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Introduction to Sandor Palace Budapest
Sandor Palace has been an imposing presence in Budapest’s Castle District for more than 200 years.
Built between 1803 and 1806, it was originally meant as a private home to the aristocratic Sándor family. Commissioned and named after Count Vincent Sándor, it later passed to his son, Moric.
The Official Residence of Hungary’s President: Sandor Palace Today
In the long timeline of the Palace’s history, it’s stint as a private home was actually rather short. For most of its existence, it’s served as a key seat of Hungarian political power.
In January 2003, it became the office and official residence of Hungary’s President. Its legacy as a home and office to Hungary’s political leaders, however, goes much deeper.
Hungarian President Viktor Orban is the Palace’s current resident.
Besides Orban, the Palace’s most famous resident is Prime Minister Gyula Andrássy. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Gyula Andrássy is the namesake of Andrássy Avenue in Budapest’s 6th District. It’s the city’s most well-known street, often called Budapest’s Champs-Élysées.
Sandor Palace, WWII to 1989
WWII marked a turning point for the palace. Showered in bombs by Allied planes, it was left in ruins and its interior pillaged. It spent the better part of four decades like this, from the end of the war until the fall of communism.
In 1989, the fall of Hungarian communism brought a new chance at life for Sándor Palace. The government began an extensive rebuild and restoration, which brought the Palace back to its former elegance.
Today, the simple elegance of the architecture stands in stark contrast to the adjacent Buda Castle.
Visting Sandor Palace Budapest
When you arrive at Sandor Palace, you’ll notice how accessible the building is. Despite being the President’s residence, there aren’t any fences or barricades, beyond a row of small trees and a chain. This is good news for anyone who appreciates architecture, as you can get fairly close to the building to see its details.
Sándor Palace is neoclassical in style. It was built by Mihaly Pollak, one of the most notable architects of Hungarian classicism. Pollak is also the architect behind the Hungarian National Museum in the Palace District.
While the exterior is accessible, the same can’t be said of the interior. As the official residence and office of the current President, this is understandable.
Thus, Sandor Palace is an attraction best enjoyed from the exterior. The architecture and daily changing of the guards ceremony are the best reasons to visit Sandor Palace, and photos are very much allowed.
Seeing the Changing of the Guards in Budapest Castle District
The Changing of the Guards in Buda Castle District takes place daily according to a set schedule. If you’re set on seeing it, be sure to arrive at the correct time. The ceremony lasts just a few minutes.
You’ll see guards spin their rifles, salute, march up and down the square in unison, play the drums, and more. While the soldier’s uniforms aren’t quite as flashy as those at Buckingham Palace, it doesn’t make the show any less enjoyable!
The current show has been going on since 2003. When the Palace became the official residence of the Hungarian President, the ceremony was brought back.
Changing of the Guards at Sandor Palace Schedule
Mondays to Sundays, from 08:30 to 17:00. The Changing of the Guards happens hourly. Be sure to arrive a few minutes early, so you don’t miss any of the routine.
Last Saturday of Every Month. At 12:00 (noon) on the last Saturday of the month, the Changing of the Guard ceremony has an additional musical accompaniment.
When Hosting Visiting Dignitaries. When the President is hosting dignitaries, the ceremony includes additional choreography. The ceremony is more detailed than usual.
How to Get to Sandor Palace
You’ll find Sandor Palace at 1-2 Szent Gyorgy Square, Budapest 1014.
The palace is located inside Buda Castle District.
You can get to the Castle District by taking the Buda Castle Funicular, which sits at the Buda end of the Chain Bridge, and making the short walk from the funicular station. Alternatively, you can take Bus 16 from Deak Ferenc Ter in Budapest 5th District, and make the short walk from Dísz tér.
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