Following Sissi’s footsteps in Budapest

Elisabeth, the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I, touched Hungarian hearts and left her mark on the history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It’s no wonder that we are often reminded of her in the capital, where several public spaces, a bridge and an entire district is named after the beloved queen of Hungary.

The Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, arguably the most beautiful queen in the world, used to spend weeks at Buda Castle. Her love towards Hungarians was just as legendary as her life. If you would like to know more about Sissi’s life, you can get some help at the Castle Garden Bazaar. An experienced guide will usher you through the years of history and the royal gardens, which were loved dearly by Sissi. This tour will walk you through the past and present of the Castle Garden Bazaar, a neo-Renaissance complex designed by Miklós Ybl. The tour is available in English and French, but organizers must be notified in advance for a foreign language tour.
Guests with a Budapest Card receive a 50% discount!

St. Stephen’s Basilica is a must-see location for every visitor in Budapest, but only a few know that the treasury of the impressive building is also worth a visit. In addition to valuable liturgical artefacts and historical documents, you can also see embroidery by Queen Elisabeth herself.
If you have your Budapest Card, you can purchase your ticket at a 25% discount.

Another remarkable church, Matthias Church, also played an important role in Sissi’s life. This is where the Bavarian Princess was crowned queen of Hungary on 8 June, 1867. Uniquely, this happened at the same time that Franz Joseph was crowned king. The queen’s favourite place to pray was the Loreto Chapel in Matthias Church, where later a statue was dedicated to her memory.

Just as in the heart of the city, at Madách tér. District 7, known as “Elisabethtown”, recently decided to commemorate its namesake with a statue. The queen herself gave consent in 1882 for the neighbourhood to adopt her name, and as the recently erected statue demonstrates, locals still have a special place in their hearts for the Queen of Hungary after 140 years.

However, the best way to learn about Sissi’s everyday life may be to leave Budapest behind for a bit. Grassalkovich Castle is the most well-known landmark in Gödöllő and one of the biggest Baroque castles in Hungary, offering a wide variety of attractions and programmes. If you spend a few hours here, following in the steps of Sissi, you will get a glimpse at life in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Franz Joseph and Elisabeth received the castle as a coronation gift, which soon became the favourite summer residence of the queen so beloved by Hungarians. If you decide to visit the castle, an hour away from the capital, make sure you have your Budapest Card. Visitors with a Budapest Card receive a 15% discount on entry fees for the Baroque Theater, Horthy-era Bunker, 3D Cinema and the “Royal and Aristocratic Equestrian Culture” exhibition!

Whichever programme you choose, you will understand how much love Hungarians still have for Queen Elisabeth, and how they will never forget how much she cared about our nation’s fate.

Credit: Pixabay

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