From the history of the City Park

The first public park was established in Budapest!

We are talking about our beloved City Park of Budapest (Városliget) that’s history goes back until the 18th century.

The now popular and busy City Park of Budapest used to be a sheer sandy land with some pasture and a sough in it.

But the park’s history took a turn for the better when Maria Theresa ordered the afforestation of the area. They planted trees around the sough and she commanded that the trees must be maintained and she also banned pasturage. The main reasons were to decrease the threat of malaria and the forest-law the Queen introduced in 1770.

Thanks to these orders (and Joseph II who was really tough in demanding compliance with these regulations) the park had started to evolve and become a very popular hiking area.

So the city authorities came up with an idea that the land should have been transformed into a resort and public „playground” area.

Joseph Batthyány prince-archbishop was entrust for carrying out the project. Under his authority a lake was created which now is one of the most dominant part of the park’s image. He also filled up the sough creating two small islands (now Vajdahunyad Castle and Széchenyi Termal Bath), built promenades and planted trees aside them.

The really special thing about this new parkland was that it was open for everybody- unlike other parks around the world.

So the life in the parkland had become more and more vivid, filled with citizens. Performers and show-sides appeared (some of them had permission for a bodega), boating and fishing in the lake was permitted, doing sports and wandering in the park had become a daily thing.

Not surprisingly the area (then called „Városerdő”~City Forest) became one of the citizen’s most popular places in Pest.

The City Park’s profile was expanded until the Millenium (1895) with some significant institues such as the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, the City Park Ice Rink, the Széchenyi thermal bath, the Hall of Art (now Olof Palme House), the Millennium Underground Railway, and the Vajdahunyad Castle (which then was mostly made of wood).

This is how the City Park of Budapest became the first public park in the world in a nutshell.

Vároliget-anno-légifotóVárosliget a levegőből

Műjégpálya-anno  városliget-Vajdahunyad vár

Városliget-Széchényi fürdő

Source of pictures: Google

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