Budapest, the capital of Hungary in Central Europe, is known to have a number of features that set it apart from other large European cities. Europeans often say that their country’s capital is the most beautiful. However, most do not boast that theirs is ‘unique’. This is what sets Budapest apart. A grand compromise forged with Austria in 1867 led to the emergence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Following this, in 1871 Buda, Pest, and North Buda were merged into a new planned city following extensive planning between the two sides.
The plans for Budapest were modelled on the major cities of Europe of the time, Vienna, London and Paris, among others. Subsequent to its establishment, in the late 19th century, its design was influenced by Fin-de-Siecle cultural tendencies, acquiring urban scenary unique to the city. Hungarian Szecesszió architectural forms were theoretically European, but they actually reflect an active attempt to embrace and creatively reinterpret Hungarian traditional culture.
Budapest included the convenience and other fundamental elements of the spirit of modernity, but was planned to be a metaphorical expression of the Hungarian national identity. Motifs from Hungarian history were invoked to realize this plan. Hungary was ruled directly by the Ottoman Empire for some 150 years, and Ottoman culture had fused with Hungarian Christian culture, creating a unique synthesis. Szecesszió architectural forms were the result of an active search for and contemporary reinterpretation of such a cultural legacy.