Fisherman’s Bastion is a must-visit for every traveler heading to Budapest! Yet, there are a few things you should know before exploring this epic architecture above the city. Here are some interesting facts and history about Fisherman’s Bastion and why it’s the best view of Budapest!
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11 Fun Facts about Fisherman’s Bastion
1. Fisherman’s Bastion is Not That Old
At first glance, it may look like Fisherman’s Bastion was built in ancient times! We were surprised to find out that it’s just over 100 years old with construction finishing at the turn of the 20th century.
Between the years 1895-1902 it became part of a project to celebrate 1,000 years of the Hungarian state. While it may not be as old as other symbols of Budapest, it’s clear to see the inspiration was still medieval architecture!
2. The 7 Towers Having Meaning
Looking up at the famous Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest you’ll notice 7 unique stone turrets pointing up to the sky. These are the towers of the Halaszbastya and each one represents a different Magyars tribe.
The seven tribes were integral in forming modern-day Hungary after their arrival in the Carpathian Basin in the year 895. You can see another architectural ode to the 7 chieftains and their tribes in Budapest’s Heroes’ Square.
3. It Was Part of the Castle
Where the current Fisherman’s Bastion was earlier part of a larger fortification high above Budapest. The original walls were built in the 1700’s and were an integral part of the city’s defense. If you didn’t know, Budapest has pretty much been under constant attack from invaders since the Middle Ages!
This led to the castle walls being rebuilt numerous times. Eventually, there was a stretch of peace in Hungary in the 19th Century which gave way to the idea of turning it into a more ceremonial place.
4. Why is it Called Fisherman’s Bastion?
So how did Fisherman’s Bastion Budapest get its name?? Well, that all goes back to the time when it was part of the Buda Castle fortifications. Legend has it, a group of local fishermen lived in the part of town between the castle and Danube River.
They would sell their catch of the day up in the fort and also regularly take up arms to defend it in times of war. So goes the name Fisherman’s Bastion!
5. An Architect’s Plan
The plan of turning these ancient walls into a beautiful tourist attraction was developed by the Hungarian architect Frigyes Schulek. Aside from being a professor in Budapest, Frigyes was responsible for restoring many churches and other architectural masterpieces in the city.
Surprisingly, when he brought about the plan for Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest it was not initially supported by those in charge. Little did they know, it would go on to become a landmark and the best view of Budapest!
Schulek’s intricate designs were made in such a way that there is no pattern ever repeated on these stones. As you walk along this epic viewing platform you’ll see that no trio columns ever repeat themselves!
6. Interesting Findings During Construction
You may have noted while reading these facts about Fisherman’s Bastion that it took over 7 years to build! One reason for the length of construction was what archeologists found below. A sanctuary of a Dominican Church was discovered as well as Gothic and Renaissance tombstones!
7. Woody Harrelson at Fisherman’s Bastion??
Huh!? As we were leaving a cafe heading up to Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest, a local told us not to miss seeing Woody. We were so confused until we looked it up and found out it was true!
A few years back a tourist took a picture of one of the statues as it resembles the famous actor. The post went viral and the rest is history! Can you spot Woody Harrelson below?
8. The Infamous Red Star
Unfortunately, during WWII Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest was partially damaged. A looking tower was taken out during a battle and another important building in the courtyard burned down.
Soviet rule began shortly after the war and lasted 45 years. There was infamously a giant red star flag hanging from Fisherman’s Bastion. This could be seen from almost everywhere in the city and served as a harsh reminder of the Communist powers in control.
9. On the Buda Side of the City
One important thing to know about Fisherman’s Bastion is its location! This amazing architecture and viewing platform are on the “Buda” side of the city. While exploring over here you’ll notice it’s the calmer residential section of Budapest.
Just across the Danube River, the “Pest” area has most of the best hotels, restaurants, and other attractions. Since they’re right next door to each other, it’s perfect to see Fisherman’s Bastion and the Buda Castle on the same day.
If you don’t want to walk to Fisherman’s Bastion Budapest you can even take the funicular to the top of the Buda Castle. From there it’s an easy stroll over!
10. Matthias Church is Right Behind it
Also, make sure not to miss the legendary Matthias Church behind Fisherman’s Bastion! It was originally built in 1015 by the first King of Hungary Saint Stephen. Unfortunately, the first building was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of 1241.
It wasn’t until the 14th century that the Matthias Church would be rebuilt in Gothic style. Coincidentally, a few hundred years later it was restored again by the same architect who built Fisherman’s Bastion.
11. The Best View of Budapest!
Now that you know some fun facts about Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest, here is the greatest part! The glorious views you get of the Hungarian Parliament, sparkling Danube River, and Margeret Island below.
While there are SO MANY incredible lookouts in the city, we thought this was definitely the best view in Budapest. There are also endless photo opportunities in between the columns the different towers to enjoy.
→ 20 Best Things to do in Budapest Hungary on Your First Visit
Have any questions on Fisherman’s Bastion history or want to share what you think is the best view of Budapest? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where to Stay in Budapest Hungary
Ultra Luxury (High End) – The Ritz-Carlton – The Ritz-Carlton is the premier luxury hotel throughout the world, and that’s no different in Budapest! Set in a central location in the city with all the amenities you’d expect from the Ritz.
Fun Vacation (Mid Range) – D8 Hotel – Just steps from the chain bridge, this hotel is located in the heart of the city. Great location to all the best attractions.
Hostel Life (Budget) – Wombats City Hostel – Located in the center of the city close to popular cafes and bars. Daily buffet breakfast, shared kitchen, and large common room. Private rooms are perfect for travel couples, and this is a great option if you’re doing Budapest on a budget.
For more places to stay in this Budapest Food Guide you can explore the latest prices here!
Hungary Travel Planning
Flights: We always find great flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. In Hungary, there are many beautiful cities and small towns to explore.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a Széchenyi spa full day pass in Budapest, try a Hungarian wine tasting, or jump on a sightseeing river cruise.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!