The Ervin Szabo Library was established at the beginning of the 20th century. The central library location is also an ornate Hungarian palace.
It was Ervin Szabó, a sociologist, who established the public library network in Budapest at the beginning of the 20th century. Now, more than 110 years old, Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library has 48 branches in 23 districts of Budapest, with a special reference library of sociology.
The Central Library started operating in 1931 in this building, in the historical Wenckheim Palace. This neo-baroque palace was built between 1887 and 1889 according to the plans of Arthur Meinig. It was restored and enlarged between 1998 and 2001.
Now its decorative rooms can be seen in their original beauty, telling us about the richness and elegance of the former possessor family, the Wenckheim family.
As you enter the building, it looks like a regular library, with fancy doors. But when you take the elevator to the 4th floor, it is like you step into another, much more fancy, world. The sparse Rococo decor and natural lighting effects give the ‘Palace’ a Baroque atmosphere.
From the top of the grand staircase, visitors to the palace could enter three rooms. The Golden Boudoir, the Saloon, and the Silver Boudoir, which opens to the Small Ballroom. The Small Ballroom leads to the Large Ballroom.
The place for the orchestra is between the two ballrooms so the music from the musicians could be heard in both directions.
The former Dining Room and Smoking Room are different from the white and gold, and are covered in a more relaxing wood.
The library is free is you have a Hungarian library card, but tourists have to pay a small fee of about 4 Euros to meander.
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