Budapest District VIII and IX – Refreshed and Animated

To continue our review of Budapest’s Districts, we find Districts VIII and IX, two areas that have been undergoing renovations for several years.

Expat Press - Pelle Zoltan, District VIII

Estimated reading time: 5 minute(s)

To continue our review of Budapest’s Districts, we find Districts VIII and IX, two areas that have been undergoing renovations for several years.

District VIII

Budapest’s pie-wedge-shaped District VIII (Józsefváros) contains two separate and distinct areas: the smaller area between the Nagykorut and Muzeum Krt and the larger area east of the Grand Boulevard. This second area is still one of the most densely populated and poorest districts of Budapest. Józsefváros does, however, have a distinctive, old-fashioned atmosphere. Unfortunately, there are still too many crumbling inner courtyards, shabby houses with eclectic facades and old shops dominating this eastern portion of District VIII. Even locals avoid walking alone at night in this outer part of the District.

For more information on the up and coming VIII district click here!

Many parts of this outer portion of District VIII are still underdeveloped, though there are large scale development plans aimed at modernizing this area. One of the primary attractions here is the Keleti Train Station. Another is the recently-renovated Rakoczi Market Hall, to which a large Chinese market is attached. To experience true Józsfeváros and find some hidden treasures, walk in the streets beyond the Grand Boulevard and on Rákóczi út.

There is good news for District VIII, however; this district also functions as part of the main body of Budapest, because much of the city’s traffic runs through Baross utca, Rákóczi út and Üllői út. The district boasts several libraries, hospitals, universities and museums along with two big sport grounds.

The Hungarian National Museum is here and there are more pleasant attractions in the smaller wedge of the district. It has one of the largest gardens in Budapest, Orczy kert;  the Hungarian Natural History Museum on Ludovika tér houses exciting scientific exhibitions. Behind Kálvin tér you’ll find many great buildings, for example; the beautiful Wenckheim Palace that houses the Szabó Ervin Library. This area is known as the Palace District due to its many large older palatial buildings.

Neighborhoods:
Józsefváros, Kerepesdűlő, Tisztviselőtelep

District IX

One of the most diverse districts of Budapest is District IX, which includes the National Theatre. Its atmosphere is much like Józsfeváros’, though Ferencváros is a more rapidly-developing part of the capital. The area still has to cope with serious social and environmental problems, such as the fact that there are many monuments that are in need of renovation.

The biggest ongoing development project is on the former Expo 96 site on the Danube bank: the new cultural Hot Spot. The new National Theater on the Pest side of the Danube near Rákóczi Bridge is a recent addition to the cultural life of this area. Next to the National Theatre, the Palace of Arts was finished in 2005. It houses the National Concert Hall and the Ludwig Contemporary Arts Museum.

District IX also has one of the most important Jewish sites of Budapest. Next to the synagogue in Páva Street, the Holocaust Memorial Center (Holokauszt Emlékközpont) opened in 2004.

The Center’s permanent exhibition, titled From the Deprivation of Rights to Genocide, depicts the persecution, suffering and massacre of Hungarian Jews and Romas committed in the name of Nazi ideology.

The Central Market Hall is also in District IX. This Budapest landmark, housed in a historic building with beautiful period architecture, remains one of the best places in Budapest to shop for Hungarian foods, spices, wines and souvenirs. The first floor also offers some great fast food, Hungarian style. The market floor contains a large number of individual booths which offer a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products.
Budapest’s Restaurant Row is also an integral part of District IX. Ráday utca is packed with restaurants and cafes catering to all tastes and budgets; Hungary’s first Michelin star restaurant, Costes, is here.

 

Neighborhoods:
Ferencváros, Gubacsidűlő, József Attila-lakótelep

Credit for the feature image: Zoltán Pelle