Buda Castle - Medieval Wing

Medieval Wing

In 1958–1962, architect László Gerő partially recreated the façades of the Gothic castle facing the narrow southern, western, and eastern courts. Only the ground and first floors were reconstructed; the castle was originally much higher. The unfinished façade stops at the level of the Baroque terrace above. Two windows open towards the southern court and another two open towards the eastern court. The four almost-identical windows are square, four-panel stone constructions of very fine Gothic craftmanship. Their outer frames are decorated with small columns. One window, which had been walled up, was discovered in situ during archeological research, and the others were reconstructed from fragments by sculptor Ernő Szakál by means of anastylosis. The ground floor openings are simpler. An arched stone doorway gives access to the southern court from the cellar under the Gothic Hall.

The façade was originally plastered. The whitewashed surface was decorated with a painted pattern in a rusty hue, resembling rustication. Fragments of painted geometrical decoration, a common feature on the medieval buildings of Buda, were discovered on the eastern façade, but it was not restored.

A Gothic balcony tower projects from the wall at the end of the eastern façade. It is the only second floor part of the medieval palace to be recreated in 1958–62. Its reconstruction was a much debated issue because the balcony tower goes above the level of the Baroque terrace, disturbing the harmonious panorama of the palace. On the other hand, it clearly indicates that there are missing higher floors.

The balcony tower is a two-storey structure standing on a wide stone basement. The first floor is a solid stone wall without any openings. The niche behind it belongs to the Gothic Hall. The second floor has a balcony with three windows; it is now closed off by a glass wall. Originally it must have been part of an important ceremonial room. The balcony is in the shape of half an octagon. The three Gothic double lancet windows are the most important architectural elements of the tower. The profiles, frames, and mullions were restored in a simplified form, using many of the original stones. The tower is covered with a flat metal roof.

The Gothic Hall is connected to Stephen's Castle (István vár) on the western side. It was named after Prince Stephen, Duke of Slavonia, the younger brother of King Louis I of Hungary. Built in the 1340s–1370s, it is the oldest part of the medieval royal palace. Only the foundation and three interconnected barrel-vaulted rooms survive.

Stephen's Tower (István torony) was the keep of Stephen's Castle. It was destroyed by an explosion in 1686. Its turreted spire can be seen in every old picture of Buda Castle. The ground floor walls were discovered after 1946. It was a square building (11.7 × 11.1 m), built upon the rock surface of Castle Hill. The walls are 2.31 to 2.7 m thick with narrow arrowslits on the southern, western, and northern sides. The original doorway, on the eastern side, was walled up after the Gothic Hall was built in the 15th century.

Stephen's Tower was originally a free-standing structure, sited differently from later buildings. The triangle in front of it was walled up to create a continuous southern façade for the palace. During post-war reconstruction this part of the façade (with a broken stone doorway) was not reconstructed. A vaulted room (6.2 × 6.3 m) on the ground floor was still intact in 1820, according to a contemporary drawing. Although the ribs, corbels, and key stone were discovered during archeological research, the room was not reconstructed. A spiral stairway had connected the room with the missing higher floors.

The remaining part of the Stephen's Castle (with the barrel-vaulted rooms behind) has a simple stone façade with a Gothic doorway. The pointed arch was restored.

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