Red Hedgehog House Budapest – Oldest house in town

arts&culture
Art & culture

The "Red Hedgehog House" in Budapest might be one of the city's oldest buildings: its initial structure can be traced back to 1260...

There is actually no clear consensus on which is Budapest’s oldest house - most buildings that could qualify have been heavily rebuilt several times, so it could all come down to which one has the oldest stones lodged somewhere in its walls. The initial structure of what would later become the Red Hedgehog house can be dated back to around 1260, so ours is a very strong candidate. The record that it does definitely hold according to all documents is being the first two-story house in town.

Four houses stood here initially, reduced to three in the aftermath of the Turkish occupation; according to some testimonies, the last Ottoman governor of Buda was actually killed right in front of these houses. In 1696, the building was already mentioned as the Red Hedgehog Inn (A Vörös Sünhöz, in Hungarian, or zum Rothen Igl, in German). The inn was to become a popular venue, which hosted balls and plays as well. Several renovations kept it in good shape in the 19th century, at the same time disguising its original, medieval elements. The building luckily survived WWII mostly unharmed, but the shelling proved somewhat fortuitous as well, uncovering the historical elements in its structure.

The Red Hedgehog was placed on the front wall in the early 19th century; by then, the inn was actually out of business, but the little hedgehog, which had served as its nameplate, keeps its memory alive to this day.

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