Parisi Udvar: A Forgotten Piece of Budapest

During my time in Budapest, I wandered into one of the most astounding buildings I have ever seen. The Parisi Udvar or “Parisian Court” is both haunting and breathtaking. As the brain child of German architect, Henrik Schmahl — it was built during the turn of the 20th century as a multi-use shopping center.  The Art Deco building was finished in 1913 — complete with ornately carved panels, stained glass dome and even a hidden elevator. The outside of the Parisi Udvar was used for the Budapest scenes in the film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  I’m disappointed that I can’t find out too much more on the structure — especially why it is in disrepair. Supposedly it didn’t suffer any major damage during both world wars, but it didn’t manage as well under the communist regime. I found one source that claims under the Soviet Union, the shopping center was renovated into apartments for a little while and then back into shops in the 1980s. Apparently during both renovations, no thought was given to preservation. Whatever the history of the Parisi Udvar — the building is completely empty today and, aside from a single security guard, is an open building where anyone can walk in and take a look around.

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