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Imagine Ben Hur in Formula One, Heroes’ Square welcomes horseracing excitement

Between September 14th and 16th the Andrássy Avenue, the city’s grandest boulevard, will become a Gallop Promenade, presenting over 1,000 years of Hungarian history. Heroes’ Square will be transformed into a racetrack with 6,200 square meters’ worth of special equine-friendly sand. Grandstands in front of the two museums with huge screens broadcasting the action, flags flying, young jockeys, modern-day hussars ride on horseback, tear around the track. Hooves are pounding, dirt is flying, the crowd is cheering.

How did Hungarians become a horse nation? The story goes back a very long way: seven tribal chieftains galloped gallantly into this neck of the European woods back in the 9th century and claimed it. So begins the history of Hungary, and the chieftains stand proudly on horse- back, larger than life at the center of Heroes’ Square. They’re the inspiration for the National Gallop, when this stunning symbol of the nation is transformed into a racetrack and modern-day heroes on horse- back will gallop around it, grandstands will encircle it, and the crowds will encounter and enjoy every aspect of Hungarian history around the square and on impressive Andrássy Avenue. On Heroes’ Square, the seven chieftains are gathered around an obelisk topped by Archangel Gabriel, who appeared in a dream to István and offered him the crown. Sure enough, he became Hungary’s first king – and later a saint!

Again and again, since as many as 250 horses and riders will compete for the 21.5-million-forint cash prize, a glittering sword, and national glory. Prepare for a particularly exciting event this year, as there will also be mock horseback battles, amazing archers shooting arrows on galloping horses and even race carriage-driving! The carriages that’ll be competing have been created especially for this racetrack. They may have a vintage look but they feature the latest technology inside, so get ready for a rough ride! Imagine Ben Hur in Formula One. The chariot race is a truly breath-taking experience, which required the competitors to undergo an exhausting preparation and training. You can see the finest representatives of this special sport in the tracks on Saturday and Sunday.

Tents along Andrássy Street will be representing towns and cities across the nation will show off local traditions – imagine blacksmiths pounding horseshoes, costumed women embroidering centuries-old flower motifs, weavers crafting baskets of straw or rugs of wool.

On 14th of September, the National Gallop opens its gate for the Nation’s Kitchen, where gastronomy enthusiasts are offered traditional food as well as Hungarian liquor and wine specialities. The next day, if you get there as early as 8am, you will have the chance to enjoy the filed practice at Heroes’ Square until 11:40am. The opening ceremony of the National Gallop starts at 12pm, and the qualifying session from 01:15pm and last til 7:30pm. From the morning on the 16th, reserve your seat for a whole day excitement, the final ceremony will be held at 6pm with the award-show. Click here for the programme details!

Photo: Pixabay


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