Oktogon, Budapest (Early 20th century)

Oktogon, Budapest (Early 20th century)

A landmark crossroads in the Hungarian capital city at the turn of the century.

History

Keywords

Oktogon, Budapest, Andrássy Avenue, Grand Boulevard, world heritage, turn of the century, underground, electric, omnibus, space

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Questions

  • Which famous streetcar line passes through the junction?

Scenes

  • Streetcar

Streetcar

Narration

As its original Greek name suggests, Oktogon is an octagonal crossroads in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. It is situated at the intersection of two legendary roads, the Grand Boulevard and Andrássy Avenue.

Formerly, the site of the crossroads was a deep pit, which was covered during the city’s restructuring program in the early 1870s. By the end of that decade, the grand road, known today as Andrássy Avenue, was open to traffic. The large eclectic buildings erected at Oktogon lend this crossroads its special shape. Initially, the junction was called Nyolcszög, i.e. the Hungarian word for an eight-sided shape. Its present name has been in use off and on since 1920. In the course of time, the junction has been renamed on several occasions; it also bore the name Mussolini Square, as well as November the 7th Square. Its original name was restored after the regime change of 1989-90.

The junction is famous not only for its shape, but also for its location, which render it a very busy spot. In the 19th century, postal coaches and omnibuses passed through the junction.

1896, the year of Hungary’s Millennium, saw the inauguration of the oldest underground railway in continental Europe.
Oktogon was one of the stations in the 3,700-meter-long (12,140-feet-long) underground. This legendary means of transport is still in use today (of course the line has been renovated and equipped with modern cars). The underground railway was listed among the Unesco World Heritage Sites in 2002. Today, Oktogon continues to be one of Budapest’s busiest junctions.

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