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  • Citywalk | Australia > Sydney
    Updated at Aug 5,2013

    "…As soon as we landed in Sydney, we fell in love with the city.

    “Our” Sydney is the charming botanical gardens, the beach, the opera house, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Taronga Zoo, The Harbor Bridge, strolling around in the shops before Christmas, the NSW gallery, Sydney Tower, Paddington’s market, cheap backpackers, and Kings Cross".

  • Citywalk | Australia > Wellington
    Updated at Jun 9,2013

    "We were on our way to Wellington. Huge trucks tried to push us off the strange side of the road, but we stood strong and arrived, slowly and safely, to the local town with not much to offer besides crazy people and caves.

    The Crazy – The bottle house, watches, balls rolling all over the place, weather vanes and an animal farm with kangaroos, emus, some sort of a combination between a wallaby and a kangaroo, and all kinds of parrots (which are better viewed in a cage than run over).
    The Wellington Caves -- disappointing".

  • Citywalk | Australia > Townsville
    Updated at Aug 5,2013

    "Yesterday we celebrated five months of traveling. The festivities lasted from dawn to dusk and it was a fun and enjoyable day. The opening ceremony was conducted in Townsville’s post office, where we received five letters and a huge package filled with all sorts of treats. Mom sent us plenty of candy and dried fruits, homemade cookies, instant coffee, soups, “child-day” t-shirts and of course the latest news from the sport’s section in the kibbutz pamphlet. We were sad to discover that the peanuts she had roasted were taken by the Australian customs, which forbids things like that from entering the country. Later, we went our separate ways with only a few pennies in our pockets – a sacred sum devoted to buying each other surprise presents, a difficult task that ended with an ice cream cone.”

  • Citywalk | Australia > Canberra
    Updated at Aug 5,2013

    "…Canberra is well planned and gracefully designed. The administrative center is a huge square with the Capitol Hill in the center. The roads are paved around it in expanding concentric circles. On the other side of the lake, you’ll find the business center and the shops, with another square in the middle, named “the city square,” also surrounded by expanding concentric circles. The streets are wide and about half of the city territory is devoted to parks and public gardens. It’s easy to find your way around with a car or on foot. Near every museum, public site, or important building, you’ll find free parking! Most of the museums offer free admission as well. For us, it was a big change from north QLD, which is crowded, touristic and expansive. Canberra is where we spent the longest continuous period of the trip, which says something about the place…"

  • Citywalk | Australia > Gunnedah
    Updated at Aug 5,2013

    "Gunnedah takes pride in being “the world capital of koalas”. We prepared our tent and away we went to find the koalas. But what a disappointment – there were no koalas in sight! The next day we tried to find the koalas yet again, still with no success. We switched directions and headed to the Gunnedah cattle and sheep market, held every Tuesday. The buying and selling is done through an auction, and so the auctioneer – an artist by his own right – and the buyers move from corral to corral, and the cattle are usually sold within seconds. It’s a strange and interesting scene…"

  • Citywalk | Australia > Brisbane
    Updated at Jun 9,2013

    "Finally, we got to Brisbane, the city that looked so far away on the map. It took us a month, but the fact of the matter is, we are here at last. So what did we have in Brisbane? We got mail, and a lot of it, as a big chunk of it chased us along the way and the lesser part was sent here. There were letters from Sydney and Singapore, and one package even followed us all the way from Iceland!! There was McDonald’s and all kinds of maps we picked up from RACQ, postcards bought in NPWS and traveler checks cashed into real money. We didn’t go up the city tower because of an elevator malfunction. Tomorrow we’ll probably head on north, since we are not in the mood for a big and crowded city. But, importantly, we have showered, we have something to read, and tomorrow we’ll do our laundry and phone home. From the big city, all that is left is a photo of an agama that passed by the camp".

  • Citywalk
    Updated at Nov 20,2014

    Maria-Theresien-Platz to Michaelerplatz:

    Main Attractions: Maria-Theresien-Platz, Naturhistorisches Museum, Volkstheater, Volksgarten, Schmerlingplatz, Palais Auersperg, Palais Epstein, the Parliament, Reichsratsstraße, Rathausplatz, Rathaus, Rathauspark, Burgtheater, Palais Ferstel, Ferstel / Freyung Passage, Freyung Platz, Palais Kinsky,Cafe Central, Herrengasse, Michaelerplatz (Michaelerkirche, Michaelertract, Michaelertor, Looshaus).

    Start: Maria-Theresien-Platz. It is easy to reach by the U Bahn using the Volkstheater stop or by tram; it is also a transfer point for the hop-on hop-off tour buses. On one side of the square is the Naturhistorisches (Natural History) Museum, and on the other side is the Kunsthistorisches (Fine Arts) Museum. Across the Burgring is the Hofburg Complex, and across the Museum Platz is the Museums Quartier Wien. By subway - U2 “Museumsquartier” , U3 “Volkstheater”, Tram D, 1, 2, Bus 2A, 57A “Burgring”.

    End: Michaelerplatz (adjacent, north side of the Hofburg).

    Duration: 1/2 - 1 day.

    Distance: 5-6 km.

    Maria-Theresien-Platz is a large, green square that joins the Ringstraße (Burgring) with the Museumsplatz and the Museumsquartier (Museums Quarter).  Facing each other from the sides of the square are two identical buildings: the Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum) (see a separate blog dedicated to this wonderful museum) and the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum). The buildings are near identical, except for the statuary on their façades. The Naturhistorisches' façade has statues depicting personifications of the various continents known to Austrian science at the time—Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The monumental buildings mirror each other; they have the same neo-Renaissance design with large domes, a creation of the renowned German architect Gottfried Semper. The interior of the museums - designed by Carl von Hasenauer - is sumptuous, and features an abundance of marble stairs, statues and columns. The building south of the square houses the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) and the building opposite is home to the Naturhistorisches Museum (Museum of Natural History).

    Naturhistorisches Museum:

    America and Australia:

    The Kunsthistorisches façade features famous European artists, such as the Dutch Bruegel, among others:

    With the demolition of the fortifications around Vienna the opportunity arose to create a new monumental royal complex. By 1870 an ambitious design by Gottfried Semper, dubbed the Kaiserforum, was approved. Construction of this Kaiserforum started the following year and consisted of the creation of two museum buildings as well as two new palace wings (of which only one was eventually completed) - the Neue Burg - and two squares: Heldenplatz and Maria-Theresien-Platz. Plans to connect the two squares across the newly created Ringstrasse by two triumphal arches were never realized due to the outbreak of the First World War.

    The area between the two museums is laid out with formal gardens that are decorated with statues, fountains and shrub beds. At the center of the square is a large statue depicting Empress Maria Theresa, namesake of the square - first woman to hold the throne (reigned for forty years, 1740-1780), she supported the arts, reinforced the economy and the military status of the empire. She married for love and had 16 children, the most famous of all being Marie Antoinette (wife of French king Louis XVI and beheaded during the French Revolution). The monument, created in 1888 by Kaspar Zumbusch, shows Maria Theresa seated on top of a large pedestal supported on all sides by Corinthian columns. She is holding a scroll with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, an edict issued by Emperor Charles VI that allowed women to ascend the throne. It is remarkable how similar her repose is in this statue to another long-lived European queen, Victoria of England (her statue opposite Buckingham Place). The empress is surrounded by some of her closest advisors. Four of her generals (von Daun, von Khevenhüller, Traun and von Laudon) are shown on horseback. Von Kaunitz, the chancellor of state, Van Swieten, her physician, Liechtenstein, director of the artillery forces and count von Haugwitz, who reformed the economy and strengthened central authority are shown standing near the pedestal. Habsburg splendor, majesty and harmony at their best. It is a great area to enjoy the weather. The statues and the manicured gardening beds are great for taking pictures:

    In addition to the monument to Empress Maria Theresa at the square, you will also find a series of four fountain pools with marble statues, each surrounded by large manicured shrubs. There are park benches, found at each fountain as well if you want to have a rest before or after visiting one of the nearby museums:

    The Naturhistorisches Museum and the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the square adjoining them were built in 1889. The Naturhistorisches Museum houses displays of butterflies and other insects, and an extensive preserved and stuffed animal collection, the most poignant examples of which include a Przewalskii's horse, a baby Javanese rhinoceros, and a case of dodo remains. Also notable is the museum's famous Mikrotheater, showing slides of microscopic organisms, its two spider crabs which were sent to Emperor Franz Joseph by the Japanese Emperor as a gift, and the first ever human depiction of an underwater scene made from life observation and the diving bell from which it was made. The stairwell contains paintings of Emperor Franz Joseph, Empress Maria Theresa and her stuffed pet lap dog, a miniature hound. The current building was completed in 1889. Today it houses a collection of about 30 million specimens and artifacts. Its collections were founded in 1750 by Emperor Franz I Stephan of Lorraine, the husband of Maria Theresa. Like the Kunsthistorisches Museum - the Naturhistorisches Museum building is great and on its own a reason to come and visit. Be prepared - you can easily spend half or even a full day here. There is plenty to keep you occupied, many interesting exhibits. Also an interesting exhibition on the top floor about the Chernobyl disaster in Russia.

    Opening times: THU-MON: 9.00 - 18.30, WED: 9.00 - 21.00. Tuesday: closed. closed:  Dec. 25,  Jan. 1. Admission: Children and youth under 19 - free, Adults - € 10, Senior citizens - € 8, Students - € 5. Audioguide € 2:

    The Venus of Willendorf:

    The Kunsthistorisches Museum is described, in detail, in my separate blog  "Vienna - Museum of Fine Arts - Kunsthistorisches Museum: 7th heaven for art lovers:

    From the Nature History Museum head southwest, turn right toward Museumsplatz and the Volkstheater ("People's Theatre") is on your left. One of the prettiest buildings in Vienna! The Volkstheater station of lines U2 and U3 of the Vienna U-Bahn is located here:

    The Volkstheater is located in Neubau, the seventh district of Vienna. It is often said to be the "biggest theatre in the German-speaking world". The Volkstheater was founded in 1889 by request of the citizens of Vienna, amongst them the dramatist Ludwig Anzengruber and the furniture manufacturer Thonet, in order to offer a popular counter weight to the Hofburgtheater. Like the Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, the Vienna Volkstheater was built by the architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. The founders of this stage had a theatrical stage in mind, in order to expose wider circles of the population of Vienna to classical and modern literature whilst staging these next to more traditional plays. The theatre follows this tradition even today. Nowadays, the repertoire of the Volkstheater includes Austrian as well as German and international classics. Other focal points are comedies and musicals. Most of the time you can't get inside for a tour.  To see its interior come to a concert, opera, musical or a play on stage in the evenings. It is incredibly nice under the decorative lighting. The Voklsteather is perfect for the operas you if have time at Vienna:

    From the Volkstheater head northwest on Museumsplatz toward Bellariastraße. Turn right onto Bellariastraße and walk 230 m. Turn right onto Burgring and turn left onto the Volksgarten. The Volksgarten (People's Garden) is a public park, part of the Hofburg Palace. It was laid out by Ludwig Remy in 1821. The Volksgarten area was originally used for fortifications. Between 1596 to 1597, a fortress wall was built on the eastern side of park. In 1639, additional fortifications were built on the southern side. In 1809, these fortifications were destroyed by Napoleon's French troops. Between 1817 and 1821, the area near Ballhausplatz square was converted to gardens originally intended for a private garden for the archdukes. These plans were changed through a proposal by the court garden administration to turn the area into the first public park in the city. On 1 March 1823, the park was officially opened. Starting in 1825, the name Volksgarten was commonly used. In 1862, the gardens were extended toward Ringstraße after the city moat had been filled in. The park includes, if you're in Vienna in the right season, stunning rose garden:

    At the center of the park is the Theseus Temple, a replica of the Temple of Hephaestus (Theseion) in the Ancient Agora of Athens. The temple was originally built between 1820 and 1823 by Peter von Nobile, an Austrian architect. It originally housed the statue 'Theseus and the Minotaur' by Antonio Canova. The statue is now missing; in 1890 it was moved to the
    staircase inside the Kunsthistorisches Museum shortly after the museum opened:

    The Cortisches coffee house was built between 1820 and 1823, also by Peter Nobile. Austrian Romantic composers Johann Strauss I and Joseph Lanner performed here. On 10 March 1867, Johann Strauss II conducted the first performances of his Donauwalzer. The Cafè Meirei was built in 1890, originally as a water reservoir. In 1924, it was converted to the Milchtrinkhalle. The Milchpavillon was built in 1951 by Oswald Haerdtl:

    At the northern end of the park stands the Empress Elizabeth (“Sissi”) Monument by Hans Bitterlich and Friedrich Ohmann, completed in 1907. At the center of the monument is a statue of a seated Empress Elisabeth by Hans Bitterlich. The dedication of the monument took place on 4 June 1907 in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria:

    At the other end of the park is a monument honoring Franz Grillparzer, created in 1889 by Karl Kundmann. It shows a statue of the poet and playwright Grillparzer in an exedra flanked by reliefs depicting scenes from his plays:

    Head southwest on Volksgarten toward Burgring, to exit from the southernmost edge of the park. Turn right onto Burgring, continue onto Doktor-Karl-Renner-Ring and turn left onto Schmerlingplatz. It is named in 1893 after the politician Anthony Von Schmerling:

    You can't miss, here, the Palais Auersperg, originally called Palais Rosenkavalier, which is a baroque palace at Auerspergstraße 1. It was in Palais Auersperg, built in 1710 according to plans by Lukas von Hildebrandt, that the six-years-old W. A. Mozart leapt onto the lap of Empress Maria Theresia. Later, he and other famous composers premièred their masterpieces in this magnificent setting, and Emperor Franz Josef and his wife Sisi danced there at resplendent balls. The pale pink and green marbled walls and the sparkling crystal chandeliers also inspired Hugo von Hofmannstahl to write his libretto for "Der Rosenkavalier". With this famous opera, Richard Strauss gave Palais Auersperg and its illustrious guests a memorial for posterity. In our time it has been used as a shooting location for numerous films, including the world-famous "The Third Man". In the beginning of 2006 the Palais was sold again to an old European family. The State Apartments remained the same and are still used for musical purposes. In the upper floor most areas have been changed into office rooms. In the next few years the Palais will be restored and a small museum is planned. Currently the Palais is used for balls and musical events of various kinds; it has eleven rooms and can accommodate up to 1000 guests. You can visit here only during musical events (Vienna Residence Orchestra):

    In the west side of Schmerlingplatz stands the Palace of Justice (Schmerlingplatz 10-11). The Palace of Justice (German: Justizpalast) is the seat of the Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof) of Austria. The Neo-Renaissance building erected from 1875 to 1881. In addition to the Supreme Court, the Palace of Justice houses the Higher Regional Court of Vienna and the Regional Court for Civil Matters Vienna and the General Prosecution and the Supreme Public Prosecutor for Vienna:

    Palais Epstein, Doktor-Karl-Renner-Ring 3 is in the eastern side of chmerlingplatz. It was built for the industrialist and banker Gustav Ritter von Epstein. The architect was Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, who also designed the adjacent Austrian Parliament Building. Unlike traditional Baroque noble palaces in Vienna, the Palais Epstein was built in the late 19th century and is therefore considered a Ringstraßenpalais. It is up to five storeys high and built in the neo-renaissance style typical of its time. Following the Gründerkrach (i.e. "Founders' Crash", the 9 May 1873 crash of the Vienna Stock Exchange) Epstein had to sell the palais to the Imperial Continental Gas Association, an English gas company, to avoid bankruptcy. In 1902 it was acquired by the State and used as domicile of the Administrative Court. After conversions it became home to the Vienna School Authority in 1922. Following the Anschluss it housed offices of the Reichsstatthalter's building authorities. From 1945 to 1955 the Palais Epstein was domicile of the Soviet Headquarters. After that, it briefly served as a branch of the Academy of Music and Performing Arts and then again for the School Authority until 2002. After a thorough refurbishment it has been a branch of nearby Parliament ever since. A permanent exhibition about the history of the palais and its owners has been set up in the basement and there are guided tours of the bel etage first floor which has been restored to its original state. Guided Tours Palais Epstein: Groups of 10 people on demand. Start of the guided tour is at the Parliament Visitor’s Center. Combination tickets for guided tours of Parliament and Palais Epstein are available (admission: 8 €). Mid-September until mid-July (except on days when parliament is in session): MON - THU: 11.00 , 14.00, 15.00, 16.00, FRI: 11.00, 13.00, 14.00,  15.00, 16.00, SAT: 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00. Mid-July until mid-September (except on days when parliament is in session):
    MON - SAT: 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00:

    The Austrian Parliament building is a bit north to Schmerlingplatz (see Tip below). We devote a special Tip (below) to this wonderful construction between the Hofburg Imperial Palace and the Palace of Justice.

    From the Parliament complex head north on Reichsratsstraße toward Rathausplatz and continue straight onto Rathausplatz:

    The town square in front of Vienna's city hall is called "Rathausplatz". Rathausplatz is an amazing place. A masterpiece of architecture. One of the greatest city halls, with the statues of all the mayors along the path, leading to its main entrance. The square is busy all the year round. During the Summer are various local fairs, with wine and food stalls. There are so many reasonable choices of cuisines to choose from. Every summer, from the end of June until the beginning of September, the square in front of Vienna’s City Hall becomes a nightly tribute to the city’s status as a global music capital, by playing host to the vibrant Rathausplatz Music Film Festival. Every evening at dusk, a different music-centric film plays on a giant screen displayed above the square. The selection is diverse—from operas to ballets to jazz to rock concerts—which can be refreshing for those worn out by Vienna’s constant onslaught of classical. The festival doesn’t just offer audio delights either—a wide selection of international cuisine is available daily from 11 a.m. until midnight. Provided by twenty of the top restaurateurs in the city, the aim is to provide a “culinary world tour” for festival-goers. There is a Christmas market (Adventmarkt and Silvesterpfad) from mid-November to the New Year. Every year there is an ice-skating rink (Wiener Eistraum) in the early months of the year. The range of events put on by the municipality is phenomenal. Vienna is to be applauded for producing such excellent entertainment for its people and for the tourists. Enjoy visiting Rathausplatz at night - allowing outstanding views of the Rathaus building when it is illuminated with floodlights:

    On your right is the Rathaus. A Gothic structure that was built between 1873-1883. It is well served by trams though slightly less so by U-Bahn as the station entrance is tucked away a couple of minutes behind the Rathaus. The Rathaus is a very beautiful town hall on one side of the Ringstrasse and a definite must see; on the other side is the Burgtheater which is much less imposing. In the night, it is very nice lighted. Building with stunning fairy-tale details and wonderful symmetry, especially backlit by the setting sun. The free building tour, little under a hour, is offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 13.00. The tour is in German only but they will give you an audio guide in English, French, Spanish or Italian with a photo ID. The guide takes you around the huge building (don't try this if you can't do stairs) and tells you what number to listen to on your audio guide while he speaks in German. A couple of beautiful rooms to see. Pay particular attention to the fine wood ceilings and to the gorgeous chandeliers:

    The entrance to the Wappensäle in the Rathaus is via Feststiege II (festive staircase II) in Lichtenfelsgasse 2:

    The Rathauspark is on the eastern side of the Rathausplatz. About 20 food and beverage stands in the center with plenty of seating. The green areas of the Platz have a huge number of wooden benches. THere would be never lack for a seat. Several nice statues.

    From the Rathausplatz head east, turn right toward Josef-Meinrad-Platz and walk 100 m. crossing the Universitatsring. Turn left to arrive to the
    Burgtheater, Universitätsring 2. After the Comédie Francaise, the Burgtheater in Vienna is Europe’s second-oldest theatre. Today, the Burgtheater, originally known as the K. K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg, complete with its three affiliated venues – the Akademietheater, Kasino and Vestibül – and a permanent ensemble of more than 80 actors and actresses, is one of Europe’s largest theatres and plays a major role in the German-speaking theatrical world. Every season, the Burgtheater and its affiliated venues welcome approximately 400,000 theatre-goers to some 800 performances. The stage of the Burgtheater is one of the biggest theatre stages in the world. The main stage is 28,5m wide, 23m deep and 28m high. At the opening in 1888 the stage technology was already innovatory and has been modernized on many occasions. During the reconstruction after World War II, which was accomplished in 1955, a stage equipment was installed that is still revolutionary today. The revolving stage consists of a rotating cylinder  and four hydraulic lifts. With the help of this technical features the scenery can be changed within 40 seconds. It is the biggest automatic and computer controlled stagesystem in Europe. The Burgtheater auditorium holds 1175 seats, it has standing room for 84 visitors and 12 places for disabled visitors. Apart from the stage-art the Burgtheater plays an important part in architecture and interior design of the 19th century in Vienna. The magnificent decoration, especially the two imperial staircases painted by Gustav Klimt, his brother Ernst Klimt and their companion Franz Matsch as well as the main foyer and the many statues, busts and paintings of famous writers and actors can be visited during a daily guided tour. Opening hours: The programme is published on  www.burgtheater.at on the 1st of each month for the following month. The Burgtheater and all its four venues are closed during July and August. All plays and performances are in German language, if not indicated otherwise. Ticket sale & information: Beginning on the 20th of each month, the ticket sales start for the following month. (e.g. the ticket sale for Novemer starts on the 20th of october). Ticket Prices:
    Burgtheater & Akademietheater: EUR 5 / 8 / 12 / 19 / 27 / 35 / 43 / 51
    Standing room EUR 2,50. Burgtheater ticket office: Phone: +43 (0)1 51444-4440, Universitätsring 2, 1010 Wien. Last Minute and Reduced Ticket: For designated performances: one hour prior to the performance all remaining tickets can be bought 25% off the full price (as marked on the online-schedule or at the box office, except matinees and special events). Reduced tickets for 8€ are available at the ticket offices for students, apprentices and unemployed (necessary identity card).

    Guided Tour „Burgtheater – behind the scenes“ - SEP-JUN only: Daily 15.00. (Subject to change), MON - THU: 15.00 in German with English summary. FRI - SUN: 15.00. German and English. Admission (SEP-JUN):
    Adults EUR 6,50, Seniors EUR 5,50, Students EUR 3,-, Children EUR 3,-.

    Guided Tours „Burgtheater – behind the scenes“ - JUL – AUG only: Daily 15.00 German and English. Admission (JUL-AUG): Adults EUR 5,50, Seniors EUR 4,50, Students EUR 2,-, Children EUR 2,-.

    Meeting Point: in the hall at the main entrance
    Duration: 50 minutes. No registration required. Ticket sale 15 minutes prior to guided tour.

    Contact:

    Information and Contact
    Burgtheater Service-Centre
    Phone +43(0) 1 514 44-4140
    Fax: +43(0) 1 514 44-4143
    Universitätsring 2, 1010 Wien
    info@burgtheater.at

    From Josef-Meinrad-Platz, in the south side of Burgtheater - head east on toward Löwelstraße, 65 m. Continue straight onto Löwelstraße, 17 m. Continue onto Bankgasse, 230 m. Turn right onto Herrengasse, 98 m and
    turn left onto Strauchgasse. The Palais Ferstel is in Strauchgasse 4. The famous Palais Ferstel is located in one of the oldest districts of Vienna, the Palais Quarter in the 1st district. Palais Ferstel is one of the most interesting buildings belonging to the Wilhelminian Era and by 1900 formed the social centre of Vienna comprising of its Café Central, ballrooms and salon areas. The large Ferstel ballroom, together with the arcade courtyard and side rooms, form an elegant and stylish setting. The building originally housed the Austro-Hungarian National Bank and the Stock Exchange as well as bazaar and a café popular with artists and men of letters. The palace was built in the 1850s to plans provided by the architect Heinrich von Ferstel. This prestigious building in the style of those put up along the Ringstrasse boulevard still catches the eye today because of the use of Venetian and Florentine elements in its design:

    Head northeast on Strauchgasse toward Heidenschuß, 94 m and turn left onto Freyung Platz. A pretty, triangular historic square surrounded by imposing Baroque palaces. In the centre is a large fountain topped with a figure representing Austria. At its base four other figures symbolizing the principal rivers of the past Austro-Hungarian territory: – the Danube, Elbe, Po and Vistula:

    In the north-west edge of the Freyung square stands a beautiful baroque building which turned out to be a Palace. Palace Kinsky (Freyung # 4)was originally built in 1717 for Count Wirich Philipp von Daun who was Austrian field marshal in the war of the Spanish succession. His son Leopold Josef Graf Daun became a field marshal of Empress Maria Theresa. In 1784, the Bohemian Kinsky family bought the Palace. The yellow-white façade happens to be on the narrow side of the Palace, it goes back much further in depth (to the west). At the main entrance there are two arcs which enclose the central window, and two allegorical figures: on the left - the wisdom and on the right - the justice. The emblem of the Kinsky is situated over the window. The interior is richly-decorated, has a lovely staircase, frescoed ceilings, mirrors and statues and expensive parquet floors. The Palace was used for the final-status negotiations between Serbian and Kosovo Albanians in EU-sponsored negotiations. The palace is used for auction events, houses shops and a restaurant:

    At Freyung # 3 is one of Vienna's oldest palaces, the Palais Harrach, built around 1600. It has a magnificent gold Coat of Arms above the arched entrance:

    Other palaces around: Hardegg (Freyung 1),  Lamber (Freyung 5), Ferstel (Freyung 2 - see above), Schönborn-Batthyány (Renngasse 4), and Windisch-Graetz (Renngasse 12). Renngasse is to the north-east of Freyung square. Opposite the Palais Kinsky stands the Schottenstift or Schottenkloster (Scottish Monastery). The monastery goes back to the 12th c. and is called  although the monks were Irish. In that time these monks were called "Iro-Schotten". It was founded in Vienna in 1155 when Henry II of Austria brought Irish monks to Vienna. The Baroque church we see now is from 1648:

    South to Palais Ferstel and Freyung Platz is the Freyung Passage, on Strauchgasse, home to  Café Central - a Viennese institution, corner Strauchgasse / Herrengasse. The marble-clad passage with pilasters and vaulted ceiling, was built by an Austrian Architect in 1860. It contains luxury stores with beautiful window displays. ,detailed wrought iron, painted ceilings and lovely old lamps - all make made this one classy passage-way ! Inside, in a small inner courtyard covered by a hexagonal glass dome, there is a tall fountain was in the centre with a statue of the Danube water nymph (Donaunixen), who is holding a fish in her hand:

    This famous traditional Central café with its 130 year history was first opened in 1876 and at the turn of the 20th century it was a popular meeting point for leading lights in the world of art, literature, politics and science such as Arthur Schnitzler, Sigmund Freud, Peter Altenberg and Leo Trotzki ( once met with his fellow socialists). Then, like today, the legendary literature café was a meeting point for all ages. The fountain here has a statue of the Donaunixen (Danube water-nymph), with a fish in her hand:

    The Freyung Passage links the square of the same name with Herrengasse, one of Vienna’s most atmospheric streets. This is a lovely area for a stroll, as little back streets provide contrast with the grand town palaces that line the wider ones such as Herrengasse (see below) and offer surprises at every turn. There are several small courtyards with smart shops and equally smart cafés, and you could easily while away a couple of hours in this part of the city.

    We walk along Herrengasse with our face to the south. The section of the street between the Freyung and Lobkowitzplatz squares was known during the Middle Ages as Hochstraße (High Street). After Vienna began to establish itself as the imperial capital, the nobility (known in German as Herren or Lords) increasingly migrated to the city to be close to the Hofburg Imperial Palace, the residence of the Habsburg rulers. There are several palaces along our way in Herrengasse:
    Palais Herberstein (built in 1897, at Herrengasse 1-3). Built in 1896-1897. It replaced an older structure, Palais Dietrichstein, which was famous for its Café Griensteidl, where a group of young poets and writers known as Jung-Wien gathered on a regular basis. After the café was demolished, they moved to the nearby Café Central, now the most famous of all cafés in Vienna. In 1990 a new, reconstructed Griensteidl Café opened in Palais Herberstein,

    Palais Wilczek (former Palais Lembruch, 1737, Herrengasse 5),


    Palais Modena (today Federal Ministry of the Interior, 1811, Herrengasse 7),

    Palais Mollard-Clary (1689, Herrengasse 9) (see next paragraph),
    Palais Niederösterreich (formerly Niederösterreichisches Landeshaus,  Herrengasse 13),


    Palais Ferstel (formerly Österreichisch-ungarische Bank, 1856–1860, Herrengasse 14, entrance also at Freyung 2) (see above),
    Palais Batthyány (integrates parts of the former Palais Orsini-Rosenberg, 1716, Herrengasse 19),


    Palais Trauttmannsdorff (1834–1838, Herrengasse 21),


    Palais Porcia (1546, Herrengasse 23).

    Further south, in this road, on your right is Palais Mollard-Clary, Herrengasse 9. A Baroque palace, built from 1686 to 1689 for Count Mollard (Reichsgraf von Mollard). In 1760, it was bought by Count Franz Wenzel von Clary-Aldringen. Emperor Joseph II held his famous "round tables" here. Since 2005 it has been used by the Austrian National Library and houses the Globe Museum, the Department of Music and the Department of Planned Languages and Esperanto Museum:

    The Herrengasse ends, in the south, in Michaelerplatz. Michaelerplatz is one of Vienna's most famous squares, thanks to its proximity to the Hofburg, Vienna's imperial palace. Many tourists head straight for the palace, but there are some other noteworthy sights around the square as well:


    The oldest building at Michaelerplatz is the Michaelerkirche, long the parish church of the emperors. The Michaelerkirche (St Michael's Church) is the former parish church of the Austrian monarchy. Church St. Michael date from as far back as the first half of the thirteenth century. It was originally built in 1221 but regularly expanded and modified to such an extent that it now consists of a mix of architectural styles. Experts believe that the altar room was built between 1327 and 1340, the lower parts of the tower later. In the ensuing centuries, the church was rebuilt and added to several times. The tower is still Gothic and dates from the fourteenth century. The neoclassicist facade was designed in 1792. Of note is the sculpture group above the Baroque porch, depicting the Fall of Angels and created by Lorenzo Mattielli. Guided tours: Wedenesdays 13.00 and 15.00, except on holidays - German/English. Meeting Point: in front of the church. St. Michael's used to be the parish church of the Imperial Court, when it was called Zum heiligen Michael. The church is a late Romanesque, early Gothic building dating from about 1220–1240. There is a document giving 1221 as the foundation date of the church, but this is most probably a 14th-century forgery. it has stood in its present form since 1792. Opening hours: MON - SAT, 07.00 - 22.00, SUN, 08.00 - 22.00, on holidays 08.00 - 22.00:

    St. Michael´s Crypt - The crypt was created in the 16th and 17th centuries, as a result of the closure in 1508 of the graveyard that had been located around the church. Today, the church is visited mostly for its interesting catacombs. From 1631 to 1784, about 4,000 people were buried here. Today, one can still see hundreds of coffins adorned with flowers or skulls, as well as mummified corpses. The most famous person buried in the catacombs is Pietro Metastasio, who wrote some of the librettos of Mozart's operas:

    Michaelertrakt:
    The domed Michaelertrakt is one of the most exuberant wings of the imperial palace. It was originally designed in the 1720s by Josef Emanuel Fischer von Erlach, but the project stalled and it wouldn't be until 1888, when the old Burgtheater was demolished, that construction really started. Michaelertrakt, the semicircular St Michael's Wing of the Hofburg dates from 1888-1893. Austrian architect Ferdinand Kirschner followed von Erlach's original Baroque design and completed the wing in 1893. Two monumental fountains emphasize the grandeur of the building. The dome covering the roof is one of Vienna's most famous sights. Through the Michaelertor (see below) gateway is a round vestibule leading to the Palace apartments and various collections:

    At the center of the wing is a monumental gate, the Michaelertor. Along the sides of the three entrances are colossal statues of Hercules. At either end of the Michaelertrakt are large wall fountains with sculpture groups. The fountain on the right, the 'Mastery of the Land', was designed in 1897 by Edmund Hellmer and symbolizes the Austrian army. The fountain on the left is known as the 'Mastery of the Sea'. It was sculpted in 1895 by Rudolf Weyr and symbolizes the Austrian naval power.

    "The forces on land" (1897) - Fountain with statue group on the outside of the St. Michael's tract. This interesting fountain is located on the corner of the left (south) side of the Michaelertor.It was sculpted by Rudolf Weyr in 1895 and symbolizes the Austrian Navy. It is made of white marble and it depicts a young woman on a ship, dominating the "powers of the sea" (God of seas Neptune, sea dragon):

    Michaelerplatz is dominated by the impressive neo-Baroque Michaelertor, the entrance gate to the Hofburg:

    Opposite the palace is one of Vienna's first modern buildings, the Looshaus. It was built in 1911 the Looshaus caused quite a controversy due to its modern façade void of decorations, very unusual in Baroque Vienna. Adolf Loos was influenced by the nascent skyscraper architecture that he had seen on a trip to the United States, and employed a business-like style with straight lines and little or no decoration.

    At the center of the square is an open area with Roman and medieval remains. Excavations at Michaelerplatz unearthed remains of a Roman house as well as some medieval foundations and remains of the former Burgtheater. The ruins are now exposed and can be seen from street level:

  • Citywalk | Hungary
    Updated at Apr 7,2015

    Gödöllő:

    A great place for a day trip from Budapest. Gödöllő is a town situated about 30 km northeast from the outskirts of Budapest. Its population is about 35,000 residents and is growing rapidly.

    Duration: 1 day. Distance: 5-6 km.

    Orientation: a wonderful small city. You'll love the parks and royal estates here, the stunning central Liberty Square and several amazing attractions connected with beautiful art, handicrafts and gardening and aristocratic air and history all around. 

    Attractions: The Royal Palace of Gödöllő (Gödöllői Királyi Kastély), The King's Hill Pavilion (Királyi domb pavilonja), Gödöllői Felső park (upper palace park) or Kastélypark, Palmhouse (Pálmaház), Erzsébet Park (Elizabeth's Park), The Baroque Theatre, Gödöllői Városi Múzeum (Town Museum of Gödöllő), Alsópark (Lower Park), Szabadság tér (Liberty Square), World Peace Gong (Világbéke Gong), Hotel Erzsébet Királyné (Hotel Queen Elizabeth), Reformed Church (Református templom), statue commemorating the victims of WWI (Első világháborús emlékmű), Scout Boy statue, The House of Arts (Művészetek Háza Gödöllő Kulturális és Konferencia Központ), Barracks of guards (Testőrlaktanya), GIM-House - Godollo Applied Arts Workshop (Gödöllői Iparművészeti Műhely), Holy Trinity Church (Szentháromság templom), Saint Mary Column (Maria Immaculata, Mária-oszlop), Royal Waiting Room (Királyi Váró),

    Start:  Erzsébet park HÉV station.

    End:     Erzsébet park HÉV station / Gödöllő MÁV station OR Gödöllő MÁV train stop (Gödöllő vasúti megállóhely) (Állomás tér 1-2, 700m. south-east of the Palace entrance).

    Transportation: You can get there via the suburban commuter train (HÉV) or the country’s intercity train network (MÁV).

    It can be easily reached from Budapest with the suburban railway (HÉV). The Hév suburban railway leaves regularly from Budapest’s Örs vezér tere station (the eastern terminus of the metro line 2), stopping at the Gödöllõ Szabadság tér station. Be sure to take train H8 towards Gödöllő and not one towards Csömör or Cinkota. There are 4 trains/hour during peak hours and 2 trains/hour at other times, and the trip from Örs Vezér tere takes approx. 50 min. Tickets can be bought at Örs Vezér tere or from the inspector on board. Prices:  745 HUF, with Budapest period travel card/pass, this is reduced to 370 HUF. Gödöllő has four HÉV stops: Erzsébet park (right in between the Felső Park and the scenic Erzsébet park), Szabadság tér (Liberty Square) (very close to Gödöllő Palace), (in the downtown and steps away from the royal palace and city museum), Palotakert (near the Palotakert housing development), and Gödöllő (connected to the MÁV station of the same name).

    Alternatively, you can take a train from Budapest’s Keleti railway station: Gödöllő is also served by MÁV suburban trains on the Budapest - Gödöllő - Hatvan line, which originates at Keleti pályaudvar (metro line 2) in Budapest. There are generally 2 trains/hour Budapest - Gödöllő with 1 train/hour running onwards to Hatvan. The Hatvan trains will stop in all MÁV three stations: Gödöllő-Állami telepek, Gödöllő, and Máriabesnyő, the Gödöllő trains only at Állami telepek and Gödöllő station. The ride takes 38 minutes and costs 745 HUF or 370 HUF with Budapest travel card/pass.

    It is 200 m. walk from the Szabadság tér to the Palace and park. Grassalkovich Kastély (Grassalkovich Palace) is located across the street SOUTH from the Szabadság tér HÉV stop. The royal palace is Gödöllő's main attraction.

    It is 1.2 km. walk from the Gödöllő MÁV station to the City Museum: Head west toward Állomás tér, 15 m. Turn right onto Állomás tér, 20 m. Turn left to stay on Állomás tér, 5 m. Turn right onto Żywiec-sétány, 130 m. Sharp left to stay on Żywiec-sétány, 210 m. Continue onto Dunaszerdahely sétány, 240 m. Continue onto Forssa-sétány, 120 m. Slight right toward Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav-sétány, 70 m.  Slight left onto Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav-sétány, 45 m. Slight right to stay on Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav-sétány, 140 m. Turn left toward Szabadság tér, 15 m. Turn right onto Szabadság tér, 40 m.  Turn right toward Szabadság tér, 110 m. Turn left onto Szabadság tér, 30 m. and you'll face the entrance to Grassalkovich Kastély (Grassalkovich Palace - SOUTH to the square), Gödöllői Városi Múzeum (Town Museum of Gödöllő - EAST to the square) and the three main parks - which are all located around the palace: Alsó park (lower palace park - SOUTH-EAST to the Liberty Square and IN FRONT OF the Palace), Felső park (upper palace park, ADJACENT TO THE BACK OF THE PALACE, SOUTH-WEST to the square), and Erzsébet park, named after Queen Elizabeth (WEST to the square and the Palace).

    Erzsébet park HÉV station:

    History:
    In Gödöllő the 250-year-old Royal Mansion is one of the largest palaces in the country and is a significant work of Hungarian Baroque architecture. It is the second largest baroque chateau of the world. The palace at Gödöllő was originally built for the aristocratic Grassalkovich family. Antal Grassalkovich I (1694–1771) was one of the greatest noblemen of 18th-century in Hungary. Grassalkovich, born of a family of the lesser nobility, began his career as a lawyer in 1715. A year later he was already working with the "Hofkammer" (The Royal Chamber, a body of the Habsburg financial administration in the 16–18th centuries). In 1727 he became president of the Commission of New Acquisitions (Neoaquistica Commissio) dealing with the revision and arrangement of the chaotic ownership rights after the Turkish rule. He first came across the estate of Gödöllő, whose then proprietress, Krisztina Bossányi, could verify her ownership rights. Increasing in political power and wealth, Grassalkovich planned the development of a large estate, having its centre in Gödöllő. This became possible after the death of Krisztina Bossányi (1737) when Grassalkovich successively purchased the properties from her heirs. He began to build his palatial residence as early as 1741, which, as the greatest Baroque manor house in Hungary is, even today the principle landmark of Gödöllő (see below). Grassalkovich, who curried favour with King Charles III and Queen Maria Theresa, also managed very successfully the properties of the Treasury. For his economic and political abilities he received first the title of baron and later on became a count. The son of Grassalkovich I, Antal Grassalkovich II (1734–1794), who was raised to the rank of prince, cared little for the estate. He leased out the properties one after the other, liquidated the household in Gödöllő and moved to Vienna. Following his death, the estate, heavily charged with debts, was inherited by his son, Antal Grassalkovich III. Grassalkovich III, who continued to increase the debts, died without opffspring, hence the properties were inherited on the female line.

    In 1850 a banker, György Sina, purchased the estate of Gödöllő. He, and later on his son, rarely stayed in Gödöllő. They sold the whole of the property to a Belgian bank. The Hungarian state bought it back from this bank in March 1867 and gave it, together with the mansion house, to Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria ("Sissi") as a coronation gift. Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary and his wife Elisabeth ("Sisi") had their summer residence here and they frequently stayed here. The royal family stayed in Gödöllő mainly in spring and autumn, and this resulted in a significant upswing in the life of the town. Most of the buildings had been restored to their former glory. Classical concerts and major festivals were organized in the surrounding estates including the ceremonial court of the palace. Gödöllő became a country town from 1864 and grew into an increasingly popular summer resort, owing, in addition to the presence of the royal family, to its natural position and its clean, fresh air. Annually 300–400 families of Pest spent the summer season in Gödöllő, which was growing richer and richer with bathing places and restaurants or village inns. No big industry had settled in Gödöllő:  at the turn of the century, from 1901 to 1920 the only organized Hungarian artists' colony of the period was working here. In autumn 1918, King Charles IV accepted the resignation of the Hungarian government. In those days, several politicians turned up in the Gödöllő mansion, among others Mihály Károlyi who, after some discussions which ended in failure, was designated prime minister by the victorious revolution. In 1919 the military general staff of the Hungarian Soviet Republic had their headquarters in the Gödöllő mansion house. From 1920 the mansion house became a seat of the governor, Miklós Horthy. Gödöllő has records of a Jewish population since the first half of the 19th century. The Jews were suppliers of the court of Franz Joseph I since 1867. A synagogue was built in 1870 and a Jewish school operated from 1857 to 1944. The Jewish population was 195 in 1880, and 276 in 1930, after reaching a peak of 451 in 1920. After World War I, the Jews were severely persecuted, particularly after László Endre's 1923 appointment as district commissioner of the town. The Jewish population of Gödöllő was deported to Auschwitz on 12 June 1944 as part of the so-called "emergency" deportations from parts of southern Hungary.   This order came directly from Hungarian government circles to enable Miklós Horthy (the local governor) to walk around the town without having to see any Jews and to make it possible for him to personally experience the consequences of the anti-Jewish measures. The town was at this time the "summer residence" of Horthy, regent of Hungary. After World War II the development of the community took a new turn. Soviet troops were stationed in part of the Gödöllő mansion house, while in a larger part there was a social welfare home. In contrast to its earlier character as a summer-resort, industry started in Gödöllő. The first step in this direction was the building of the "Ganz" Factory of Electric Measuring Instruments in 1950, which was then followed by other industrial plants. In the same year the University of Agricultural Sciences moved into Gödöllő. This meant the completion of the community's character as an agrarian centre and resulted in a further expansion of the network of agricultural institutions linked to the university. On 1 January 1966, Gödöllő was promoted to the rank of a town. The old peasant houses disappeared one after the other, giving place to housing estates and public institutions. Political changes which came about at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s brought about significant changes in the life of Gödöllő. Some of the industrial projects settled here in the 1950s closed, while others which were viable were privatized. The number of industrial and service units in private ownership increased and quickly transformed the appearance of the town.

    During the 2011 Hungarian EU Presidency, the informal ministerial meetings were held in the Royal Palace, because the government didn't want the delegation's moving to paralyze the traffic in Budapest.[citation needed] The main venues were the Baroque Palace's riding school and the reconstructed stables.[citation needed]

    The town hosted The 10th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting which is an inter-regional forum. It consists of the 27 members of the European Union (EU), the European Commission, the 10 members of the ASEAN Secretariat, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Australia, Russia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Norway, and Switzerland. The main components of the ASEM process are the following so-called three pillars: Political Pillar,Economical Pillar,Social, Cultural and Educational Pillar. In general, the process is considered by the parties involved to be a way of deepening the relations between Asia and Europe at all levels, which is deemed necessary to achieve a more balanced political and economic world order. The process is enhanced by the biennial meetings of heads of state, alternately in Europe and Asia, and political, economic, and socio-cultural meetings and events at various levels.

    The Royal Palace of Gödöllő  (Gödöllői Királyi Kastély) is 180-200 m. SOUTH to the Szabadság tér. In the same location is also the local tourist information office. It is an imperial and royal Hungarian palace - famous for being a favourite place of Queen Elisabeth of Hungary. The construction began around 1733, under the direction of András Mayerhoffer (1690–1771) a famous builder from Salzburg who worked in Baroque and Zopf styles. During this period the palace became the symbol of independent Hungarian statehood, and, as a residential centre it had a political significance of it own. It was Queen Elisabeth (1837–1898) who specially loved staying in Gödöllő, where the Hungarian personnel and neighborhood of the palace always warmly welcomed her. She was able to converse fluently in Hungarian. Following her tragic death, a memorial park adjoining the upper-garden was built. During the period of the royal decades - the suites were made more comfortable, and a marble stable and coach house were built. The riding hall was re-modeled. Between the two world wars the palace served as the residence for Regent Miklós Horthy (see above). No significant building took place during this period, apart from an air-raid shelter in the southern front garden. After 1945 the palace, like many other buildings in Hungary, fell into decay. Soviet and Hungarian troops used the building, some of the beautifully decorated rooms were used for an old people's home, and the park was divided into smaller plots of land. In 1990, after the departure of the Soviet troops, clearing the almost ruined Grassalkovich mansion house started, which was essential if the restoration trend. As a result, the mansion house may, after a few years, receive guests visiting the town in its full splendor. The protection of the palace as a historical monument started in 1981, when the National Board for Monuments launched its palace project. The most important tasks of preservation began in 1986 and were completed in the end of 1991. During this time the palace was partly emptied. By 1990 the Soviet troops left the southern wing, then the old people's home was closed down. Reconstruction is the principle of the interiors completed so far creating the state as it was around the 1880s. One of the most striking features of the Empress Elisabeth Exhibition is its historical accuracy.

    The palace has a double U shape, and is surrounded by an enormous park. The building underwent several enlargements and modifications during the 18th century; its present shape being established in the time of the third generation of the Grassalkovich family. By then the building had 8 wings, and - besides the residential part - it contained a church, a theatre, a riding-hall, a hothouse, a greenhouse for flowers and an orangery.

    Presently, the visitor service units are situated on the ground floor: cloak-room, ticket office, tourist information centre, toilets (also for the disabled), payphone, etc. Various retail units are found on the northern side: a souvenir centre, photo studio. On the southern side there is a coffee/pastry shop (delicious cakes, reasonably priced) and several function rooms. 

    Opening hours: Summer: from 1 April - until 31 October daily 10.00 - 18.00 (ticket office until 17:00). Winter: from 1 November  - until 31 March
    MON - FRI 10.00 - 16.00 (ticket office until 15.00), SAT - SUN 10.00 - 17.00 (ticket office until 16:00).

    Prices: Permanent exhibition (Royal apartments , The Era of the Grassalkovich,Queen Elisabeth memorial exhibition , “Centuries, Inhabitants,Stories” – the 20th century history of the palace): Adult 2.200  HUF, Student 1.100 HUF, Family ticket 4.600 HUF (two adults and children under 18.).  Guided tour prices for groups – 70-80 mins, 1-9 persons 5.300 HUF, 10-25 persons 6.500 HUF. Audio guides are available (multiple languages) 800 HUF. Baroque Theatre (only with guiding) – 30 mins, (SAT and SUN only): Adult 1.400 HUF, Student 800 HUF, Additional ticket/student - 650 HUF. 3D cinema "The Castle of Gödöllő ever and now"  and The horse culture of royals and aristocratics (Interactive exhibition in the Baroque stables and Stableman rooms) - From THU until SUN - 45 mins: Adult 1.200 HUF, Additional ticket 900 HUF, Student 600 HUF, Additional Student 450 HUF. Horthy Bunker (only with guiding) - 25-30 mins: Adult 800 HUF, Additional ticket – Adult 700 HUF, Student 500 HUF, Additional Student 450 HUF. Falconry and archery show
    (12th MAY- 15th SEP only) – SUN 15.00 – 60 mins: Adults 1.500 HUF, Students 900,- HUF, Family ticket 3.500 HUF (two adults and children under 18).

    Note: NO PICTURES INSIDE THE PALACE.

    Gödöllő Palace permanent exhibition is housed in 31 galleries (26 rooms open to the public). The main section is filling six galleries: this is an exhibition of the first century of the Palace and the first three generations of the Grassalkovich family, with insight into the Baroque church. The wall paintings dating from this period have been restored or reconstructed. Do not expect the luxury and richness of other Imperial palaces in Europe, such as Versailles in France or Schönbrunn in Austria: interiors are rather plain and sparsely furnished. The Soviet occupation in WW2 and the Communist era had stripped the palace of most of its original charm, and not to mention, the original furnishings or artwork that may have existed in the glorious imperial past. Yet, count at least an hour. No photos. You are not allowed to enter into the palace rooms with: backpacks, umbrellas or strollers:

    The cheerful inner court is a resting place, where various outdoor programmes are held:

    The King's Hill Pavilion (Királyi domb pavilonja): located around 200 metres from the Palace, into the Gödöllői Felső park (upper palace park) or Kastélypark (see below). the King’s Hill pavilion is the only remaining building in the Palace park which dates from the Baroque period. It was Antal Grassalkovich I who had the hexagonal pavilion built in the 1760s. The pavilion was built on an artificial hill known as King’s Hill. (This name has historical significance. It used to be the name of a place where a new king would ride up following his coronation ceremony and swing his sword towards the four winds as a sign of his will to defend the country against attacks coming from any direction). The pavilion was in this condition at the beginning of the royal period in 1867, and it could be visited by the public. The building was reconstructed in 2002:

    54 oil paintings depicting Hungarian leaders and kings were incorporated into the paneled walls of the pavilion. The majority of the pictures have been destroyed or have disappeared and in the 1980s, only the bare walls were left standing. The set of pictures was re-created by means of advanced photographic technology in 2004, and since then the pavilion may be visited on guided tours. The 54 oil paintings depicting the leaders and kings incorporated into the paneled walls of the pavilion all share a common frame structure of laurel wreaths and phylacteries. There are portraits of Hungarian leaders from the time of the Hungarian conquest and those of later Hungarian kings. Galleries of ancestors and kings would be created in the 17th and 18th centuries as ornamentation for aristocratic residences. On the one hand this was a way of expressing their sense of nobility, and on the other it was a pictorial representation of their attitude to history. A speciality of the series of pictures in Gödöllő is that Grassalkovich erected a separate building for the purpose of evoking the whole of Hungarian history with a near-complete set of former rulers. The displays include the name of the portrait’s subject in Latin, his number in the line of rulers and the dates of his reign. Rulers of greater significance have larger portraits and have been placed in special positions over the doors and the windows. The line starts with Attila’s portrait over the northern entrance. He is followed by Keve underneath him and then the portraits follow one after the other in a clockwise manner. (After a full turn, the lines of pictures continue spirally downwards, always taking one step down after each turn under the starting picture). Some of the pictures were damaged during the War of Independence in 1848–49. Baron Simon Sina, the new owner of the palace, had the pavilion renovated in 1857 in preparation for Francis Joseph I’s visit to Gödöllő. He had copies of the damaged pictures painted and also added to the collection portraits of the rulers from the century that had passed since the initial construction of the pavilion.

    The three main parks are all located around the palace: Felső park (upper palace park), Erzsébet park, named after Queen Elizabeth and Alsó park (lower palace park). All in all, Gödöllő is a great place to visit and to have a feel for a royal Hungary by the countryside. It’s great escape to the country and to experience what life is like outside of the grand city of Budapest.
    Gödöllői Felső park (upper palace park) or Kastélypark: Felső Park is located directly behind the palace and is mostly easily accessed from the Szabadság tér or Erzsébet Park HÉV stops. There is a wild chestnut path with a row of trees where it feels as though strolling through eras from long ago. The northern front garden, at the main façade with its so-called Italian bastions and walkways was reconstructed with historical authenticity in 1998. The 26-hectare English park, which is open to the public through the year, was declared a nature reserve in 1998. Its botanical curiosities are much appreciated by the visitors. Riding competitions are held in the park annually. Visiting of the park is free of charge. Garden and Park opening hours:  1 NOV - 31 MAR: 06.00 – 18.00. 1 APR - 31 OCT: 06.00 – 20.00:

    The Upper Park hosts, during the year, various peasants' and handicrafts workshops, pony rides and flower market and, even, a small zoo, in the Palmhouse (Pálmaház), Martinovics u. 2/a. It is in the SOUTH part of the Upper Park. Daily 08:00-17:00.

    The Erzsébet Park (Elizabeth's Park): Erzsébet Park was built in memory of Sisi, after she was assassinated. The park’s entrance is a long trail of lindens leading to her statue. Turning right at the entrance you'll find the Kálvária monument, which depicts the crucifixion and was commissioned by Grassalkovich and built in 1771. The cult of Queen
    Elisabeth is mainly preserved in the park, which was named after her. After the queen’s death Gödöllő was the first to establish a memorial park in November 1898. The 2.5 m high statue of Elisabeth, created by József Róna, was revealed by Franz Joseph and Valéria Mária in 1901. The stone mound behind the statue was also raised in honour of Queen Elisabeth. The Calvary, built in 1771, can also be found in the Elisabeth Park. Such public creations of the Baroque religious art are usually placed on hills.   The so called Alsópark ( see below) also belonged to the castle in the past. In 1933 the world-meeting of scouts, the jamboree, was held here. In 1994 Zsigmond Kisfaludi Stróbl created a statue of a boy scout, as a memoir of the jamboree:

    The Baroque Theatre: In the southernmost wing of the Palace, Count Antal Grassalkovich II (1734–1794) had a theatre auditorium constructed between 1782 and 1785. 24.5 m long, 8 m wide and 9.5 m high, the space resulted from making the formerly 3-storey wing into one. The walls were decorated with Neo-classical, late Baroque paintings. The theatre was in operation only when the Count was in residence at Gödöllő. The story of the theatre came to an end in 1867 when it was converted into rooms for the entourage of the royal family. There is no information on the theatre for around 7 decades after the death of Antal Grassalkovich II (1794). It ceased to exist in 1867, when the Palace was bought by the Hungarian state and free use of it made over as a coronation gift to Franz Joseph I and Queen Elizabeth. The building was hastily renovated in order to make it suitable for accommodating the royal family and the royal household. All the theatre furnishings were auctioned off and the inside of the theatre was once again divided into three separate floors by inserting two ceilings. A total of 15 rooms together with corridors were constructed on these floors. This palace layout remained unchanged until 1986, by which time the state of the building had deteriorated so badly due to improper usage following World War II that the ceiling fell in. The theatre building, previously known only from written sources, was identified when the wall-painting extending over all three floors was uncovered. Further examination of the walls also provided clear evidence of traces of the stage equipment of the age. Reconstruction was completed in August 2003, since then it has provided a venue for high standard performances, and it is now open to museum visitors. The various facilities necessary for running the theatre, such as changing rooms, store-rooms and machinery, have been established on two, newly-built cellar levels. The theatre, which can seat 95, once again became a venue for quality theatrical performances in August 2003. A curiosity of theatrical history, this part of the palace can be visited on guided tours. Your ticket includes visit in the stables and an interesting exhibition about horsemanship in Hungary.

    Chandelier in the Baroque Theatre:

    Gödöllői Városi Múzeum (Town Museum of Gödöllő)  is located on Szabadság tér, close to the HÉV station. The exhibit focuses primarily on the Gödöllő artists' colony from the early 1900s, and has several excellent examples of Hungarian Art Nouveau. There is also an ethnographic exhibit on Oceania, collected by Ferenc Ignácz, who worked at the university in Gödöllő. Another small room houses the private collection of Zoltán Mihály Csupor, a Catholic priest. This is the oldest building of Gödöllő in the centre and It is called Hamvay-mansion, and it hosts the Municipal Museum of Gödöllő. The mansion was built by Ferenc Hamvay,
    the lord of the settlement in 1662. Antal Grassalkovich I. It had a storey
    built onto the top of the building and used it as an inn. The first chemist’s was moved here in 1814 by Antal Grassalkovich III. During the royal times it functioned as Elisabeth Hotel, and became the most important social meeting place. Later the hotel was closed, and at first it
    functioned as a high school from 1916, and then as an elementary school from 1948. In 1972 it stored the collection of local history, and in 1988 it officially became a museum. It has three permanent and several periodic exhibitions:

    Alsópark, Gödöllő. Alsó Park is located directly in front of the palace and has a giant tree sculpture called the World Tree.

    Szabadság tér: a marvelous square. A masterpiece of landscaping !!! It was voted the "Most beautiful Main Square in Hungary" in 2013.

    World Peace Gong (Világbéke Gong) near the main square:

    In the NORTH end of Szabadság tér (LIberety Square ), stands the former Town Hall (Járási Hivatal) - today, Hotel Erzsébet Királyné (Hotel Queen Elizabeth), 2 DózsaGyörgy street. Seccession architecture is represented by this monumental building.

    Nearby is the Reformed Church (Református templom), 9 Szabadság square (Close to Hotel Erzsébet Királyné (Queen Elisabeth Hotel). This Baroque style church built in 1745 with the support of Antal Grassalkovich I. is an onion dome church. Massaes on Sundays.

    Godollo Reformed Lyceum High School and Dormitory are also here. From the schoolyard is open a door to a tourist accommodation (four rooms).

    In the NORTH-EAST edge of Szabadság tér, into the park, stands a statue commemorating the victims of WWI (Első világháborús emlékmű) - erected by Lőrinc Siklódy in 1931:

    The Scout Boy statue, erected by István Paál in 1994 to commemorate the World Scout Jamboree in 1933 can be found right next to it:

    The House of Arts (Művészetek Háza Gödöllő Kulturális és Konferencia Központ), Szabadság út 6 is a bit EAST to the Szabadság tér (cross Szabadság út). Open:  MON - FRI 08.30 -21.00. It might be open also in SAT - SUN - depending on current cultural events. Cultural and Conference Centre.Concerts, dance theater shows, Children and Youth Exhibition, festivals:

    Return 100 m. back (WEST) to the square along Szabadság út to meet the Barracks of guards (Testőrlaktanya), Szabadság út, 2  - opposite the castle in the Lower park. In this one-story Baroque-style building lived Grassalkoviches cattle directors:

    We offer you a short detour to the GIM-House  - Godollo Applied Arts Workshop (Gödöllői Iparművészeti Műhely), Körösfői Kriesch Aladár utca, 15-17 (EAST to the Haraszti temető - cemetery). A showroom and Handicraft Workshop of local contemporary artists. DO NOT MISS the GIM-House's park/garden with its exceptional, stunning colors and plants. In the garden is an open air exhibit place. From the Liberty Square head northwest on Szabadság tér towards Dózsa György út, 110 m. Continue onto Dózsa György út, 450 m. Turn left onto Körösfői Kriesch Aladár utca and the GIM-house is 160 m. further on your left. GIM-house and exhibitions regularly can be visited on Saturdays and Sundays 14.00  to 17.00 (1 NOV - 31 MAR), 14.00  to 18.00 (1 APR - 31 OCT). Other days - by appointment. RECOMMENDED !!! Inspiring place !!!

    (Photos taken from the GIMHaz web site):

    From here, on your way back to the Liberty Sqaure (Szabadság tér) visit also the Holy Trinity Church. From GIM HÁZ, Körösfői Kriesch Aladár utca 15-17 - head southwest on Körösfői Kriesch Aladár u. toward Szent Imre u., 130 m.  Turn left onto Szent Imre utca, 170 m. and the church will be on the right. The Holy Trinity Church (Szentháromság templom), Szent Imre utca, 15, is a simple yet a unique work of art, exciting architectural phenomenon: a series carpets showing the members of the Árpád House who were canonized. Erzsébet Szekeres, textile artist from Gödöllő made the series of 21 carpet pictures showing the 13 members of Árpád House canonised and beautified by the Roman Catholic Church: King Saint Stephen of Hungary, Duke Saint Emeric, Saint Margaret of Scotland, King Saint Ladislaus I of Hungary, Saint Margaret of Hungary, Saint Agnes of Prague, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Saint Elisabeth of Portugal, and those beutified: Erzsébet Tössi, Jolán and Gertrude. Three archangels belong here: Gabriel, Raphael and Michael and Bishop Saint Martin. The series inaugurated in 2008 also shows a picture of the Hungarian Golgotha and the Holy Mother of Jesus Christ. Opening hours: MON - SUN 17.00 - 18.00(!):

    It is 500 m. walk back to Szabadság tér. Head southeast on Szent Imre u. toward Kossuth Lajos u., 40 m. Turn left 78 m. toward Szabadság tér. The square is consistently EASTWARD. Sharp right toward Szabadság tér, 45 m. Turn left toward Szabadság tér, 30 m. Turn right onto Szabadság tér, 140 m. Turn left to stay on Szabadság tér, 35 m. Turn right toward Szabadság tér, 35 m. Turn left toward Szabadság tér, 25 m. Turn right toward Szabadság tér, 15 m. Turn left toward Szabadság tér, 5 m. Turn right toward Szabadság tér, 35 m. Turn left toward Szabadság tér, 25 m.  Turn left onto Szabadság tér, 10 m.

    In case you return to Budapest from the Szabadság tér suburban train station - walk a few metres WEST to this station to the Maria Garden. Saint Mary Column (Maria Immaculata, Mária-oszlop), inside the Maria garden is a beautiful statue, ornamented with the statues of some saints in beautiful Baroque bas-reliefs and erected by Martin Vögerl on Antal Grassalkovich's orders. It is the most beautiful statue of the city: four embossments are on the pedestal, showing the encounter of Mary and Elisabeth, the annunciation, the introduction of Mary in the temple and the assumption of the Blessed Virgin. On the corners the statues of four saints can be seen: Theresa, Anthony, Florian and Roch. Mary stands at the top of the pillar. Next is the Statue of Duke Saint Imre (Emeric) erected with public contributions by Ludvig Krausz. The sculpture, made of soft sandstone, has been renovated several times, most recently in 2006:

    In case you return to Budapest from the Gödöllő végállomás, the HÉV suburban train terminal (connected to the MÁV station of the same name) - see, opposite (WEST) to this station the Royal Waiting Room (Királyi Váró), Állomás tér 1-2 (1100 m. south-east of the Palace entrance.It is a 1.1 km. walk from Gödöllő, Szabadság tér. Head southeast on Szabadság tér toward Szabadság út, 35 m. Turn left toward Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav-sétány, 15 m. Turn right toward Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav-sétány, 60 m. Slight left onto Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav-sétány, 190 m. Continue onto Forssa-sétány, 120 m. Continue onto Dunaszerdahely sétány, 240 m. Continue onto Żywiec-sétány, 210 m. Sharp right to stay on Żywiec-sétány, 15 m. Continue straight to stay on Żywiec-sétány, 120 m. Turn left onto Állomás tér, 5 m. Turn right to stay on Állomás tér, 55 m. The Royal Waiting Room (Királyi Váró) is on the left - a branch of the Town Museum of Gödöllő. The royal couple regularly traveled by train to Godollo. The Godollo station building was released on April 2, 1867. In 1868, a wooden, Tyrolean-style temporary pavilion was built for the royal couple as a waiting room. In the years of 1870's became more vivid the railway traffic. The royal family staying in Godollo made the town to a trendy, fashionable summer resort. In 1874, the station was converted into a two-story building. In addition to the rail office designed first-, second- and third-class waiting room and a restaurant with dance hall. In 1882, a new Royal Waiting house built in neo-Renaissance style. The building designed by a major Hungarian architect, Miklós Ybl. In the Franz Joseph's waiting room is an exhibition of the history of transport, a branch of the Hungarian Transport Museum. In Queen Elizabeth's waiting room and the Prince's waiting room can be see a local history museum focusing to the royal family cult. Open: 10.00–16.00. Price: 300 HUF:



  • Citywalk
    Updated at Jan 15,2018

    One Day in Central London - from Buckingham Palace to St. Paul Cathedral and Paternoster Square:

    Tip 1: from Green Park to Lambeth Bridge.

    Tip 2: Victoria Tower Gardens to One New Change Shopping Centre.

    Tip 1 Main Attractions: Green Park, Canada GateBuckingham Palace, Victoria Memorial square, Wellington Arch, Apsley House, Hyde Park, statue of Achilles, Cavalry Memorial statue, Sloane Street, Chelsea Pensioners' Hospital, Chelsea Bridge, Grosvenor Road, Dolphin Square Building, Pimlico Gardens, Vauxhall Bridge, Riverside Walk Gardens, Lambeth Bridge.  

    Distance (Tip 1 and Tip 2): 15 km. Weather: avoid windy or rainy days. Orientation: a full, busy day of walk. Crossing Central London from north to south and, then, from west to east and, back, from south to north. Quick exploration of several districts in London with no in-depth visits.

    Tip 1 -  from Green Park to Lambeth Bridge.

    Start: Green Park Metro Station. End: Lambeth Bridge

    Public Transport to Buckingham Palace: By Underground: Victoria, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner. You can also walk to Buckingham Palace from Hyde Park Corner or Green Park Underground Stations (both Piccadilly Lines) in 5 to 10 minutes. By bus: Numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road.

    From Green Park Metro (underground) station to Buckingham Palace on foot: exit the Green park station through the southern exit (leading to the Green Park and Buckingham Palace). The Piccadilly Street is on your back (north). You face Diana fountain/ statue outside of Green Park station:

    Green Park resides between Hyde Park and St. James's Park. The park is bounded on the north by the Green Park tube station, which is a major interchange located on Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee lines. From the station starts the Queen's Walk, which forms the east border of the park, leading to the south end of the park. In the south is the Constitution Hill. To the south is also the ceremonial avenue of the Mall, and the buildings of St James's Palace (more to the east) and Clarence House (bordering the park) overlook the park to the east.  Clarence House was home to Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother for almost 50 years prior to her passing in 2002. It is now the official residence of  The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. It is usually closed to the public through the year but every summer, it is open to visitors for around a month – usually August – with guided tours of the ground floor reception. St. James’s Palace was built in the 16th century. It is the UK’s most senior royal palace and contains the London residences of The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra. Wellington Arch is in the south-west corner of Green Park. Many people will tell you that Green Park is so called because flowers don't grow there. Some more dubious types will even claim that the reason for the lack of flowers stems back to Charles II; his wife Catherine apparently caught him picking flowers for his mistress and ordered all flowers to be removed. The now-buried Tyburn stream, running from Hampstead to the Thames, runs under the park, coming in from Mayfair before heading off west underneath Buckingham Palace. The Broadwalk through the park roughly follows its path. Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks was composed specifically for a fireworks celebration held in The Green Park in 1749. On 10 June 1840, it was the scene of Edward Oxford's assassination attempt on Queen Victoria, on Constitution Hill. No public toilets, but some in Green Park Underground station.

    Our best advice to arrive to Buckingham Palace from the Metro station is taking the second from the left path. Or, look in the distance for  big golden gates. These are the gates (Canada Gate) that separate the Green Park from Buckingham Palace grounds. The golden Canada Gates were a gift from Canada, celebrating its contribution to the then British Empire. The gate is in the same style as those of Buckingham Palace. The metalwork includes the crests of seven Canadian provinces. Canada Gate takes the form of a screen consisting of 5 portals of gilded wrought iron, the central section being the principal and largest gate; the double gates are supported on columns of iron. The gate stands at the junction with Constitution Hill; today, a congested roundabout, but occasionally closed to traffic when the famous Mall (Constitution Hill road continuation to the east) is required for state processions from the palace.

    Canada Gate in May 2016:

    You just cross the Green Park from north to south. You may take the pedestrian Queen's Walk, the Spencer House on your left,

    and turn right and left to follow the paths southward until you arrive the Constitution Hill road. The path that crosses Green Park from north to south, leading to Canada Gate is a wide grass path lined with trees, known as The Broadwalk. It was planted in 1905 to create a good view of the Queen Victoria Memorial from Piccadilly. The Broadwalk also marks the approximate course of the ancient River Tyburn that now flows under the park on its course from Hampstead to the River Thames. The Victoria Monument outside Buckingham Palace can be seen in the distance:

    Behind this road reside: Buckingham Palace Garden, the palace and  Victoria Memorial Square. Just follow the paths with the signs pointing to Buckingham Palace. Other ones point to Hyde Park. There is a  refreshment kiosk at the Buckingham Palace corner of the park. Best seen when the weather is nice and flowers in bloom. The park may get busy during summer sunny and warm afternoons/evenings. Then, you'll be surprised by the amount of deckchairs spread around. The noise always seems far away.

    It is an almost necessary London tourist ritual of taking photos outside the palace’s iconic facade.

    Buckingham Palace itself is rarely open to the public (usually only during August and September). On a gorgeous, sunny day  join the masses to watch the world-famous Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. There is an detailed blog (from May 2013) on this event in Tipter: http://tipter.com/trips/buckingham-palace-changing-of-the-guard. Allow one hour or more wait before everything begins. Add the lack of space to move around, and it is just long enough to begin losing feeling in your feet. From the first strains of music to the last piper leaving the palace, the whole ceremony lasts just under an hour. Be ready with your umbrella. The sky in London is changing in minutes. The ceremony takes place, weather permitting, at 11.00 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and daily in the summer. For detailed schedules see:  http://www.householddivision.org.uk/changing-the-guard-calendar. Please note that the schedule is subject to change. To learn more on this ceremony - check this site: https://changing-guard.com/changing-guard-buckingham-palace.html. Bear in mind that the event might be so jammed packed that you might hardly see the red-uniformed guards from afar. During the formal ceremony, the ‘New Guard’ relieves the soldiers who have been on duty at Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace. A military band plays music, which ranges from Abba’s greatest hits to more traditional songs:

    Buckingham Palace actually started out as Buckingham House owned by the Duke of Buckingham. George III bought the original Buckingham House in 1761 for his wife Queen Charlotte and 14 of George III's 15 children were born there. Then, in 1826, £450,000 was spent on transforming the house into a palace. When George IV became king he began turning the house into a palace. He appointed the architect John Nash, who was later dismissed by Parliament for spending too much. The architect, Edward Blore was later employed to finish the palace for the new Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert moved to Buckingham Palace after they were married in 1840. They played an important role in transforming the palace for state functions and activities. Over the following years many changes and improvements have been made to the palace with the latest work being the completion of gates and railings in 1914. The palace’s state rooms have been open to the public since 1993, and since that time 519,000 people have taken the opportunity to visit.   By the way, the Queen doesn’t even come to Buckingham during the summer. She lives in Scotland and Windsor Castle.

    The State Rooms which are open to visitors for 10 weeks each summer and on selected dates during winter and spring. Tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace is open daily, during year 2018 from 21 July until 31 August 2018 during the hours 09.30-17.15 and from 1 September until 30 September 2018 during the hours 09.30-16.15. Prices: Adult £24.00, Over 60 / Student (with valid ID) £22.00, Under 17 / Disabled £13.50, Under 5 FREE, Family (2 adults and 3 under 17s) £61.50. At the end of your visit, don’t forget to ask a Warden to stamp your ticket to convert it into a 1- Year Pass. You should allow around 3-3.5 hours for the full experience at Buckingham Palace (the Garden tour lasts 45 minutes if you opt for it). Prices including the Palace gardens: Adult £33.00, Over 60/ Student (with valid ID) £31.00, Under 17/ Disabled £19.70, Under 5 FREE, Family £85.70 (2 adults and 3 under 17s). I must advise that if you do want to visit the palace then you will have to book online far in advance. The tickets are sold out for several day/weekss beforehand and you will not be able to buy on the spot.
    The tours are very popular due to its limited season and the hype of the royal family. Be prepared for a short half hour queue to get through the airport style security. NO PHOTOS ALLOWED INSIDE ! You cannot take pictures inside the palace. There are security people in every room and they are very quick at spotting visitors who are taking pictures.

    It is one of the oldest working palaces in the world and the State Rooms are so beautiful and grand. With 775 rooms (including the 19 State Rooms and 78 bathrooms) and the largest private garden in London, it has been the official London residence of UK sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Queen. Be prepared to queue for the summer conducted tour. During August the queues are horrendous. You'll wait at least an hour before you get in. The queues might be slightly better if you go in September. No toilets in the beginning of the tour. The public toilets are in the garden, at the end of the tour. The conducted tour takes you round all the grandest rooms of the palace including the Throne Room, the Ballroom where State Banquets are held, and the lavishly decorated official drawing rooms. The audio tour guides you at leisure through the many different rooms, corridors and grand staircases. The tour takes you to nineteen of the State Rooms which the Queen uses for ceremonial occasions and entertains official visitors. The tour of the State Rooms begins at the Grand Entrance. This entrance is reserved for foreign ambassadors and diplomats. You’ll see the Quadrangle, the courtyard in the middle of the palace, where processions form for special occasions. On a state visit, the mounted band of the Household Division also plays here to welcome the visiting Head of State and their entourage. At the end of the Quadrangle looms the magnificence of the Grand Entrance, with its many columns and facades. Inside, it is even more magnificent with its red carpet and fireplace made from a single block of marble. Upstairs the Grand Staircase invites you up with its elegant curls.

    Each room unveils its spectacular beauty, every piece of furniture is a piece of art. The art collections, including the marble sculptures, 350 clocks, chandeliers, paintings, and vases of all sizes, from China and Japan, overwhelm the visitors. Even the mirrors, trim, and carvings on each wall is different. It reveals the care, work, heart, and creativity of the designer in every inch of the space, striving for perfection.

    The Throne Room was Initially designed for investitures and ceremonies. The Throne Room is now primarily used on important occasions for the reception of formal addresses, including last year’s Diamond Jubilee. The space also housed a significant number of concerts and balls before 1861. The Throne Room, sometimes used during Queen Victoria’s reign for Court gatherings and as a second dancing room, is dominated by a proscenium arch supported by a pair of winged figures of ‘victory’ holding garlands above the ‘chairs of state’. It is in the Throne Room that The Queen, on very special occasions like Jubilees, receives loyal addresses. Another use of the Throne Room has been for formal wedding photographs:

    The Ballroom is the largest multi-purpose room in Buckingham Palace. The Ballroom was opened in 1856 to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. Today, it’s used for State banquets, memorial concerts and artistic performances, as well as for Investitures. It was opened in 1856 with a ball to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. In the spectacular Palace Ballroom you’ll see the traditional horseshoe-shaped table lavishly decorated for a State Banquet, including the silver gilt from the Grand service, first used to celebrate the birthday of George III in 1811, as well as jeweled cups, ivory tankards, chased dishes, sconces, shields and basins:

    Inside, you’ll find the Green Drawing Room with its green walls, green sofas and green curtains:

    The White Drawing Room is the grandest of all 19 State Rooms. The White Drawing Room displays two fascinating pairs of ebony-veneered cabinets, built into the wall beneath tall mirrors, to provide members of the Royal Family a discreet means of entering the premises. The room has been used as a backdrop in many photographic portraits of the Royal Family and is currently the setting for a number of audiences and receptions:

    Before the Ballroom was added to the Palace in the 1850s, the first State Ball was held in the Blue Drawing Room in May 1838 as part of the celebrations leading up to Queen Victoria’s Coronation. Note the thirty fake onyx columns and the Sevres porcelain table which was made for Napoleon:

    The Music Room was originally known as the Bow Drawing Room. Four Royal babies – The Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal, The Duke of York and Prince William – were all christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Music Room:

    The Marble Hall, clad in Italian marble, contains fine sculptures, including three groups by Antonio Canova:

    Situated at the rear of the palace, the garden covers 40 acres, and includes a helicopter landing area, a tennis court, and a lake graced by a flock of flamingos. Home to more than 30 different species of birds and 350 wildflowers, the garden has hosted summer parties, charity tennis competitions, and pop and classical music concerts. The garden is open to walk through at the end of the tour during the summer in daylight. The Garden Café also provides beautiful views over the Palace lawns at the end of your visit:

    London may be known as a museum city, but some of the city’s best art is housed in the Queen’s Gallery, which is a part of Buckingham Palace. That collection is one of the best (and most valuable) in the entire world, a result of multiple centuries of uninterrupted collecting by the country’s royal families. The gallery building itself sits on a site that formerly housed Queen Victoria’s chapel. Destroyed in a 1940 air raid, it was rebuilt after the war as a purpose-built art gallery and renovated and modernized in the 1990s. Because the museum can only display about 450 works from the vast collection, those chosen are quite special and quite spectacular. The Queen’s Gallery was reopened in May 2002 as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. The Queen’s Gallery hosts a programme of changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection. The building that initially stood on its site was originally used as a private chapel, but after being damaged by German bombs in the war, it was totally refurbished and expanded.

    Photos below are from year 2013.

    "An old Woman" called "The Artist's Mother"' c.1627-9 by Rembrandt:

    Rembrandt (1606-1669) - Agatha Bas (1611-1658):

    "A Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman", known as "The Music Lesson" by Vermeer (from year 2013):

    Every year, Buckingham Palace's summer opening also features a special exhibition. This temporary exhibition can only be seen during that year's summer opening. In 2018, the exhibition celebrates the 70th birthday of Charles, Prince of Wales.

    Note: your best way to taste something from the royal family is this web site: https://www.royal.uk/

    We return to the Buckingham Palace main gate. Opposite the (closed) main entrance gate is the The Victoria Memorial square with the  monument to Queen Victoria designed and executed by the sculptor Thomas Brock. Designed in 1901 and unveiled on 16 May 1911, though it was not completed until 1924. It was the centrepiece of an ambitious urban planning scheme, which included the creation of the Queen’s Gardens to a design by Sir Aston Webb, and the refacing of Buckingham Palace by the same architect. The square and the monument reside at the western end of The Mall and the eastern end of the Constitution Hill. At the top of the central pylon stands a gilded bronze Winged Victory, standing on a globe and with a victor's palm in one hand. Beneath her are personifications of Constancy, holding a compass with its needle pointing true north, and Courage, holding a club. Beneath these, on the eastern and western sides, are two eagles with wings outspread, representing Empire. Below these, statues of an enthroned Queen Victoria (facing The Mall) and of Motherhood (facing Buckingham Palace), with Justice (facing north-west towards Green Park) and Truth (facing south-east). At the four corners of the monument are massive bronze figures with lions, representing Peace (a female figure holding an olive branch), Progress (a nude youth holding a flaming torch), Agriculture (a woman in peasant dress with a sickle and a sheaf of corn) and Manufacture (a blacksmith in modern costume with a hammer and a scroll):

    With our face to the Buckingham Palace and our back to Victoria Monument - we turn right (our face to the Green Park) and turn LEFT (WEST) along Constitution Hill (following the "Pedestrians Hyde Park" signpost). We follow the pedestrians' path along this road (800 m.) - leading to Wellington Arch:

    Wellington Arch resides at Hyde Park Corner, at the western corner of Green Park, where Kensington Road meets Piccadilly near its junction with Park Lane. It was built in 1825–7 and was originally intended as an outer entrance to Buckingham Palace, later becoming a victory arch proclaiming Wellington's defeat of Napoleon. At first it stood facing the Hyde Park Screen, but it was moved to its present position in the 1880s. Its original design was never completed, and a controversial giant statue of the Duke of Wellington was placed on top of it in 1846. The quadriga sculpture that crowns the arch today was erected in 1912. Crowned by the largest bronze sculpture in Europe, it depicts the Angel of Peace descending on the 'Quadriga' - or four-horsed chariot - of War. In 1891 the sculptor Adrian Jones (1845–1938) exhibited a magnificent plaster group at the Royal Academy entitled ‘Triumph’, of a quadriga (a four-horse chariot). The Prince of Wales suggested that it would make a suitable adornment for the rebuilt Wellington Arch. Initially no funds were available, but eventually a banker, Sir Herbert Stern, made an anonymous donation of about £20,000, and from 1908 Jones set to work on a full-size plaster version of his quadriga in his Chelsea studio, with Edward VII taking a personal interest. The final bronze version was erected on top of the arch in January 1912. Between 1901 and 1912 the approaches to Buckingham Palace were redesigned, to create the magnificent ceremonial landscape we see today. Constitution Hill was widened and repaved, and the Wellington Arch was framed between fine new piers and gates, tying it into this composition. The arch’s setting was again altered in an attempt to relieve traffic congestion with the creation of the present Hyde Park Corner roundabout in 1960–62. The Edwardian gates to either side of the arch were removed, and it was cut off from Constitution Hill on the new traffic island. The southern pier of the arch was gutted to serve as a ventilation shaft for an underpass; the rest of the arch was left empty after this date. In 1999 the arch was transferred to the care of English Heritage. Major repairs and refurbishment were carried out, and in 2001 the arch was opened to the public. Nowadays, it is isolated on a traffic island. Opening hours: Winter (OCT-MAR): everyday 10.00-16.00, Summer:  10.00-17.00. Closed: 7-13 May, 24-26 Dec & 1 Jan. Prices: Adult £5.00, Child (5-15 years) £3.00, Concessions £4.50, Family (2 adults, 3 children) £13.00:

    it is open to the public and contains three floors of exhibits detailing the history of the arch, and an Exhibition "Waterloo 1815; The Battle for Peace". At one time the arch was used as a local police station, and you can see the original police office during your visit. Visitors can also step onto terraces on both sides of the top of the arch, which give views of the surrounding area. You can visit this spectacular landmark and admire the glorious panoramas over London from its balconies. There is a lift as well as the STEEP spiral staircase - all leading to the top balconies. It is a strategic point to watch the Household Cavalry on their way to the Changing of the Guard. They leave the barracks and march underneath the arch. From the balconies, you can see right into the Buckingham Palace gardens ! Allow 30-45 minutes to visit this site:

    The Duke of Wellington's former London home Apsley House is just across the road North to Wellington Arch). It stands alone at Hyde Park Corner, on the south-east corner of Hyde Park, facing south towards the busy traffic roundabout in the centre of which stands the Wellington Arch. its official address remains 149 Piccadilly, W1J 7NT. Where Wellington Arch tells the story of the Battle of Waterloo - Apsley House tells Wellington's story. It is sometimes referred to as the Wellington Museum. It is a museum and art gallery, exhibiting the Wellington Collection, a large collection of paintings, other artworks and memorabilia of the career of the 1st Duke. The practice has been to maintain the rooms as far as possible in the original style and decor. The 9th Duke of Wellington retains the use of part of the buildings but most of it is maintained by the English Heritage (FREE to holders of English Heritage Pass). It is perhaps the only preserved example of an English aristocratic town house from its period. A joint ticket for both locations costs about £10.00 for non-members of English Heritage. Opening hours: Winter (OCT-MAR): SAT-SUN 10.00-16.00. Closed: Christmas Eve 24 Dec, Christmas Day 25 Dec, Boxing Day 26 Dec, New Year’s Eve
    31 Dec, New Year's Day 1 Jan. Prices: Adult £9.30, Child (5-15 years) £5.60, Concessions £8.40, Family (2 adults, 3 children) £24.20. NO PHOTOS INSIDE !

    Nice decor inside, impressive pictures, elegant stately home, interesting history. Note, especially, the huge statue of Napoleon and the oldest surviving grand piano in the UK:

    The house was originally built in red brick by Robert Adam between 1771 and 1778 for Lord Apsley, the Lord Chancellor, who gave the house its name. Some Adam interiors survive: the semi-circular Staircase, the Drawing Room with its apsidal end, and the Portico Room, behind the giant Corinthian portico added by Wellington. The house was given the popular nickname of "Number One, London", since it was the first house passed by visitors who travelled from the countryside after the toll gates at Knightsbridge. In 1807 the house was purchased by Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, the elder brother of Sir Arthur Wellesley, but in 1817 financial difficulties forced him to sell it to his famous brother, by then the Duke of Wellington, who needed a London base from which to pursue his new career in politics. Wellington employed the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt to carry out renovations in his new property.

    A Musician by Caravaggio, c. 1615, The Wellington Collection:

    The Dissolute Household, Jan Steen (1625/1626–1679), The Wellington Collection:

     Waterloo gallery:

    The Drawing Room:

     We continue north-west heading to Hyde Park. We cross the Piccadilly (near the Hyde Park Corner Tube station), cross the S Carriage Drive road and enter Hyde Park near the Queen Elizabeth Gate. Not far from this gate we meet the statue of Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War, commemorates the soldier and politician, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852). It was installed by order of King George III and unveiled on 18 June 1822. The statue of Achilles was the first statue installed in Hyde Park and was commissioned by a patriotic, upper class society, known as Ladies of England. It was made by Sir Richard Westmacott cast from cannon taken in the victories of Salamanca, Vittoria, Toulouse and Waterloo. The statue head is based on the Duke himself. The statue was originally completely nude and caused outrage so a small fig leaf had to be added soon after it was installed...:

    We take the Serpentine Road (2nd to the left), heading westward into Hyde Park. On our way to the lake we see, on our right, the Cavalry Memorial, a bronze sculpture, which represents St George on horseback stepping over a defeated dragon, with a frieze of galloping horsemen around the base. The memorial commemorates members of the Cavalry Regiments killed during World War I. The Cavalry Memorial also contains a bronze plaque which lists the cavalry of the Empire. The text has been updated to include later conflicts. Designed by Adrian Jones, the sculpture contains bronze which came from guns captured during WW1. The base was designed by Sir John Burnet. Originally installed in 1924 at Stanhope Gate, the Cavalry Memorial was moved to its present site near the bandstand in 1961, following the widening of Park Lane:

    When we arrive to the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen and to the Serpentine lake

    we turn LEFT and walk along an asphalted path (the lake is on our right). We cross a sand track for horses and head SOUTHWARD to Knightsbridge Tube Station. We cross the Knightsbridge Street - the tube station on our left and the Harvey Nichols store is on our right: 

    We continue in the same direction, southward onto Sloane Street. We shall walk the whole stretch from Knightsbridge to Sloane Square - approx. 1150 m. Sloane Street runs north to south, from Knightsbridge to Sloane Square, crossing Pont Street about halfway along. Sloane Street takes its name from Sir Hans Sloane, who purchased the surrounding area in 1712. Many of the properties in the street still belong to his descendants the Earls Cadogan, via their company Cadogan Estates. Sloane Street has long been a fashionable shopping street, especially the northern section closest to Knightsbridge, which is known informally as Upper Sloane Street. Many shops are concerned with top-notch fashion. In this sense, Sloane Street rivals Bond Street, which has been London's most exclusive shopping street for two centuries. The street has flagship stores for many of the world's most famous brands in fashion: Dolce & Gabanna, Dior, Gucci etc'. An amazing road:

    When we cross Harriet Street on our left - we see the Millennium Hotel on our right. Further south - we pass Hans Cres. on our right (which leads to the famous Harrods mega-store). Note: all these name with Sloane and Hans are named after Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753), whose estates owned the land at the time:

    Further southward, we pass Hans Street. We pass through the Prada store:

    We pass the Cadogan Place road and Jumeirah Carlton Tower 5-star hotel (with a wonderful park) on our left and Peru and Denmark embassies on our right.

    We cross  Pont Street on our right. We cross Cadogan Place and Cadogan Gardens on our right, further south - Sloane Terrace on our left. At last we arrive to Sloane Square with its nice fountain. The Venus Fountain in the centre of the square was constructed in 1953, designed by sculptor Gilbert Ledward. On the basin section of the fountain is a relief which depicts King Charles II and Nell Gwynn (one of the first English actresses and a mistress of King Charles II of England) by the Thames:

    On the northern side of the square is the Sloane Square Hotel. Two other notable buildings in this square are: Peter Jones department store

    and the Royal Court Theatre first opened in 1888. 

    Sloane Square Underground station (District and Circle lines) is at the south eastern corner of the square. We cross the square from north to south and continue south along the Lower Sloane Road that changes its name to Chelsea Bridge Road. It is, approx., 1 km. walk until we'll arrive to the River Thames. After walking 250-300 m.south from Sloane Square - you (hardly) can see the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's HQ, King's Rd, Chelsea on your right. Crossing the Chelsea Hospital Road we see the Home of Chelsea Pensioners on our right and the grandiose residence project "Chelsea Barracks" on our left:

    See Tipter blog http://tipter.com/trips/chelsea - for more descriptions on Chelsea area. The museum (inside the Pensioners' village) is open Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) from 10.00 to 16.00. Entry is free for groups under ten and is also included as part of the guided tour. Tour prices: 10 to 15 people  £180, 16 to 30 people £330, 31 to 50 people £530.
    Groups must be a minimum of 10 people. Tours must be booked a minimum of 4 weeks in advance. Tours take place as follows: Starting at 10.00 – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Starting at 13.:30 – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. Payment must only be made once you have received an invoice from the Royal Hospital. You CAN visit the Royal Hospital Chelsea independently. You can drop in and visit the grounds, as well as access the Chapel, Great Hall, and Museum during normal opening hours (10.00 - 16.30). The Great Hall is closed between 12.00 and 14.00 for the Chelsea Pensioners’ lunch. Arriving to the Thames River we CROSS IT by walking along Chelsea Bridge from north to south. It connects Chelsea on the north bank to Battersea on the south bank. It was built in the 1840s as a suspension bridge intended to provide convenient access from the densely populated north bank to the new Battersea park. Although built and operated by the government, tolls were charged initially in an effort to recoup the cost of the bridge. The bridge was opened in 1858 and the tolls were abolished in 1879. In 1926 it was proposed that the old bridge be rebuilt or replaced, due to the increased volume of users from population growth, and the introduction of the automobile. It was demolished during 1934–1937, and replaced by the current structure, which opened in 1937.  In 2004 a smaller bridge, Battersea Footbridge, was opened beneath the southern span, carrying the Thames Path beneath the main bridge. Chelsea Bridge is floodlit from below during the hours of darkness.

    After crossing the river over the bridge - we descend the stairs to the river level and turn LEFT (EAST) on the southern bank of the Thames River. After walking 300 m. eastward along the river we see the Barkeley Battersea project and the old Battersea Power Station premises and chimneys. Note: in a gloomy day - it might be quite windy and/or freezing in this open district. Quite neglected and very few people around. Make sure you are not blocked and there is an access towards the east along the river. Otherwise, see the instructions below. In a bright day and with the constructions' obstacles around - it should be a nice and pleasant walk along the Thames with some of the most sophisticated, new and calm projects in southern London:

    If you are blocked by the construction works and walls - return to the Chelsea Bridge and walk EASTWARD along Grosvenor Road (as we did...):

    The view to the south of the former Battersea Power Station and the new residence projects from Grosvenor Road and the northern bank of the Thames is magnificent (in a bright day):

    If we walk along Grosvenor Road - we cross Lupus Street on our left. The avenue is dotted with many nice chestnut trees:

    At Grosvenor Road #111 stands the King William IV hotel and pub. An english and Thai pub with good food. One of the best in Pimlico district of London. 

    a bit further east - we see, through the southern bank of the Thames, the Nine Elms towers of a mixed-use skyscraper scheme:

    Still along Grosvenor Road, the river is hidden from our eyes for a few hundreds metres. On our left is the huge red-bricked Dolphin Square building and, following it, the Pimlico Gardens. Dolphin Square is a block of 1250 private flats and business complex built in Pimlico, between 1935 and 1937. At one time, the huge development was home to more than 70 MPs, and at least 10 Lords and where Oswald Mosley, Harold Wilson, Christine Keeler, Charles de Gaulle, CP Snow, Donald Campbell, and Princess Anne once lived:

    If you can sneak into the private premises of thsi complex - you won't regret it. Well maintained and manicured grounds with the Dolphin sculpture:

    Pimlico Gardens is a small Thames-side park with river frontage along its whole length. It consists of Plane trees and statues. One of the most notable statues in the gardens commemorates "William Huskisson – Statesman, financier and member of parliament" by the artist John Gibson.
    The London Boating Base (Eagle Wharf) is immediately adjacent to the Pimlico Gardens grounds. Opening hours: 8.00 – dusk. Disabled access.

    The Huskisson statue:

    Helmsman, , a bronze statue by Andre Wallace of 1996, in Pimlico Gardens:

    The Thames River from Pimlico Gardens:

    The Nine Elms project and tower(s) from Pimlico Ggardens:

    We had our lunch at The Grosvenor Pub, 79 Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico - good (see Tip below). Walking further east along Grosvenor Road will bring us to Vauxhall Bridge. The bridge connects Vauxhall on the south bank and Pimlico on the north bank of the Thames. Built between 1809 and 1816 as part of a scheme for redeveloping the south bank of the Thames. Opened in 1906, it replaced an earlier bridge, originally known as Regent Bridge but later renamed Vauxhall Bridge. The design and appearance of the current bridge has remained almost unchanged since 1907. The bridge today is an important part of London's road system and carries the A202 road across the Thames:

    Gorgeous view of Nine Elms project from Vauxhall Bridge:

    We continue walking eastward.We cross the Vauxhall Bridge Road and start walking from west to east (no crossing of the bridge !) along the Millbank. The distance between Vauxhall Bridge to Lambeth Bridge is, approx. 1 km and our direction of walk changes to: SOUTH TO NORTH. Millbank is east of Pimlico and south of Westminster. Millbank is known as the location of major government offices and the main landmarks are: Riverside Walk Gardens, Millbank Tower and prominent art institutions such as Tate Britain and the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Millbank takes its name from Westminster Abbey's mill. The mill was replaced by Millbank Prison, from which convicts were deported to Australia. The Prison was replaced by the Tate Gallery in 1902. In the beginning of the Millbank, on our right, is the fantastic Riverside Walk Gardens. This splendid, green area creates a calmer area adjacent to the busy Millbank Road and a more pleasant green route for those walking to Tate Britain or the river-bus pier. It is completely open at all times and from all sides, and is particularly well used by nearby office workers to eat their lunches or take a breath of fresh air. It consists of a series of curving tiered grass terraces and informal seating looking towards the adjacent river.

    the site includes a statue by Henry Moore entitled "Locking Piece":

    Lorenzo Quinn sculpture "Love":

    The view from Riverside Walk Gardens to the Nine Elms and Vauxhall Bridge is majestic:

    The Riverwalk Condominium Complex, adjacent to Riverside Walk gardens:

    Further east we see two other landmarks on our left. First, the old Tate Museum:

    and, a bit further, the Millbank Tower: a 118-metre high skyscraper. The tower was constructed in 1963, and has been home to many high-profile political organisations, including the Labour and Conservative parties, and the United Nations. Other floors in the tower are occupied by various organisations and commercial companies:

    The Albert Embankment on the opposite, southern bank of the Thames:

    As we approach Lambeth Bridge the green area on our right is Victoria Tower Gardens South. Victoria Tower Gardens is a public park along the north bank of the River Thamesand, as its name suggests, it is adjacent , in its northern part, to the Victoria Tower, the south-western corner of the Palace of Westminster. The park, which extends southwards from the Palace of Westminster to Lambeth Bridge, sandwiched between Millbank and the river, also forms part of the Thames Embankment. Victoria Tower Gardens were created in 1864–1870 by Joseph Bazalgette, following the embankment of the Thames. It is in a Conservation Area, and is, partly, within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Westminster.

    The Albert Embankment on the opposite, southern bank of the Thames from the Victoria Tower Gardens South:

    Lambeth Bridge is a road traffic and footbridge crossing the River Thames in an east-west direction. The next bridge (to the north) is Westminster Bridge. The most conspicuous colour in the bridge's paint scheme is red, the same colour as the dominant colour in the House of Lords, which is at the southern end of the Palace of Westminster nearest the bridge. This is in contrast to Westminster Bridge, which is predominantly green, the same colour as the dominant colour in the House of Commons at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament. On the east side of Lambeth Bridge  are Lambeth Palace, the Albert Embankment, St. Thomas' Hospital, and the International Maritime Organization. On the west side, in Westminster, are Thames House (the headquarters of MI5), behind which is Horseferry House (the National Probation Service headquarters), and Clelland House and Abell House (the headquarters of HM Prison Service), and (more to the south) the Millbank Tower and Tate Britain. The Palace of Westminster is a short walk downstream to the north through the Victoria Tower Gardens.

    Lambeth Bridge from Millbank, facing east towards Lambeth:

    The Albert Embankment on the opposite, southern bank of the Thames from Lambeth Bridge:

    Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on the opposite, southern bank of the Thames from Lambeth Bridge:

    We take the stairs down from Lambeth Bridge to Victoria Tower Gardens South. Skip to Tip 2 below.