More than a graveyard – discover Budapest’s Fiumei Road Cemetery with the help of your phone
Monument of Mór Jókai
Source: Országalbum / István 1949
Fiumei Road Cemetery, Hungary’s most prestigious place of burial, has been a special site of national remembrance and it is rather popular among Hungarian and foreign tourists every year. From now on, visitors can explore the most important sights of the cemetery, the most notable mausoleums and the graves of the most significant personalities of Hungarian history with the help of a phone application.
FiumeiGuide is a free application for Android smartphones that allows visitors to explore the 56-hectare graveyard. The application was presented to the press on June 8 by Radnainé, Katalin Fogarasi, Director General of the Institute, PestBuda reported.
Graveyard, memorial site, and cultic place
The unique graveyard has been under the management of the National Heritage Institute since 2016, and they aim to turn it into an outstanding and exceptional cultural attraction and tourist destination that provides a new perspective of the work and life of notable personalities of Hungarian history and culture (with strictly and respectfully observing the rules of piety).
With the help of this application, the cemetery can become an outstanding cultural attraction on an international level, such as the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris or the Westminster Abbey in London.
In addition to tourism opportunities, the Director-General also highlighted the importance of education and the popularisation of the culture of remembrance in cemeteries. This site of national remembrance should become a communal space that makes Hungarian history and culture accessible and exciting to students.
The National Heritage Institute has already provided guided tour options, publications, and orientation maps to help visitors discover the mysteries of the graveyard. They plan to implement further service expansions and the current application can be considered a major milestone of this endeavour.
The tender and future plans
The application was created with the support of a tender announced in 2019, and the National Heritage Institute won the grant of HUF 6 million (17,000 €) for the development of the application.
For the time being, the app can only be installed on android devices, but in the second phase of the applications the National Heritage Institute would like to make the existing application available for IOS phones in the foreseeable future.
About the application
Currently available to those interested, FiumeiGuide is a GPS-based, bilingual application (Hungarian and English) that allows you to explore the graveyard by yourself or with a small group using your smartphone. The application is a user-friendly, easy-to-use program. Many information about the cemetery’s most important sights became available for a lot of people.
For the time being, the application presents a so-called “top 100” list, which – like any selection or list – is subjective, but at the same time well thought. Among other sights, it includes the large mausoleums (tombs of Lajos Batthyány, Lajos Kossuth, Ferenc Deák), the most significant sights (such as the recently inaugurated World War I memorial or the Apponyi carriage), the graves of Endre Ady, János Arany or Attila József (renowned Hungarian poets), but also the resting places of many people who are undeservingly unknown to the general public. The Institute considered it important to draw attention to the significance of their oeuvre (such as Vilma Hugonnai, the first Hungarian woman doctor, Árpád Lengyel, who saved the passengers of the Titanic). The number of attractions available within the app is going to be continuously expanded in the future.
By clicking on each sight in the application, a photo of the given sight is displayed, as well as a short description that gives a concise summary of the most important information and interesting things about the landmark or the person resting there. The descriptions are available both in English and in Hungarian.
The app can list the attractions and places of remembrance in two ways. The default setting is to list the sights for us based on proximity after measuring our position (i.e. from the nearest attraction to the one furthest from us), but it is also possible to list them in alphabetical order (this can be useful, for example, if there is a specific monument you are looking for.
FiumeiGuide can also make exploring the graveyard a new experience for those who may already be familiar with it, making this ‘National Memorial’, an interactive history book that both preserves and promotes national heritage and history at the same time.
Online tours on the cemetery’s website
Simultaneously with the FiumeiGuide application, on June 8th, 2020, the website of the cemetery has been renewed as well. They added a new menu item, which benefits those who do not have the opportunity to visit the cemetery in person. The website’s operators will plan tours every month and these walks will be published on the website so it will be possible to explore the cemetery from your home.
The first such walk is commemorating the 110th anniversary of the death of Kálmán Mikszáth (honoured Hungarian writer). Through this special tour, participants could get to know the works of Mikszáth’s contemporaries. Many of them were significant figures of pre-war Hungary, such as Mór Jókai, Ferenc Deák or Dezső Szilágyi.
Katalin Radnainé Fogarasi, Director General of the National Heritage Institute emphasized that they wanted to expand their services. They will continue to have personal guided tours and printed booklets for those who prefer them, but
with the creation of FiumeiGuide, they wanted to provide an opportunity to satisfy a new kind of visitor demand.
Iam putting this on my list of things to see in Budapest, on my next visit to Hungary.
I have that long time, albeit uniquely in Hungarian… Great App.