small shops and cafe's. Unfortunately the busy street it sits on deters most people from appreciating it.
The men hanging out the window...more Zsolnay. Interesting to think that if these were made of plaster or concrete their heads would probably have fallen off by now.
I have been walking by the shop for years and I have always appreciated their crazy window displays-not to mention the inside is absolutely stunning! I had no idea that the facade was designed over 100 years ago for this very flower shop. Impressive-a successful flower business for over 100 years!
I always thought this was a boring building until the details were pointed out to me on Saturday.
The Great Synagogue. The second largest synagogue in the world (the first being in NYC). A beautiful building inside and out. I have taken photos before but this time I was appreciating the small details.
An old insurance building with an amazing rooftop. I love the beehives. I didn't notice the bee's on the corners until I was looking at my photos. I wonder what the significance is?
A touch of folk.
Random buildings I was photographing as we strolled around downtown.
Thanks Jeff for a great tour!


Greg Christensen said...

I love this post, Diane! I used to live in Pecs, and I love Zsolnay. I also have some information on the architect of the bee building. If I can dig it up, I'll send it to you. Supposedly, someone once asked him why he spent so much time on the roofs when no one would see it. He replied, "The birds will see it!" I think he also did the tiles on this roof (forget the name of the building):

Anonymous said...

So much history. I enjoyed the architecture when we were in Estonia. Travis caught some great pics while there.

Diane Kappa said...

Thanks Greg! I would love info on the bees. I like that he made it for the birds. I have a new appreciation for Zsolnay!

Peggy-Estonia is beautiful. I love the colorful buildings and the street lamps!