From the parade square to the Museum Underground Garage – the history of the City Park – Car-Motor

Visitors to the car-free Városliget can thus relax and play sports in a significantly quieter and better-aired public park. Photo: Városliget Zrt.
A cozy promenade has been created on the site of a basalt-cubic area occupied by cars parked for decades.

During the Millennium, symbols of national history (Heroes’ Square, Vajdahunyad Castle) were built in the Scythian area on the outskirts of the city, and an entertainment district (Millennium National Exhibition, Zoo, Amusement Park, circuses, stunts, restaurants, drinks) was formed. After the Second World War, at the expense of Városliget, the Regnum Marianum church was demolished, the former Arena was expanded, and from then on Dózsa György út, as the venue for the April 4 military parade. In addition to the troop-clicking vigil of the troops, the rumble of armored personnel and truck-drawn artillery signaled that “our country is not a niche but a strong bastion on the front of peace”. The number of the new trolleybus crossing the road became 70, in honor of Stalin’s 70th birthday, with the inscription “Product of the leading Soviet industry” on the side of the vehicles. The parades on May 1 were also held there, with trucks coloring the masses of pedestrians, barely visible under the movement decorations. On October 23, 1956, a large three-axle truck and a dump truck pulled the wire ropes that had knocked down the gigantic Stalin statue. In 1965, a heavy trailer arrived on the square, bringing a statue of Lenin to take, then, in 1989, another to the Sculpture Park. Even in the same year, a crowd gathered to bury Imre Nagy and his companions occupied part of the former parade route.

ST (Sans titre): Tamás Konok, who died last year at the age of 90, created the original work in 2013
Solemn handover of trolleybus line 70 in 1949. The form of the MTB-82 was inspired by General Motors buses. Photo: Fortepan / Hungarian Police

Anyone who travels only this lane of Budapest, with a professional guide, can already form an idea of ​​our recent history. What motor races have been here in the meantime! I see this day like a movie in my mind everything I could smell the “two-cycle oil”, I hear Kurucz György Szabó and “Kuksi” Nortonjának, Szucs and Cserkúti of Triumph, Havel Jawájának of infernal roar. We, the spectators, stood behind a rope cordon, in a triple row, racing in some places almost a hand in front of us, and even a “passenger” helmet protruding boldly from the sidecar – though dangerous for both parties, it was more direct and greater than a modern experience. watch the distant fight from the track stand! The finish line was often placed on Dózsa György út, with military tents as a depot. What’s more, the four solo categories and sidecars were followed by race cars – bizarre makes, including pre-war Maseratija by Tibor Széles, a star.

What a sensation we experienced the Formula Junior car race in 1963, full of foreign participants. These real, one-seater race cars were quite similar to the F-1s at the time, but their engine was only 1,100 and participation was affordable even for the Western European middle class. Did something need to be fixed at the bottom of the machine? The car was tipped over to stand on the side of its two wheels. I remember this is how his helper fitted Jochen Rindt Cooper into an audience favorite with his bold-spreading, bold style, and then became a posthumous world champion in 1970. How these racing cars were cracked on the slippery cube of Dózsa György út!

The international speed motorcycle race of Vasas SC started in 1949 on Külső Andrássy út, today’s Károly promenade. Photo: Fortepan / Kovács Márton Ernő
Nándor Puhony started in the Vasas SC motor race with the start number 1. Photo: Fortepan / Kovács Márton Ernő

A year later, the European Touring Car Championship race was held there. At that time, it was not even the cars with astronomical budget, like Norbi’s Michelisz, that competed with the astronomical budget, but only tuned the engine a bit, glued the headlights crosswise with insulation tape – that’s all! Many of them came to the race as license plates on their own wheels… Lancias, BMWs, Minis, Jaguars, Ford Lotus Cortinas collided, and among the riders Jackie Ickx became an F-1 big winner later. From the Ajtósi Dürer line to Stefania, he turned in each lap so that the wheels inside the arch swam a little high in the air, and where an asphalt wave threw the right front, only one rear touched the ground. Somehow it was all human-scale, not as sterile, soulless as today’s professional car racing. Anyone could imagine replacing these pilots!

László I. Szabó (Kuksi) is the 1949 winner of the International Motorcycle Competition of the Motorsports Association and Mogürt in Heroes’ Square. Photo: Fortepan / Kovács Márton Ernő
May 1 parade in contemporary Stalin Square in 1955. A year and a half later, the statue was no longer standing. Photo: Fortepan

After the change of regime, the desolate, barren cube-concrete slab desert of Dózsa György út became a degraded, slowly decaying area together with the whole Városliget. Motorists who were heading from the Ajtósi Dürer line to Heroes’ Square and did not want to stumble at traffic light intersections crossed the former parade ground diagonally, not infrequently at a frantic speed – it was life-threatening to get out of the streets with children and dogs there were no tragic accidents. When snow covered this nobody’s land, many went there to drift, practice winter driving, or just just bullshit.

Military parade on the former Parade Square on April 4, 1958. Photo: Fortepan / Antal Kotnyek
Parades celebrating the 10-year-old Csepel vehicle factory on May 1, 1959. Photo: Fortepan / Szent-Tamási Mihály

Later, spontaneously, a huge free parking lot developed (it still looks like this in the Google Earth image, let’s take a look!), Only the lane in front of the 56th monument at the site of the former Stalin statue was kept free. There was also a great demand for it, because more and more cars came in, parking meters came in, only waiting was left free in Damjanich Street and Városliget Avenue, which is managed by the capital, there is only a space left for a moment, but it is very difficult to park in paid side streets. Accordingly, there was a great deal of resentment from residents of the area and motorists visiting Városliget, Ligetváros office buildings and other institutions when the area was closed to them, with the Ethnographic Museum being built in part, and even a theater and Hungarian Music House being planned in Liget (new centers of attraction! ) is. As the Liget Budapest project progressively completed, the beautifully renovated Millennium House (formerly Olof Palme House), the Playground, the small and large running circle, the Sports Center, the dog adventure park began to change, and the public mood began to change. Only those who longed for parking were eagerly awaiting the public garage under the southeastern half of the former parade area.

The 1963 International Speed ​​Car Race will be a lasting memory. Photo: Fortepan / Sándor Bauer
Erection of the statue of Lenin by Pál Pátzay in 1965. Photo: Fortepan / Sándor Bojár

Their wish came true at the beginning of December: the Museum Underground Garage of the City Park was opened within the framework of the Liget Budapest Project. Why is that his name? Maybe only visitors to the Ethnographic Museum under construction can use it? No! A unique feature throughout Europe is that, referring to the centuries-old connection between Városliget and the arts, the interiors evoke the masterpieces of 12 outstanding Hungarian masters, from László Moholy-Nagy to Ilona Keserü, Dóra Maurer and Imre Bak to Victor Vasarely. The unique and especially spectacular interior also helps to orient yourself down there. Out of shame, Budapest has become a new curiosity and pride! By placing the vehicles underground, the City Park was given back a charming promenade and more than ten thousand square meters of new green space in place of the basalt cubic area. The central rest area of ​​the promenade features cozy evening lighting and modern seating furniture combinations. The construction of the 220-meter-long, 50-meter-wide underground garage cost about 6.5 billion forints, and the promenade one and a half.

FSO Warszawa 223 maneuvers among the buoys in the race of the Budapest Road Safety Council in 1969. Photo: Fortepan / Tamás Urbán
This is how the Parade Square, normally used as a car park, was painted in 1972. Photo: Fortepan / Gyula Nagy

As László Baán, Ministerial Commissioner of the Liget Budapest Project, said at the handover, the underground garage offers environmentally friendly parking for those arriving in the park and those living in the area. The three levels can accommodate a total of 800 cars, plus separate spaces for motorcycles. Access to and from the three levels is made accessible by lifts. The ramps and the corridors and parking lots down there are extra wide, the columns don’t even count, and even a clumsy driver doesn’t have to be afraid to pull his car. In some places there is a charging connection for electric cars, and there are also family parking spaces. Vehicles for the disabled have a separate parking lot, and cyclists will find a closed bicycle storage room with lockers and showers on the top level of the garage, which can be safely accessed with its own driveway. The Museum Underground Garage is an ideal choice for athletes coming to the City Park Sports Center or the running circle, for families coming to the Grand Playground, for visitors to the Liget, but also for those working in the surrounding offices and the residents of the neighboring districts. VI., VII., Which have a municipal residential waiting permit. and XIV. district residents can park for free between 17:00 and 9:00, up to 200 spaces – by paying a one-time registration fee of HUF 2,000, if they register on the Liget Budapest Project website.

Opel Ascona by Fred Hoffmann and Hans Peter Paulsen at the ADAC Tour d’Europe in Budapest in 1973. Photo: Fortepan / Tamás Urbán
Werner Becker and Wolfgang Schlösser took part in the 1973 ADAC race with a Volkswagen 1303 S. Photo: Fortepan / Tamás Urbán

One of the main objectives of the Liget Budapest Project, which is renewing the City Park, is to radically reduce the car traffic that has been stifling the park for decades, in addition to rehabilitating and increasing the green space. Visitors to the car-free Városliget for adults and children will be able to relax, play sports and play in a significantly quieter and better-aired public park. As a first step, surface parking in Fifty-six Square was abolished, and the Museum Underground Garage was opened. During a coronavirus emergency, between seven in the evening and seven in the morning, anyone can park for free in accordance with the relevant government decree. However, the car decommissioning of Városliget has not yet ended here – emphasized Benedek Gyorgyevics, CEO of Városliget Zrt. As part of the Liget Budapest Project, additional underground garages are planned to be built in the coming period (these are needed because more than 1,200 cars can be seen in the parade area on Google Earth, so one and a half times the capacity of the Museum Underground Garage), and Károly Kós By transforming the promenade into a real, car-free promenade, the Liget with its varied history will become a greener and more livable park.

The AFIT car repair company dressed a Lada 2102 for the 1975 parade. Photo: Fortepan / Angyalföld Local History Collection
The spectacular procession could not miss the products of the CMEA countries in 1985 either. Photo: Fortepan / Hungarian Police

Source: Autó-Motor by

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