Budapest is a sprawling city and several sites in Budapest Outside City Center are well worth a visit. North of the center of Buda are the fascinating ruins of Aquincum, a town founded by the Romans in about AD 100. To the west, the city has plenty of wooded hills. These offer walks around beautiful nature reserves and exciting cave visits. Out to the east of Pest is Kerepesi Cemetery, where a host of famous Hungarians have their final resting place. To the south of the city is the Nagytétény Palace, one of the most beautiful Baroque Palaces in Hungary. The new setting for Socialist-era statues, Memento Park, is not far from the palace. All the sights have convenient public transport connections.
Kóbánya Parish Church
An industrial suburb on the eastern side of Pest, Kóbánya is the unexpected home of the beautiful Kóbánya Parish Church (Kóbányai Plébániatemplom). Designed by Ödön Lechner in the 1890's, the church makes magnificent use of the architect's favorite materials. These include vibrant roof tiles developed and produced at the now-famous Zsolnay factory in the town of Pécs. Like much of Lechner's work, including the Museum of Applied Arts, the church combines motifs and colors from Hungarian folk art with Neo-Gothic elements. Inside the church, both the altar and the pulpit are superb examples of early 20th-century wood carving. Somehow surviving heavy World War II bombing, a number of Miksa Roth's original stained-glass windows are still in place.
Wekerle Estate Budapest Outside City Center
Out in district XIX, the Wekerle Estate (Wekerle Telep) was built between 1909 and 1926, and represents a bold and successful experiment in 20th-century social planning. Named after Prime Minster Sándor Wekerle, the estate was originally known as the Kispest Workers and Clerks Settlement and was built to offer better housing for local workers. Designed by a group of young architects, students of Ödön Lechner, the buildings have a uniquely Hungarian style. Other key influences were the English Arts and Crafts movements, and early English new towns such as Hampstead Garden in London. Fanning out around Kós Károly tér, tree-lined streets separate 16 types of family houses and apartment blocks. Wooden gables and balconies, and sharply pitched, brightly tiles roofs, contribute to the estate's lively and eclectic atmosphere.
Geology Institute Budapest
This beautiful and unusual building, housing the Geology Institute (Földtani Intézet), dates from 1898-1899 and was designed by Ödön Lechner. Lechner's very personal Secession style, also known as the Hungarian National Style, is on show here including motifs drawn from Hungarian Renaissance architecture. On the picturesque elevations and the gables of the building pale yellow plaster walls form a striking contrast to the brick-work quoins and window frames. Here and there Zsolnay blue glazed ceramic ornaments adorn the walls and harmonize with the blue roof tiles. Three human figures bent under the weight of a large globe top the central pitched roof. Inside the Geology Institute is a small museum with rock and mineral exhibits. Lechner's Secession interiors have been carefully preserved in their original condition. The central hall is particularly grand. It's open for public when visiting the museum or on its own with the caretaker's permission.
Nagtetenyi Palace Museum
This is one of the best know Baroque palaces in Hungary. It was built in the mid-18th century, incorporating the remains of a 15th-century Gothic building. The work was started by György Száraz. His son-in-law, József Radnyánszky completed it, acquiring its last shape in 1766. Based on the typical Baroque layout, it includes a main block and side wings. The coping features the Száraz and Radnyánszky family crests. The palace suffered severe damage during World War II, but the original wall paintings and furnishings survived. In 1949, the palace was rebuilt and turned into an interior design museum. Now it's part of the Museum of Applied Arts. On display are fine pieces of Hungarian and European furniture from the 15th-18th centuries, early 19th-century paintings and more functional items, such as tiled stoves. Standing close to the palace is an 18th-century Baroque church, built on the remains of a medieval church. Original Gothic features incorporated in it include the window openings in the tower and three supports on the outer wall of the presbytery. In 1760, the Austrian artist Johann Gfall created the painting in the dome which features illusory galleries. The altar, pulpit and baptisteries also date back to the mid-18th century.
Spreading out in a vast sweep around Budapest is the Great Hungarian Plain, or Alföld, which covers nearly half of modern Hungary. For hundreds of years, Kecskemet (Kecskemét) has been the major market town of the central-southern plain. Distributing and processing the products of the surrounding rich farmland, Kecskemet grew affluent, particularly towards the end of the 19th century. As a result, the town today boasts many gracious squares and splendid 19th and early 20th century buildings.
Town Hall of Kecskemet
The most famous is Ödön Lechner's massive Town Hall of Kecskemet. Built between 1893-1896, the building is a combination of of both Renaissance and Middle-Eastern influences. The flamboyant Cifra Palace (Ornamental Palace), built as a casino in 1902, is a uniquely Hungarian variation of the Secession style.