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A fresco depicting Saint Thomas Aquinas was unveiled in Florence

A fresco depicting Saint Thomas Aquinas was unveiled in Florence

Wichmann’s former pub and Marble Bride restaurant in Buda are two places of worship that are not only physically but spiritually also an integral part of the capital.

Almost forever bid farewell to two places of worship in Budapest, the former Wichmann pub on Kazinczy Street and the Marble Bride restaurant in the first district; A hotel was to be built on the previous site, for which the Metropolitan Government Office had issued a demolition permit. But the situation changed a week ago: The Prime Minister launched measures to protect antiquities in the case of homes, so they were saved for the time being. Three defenders of the city asked us about the buildings about the situation: Mihaly Raday and Andras Surani, the hereditary honorary president and current president of the Budapest City Protection Association, and art historian Andras Evan Bogar. Experts argue that the two-house runaway case has shown the general public: Budapest has something to lose, can lose itself if it no longer has a memorial office, and a government office instead decides which building to do.

Architecture versus cultural history
A seventh. The building in the 19th and 19th centuries was already standing during the Revolution and War of Independence in 1848-1849. In the 19th century, Joseph Schneider created the original 36-sheet Hungarian card here, the Dairy Hall, the Public House, the clothing store of Murrick Rothhauser and the Hungarian Theosophical Society (the organization’s mark can still be seen on the wrought iron gate decoration of the building), it was Tamas Wishman, 9-time world kayak champion, ran a bar here from 1987 to 2018. The Marble Bride is also a historical place: it was founded in 1795, and Ede Szigligeti wrote her comedy published in 1849, Liliomfit, with his wife István Széchenyi, Countess Seilern Crescence, and Miklós Wesselényi had a wedding here with Anna Lux. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, famous authors from the West visited the garden restaurant, such as Zsigmond Móricz, Dezső Kosztolányi and Endre Ady, as well as Mayor István Bárczy and Frigyes Podmaniczky. And while it’s not a widely known fact, Marble Bride is also home to the nearby Rákóczi Grammar School, whose students meet here on the first weekend of September every year. According to city defender Mihaly Raday – who was a student of Racuch by the way – this building should be a sacred place in the country. The expert says: “The former Wichmann pub and Bride of Marble are two buildings not important from an architectural point of view, but from a cultural-historical point of view.” According to Mihaly Raday, in the case of a building, profit-taking dominates more when demolitions occur, as the monument office no longer exists and there is no system in place to ensure protection. According to a city councilor, children should be taught in elementary school to appreciate their heritage. That’s why the Association of Towns and Villages Defenders (Hungaria Nostra) organizes annual summer camps in the city, where young people work their hands to help keep buildings in disrepair while learning about their history. Building maintenance is also an important aspect, but mayors tend to forget it. “In any case, the legislation on antiquities protection includes the need to provide financial support to protect buildings, but that is the point, they lack the resources,” says Rady, who said that a similar situation could not arise in other European capitals. Who would have imagined that the U Fleků brewery or one of the oldest cafes in Paris, Café de Flore, would someday close in Prague?

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Roots go back
András Surányi, a defender of the city, recalls, “I have been a resident of Terézváros for thirty years, so it is no longer normal for me to be a frequent guest at Wichmann.” The area pub atmosphere was incomparable with its old furnishings, friendly prices, flexible closing hours, and two huge dogs the owner had been watching and informing Weichmann if anyone had a problem. “In this case, it is not just the two buildings, but the historic buildings of Budapest in general,” says the current president of the Budapest City Defense Association. According to Sorani, Wichmann and Bride of Marble showed that the townspeople are not ready to give up the location of genius, that is, the spirit of the place, the organically developed image of the city and the region, and the residents no longer need more hotels. “Budapest has something to lose, it can lose itself if it no longer has a memorial office, and a government office decides instead which building to do with it,” says the defender of the city, who said that our buildings that survived the historical era are of great value. Thus, medieval, Turkish and Reformed buildings are an indispensable part of the organic development of the city, the distinctive image, the history and the culture. “The complete disappearance of these buildings with a long history will seriously damage the personal and unique image of our city,” he added. However, in relation to a building of historical significance, not only the past aspect, but also the future aspect are appropriate. – Nowadays, enough houses have been built in Budapest, there is no need for new hotels or office buildings, demolishing old buildings is a minor environmental disaster, – says art historian and environmental activist Andras Evan Bogar. This is why demolishing a century-old building is a brutal destruction of the environment that may be detrimental to the future.

The base of shared values
The question may arise whether the buildings can constitute a common value base for Hungarian society. According to Sorani, however, since the government, after seeing the outrage from the citizens, withdrew the previously launched demolition measures, so it finally responded correctly to the protests of the city’s defenders. “He may have acted on political calculations,” Sorani says, “but he still accepts the common value base that we promoted.” According to Bogar, the unexpected move is also welcome, but it is still incomprehensible why there is no independent professional body to protect the monuments, that is, why the political establishment must decide on the two buildings. In the case of houses of great importance, they must be decided by professionals who have studied the history of architecture, restoration and cultural history. According to Bukhar, it is also clear that the government has taken the current step by monitoring public opinion, that is, by monitoring whether retaining the two buildings brings or leads to popularity. Thus, the positive reception from society can be diverted from civilians and also learned from the opposition municipalities, which are not sufficient to keep their neighborhoods functioning despite all the financial bleeding, but even to represent the population in symbolic matters. “Regardless of all this, the current situation may provide a basis for giving equal importance to our national values ​​in at least some cultural matters,” Bogar says. Although he considers the case of the two buildings a small step, he pushes for as many decisions as possible that cater to the likes of the largest number of Hungarians possible. “Budapest has something to lose.”

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Mihály Ráday The problem is that in the councils that decide the fate of the buildings, architects only mostly sit down, while the fate of symbolic buildings cannot be examined only from the point of view of the architect, they must be viewed from a historical and artistic point of view.

Spirit of the place
András Surányi City residents are not ready to give up the location of genius, that is, the spirit of the place, the organically developed image of the city and the region, and the residents no longer need more hotels

Iván András Bojár It is still not understood why there is no independent professional body to protect antiquities, and why the political establishment should decide on the two buildings.

The Blue Cat – Trashy Song Hall

The Blaue Katze Song Hall was also a place of worship around the Király utca, albeit not recently, but during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The venue opened in 1855 in a three-story house at the intersection of Király and Holló Streets, in the glass-roofed square where János Feistinger set up an entertainment stage, which awaits its visitors with various shows. The production range was wide, and in addition to the comic and coupe shows, you can also watch Kankan, while there was a singer who dueled even for his grace. However, the Petty Nightclub was not only famous for its theatrical productions, but also for being a brothel. The foreign audience has also admired, and, later, such celebrities as the 7th Prince of Wales. Edward, King of Great Britain and Emperor of India, and the eldest son of the Imperial German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the politician, Herbert von Bismarck, the politician who drank heavily before even appeared in Adam’s uniform, while King Milan I from Serbia accompanied him, he lost his money.

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