All over Pest, there are beautiful, open squares, usually with a monument to a local hero at their heart and always with a story of some great struggle, victory or opus.
Szabadsag Ter, in quiet, quaint Leopold Town, has a children’s park, bright beds of flowers and a star-crowned monument to the heroes of the 1956 uprising. It is overlooked by the majestic Hungarian Television building and the American Embassy, where the rebel Cardinal Mindszenty lived in exile between 1956 and 1971.
It’s a fair hike from Szarbadsag Ter up a busy boulevard, through the whirling traffic on Oktagon Ter to Heroes Square, but it’s worth it to see this huge, powerful, sculptural extravaganza.
Built in 1896 to commemorate the conquest of the Carpathian Basin by the Magyars, it depicts the Archangel Gabriel surrounded by the tribal chiefs, with Arpad in the centre. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier lies at their feet and behind it are the Kings, statesmen and heroes of Hungary. In front of the monument, a vast, white flagstoned square stretches away. The Museum of Fine Arts stands on the left of the square and on the right is the Mucsarnok which houses temporary modern exhibitions.