City Park in Budapest
Városliget (; literally City Park) is a public park (302 acres or 1.2 km²; a rectangle 0.9 mi by 0.6 mi, or 1.4 km × 900 m) in Budapest, Hungary close to the city centre. It is located in District XIV of Budapest. Its main entrance is Heroes' Square (Hősök tere), one of Hungary's World Heritage sites.
The area was formerly called Ökör-dűlő, meaning "Oxmeadow". The first mention of the name comes from 1241 in the archaic form, Ukurföld. In the 18th century the area was called Ochsenried in German. Around 1800 the official name was changed to Batthyány-erdő (Batthyány Forest) after its tenants, the Batthyány family. The first trees and planified walkways were established in 1751 and after the public park was created in the first decades of the 19th century the present-day name, Városliget (and its German version, Stadtwäldchen) was accepted and it became the first public park in the world.
City Park was the main venue of the 1896 millennium celebrations of Hungary, by which time Andrássy Avenue, Millennium Underground and the Grand Boulevard were built.
City Park has the largest artificial ice surface in Europe and it's the centre of Hungarian bandy. The B-group at the Bandy World Championship 2004 was held here and also the Bandy World Championship for women 2007.
The park used to host motorsport events in the 1950s. In 1985 despite the serious plans the city government decided against to host Hungarian Grand Prix races in the park.
Heroes' Square is noted for the following:
- The Millennium Monument (Millenniumi Emlékmű), one of Budapest's emblematic sights (1905)
- The Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum, 1906)
- The Palace of Art (Műcsarnok, 1895)
City Park proper includes the following notable sights:
- The Vajdahunyad Castle, presenting the major art styles and housing the Agricultural Museum today (first built in 1896, in its present state finished in 1907)
- The Széchenyi Medicinal Baths and Swimming Pool (Széchenyi fürdő), one of Europe's largest bath complexes (1913)
- The Municipal Zoological and Botanical Garden (Fővárosi Állat- és Növénykert, founded in 1866, built in its present state in 1912, expanded and improved since several times)
- The Budapest Circus (Fővárosi Nagycirkusz, 1971)
- The Budapest Amusement Park (Vidám Park) with a separate amusement park for small children
- Its roller coaster, Hullámvasút, built in 1922 after the plans of Ervin Dragon, is 17 m in height and travels 980 m in five minutes. It is one of the ten remaining side friction roller coasters in the world, and is an ACE Coaster Classic.
- Its merry-go-round was built in 1906 and its cave railway in 1912. Along with the roller coaster these are considered to be historic monuments.
- The Gundel Restaurant, one of Hungary's most famous, founded in 1879 (residing in its present building since 1894)
- The Millennium Salon (Millennium Szalon) in Olof Palme House (1885)
- The Transport Museum of Budapest (Közlekedési Múzeum 1899)
- The Aviation Museum of Budapest
- City Park Pond (Városligeti-tó), used as an ice rink in winter, the largest outdoor skating-rink in Central Europe (1926), with a hall built in 1894. It hosted the Bandy World Championship for women 2007 and the B-group at the Bandy World Championship 2004 for men.
- The Petőfi Hall (Petőfi Csarnok), a youth leisure centre (1985)
- The Time Wheel (Időkerék, 2004)
- The Monument of the 1956 Revolution, completed in 2006 for the 50th anniversary of the historic event
- A spacious procession square (used for several purposes)
- Sports grounds, playgrounds, meadows, esplanades (e.g. one named after Olof Palme), several statues (among others, of George Washington and Winston Churchill), a memorial for Anna Lindh, a botanical garden and a transport park for children
- People's Park (Népliget)
- Margaret Island (Margitsziget)