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  • Spa along the Great Boulevard in Budapest

    Spa and the House of Architect Vilmos Freund

    Text: András Jeney

    Vilmos Freund was one of the most prolific architects active in Budapest during the revivalist Historicist period, designing more than fifty buildings. Three of his works were built along the Great Boulevard: one of them was the boulevard baths (Körúti fürdő), which was also the residence and tenement house of Freund’s own family and relatives. It is the only building on the route that has a spa function. On the side of the building facing the boulevard and Király Street, the imposing Grand Café café, referred to as Fairy Palace (Tündérpalota) in the press, was built in 1898. The interior was designed by Béla Hanusz, the owner of the café himself. After the siege in 1945, the agony of the spa started. Once luxurious, the spa was revived in 2006, when it was reconstructed in a slightly more authentic design and the Royal Spa was opened as a spa unit of the adjacent hotel.
    The boulevard baths complex (Körúti fürdő) was built in revivalist Neo-Renaissance style, partly under French influence, and is one of the main monuments of the late historicist Grand Boulevard in Budapest. Within the framework of a potential future renovation project, it would be highly desirable to rebuild the original roofs and attic windows, or at least the corner spire, in order to preserve the original streetscape with overlapping and harmonious motifs of the neighbouring buildings.