Though of ancient origin, neither Buda nor Pest has much to show in the way of venerable buildings. The oldest church is the Matthias church in Buda, begun by King Bela IV. in the 13th century, completed in the 15th century, and restored in 1890-1896. It was used as a mosque during the Turkish occupation, and here took place the coronation of Franz Joseph as king of Hungary in 1867. The garrison church, a Gothic building of the 13th century, and the Reformed church, finished in 1898, are the other ecclesiastical buildings in Buda worth mentioning. The oldest church in Pest is the parish church situated in the Eskü-Ter (Schwur-Platz) in the inner town; it was built in 1500, in the Gothic style, and restored in 1890. The most magnificent church in Pest is the Leopoldstadt Basilica, a Romanesque building with a dome 315 ft. in height, begun in 1851; next comes the Franzstadt church, also a Romanesque building, erected in 1874. Besides several modern churches, Budapest possesses a beautiful synagogue, in the Moorish style, erected in 1861, and another, in the Moorish-Byzantine style, built in 1872, while in 1901 the construction of a much larger synagogue was begun.
In Buda, near the Kaiserbad, and not far from the Margaret bridge, is a small octagonal Turkish mosque, with a dome 25 ft. high, beneath which is the grave of a Turkish monk. By a special article in the treaty of Karlowitz of 1699 the emperor of Austria undertook to preserve this monument.
Among the secular buildings the first place is taken by the royal palace in Buda, which, together with the old fortress, crowns the summit of a hill, and forms the nucleus of the town. The palace erected by Maria Theresa in 1748-1771 was partly burned in 1849, but has been restored and largely extended since 1894. In the court chapel are preserved the regalia of Hungary, namely, the crown of St Stephen, the sceptre, orb, sword and the coronation robes. It is surrounded by a magnificent garden, which descends in steep terraces to the Danube, and which offers a splendid view of the town lying on the opposite bank. New and palatial buildings of the various ministries, several high and middle schools, a few big hospitals, and the residences of several Hungarian magnates, are among the principal edifices in this part of the town.
The long range of substantial buildings fronting the left bank of the Danube includes the Houses of Parliament (see Architecture, Plate IX. fig. 115), a huge limestone edifice in the late Gothic style, covering an area of 3&FRAC34; acres, erected in 1883-1902; the Academy, in Renaissance style, erected in 1862-1864, containing a lofty reception room, a library, a historic picture gallery, and a botanic collection; the Redoute buildings, a large structure in a mixed Romanesque and Moorish style, erected for balls and other social purposes; the extensive custom-house at the lower end of the quays, and several fine hotels and insurance offices. In the beautiful Andrássy Ut are the opera-house (1875-1884), in the Italian Renaissance style; the academy of music; the old and new exhibition building; the national drawing school; and the museum of fine arts (1900-1905), in which was installed in 1905 the national gallery, formed by Prince Esterházy, bought by the government in 1865 for £130,000, and formerly housed in the academy, and the collection of modern pictures from the national museum.
At the end of the street is one of the numerous monuments erected in various parts of the country to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the foundation of the kingdom of Hungary. Other buildings remarkable for their size and interest are: the national museum (1836-1844); the town-hall (1869-1875), in the early Renaissance style; the university, with a baroque façade (rebuilt 1900), and the university library (opened in 1875), a handsome Renaissance building; the palace of justice (1896), a magnificent edifice situated not far from the Houses of Parliament. In its neighbourhood also are the palatial buildings of the ministries of justice and of agriculture. There are also the exchange (1905); the Austro-Hungarian bank (1904); the central post and telegraph office; the art-industrial museum (1893-1897), in oriental style, with some characteristically Hungarian ornamentations; several handsome theatres; large barracks; technical and secondary schools; two great railway termini and a central market (1897) to be mentioned. To the south-east of the town lies the vast slaughter-house (1870-1872), which, with the adjacent cattle-market, covers nearly 30 acres of ground. The building activity of Budapest since 1867 has been extraordinary, and the town has undergone a thorough transformation.
The removal of slums and the regulation of the older parts of the town, in connexion with the construction of the two new bridges across the Danube and of the railway termini, went hand-in-hand with the extension of the town, new quarters springing up on both banks of the Danube. This process is still going on, and Budapest has become one of the handsomest capitals of Europe.