The historic Hajós Street became a pedestrian area a few years ago. This change greatly contributed to the pleasant and peaceful atmosphere of the place: modern and exclusive terraced cafés, restaurants and shops can be found on both sides of the street. Take an easy walk here and enjoy the rich past and lively present of the Hungarian capital city.
Located in the very heart of Budapest, Hajós Street is one of the oldest and most famous cross streets of the prestigous Andrássy Street. Being close to the river Danube, there used to be a pub called Boatman in the area. The street was also named after the cheerful and noisy boatmen in the nineteenth century. As the town of Pest kept growing, the street became part of the inner city and boatmen were replaced by wealthy citizens and bohemian artists. Restaurants, bars, cafés and theatres were opened to entertain the rich and educated citizenry. Due to civil development and demand the Opera House was built at the corner of Andrássy and Hajós Street between 1875 and 1884. It was designed by Miklós Ybl, one of the most famous and talented Hungarian architects of all time. The Neo-Renaissance building with its elegant design, detailed ornaments and unparalleled architecture is a popular tourist destination in Budapest. The frescos inside the Opera House were painted by world famous Hungarian painters: Bertalan Székely, Károly Lotz and Mór Than.
Since its grand opening, the Opera House has been the centre of Hungarian opera and musical life. Thousands of talented and critically acclaimed composers, opera singers and conductors were regular guests at the nearby cafés and restaurants. The former Café Napoleon in Hajós Street, named after Napoleon III, was also widely popular among local people and artists in the late nineteenth century.
In 1906 a new block of flats was built in the street, and the owner of the building named it Napoleon Mansion in the honour of the legendary French general and statesman. The only Napoleon statue to be found in Budapest decorates the facade of Napoleon Mansion. Since 1997 it has been a protected monument and its marble columns, spacious staircase, shiny green china tiles on the walls and the ornamented windows still show the once famous and luxury design of the building.
The building of Opera Garden Hotel & Apartments in Hajós Street 24 was built in 1899. The first owner was the widow of Tobias Lőw, Minister of Justice and the descendant of the famous chief rabbi of Prague called Jehuda Lőw Ben Besalel.