Some years ago, the horse railway station in the 12th district of Budapest was in a quite devastated state. This has changed a lot since then, as it looks like a spectacular church now, according to Index.hu.
Zugliget has been a popular hiking destination since the 19th century. As it was difficult to get up there, a horse railway was constructed in 1868, which made the hillside accessible from the Chain Bridge’s bridgehead in Buda. Years passed, and the horses were replaced by electricity. A tram was introduced to Zugliget in 1896.
Budapest Public Transport company built a station building at the terminal of the line in 1886. József Kauser’s building consisted of two pavilions: one of them served as a post office, the other was the workers’ house, the dwelling of the stationmaster and the office. The hall in-between was the waiting room for up to 500 people.
The building was built according to that time’s fashion, with Swiss or Alpine style roofs. It looked like a fairy tale house.
The tram network developed at the beginning of the 20th century and the line was extended, so the terminal became a normal station. There was no need for a waiting room for hundreds anymore. The building was turned into a two-story condominium. It served as the housing of the transport company.
The building began to deteriorate after the end of communism in Hungary and the abolishing of the tram line. By the beginning of the new millennium, the walls were covered in graffities, the windows were broken and most of the metal items were stolen. The municipal was advertising it for sale for years in vain. Then they decided to take the matter in their own hands, and began to renovate the building partly from own and partly from state funds.
The added walls were removed and the hall was open once again.
The opened hall was framed with glass walls. The ceiling was covered in roof windows. The useful space decreased, but they managed to compensate for it.
A gallery was added to each sides of the hall, thus giving the room some church atmosphere.
The hall will serve as the venue of a local history exhibition, but it could be easily turned into a place for events.
Concerts and presentations are being organized there by MOM Cultural Center.
The most significant work was the restoration of the wooden structure. The entire roof was deconstructed and the missing parts were replaced one-by-one. Relatively many items could be saved in the two pavilons, but the central roof was almost totally useless. The brick wall, which was built between the two world wars, was soaked and drove the water into the beams.
The metal items were reproduced. Most of the tinsmith works were devastated by time. Thus the wonderful gutter decorations are brand new. The handrail on the terrace also had to be replaced as it was stolen from the empty building.
The yellowish wooden structures turned brownish grey in the past century.
Now the reconstruction gave it back its original color.
There is a new basement as well in the building. This new space can be also thanked to the renovation: this is where the restrooms and the warehouses are situated, as well as the geothermal pumps. These supply the building and the AHU with warm water, and they provide underfloor heating.
Another novelty is that there is an underground passage between the two buildings.
A new wing was added during the renovation. It was built into the hillside, far enough from the monument. It does not disturb the sight, but it totally fits to the old building. It will be the place for the local library and its employees.
A confectionery will be opened on the terrace which faces the city. A competition will be announced soon.
The renovation also involved the road: it was lengthened and moved further by three and a half meters. A pedestrian passage will also be made onto it.
The Horse Railway Cultural and Event Center was opened on 17 September,
and the permanent exhibition will also be accessible from Wednesday on.
Photo: MTI, Zsolt Demecs