The Fisherman’s Bastion, or Halaszbastya, is basically a folly on a rather grand scale. Designed by Frigyes Schulek (who also restored and redesigned the Matthias church), the Bastion was built between 1895 and 1902 as part of a number of developments celebrating the 1000th birthday of the Hungarian state. The first Hungarian king started his rule in the early Mediaeval period and so the Bastion’s design reflects this. The design also features 7 towers, representing the Hungarian chieftains whose tribes originally settled in Hungary and the Statue of St Stephen (1906), the first Hungarian king.
When the Bastion was built, Buda Castle was no longer seen as in need of military fortification. As a result, the building was designed as a lookout point providing panoramic views over the Danube and Pest, to ‘feel like’ history, rather than to ‘be’ history. With its conical towers and fairy-tale looks, it does have a certain Disney feel to it.
This particular section of the original walls of Buda was supposedly protected by the Guild of Fishermen (halasz), who lived beneath them in an area of Buda known as the Watertown or Fishtown – hence the Bastion’s name.
Nowadays, the Bastion is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Part has been closed off for paying visitors only and parts have been developed into cafes, but there is still plenty to see and enjoy. Great for photos, particularly those ones of views through arches, this is also a place with a certain atmosphere and the quirky architecture makes it a must-visit.