The Hungarian Parliament (Országház) is a large building, inaugurated at the beginning of the 20th century, located on the eastern bank of the Danube in Budapest. Since 1902, it has been the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary and, as such, hosts the parliamentary services as well as the Library of the National Assembly of Hungary. This building, whose volumes are organized around the central dome, has a neo-Gothic facade but a ground plan that follows Baroque conventions. It is the largest building in Hungary and one of the largest parliaments in Europe with 18,000 m².
Budapest was founded in 1873 by the union of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda; Seven years later, the National Assembly of Hungary decided to create a new building intended to express the nation's sovereignty. A competition was launched, and the architect Imre Steindl (1839-1902) won the competition with a project inspired by the Palace of Westminster completed in London in 1836. But the plans of two other candidates were also made: one for the current Museum of Ethnography, the other for the Ministry of Agriculture, both located on Kossuth Square, opposite the parliament.
Construction began in 1885, and the building was inaugurated on Hungary's millennium in 1896. The Hungarian National Assembly met there from 1902, but it was not completed until 1904. (Imre Steindl went blind and died before.)
About a thousand people worked at this site, where 40 million bricks, half a million semi-precious stones, and 40 kg of gold were used.
After World War II, the National Assembly of Hungary was reduced to a single chamber, and only part of the building is in use today. The Communist government installed a red star at the dome's top, which was removed in 1990. On October 23, 1989, Mátyás Szűrös declared the Republic of Hungary from the balcony of the parliament overlooking Lajos Kossuth Square.
Like the Palace of Westminster, the Hungarian Parliament has a symmetrical facade in the Gothic Revival style. It is 268 m long and 123 m wide, has 10 interior courtyards, 13 elevators, 27 doors, 29 stairs, and 691 rooms (including more than 200 offices). With a 96m high dome, it is one of Budapest's two tallest buildings, along with St. Stephen's Basilica in Pest. The number 96 was chosen to recall the Hungarian nation's millennium (1896) and its crossing of the Carpathians in 896.
The Conquest of the Country (1889-1893) was commissioned from Mihály Munkácsy for the parliament.
The main facade is on the Danube, but on Kossuth Square, the official entrance is on the other side and communicates with the ceremonial staircase. Two lions frame the monumental stairs of the main entrance.
The interior and exterior are decorated with 242 sculptures. On the façade are statues of Hungary's sovereigns, the sovereigns of Transylvania, and the country's military heroes. Above the windows are the coats of arms of dukes and kings.
Inside, the visitor discovers the main staircase with ceilings decorated with frescoes by Károly Lotz and the bust of the architect Imre Steindl in a niche in the wall. Árpád, Stephen I, and John Hunyadi also have their statues there.
One of the most spectacular parts of the building is the hexadecagonal central hall (with sixteen sides) and the huge adjacent rooms: the lower house (where the National Assembly of Hungary now meets) and the upper house (used until 1945). The Crown of Saint Stephen has been exhibited in the Great Hall since 2000.
Stained glass by Miksa Róth decorates the windows.
Due to its size and abundant decoration, the building is almost constantly being renovated.