Details of the Lónyay street
Some of you already know that I have developed a genuine interest for Norway from the first time I witnessed her monumental elegance at a very early age. I have since been exploring different ways to broaden my knowledge on everything Norway-related. Last november I was fortunate enough to take part in an enjoyable sightseeing tour arranged by the Pest-based Skandináv Ház about the life of Gudbrand Gregersen de Saág. He was one of the most influential Norwegian-born master carpenter, bridge engineer and architect of 19th century Hungary.
During the tour which took place in Lónyay Street in Ferencváros I was lucky to see the style of the buildings he took part in constructing throughout his life. Details such as woodwork of many interior and exterior, wooden blocks, gates, doors, apartments and social buildings.
Towards the courtyard of the neo-renaissance Palace of Károlyi-Almási family
If there’s one thing that struck me the most about the capital of my motherland when growing up, it is the beauty of her architecture. Apartments, churches, theatres amongst the many other buildings that were conceived and built between the 19th and 20th century are bristling with unimaginable details of the classisist, neo-renaissance, eclectic and secession architecture styles. Let me describe the arrival of these styles.
At the time of the initial period of the railway building projects in 1840s Hungary, Pest became the economic, political and cultural centre as well as the most populous and urbanist city of the country. Besides the extensive railway construction, one of the biggest difficulties of the fast growing city was to overcome the lack of housing. Apartments were the most expensive commodities and were most sought after.
Young Gudbrand moved to Hungary in 1847 followed by a travel incident in Vienna where he was robbed. While he was in Vienna he heard about the railway construction works in Pest. After leaving Vienna, he travelled through Pozsony and upon his arrival he was hired to oversee the railway line contruction between Pest and Vienna. Soon after Gudbrand established an architecture firm which successfully carried out several notable contracted commissions such as railway lines, number of bridges and public buildings. If the items from his luggage had not been stolen after arriving in Vienna, the Hungarian Parliament, the Museum of Fine Arts, the former building of the National Theatre, the Keleti and Nyugati Railway Stations, the Mathias Church and the inner city of Szeged would probably look completely different today. He is also a member of the Hungarian nobility since 1885.
The plaque of Gudbrand Gregersen at the palace entrance
The facade of the Gregersen Palace in Pest
At the end of the tour to my biggest surprise I found out that one of the sightseers was actually the living great-great-great-grandson of Gudbrand, György Gregersen-Labossa a Szombathely-based pastor.
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I’ll be posting more photography of this tour