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  • Citywalk
    Updated at Dec 23,2017

    Sant Pau Recinte Modernista Hospital, Guinardó, Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167. 10-20 minutes walk from the Sagrada Familia (if you are not tired or overflowing with emotions after the Basilica). This is an excellent sight to visit while in Barcelona and easily done in the same day as Sagrada Familia, which is visible from the southwest corner of the hospital, down Avenue Gaudi.

    Duration: allow 3 hours for the visit. Queuing up will take 30-45 minutes in the busy summer mornings. Not overcrowded. 

    Public transport: Metro: L5 (Blue Line) Sant Pau / Dos de Maig. Buses: H8, 19, 20, 45, 47, 50, 51, 92, 117, 192. Opening hours:  for for self-guided visit: November – March: MON - SAT: 09.30 - 16.30, SUN and holidays: 09.30 - 14.30. April – October: MON - SAT: 09.30 - 18.30, SUN and holidays: 09.30 - 14.30. Guided visits in English: MON - FRI: 10.30, SAT - SUN: 10.30, French: 11.00. Closing days: 1st and 6th January, 25th December. Prices: adult - Self-guided visit: 13 €, Guided visit: 19 €, Audio guide: 3 €. Guided tours start at the main Administration Pavilion and include visits to the network of underground tunnels connecting pavilions and to the gardens. Concessions: ages 12 to 29, over 65, Targeta Rosa Reduïda cardholders, people with a degree of disability: Self-guided visit: 9,10 €, Guided visit: 13,3 €. FREE admission: children under 12 (accompanied by an adult), unemployed, teachers, Targeta Rosa Gratuïta cardholders, people with a degree of disability and their companion. FREE entrance dates: 12th February, 23rd April, 24th September, first Sunday of the month (only self-guided visits). 20% off: BCN Card, Bus Turístic, City Tours, Carnet BCN Cultural. 50% off: Ruta del Modernisme / Barcelona Modernisme Route, Carnet Jove (only self-guided visit).

    Introduction: The largest display of Art Nouveau anywhere on earth. It is organized as a "village" or collective group of buildings - each carrying out specialist medical responsibility, discipline and activities. Art Nouveau (known in Barcelona as Modernista or Modernisme) is characterized by the revival of Gothic forms with modern materials and the addition of natural/organic shapes. The buildings themselves are very colorful and built to be light and airy reflecting positive energy on the treated patients and the personnel and lifting their spirits. It is so far from the rather bland interiors of regular, modern hospital facilities. Very impressive Modernista buildings designed by the genius Lluis Domenech i Montaner (who designed also the Palau de la Musica) with lots of Art Nouveau details in the tiles, the sculptured figures, along the exteriors, the detailed ceilings, archways,  flower-beds, grass spaces and trees. The gardens and brilliant decor were meant to be therapeutic for the hospital patients. You can take your picnic among the buildings. Only a handful of buildings are open for viewing the interior. There are interesting exhibits in a few of the buildings and tunnel areas. One exhibit shows old medical instruments. Another exhibit shows old photos of the area before it was developed. Exceptional, unique and amazing place. You will be blown away by the architecture. Like the Sagrada Familia - it leaves you breathless and astonished. In the SF the architecture goes hand-in-hand with the religion. Here, it goes hand-in-hand with the humanity and rehabilitation.

    As practical information it is worth to indicate that the visitor has toilets in more than one pavilion, and various drinking fountains and benches in the courtyard of the Art Nouveau Site of Sant Pau.

    History: The Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau came into being in 1401 with the merging of six hospitals in the city of Barcelona at that time. Santa Creu, the Hospital of the Holy Cross, as it was called in those days, was right in the centre of the city, in what is now the Raval district, in one of the most important examples of Catalan Civil Gothic architecture. By the late 19th century, the old Hospital de la Santa Creu in Barcelona's Raval neighbourhood needed to be relocated because it had become obsolete and too small. Thanks to the bequest of the Catalan banker Pau Gil, the first stone of the new hospital, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, was laid on 15 January 1902. The last part of the hospital's name, "Sant Pau", was added in honour of the banker, Pau Gil. The new hospital had been built between 1910 (another version: 1905) and 1930. 

    An excellent designer, a devoted political leader and a respected teacher among other activities he carried during his life, Lluis Domènech i Montaner (1850-1923) merged his values and convictions based on solid historical knowledge together all kinds of disciplines and a deep commitment with society during his career as an architect in his unique buildings.

    Sant Pau is a hospital complex opened in 1910. It was a hospital from 1910 to 2009. Alfonso XIII, the king of Spain, opened the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in January 1930. The compound housed the ‘garden city Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (one of Europe's oldest healthcare centres) for more than eight decades. This ambitious project was, always, inspired by breakthroughs in health and hygiene at the time. It is important to remember that this institution had always been associated with charitable work, advanced inspiration, welfare and the latest discoveries in healthcare. In 2003, a new hospital building was established to the north of the Domènech i Montaner's Modernista site. Almost all the pavilions and departments were moved out. It was closed in 2009 and over the last few year was restored to it's full glory. It was opened as a museum and cultural center in late 2014. This is also Unesco World Heritage site from 1997.

    The main building is dedicated to the hospital administration and the 27 pavilions are dedicated to the serve as clinics. All the different buildings are connected by underground galleries, prepared for transporting the patients.

    The main entrance to the complex is made by the Administration Pavilion. The main entrance building has the most decorative and ornate works so make sure you have your camera ready while queuing-up or, immediately after entrance. The interior of the main building is stunning - ornate ceilings with beautiful windows and tile work. Make sure you check out the view of the Sagrada Familia from the stained glass windows upstairs.

    The exterior of the building is adorned with statues depicting significant figures in the history of the hospital and Barcelona, including Isabel and Count Ramon Berenguer I, Saint Margaret, and Saint Eulàlia, patron saint of Barcelona.

    Upon entering, we find a small room with panels explaining each of the buildings that make up the whole hospital. To better understand the space, we can see a small model right next to the panels that shows all buildings, towers and gardens in great detail. Before starting the visit, also take the time to stand a few minutes and watch the short video that is projected on one of the room's walls. The video helps understand the importance of the hospital for both Barcelona and for universal medical evolution:

    Entrance Hall in Hospital de Sant Pau Administration Building:

    Hallway in Administration Building:

    Dome over the main staircase in the administration pavilion:

    Lluís Domènech i Montaner Room – located in the Administration Building, this impressive chamber is decorated with large stained glass windows, ceramic tiles, mosaics, sculptures, stone balusters in the shape of Gothic letters, and a painting by Moderniste artist Aleix Clapés depicting the transfer of the remains of Saint Eulàlia:

    Pau Gil Room – this room, also located in the Administration Building, features ornate columns and colorful ceramic-tiled vaulted ceilings:

    There are six buildings and underground tunnels that are open to the public are certainly worth a visit. Each pavilion bearing the name of a saint or holy, includes his sculpture guarding the main facade. Very close to the Administration Pavilion doors there is map like a small model of the site, where you can see how the pavilions on the left are named after female saints while those on the right are male.

    Sant Jordi Pavilion – this small pavilion adjacent to the Administration building, served as the hospital’s examination and observation ward; the tiled walls aided with disinfection efforts. The pavilion is now used for exhibitions. This is really worth exploring to understand each of the elements of ornamentation and the process of construction and rehabilitation during this period. Right at the end, we can also read a little more about the work and character of the architect to understand his great contribution to Catalan modernist heritage:

    The Sant Salvador Pavilion takes you on a journey through the history of medicine in Barcelona and one of Europe's oldest healthcare institutions.  With Sant Salvador Pavilion you start the recommended route around the outdoor spaces of this magnificent  Art Nouveau site, that reproduces the garden city model, designed in the early 20th century.

    You can also enter the Sant Rafael Pavilion and see its interior exactly as it was designed at the start of the 20th century.  Sant Rafael Pavilion, built between 1914 and 1918 and designed as a space for traumatology, it retains its original essence today as it has not been renovated or redesigned.  This originally had a row of beds for in-patients. Since this was funded by Rafael Rubel, there's an R denoted in the ceramic designs atop the windows. The walls of this room is fitted with ceramic tiles which is easy to clean, so hygiene is at a good standard. Its limited decor includes mosaics found on the walls and ceiling, as well as an original photograph of the building in its years of operation with more than forty beds inside:

    Facade of the Operations Pavilion, built 1902-12, behind a Gothic style cross:

    Surgery Pavilion of Hospital de Sant Pau:

    Pavilion of Sant Manuel:

    The Theatre Hall - Sala d'Actes. Its circular in shape and the observation deck for the interns was along the edge. It has no walls at all, just pillars & glass. So the whole place gets all the light from the nature!

    The Hypostyle Hall provides access to the tunnel system, this chamber features stout columns and ceramic-tiled vaulted ceilings:

    You can take the underground tunnels linking the various buildings and visit the most representative heritage spaces of the Administration Pavilion.

    Patients Pavilllion: In the pavilion, you see a lot of green mosaics and tiles being used. We were told that since the hospital was a Catholic hospital and green colour in the wards symbolises ‘green for hope’ in Catholic, it was used to bring hope to the patients:

    Other Pavilions: 

    After or during your visit, relaxing in the courtyard is beautiful and peaceful. It seems far removed from busy Barcelona. The gardens behind the Hospital are beautiful and a nice place to sit on a sunny afternoon.

    During SEP 2016 a temporary exhibition of INTERNATIONAL CERAMICS took place in Sant Rafael Pavilion:




    Sant Pau at Night:

  • Citywalk | United Kingdom
    Updated at Aug 26,2016

    Oxford Centre - Part 1- circular route around Carfax Square.

    Main Attractions: Carfax Square, Carfax Tower, Town Hall, Blue Boar Street, Christ Church College, Christ Church Meadow, War Memorial Gardens, Broad Walk, Poplar Walk, Thames river bank, Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, Martyrs' Memorial, Macdonald Randolph Hotel.

    Duration: 1/2 day. The other half of the day can be devoted to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford Centre. This 1/2 day route ends, exactly, in the Ashmolean Museum gates (see our blog "Oxford - Day 1 - The Ashmolean Museum".

    Start and Finish: Carfax Square. Weather: This route is suitable for any type of weather. Distance: 3-4 km.

    Accommodation: I stayed in a private apartment (through AirBnb) in the north of Oxford - a few metres from the Oxford Canal. Walking along the canal is beautiful and peaceful. The place is surrounded by the green and the enchanting song of the birds. Not too many people, but just enough to make you feel safe, plus lovely boats anchored alongside and a view of nature. The lovely river is framed by the very old houses and some boats which bring an atmosphere of simplicity and joy. It took 10-15 minutes walking to the town centre. To catch the bus to the Blenheim Palace Blenheim Castle) - it is a 5 minutes walk to the Woodstock Road - where you catch the S3 bus line, direct to the palace gates. It's just wonderful to be walking outside along the canal and countryside. The paths along the canal (you can walk only along one side of the canal) are asphalted or are tramac ones. No mud and no problem to carry your trolley as well with you...)

    Introduction: Oxford was a center for learning as early as the 12th century. Today, its namesake university is a centralized collective of 38 self-governing and financially independent colleges.

    We start at the Carfax Square. It is the ancient heart of the City, where the four roads from the north, south, east and west gates met: St Aldate's (south), Cornmarket Street (north), Queen Street (west) and the High Street (east). It is considered to be the centre of the city. The name "Carfax" derives from the French "carrefour", or "crossroads".

    Carfax Square (south-west corner) - St. Aldate's x Queen Streets:

    Carfax Square (south-west corner) - Cornmarket x Queen Streets:

    Carfax Square (east corner)- High Street:

    Dominating the Carfax square scene is Carfax Tower. Carfax Tower is located at the north-west corner of Carfax. It is all that remains of the 12th-century St. Martin's Church. It is now owned by the Oxford City Council. It was the official City Church of Oxford. In  1896 the main part of the church was demolished to make more room for road traffic.  You will notice the impressive clock and quarterboys (the 16th century originals are in the Museum of Oxford, adjacent to the Town Hall on St Aldate’s). The tower still has a ring of six bells. There is also a clock that chimes the quarter hours:

    You can climb to the top of the tower for a view of the Oxford skyline. The tower is open:  Daily. APR - OCT 10.00 - 17.30 (16.30 in October). NOV-MAR 10.00 - 15.00 (16.00 in March). Adults, Seniors, Students: £2.20,  Children £1.10. You only need a few minutes at the top of the tower, but the view is worth the climb. Keep in mind that the climb is restricted to very few visitors. There is no much place on top of the tower and it takes several minutes to stay there. There are, approx., 100 narrow, tight winding stairs to climb up. You have to be patient and polite and allow people to pass you either going up or coming down. Worthwhile. Alternatively, climb the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, to get a panoramic view of Oxford roofs (see our "Oxford - Day 2" blog).

    Cross the road at the lights to the Cashmere Wool Shop at the top of St Aldate’s (nothing interesting to see there) and proceed down to St Aldate’s Town Hall (on your left) (there are accessible toilets in the Town Hall). It is a centre of local government in the city and also houses the municipal Museum of Oxford. Oxford's Town Hall or Guildhall was built on this site in 1292. It was replaced by the first Town Hall in 1752. The  building was demolished in 1893 and the current building was completed in 1897. The new building originally housed the public library and police station as well as the city council. During the First World War, the building was converted into an hospital. From 1916, it specialized in treating soldiers suffering from malaria. In 1936 Oxford City Police moved to a new police station further down St Aldate's. The central public library is now in the Westgate Centre in Queen Street. Not much to see inside, but it is worth to take some 10-15 minutes there...:

    Its door is surmounted by the City’s coat of arms. ; enter by the level entrance at the top of St Aldate's). If time allows the Town Hall is mostly accessible and there is a computer terminal in reception where you can take a look at virtual tours of the views from the top of Carfax Tower, parts of the Town Hall and the Museum of Oxford:

    The Assembly Rooms, Oxford Town Hall with its ornate stone fireplace decorated with William Morris tiles and oak-paneled walls. This room, the Main Hall and a number of other areas in the Town Hall became hospital wards which contained a total of 205 beds. In the Town Hall today, there is a certificate recording the appreciation of the Army Council for the use of the building as a military hospital 1914-19:

    I recommend of visiting the small gallery inside the town hall ground floor (free entrance) with exhibits of local Oxford artists like Yvone Mebs Francis:

    Immediately, beyond the Town Hall, on your left (along St. Aldate stree) - turn left to the Blue Boar Street. In the corner is the Museum of Oxford. Open: MON-SAT 10.00 - 17.00, SUN 11.00 - 15.00. It tells the history of Oxford, and show the results of recent excavations (Oxford was a walled town...). Very small. Two rooms only. Free:

    Continue along the Blue Boar Street until it meets the Alfred Street. It is one of the oldest pubs in Oxford, England, dating back to 1242. Do not miss the Bear Inn with its fascinating collection of ancient ties. There are over 4,500 snippets of club ties placed in glass showcases that cover the walls and the ceiling. The collection started in 1952 by the landlord, Alan Course, who has worked as cartoonist at the Oxford Mail. Tie ends were clipped with a pair of scissors in exchange for half a pint of beer. The ties mostly indicate membership of clubs, sports teams, schools and colleges, etc'. THe pub is closed in the mornings and the place is humming with conversation (more of the upper class...) from the early evenings:

    Return to St. Aldate Street and continue down to the main entrance of Christ Church College. Impressive but expensive and busy. The space for tourists to walk around is very limited. Open: MON-SAT: 10.00 - 17.00, SUN: 14.00 - 17.00. Last entry: 16.15. The Hall is frequently closed between 12.00 and 14.00 (students (in term) or resident guests (in vacation periods) have lunch). Last entry into the Hall or Cathedral will be 15-30 minutes prior to the closure time detailed above. Note: July and August (particularly ,weekends) are very busy. Expect queuing up for entry into Christ Church. Tickets sold either in the online shop or in the Oxford Visitor Information Centre. Prices (standard Rates, (Hall and Cathedral Open): 1 April - 30 June: adult - £8, concessions - £7. 1 July - 31 August: adult - £9, concessions - £8. 1 September - 31 December: June: adult - £7, concessions - £6. The self-guided tour takes you through the Cathedral and through the Dining Hall. Many other parts are closed to most of the visitors. No need for maps. You easily flow with herds of visitors along well-signed route along two floors of the main complex building. The entrance is quite expensive, but, nevertheless, both the Grand Dining Hall (the inspiration for Hogwarts) and the Cathedral are sights to behold. Staff was always polite, friendly and efficient.

    Christ Church is Oxford’s grandest and largest historic college. It's easily the most visited college in Oxford. It is formally, called 'Christ Church' only, or informally, ‘The House’. No other college has produced more British prime ministers than Christ College. 13 PMs had emerged from this college ! It is considered to be the most aristocratic college of the University of Oxford in England. It is the second wealthiest Oxford college by financial means. The college got, recently, worldwide reputation for being the main site for filming of the movies of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. With fans of the teenage wizard flocking to see film locations, visitor numbers at the CCC Cathedral have risen to 350,000 a year. The Christ Church's high-ceiling Dining Hall was a model for the one scene throughout the films (with the weightless candles and flaming braziers)...but the actual filming happened on a set at the Leavesden studios. The city of Christchurch in New Zealand is named after Christ Church College in Oxford. Lewis Carroll, author of the Alice in Wonderland books. He wrote "Alice" for Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church. His real name was Charles Dodgson, and he, was also a student and then a lecturer at Christ College. Although he is most famous as a novelist, he was also an exceptional mathematician. Dodgson was a student in Mathematics at Christ Church for 48 years. The New Library of Christ Church houses the best collection of Lewis Carroll's work anywhere in the world.

    The Meadow Building (main building entrance):

    No entry from Tom Gate:

    Main entrance:

    Christ Church College Meadows - opposite the main entrance:

    The famous ‘Tom Tower’, over the entrance to the college, was designed by the architect and ex-student of the college, Sir Christopher Wren in 1681. Wren completed the structure, dubbed Tom Tower, in 1682. It is now one of the most famous of Oxford's "dreaming spires". The 7 ton bell in the tower is known as ‘Great Tom’, and it chimes 101 times every evening at 21.05, once for each of the original 101 students of Christ Church. This is nine o’clock Oxford time, the City being five minutes west of Greenwich. People in wheelchairs are permitted to enter the college here, passing under Tom Tower:

    Take a turn around Tom Quad, the largest quadrangle in Oxford, at the centre of which is a pond, originally created partly as a reservoir for the college. The present statue of Mercury replaces an earlier one, damaged in 1817. The inner court is, most of the time, closed. Please DO NOT interrupt the silence of the students and other dwellers:

    Inside a inner courtyard of Christ Church:

    It is the only college in the world which is also a cathedral. The Cathedral can be entered by a ramp built with the entrance lobby. It is the smallest cathedral in England and contains the Shrine of St Frideswide. The Cathedral was built in the 12th and 13th centuries, before the college was founded, and has Romanesque and Gothic architecture. This shrine was built in 1289, and it houses the relics of the 8th century nun, Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. The college was founded in 1525 by the powerful Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and was originally called ‘Cardinal College’. Wolsey was himself a former member of Magdalen College. He became Master of Magdalen in 1500, but that was merely a brief stopover on his meteoric rise to power as chief advisor and chaplain to Henry VIII. In 1525 Wolsey, also founder of Hampton Court Palace near London, acquired the Augustinian priory on the site of St. Frideswide's abbey. Wolsey had the site cleared, and began construction of a grandiose complex of buildings around a green quadrangle (now known as Tom Quad - see below). However, Wolsey lost favor with King Henry VIII, because he refused to support the King’s plan to marry his second wife, Anne Boleyn. By the time of Wolsey's death in 1529 the college was still incomplete - not surprising considering the scope of Wolsey's project. King Henry VIII re-founded the college in 1532 as ‘King Henry VIII’s College’ and then renamed it ‘Christ Church’ in 1546. This was after he had separated from the Church of Rome and created the Church of England. The royal connection with Christ Church continued during the English Civil War (1642-1646). King Charles chose Christ Church as his residence (his army kept their cattle in the Great Quad and kept hay for the cattle in the Cathedral), while his wife, Henrietta Maria, with her court or household lived in the nearby Merton College. Charles I court sat in the Deanery, and the royalist "Parliament" convened in the Great Hall. The king attended service in the church daily, sitting in the Vice-Chancellor's stall:

    Nave of Christ Church Cathedral looking to the altar:

    Choir and organ of Christ Church Cathedral. The organ is a 43-rank, four-manual and pedal instrument built in 1979 by Austrian firm Rieger Orgelbau:

    Stained-glass windows inside the Cathedral. The St. Frideswide Window - St. Frideswide Shrine (the most ancient chapel in the Cathedral):

    A large rose window of the ten-part:

    The Nowers Monument - statue of giant knight, 2m. height from the 14th century:

    The finest surviving section of Christ Church original foundation is The Hall (the Dining Hall). It is this Renaissance splendor of the Grand Hall that attracted the makers of the Harry Potter films to build a replica of the Hall in their London studios. Actual scenes from the movies were filmed here, and on the grand stairs leading to the Hall. The dining halls at the University of Chicago and Cornell University are both reproductions of the splendid dining hall at Christ Church. It shows the Renaissance magnificence of the original Cardinal College, and suggests the scale it might have reached had it not been for Wolsey’s fall. Until the 1870s this was the largest Hall in Oxford, but then the newly-founded Keble College ensured that their hall was slightly larger (legend has it by only a single metre). Built in the mid-1500s, the hall itself was not used during Harry Potter filming.

    Stairs leading to the 2nd floor, to the famous Dining Hall (on which Professor McGonagall welcomes the first-year students in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone):

    Be sure to admire the ceiling of the Dining Hall, a wonderful example of sixteenth-century built by Humphrey Coke, Henry VIII’s chief carpenter. The walls are adorned with a number of portraits, each celebrating famous members of the college from Queen Elizabeth to W. H. Auden. At the far end, the founder of Christ Church, Henry VIII, is portrayed above a bust of the current queen, Elizabeth II. The table at the far end of the Hall is known as High Table and it is here that senior members of the college dine. Academic fellows or Deans of the college are known as Students, always with a capital S to distinguish them from undergraduate students:

    On your immediate right upon entering the Hall, is a portrait of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll - famed author of Alice in Wonderland - see above). It was painted by Hubert von Herkomer, based on photographs. Upon exiting the Dining Hall, keep your eyes on this portrait - he'll surely be keeping his eyes on you:

    Look for the large stained glass window, featuring characters from Alice above the fireplace as well as brass characters in the fireplace itself.

    The Christ Church Picture Gallery contains a modest collection of Renaissance art, the most notable of which features the bibilical Judith holding the severed head of Holofernes. For visitors who wish to see the entire college, the entrance is at Meadow Gate. If you start from there, the Picture Gallery is located in the last quadrangle, known as Canterbury Quad, designed by the British architect James Wyatt (1746 - 1813). To visit the Picture Gallery without visiting the rest of the college, enter through Canterbury Gate off Oriel Square (from King Edward Street), only a couple of minutes walk from the High Street. The staff member(s) at the gate will direct you to the Picture Gallery. Open: JUL-SEP, daily, MON - SAT: 10.30 - 17.00, SUN: 14.00 - 17.00. OCT - MAY,  closed Tuesdays, MON, WED - SAT: 10.30 - 13.00, 14.00 - 16.30, SUN: 14.00 - 16.30, JUN, closed Tuesdays, MON, WED - SAT: 10.30 - 17.00, SUN: 14.00 - 17.00. Prices: Adults - £4.00 Concessions - £2.00. The Picture Gallery is independent of the admission charge to the rest of the Christ Church College. Visitors who have bought a ticket to visit Christ Church are entitled to a 50% reduction of the Gallery ticket. Every Monday at 14.30 visitors can join a tour through the Gallery with tour guides. The Picture Gallery is especially strong on Italian art from the 14th to 18th centuries. The collection includes paintings by Annibale Carracci (The Butcher's Shop), Duccio, Fra Angelico, Hugo van der Goes, Giovanni di Paolo, Filippino Lippi (The Wounded Centaur), Sano di Pietro, Frans Hals, Salvator Rosa, Tintoretto, Anthony van Dyck and Paolo Veronese, and drawings by Leonardo de's Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Albrecht Dürer and Peter Paul Rubens and a great range of other artists, especially Italians:

    Filippino Lippi's - The Wounded Centaur:

    The Butcher's Shop by Annibale Carracci, c. 1580-1590:

    Leonardo da Vinci - Grotesque Head:

    Generally spoken, I think the Christ Church College is a VERY beautiful site and immaculately kept. Lovely British History and a wonderful sense of going back in time and seeing how it was once used in the past. Excellent experience with much to see and enjoy plus many photo opportunities.

    If you have time a visit to the grounds is pleasant and is possible to as far as the river on accessible paths. The landscaped areas, actually, The Meadow (at the south of the Central Building), the War Memorial garden (at the west of the Central Building) - are an experience in its own. The exceptional conservation area (Grade 1 registration) extends to the east bank of the Cherwell river. The only disabled access is from St Aldate's, through the war memorial garden. Christ Church Meadow is a rare open space at the heart of Oxford, open to the public all year round. Though seemingly tranquil, the meadow is highly used as a site for sport, entertainment and recreation. During the Civil War it proved invaluable as a defense against the Parliamentarian forces. It was the location for some of the earliest balloon flights in England: in 1784 James Sadler, ‘the first English aeronaut’ rose from Christ Church meadow, landing six miles away after a half-hour flight. In May 1785 Sadler again ascended from the meadow, this time with the statesman William Windham as a passenger. The meadow is enclosed by the rivers Cherwell and Thames. The Thames is known as the Isis whilst flowing through the city. The Isis is home to the college boathouses where rowing teams gather to train and compete. Every summer the major intercollegiate regatta takes place (better known as Summer VIIIs) as it has done since the competition’s inauguration in 1815. Crews from across the university descend annually on the Cherwell to compete in a four-day competition. Fittingly, Christ Church has been the most successful men’s crew, with 32 victories:

    The War Memorial Gardens, in memory of members of Christ Church, Oxford, is located east off St Aldate's at the western end of Broad Walk, which leads along the northern edge of Christ Church Meadows.

    We leave the CCC and continue walking along the tarmac, the Broad Walk path, which separates the Christ Church College from The Meadow. Broad Walk is wide walkway running east-west on the north side of Christ Church Meadow and south of Merton Field. The walkway starts at St Aldate's Street though the Christ Church War Memorial Garden at the western end of the College premises. The River Cherwell is to the east at the southern end of the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens (see below):

    You'll pass, on your left - the entrance way to Merton College. The tower of Merton College Chapel dominates the view north from Broad Walk across Merton Field, beyond Dead Man's Walk and the old city wall which run parallel to Broad Walk, connected via Merton Walk. Along the Broad Walk - there are fantastic views of Christ Church and the Cathedral. You can follow the Broad Walk over toward Merton College and head up the Merton Walk up to Merton Street, or remain on the Broad Walk all the way to the Oxford Botanic Gardens (if the route is not blocked):

    Your way to the east might be blocked (due to reconstruction works). So, we return to the Christ Church College main entrance and start walking southward along a tarmac path which leads from the CCC southern gate to the Thames river. Opposite to the main entrance, the tree-lined Poplar Walk, (or New Walk) laid out in 1872 by Henry Liddell, Dean of Christ Church, leads down (south) to the River Thames. It is a very pleasant walk until we reach the Thames river:

    The Poplar Walk is, approx. 5-10 minutes walk from the north to the south. The large path meets the Thames river near Folly Bridge to the south. At this point, the river is known as "The Isis" and is the location of the end of rowing races for Oxford University events such as Eights Week in the summer and Torpids in the spring. Now, there are boathouses a little further down (more to the west) the Thames river meets with the River Cherwell.

    The Poplar (New) Walk ends in the Thames river:

    With our back to the Poplar Walk and our face to the Thames River (south) - we turn RIGHT (west) and walk along a (muddy) path (Christ Church Meadow Walk), on the Thames river bank, leading, back east to St. Aldate Street. After 5 minutes walk west along the Thames  - we arrive to the Salters' family basin and boats' letting business and the 'Head of the River' pub and cafe':

    From 'The Head of the River' pub - return to St. Aldate's Street and turn RIGHT, heading along the St. Aldate's back to the Carfax Square. You'll pass, on your right, the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments. Open: MON - FRI afternoons from 14.00 - 17.00 throughout the year. Closed: SAT-SUN and during the dates 19-31 AUG 2016. One of the largest collections of musical instruments in the world. The Bate has over 1000 instruments (mainly for Western classical music), on display, from the Renaissance, through the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and up to modern times. The collection is named after Philip Bate, who gave his collection of musical instruments to the University of Oxford in 1968 for teaching and academic uses only:

    We continue walking northward, crossing the Carfax and continuing along the Cornmarket Street which starts as a pedestrians-only road. On our left the Mcdonald's restaurant. We cross the Broad Street (on our right) and George Street (on our left) and Cornmarket street continues as Magdalen Street with Hotel Randolph on our left. The Martyrs' Memorial, on our right, is a stone monument positioned at the intersection of St Giles', Magdalen Street and Beaumont Street, just outside Balliol College. It commemorates the 16th-century Oxford Martyrs - three Anglican bishops who were burned at the stake under Queen Mary in the 1550s: Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, and Hugh Latimer. The actual site of the execution is close by in Broad Street, just outside the line of the old city walls. The site is marked by a cross sunk in the road. Designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, the monument was completed in 1843. The inscription on the base of the Martyrs' Memorial reads: "To the Glory of God, and in grateful commemoration of His servants, Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, Prelates of the Church of England, who near this spot yielded their bodies to be burned, bearing witness to the sacred truths which they had affirmed and maintained against the errors of the Church of Rome, and rejoicing that to them it was given not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for His sake; this monument was erected by public subscription in the year of our Lord God, MDCCCXLI".

    Behind the Memorial Monument is the Balliol College. Opposite, on our left is the Ashmolean Museum:

    We turn left to Beaumont Street. We can visit the leading 5-star hotel in Oxford: the Macdonald Randolph Hotel. Hotel is full of old English charm.  It is a landmark building with elegance and charm. The hotel has played host to prime ministers and presidents, and its renowned Morse Bar (just inside the front door) is instantly recognizable as the watering hole of the famous detective, Inspector Morse:

    Now, turn to the next route for the rest of day (at least 3-4 hours) - the "Oxford - Day 1 - The Ashmolean Museum" blog.

  • Citywalk | Hungary
    Updated at Apr 7,2015


    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:

    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).


    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: