To continue our review of Budapest’s Districts, we find Districts VIII and IX, two areas that have been undergoing renovations for several years.
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.
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.
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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.
Józsefváros, Kerepesdűlő, Tisztviselőtelep
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.
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.
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Ferencváros, Gubacsidűlő, József Attila-lakótelep
Credit for the feature image: Zoltán Pelle