The Fisherman’s Bastion is an impressive monument in Budapest built in celebration of Hungary’s 1000th anniversary. In the 9th century, the first Hungarians settled in Budapest. After that point, they continued to grow, were part of two different empires, and established three different republics.
The city of Budapest receives nearly 5 million tourists every year. The Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the most popular and visited sites in the city. Its name comes from the ancient tradition when local fishermen were trusted to protect and provide for Budapest.
Its construction started in 1844 and continued until 1905. While the bastion has been in use since 1851, the city constantly upgraded it with towers, statues, and sculptures. The last of the additions was in 1905, marking the date the bastion reached its final form.
Moreover, the Fisherman’s Bastion was not a defensive fort or a castle, although its style resembles them. The primary goal behind the bastion’s construction was to present the city with a lookout tower. Therefore, the locals would be able to experience the views that their city had, especially, the view of the Danube River.
The Fisherman’s Bastion also celebrates the major figures in Hungarian history. Visitors can see the various statues of Hungarian leaders, chiefs, and kings while visiting the bastion.
The architect Frigyes Schulek wanted to make the bastion as neo-romanesque as possible. The staircases of the bastion lead to Castle Hill where the statues of the soldiers guard the sides. Schulek was also responsible for the renovation of the Matthias Church; so, he tried to follow the same style with the church while designing the bastion.
Nearly 40 years after the bastion took its final form, WW2 started. During the war, Nazis invaded Hungary through sieges and battles killing many and damaging the infrastructure and buildings. The Fisherman’s Bastion was one of the buildings Nazis badly damaged. After the war ended, renovations began swiftly.
Although it took many years, renovations finally gave the bastion its former glory. Since 1987, it has been a national heritage site along with the Castle District. The Fisherman’s Bastion forms a crucial part of Hungarian identity and has been one of the most important structures in the country’s history.