History and Culture in Budapest's Museums
With more than 800 monuments and over 220 museums and galleries, the Hungarian city of Budapest is a veritable treasure trove of culture and history. Add to this the forty theaters, seven concert halls and impressive opera house found in the city, and it's clear that the citizens of Budapest value their cultural heritage.
Designed in a neo-Renaissance style by Miklós Ybl, and opened in 1884, the Hungarian State Opera House has played host to some of the most elite of Hungarian society, for concerts by world-class performers. Lavishly decorated, both inside and out, the theater has a horseshoe shaped auditorium to seat more than 1,200 guests and is considered by experts to have the third best acoustics in Europe. Statues of the composer of the Hungarian national anthem, Ferenc Erkel, and Hungarian classical composer Franz Liszt stand in the front of the building. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the Hungarian State Opera House almost every day. These are presented in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hungarian.
Located in Hero's Square in Budapest, the Museum of Fine Arts, Palace of Art and Kunsthalle (Hall of Art) exhibit a range of historic and contemporary local and international artworks. The Museum of Fine Arts holds central Europe's second largest collection of Egyptian art, most of which has been accumulated in the 1930s by Hungarian Egyptologist Eduard Mahler. The museum also boasts a collection of works from Rome and Ancient Greece, as well as old master paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries. The Museum of Applied Arts in the Ferencváros features an extensive collection of European decorative arts, categorized under Furniture, Metalwork, Textiles, Glass and Ceramics.
The Hungarian National Museum started as a library founded in 1802 by Count Ferenc Széchényi. Upon the donation of a mineral collection, the library started to evolve into a natural history museum, requesting donations from the public to aid the museum's development. Today the Hungarian National Museum has seven permanent displays covering the history of the country over different time periods. The museum also features a collection of Roman stones relating to the history of Hungary. The ruins of the ancient Roman city of Aquincum is located within the city limits of Budapest with many of the artifacts recovered from the site on display in the Aquincum Museum.