The capitol of Hungary was developing underground as well throughout the golden age.
The 19th and 20th centuries were the age of tunnels, not only in Hungary, but throughout the whole of Europe there were tunnels being built for multiple purposes, mostly for rail transport, then later to establish a subway system. There are tunnels still in use, but many have been forgotten by us as time passed by, writes szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu.
But before diving into the secretive histories of a few of the still existing, but not well-known tunnels of Budapest, let us look back at Baron Lamoral Braunecker and an engineer, Sándor Visnovszky’s project, which drafted four amazing tunnels below the Danube river, back in 1893. These tunnels would have been drilled under the river bed, they were supposed to have an eight-meter wide roadway, double passageway for pedestrians, and a pair of tram rails going both directions, but the permit to build them was denied by the Prime Minister at the time, Wekerle.
In the end, only one tunnel blueprint made it in front of the officials of the capitol, which would have connected the Parliament with the banks of Buda on the opposite side of the river, and with the so-called “freezing” method, the tunnel would have been built within two years. But eventually officials decided against it, as they got scared by the costs and the freezing technique they would have used, and raised a new bridge next to Lánchíd instead.
While no special plan came to life, the Parliament did not go without getting a tunnel. These tunnels, however, as opposed to popular belief, were not used to help members of the Parliament escape, but served a heating-cooling purpose. The builders thought that a huge chimney should not ruin Hungary‘s number one building’s carefully composed roof, so they placed the boiler room and the chimney in a tenement house on Nádor street. And from there many pipes filled with steam lead to the Parliament through wide tunnels. In the winter, the building needed heating, but in the summer, some cooling was necessary, so the temperature in the house would be ideal, so they also installed a cooling system along with the steam heating at the time of construction. And as air-conditioning did not exist yet, they used the water of the two fountains in front of the Parliament to cool the air.
According to records, in the periphery of the two fountains, grid-like pits opened to a 110-step long and 7-step wide tunnel, which had a height of five meters, and led all the way to the Parliament. The water flowing in through the pits cooled the air in the tunnels, which got to the rooms of the building by using electric fans. Béla Bayer, technical chief adviser, was responsible for the whole process, he was the one who monitored the flaps controlling the airflow. The tunnels serve as an exhibition today, and can be viewed and visited by anyone.
Read more interesting stories and facts about the Parliament HERE.