The Pearl of Budapest, Hungary: The Lake of City Park

In the winter you can skate on the frozen lake.
Iceskating at Vajdahunyad. Photo by Flickr/Gabriel Hess

The history of Műjégpálya

The Műjégpálya in City Park was opened to the public on January 29, 1870 by Grand Duke Rudolf. The idea of the ice rink itself was the brainchild of the Budapest Skaters’ Group.They applied to the city council to set up an ice rink on part of the lake in City Park every year.

The first ever skaters’ hall” here was a two-room wooden shack, which burned down in 1874. After this, the city council approved the construction of a more permanent structure, which got duly built in a few years, following the architect Lechner Ödön’s blueprint.

In 1895, Francsek Imre Sr. had the building remodeled, and significantly extended in a neo baroque style. The lake itself had firmer banks built all around it.

WW2 saw Műjégpálya fall completely out of use, due to the degree of damage sustained. The Hungarian Skaters’ Association and the Budapest Skaters’ Group made huge efforts towards its restoration.

From an architectural standpoint, the next significant event was the rink’s extension in 1968. The size of the ice sheet itself was increased , much to the delight of skaters.

The former glory of both the building and the rink was restored in the course of the great renovations, which began in 2010.

To sum up, if you feel like immersing yourself in the zeitgeist of 19th century Hungary, City Park is there to spoil you.

If You Go

Hungary Tourism Office

Gabriella BellaAuthor Bio: Gabriella Bella – Journalist, Radio News Editor
Hungarian journalist Gabriella Bella is the news editor and host of Hungary’s popular 89.5 Music FM’s morning show. She’s also worked in print media, where her main focus was culture and economics. Since 2009 she has had her own business, which deals with press conferences.

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