Budapest is a marvelous city with a very complex history. The fact that it was merged from three towns – Pest, Buda, and Óbuda – is only the most important part of a rather large picture. Some parts of the city were even inhabited in the Roman times; some parts were built much more recently, as a result of a very dynamic expansion in the 20th century. Budapest currently has 23 districts – each has its own unique flavor and atmosphere. The 9th district is particularly close to me and is an inexhaustible source of lomographic adventures!
Budapest currently has 23 districts – each has its own unique flavor and atmosphere. One of my favorites is the 9th district – the one I have been living my adult life. Here, old and new can also be found – and the most exciting things is, when the different eras get mixed up on the same street.
If you walk around long enough, you will most probably recognize that the history of the district has three very well-distinguished eras. The first was before the Second World War, this was when the “good old” houses were built. These buildings give a very solid impression. While many of these became neglected over time, quite a few have been renovated in the past few years. Even after that it is easy to recognize the ornamented walls, the thick, brick walls, and the conservative construction style.
During the Socialist Era, many “modern” buildings were erected. Cheap construction, the direct rejection of the old methods, simple, practical design are signs of these buildings. (A uniform design came handy not only for ideological reasons, but made the execution of the enormous public programs for moving workers and low-income families into modern and relatively comfortable flats much easier.) Fortunately, in the 9th district most of the time even these blocks of flats were built with much care and consideration. In other parts of the town you can see many, many streets consisting of almost nothing but asphalted streets and houses with factory-made walls, most of the time 10-stories high. Here in Ferencváros, many of these houses only have four stories, and are surrounded by greenery. What I also like about it is that although these houses no longer represent the first line of recent trends, these parts of the district have not been neglected, and still provides a good alternative for affordable accommodations.
After 1989, the history of the district took yet another turn – the real estate business went back to the private sector. The design is still very practical, but there is a definite room for aesthetics too. However, sometimes the quality is a bit questionable. However, it is always good to see that empty lots (some of them have become empty since the war) are populated with new houses – giving more and more momentum to the rejuvenation of the district – and to the entire city.