Explore The Budapest Metro
Melbourne by tram, a city known for its extensive tram network.
Budapest has one of the oldest Metro’s in the world, though from small beginnings it is gradually growing. Metro Line M1 opened in 1896 and is still in use today. The latest addition, Metro Line M4, opened in 2014 and a fifth line is currently being planned.
I was in Budapest for the weekend and the city’s public transportation system was going to be how I got around to the places I wanted to see. I would be using the metro system for those longer trips while relying on Budapest’s extensive tram network for those shorter ones.
Metro Line M1 Is a unique experience. Immediately upon entering one of the stations you are surrounded by tiled walls and wood panelling. The trains are small and simple, perfect for serving the short platforms. Inside there is little seating, instead leather straps hanging from the hand rails, to maximise standing room.
This line has been in constant use since 1896 and is known locally as a kisföldalatti, the small underground. Surprisingly M1 took less than 2 years to complete, which is incredible as the more recent M4 took 10 years. In the 1980s and 90s major reconstruction work was carried out though the original appearance was preserved. At this time three stations were added to the route.
M3 is the longest line in Budapest, with 20 stations and measuring 16.5km long. A number of times throughout its operation people have called for it to be updated but work has only recently begun. Due to construction work I was unable to travel using this line and instead had to regularly rely on a replacement bus service.
Metro Line M4 is the newest addition to the Budapest system, though construction eventually began in 2004 the first 10 stations weren’t opened until 2014. It was first proposed that the line would open in 2003 but faced continuous delays, 17 in fact. Finally open the line had cost 1.5 billion Euros.
The scale of the spaces is huge. The station platforms are large and cavernous, especially when you compare them to the cramped M1 line. Though I travelled at different times throughout the day there was never a time where they felt crowded. More often than not they were empty, which was perfect for taking photographs.
During my time in Budapest this line was the one I used the most, largely because M3 was closed for construction work, but also because it was home to some of the more appealing stations. It was clear that during the planning process they had given some thought to the individual design of the stations, though many involved large amounts of concrete.
There are two stations on the M4 line that stand out amongst the rest. Szent Gellért for its mosaic platform tunnel and Rákóczi tér which is decorated Red, white and green, the colours of the Hungarian flag.
I have come to find that using the Metro of places I visit has changed over the years. The reason to travel by metro is not only to get from A to B but the metro itself has become the reason. They are often places of design and interest, their symmetry and spaces are pleasing especially when it comes to photography. The journey has become the destination.
While in Budapest I really wanted to visit All Saints Church and It had come down to the last minute. The Sunday morning before my flight I took a bus into the hills on the Buda side of the capital. It was early when I arrived at the church but not early enough.
The church was busy with people coming for the Sunday service, there were already plenty of people inside and seating was quickly filling up. As I stood taking my last photos of the unique building a man approached me and asked if I was from around this area.
He introduced himself as Warren Richardson, an Australian photographer living in Budapest. He told me about the nearby cemetery and pointed out the hills he was heading into to shoot some abandoned Buildings.
I explained that I was tight on time and waiting for the next bus back to town as my flight was leaving in the afternoon. He said not to worry, there was a train station on my bus route back to the city centre and I should get off there and explore a nearby cemetery.
I found the station easily, the bus stopped right outside. I went inside to admire the architecture and watch as people made their daily commute.
From Keleti Station I followed the instructions as best as I could. They were fairly simple. Outside the station I spotted the small narrow street only for trams, that Warren had told me to look out for, and followed that until I reached the walled perimeter of Kerepesi Cemetery.
The cemetery was vast, with winter in full effect. There wasn’t a single leaf left on the trees that lined the long roads as they stretched off into the distance.
There was a mix of old and new in the cemetery. Many of the older graves and tombstones showed their age, to me these were the most interesting. It was hard to tell if the damage was something that had just happened over time or were signs of Hungary’s troubled past.
One of the reasons Warren had suggested the cemetery to me was there were apparently hidden signs of World War II. He had described a statue to me of a woman with her head bowed and hands drapped over the top of the tombstone. I found what I thought had been described to me and when I looked closely there were age worn holes that may have been the bullet holes he had mentioned.
Due to my time constraints I was only able to explore a small section of the cemetery but what I saw in that short period of time left a lasting expression on me. Kerepesi Cemetery became a highlight of my weekend in Budapest, not only because of what I saw there but because of the story that took me there in the first place.
Australian photographer Warren Richardson
A short piece about All Saints Church
Due to financial constraints architect István Szabó decided to use prefabricated elements and concrete when constructing All Saints Church. The unusual looking church is located in a hilly neighbourhood on the Buda side of the Hungarian capital. The project was financed by donations and built largely by volunteers from the parish.
The last few months have been a whirlwind, devouring all my time and this blog has suffered as a result of that. This is something I want to remedy starting now.
Last year I packed up my life and moved countries, back home to the UK. Before getting completely settled I took a month holiday and went to Australia for a friends wedding, visiting Amsterdam and Beijing along the way.
But the one thing I can blame for my silence is the destruction of my computer (largely from my own doing). It has played havoc with my workload and productivity, which is partly my fault as I am still procrastinating over which one to replace it with.
Though, I will not let these problems stand in my way any longer. I have been working on a few ideas in my head and it won’t be long before I put them together for you to see. Because of my recent travels and the change in my living situation I am sitting on a bunch of great content that I need you to see. I hope that I can find the words (and the time) to bring these to life.
I would greatly appreciate that you stick around and see what I have been up to in my absence, as well as what I am will be doing in the future. 2018 has started well and I aim for that to continue.
In the meantime visit my other accounts where I try to post more frequently:
After leaving Linnahall I headed in the general direction of Telliskivi, a creative neighbourhood I had visited before. I wouldn’t say that I know Tallinn well but felt that I could wind my way through the streets until I had a better idea of where I was but hoping to stumble upon where I needed to be.
After a few roads of relatively new buildings I came across a quaint neighbourhood full of older, colourful wooden houses, each with its own character. I especially notice the striking and unique doors that I begun to photograph as I walked through. Some were obscured by cars but there were still plenty of others to choose from.
I soon realised that I had stumbled across a very interesting part of Tallinn I never expected to see, especially when I found the small Kalju Church, unfortunately it’s door was locked.
The Doors ranged hugely, from the beautiful to the rugged, the well preserved to the beaten up, and the colourful to the plain. Still, it didn’t matter even the plainest of doors had their own character, you just had to look a little harder to see it.
Kalamaja is a neighbourhood of growing popularity in the city of Tallinn. Bordered by the medieval stonewalls of the old town on one side and Tallinn’s coastline on the other, it is a diverse and interesting neighbourhood with Telliskivi at its heart.
I began to think that I had seen them all but further up the road I would be even more surprised by the next, especially when they became more striking and colorful.
What’s your favorite door from Tallinn? Let me know in the comments below and I would like to see your favourite doors, share a link to your post or Instagram.
How about my post Colourful Copenhagen, another surprisingly colourful city, even on a foggy winter’s day.
I am a team member of Day With A Local and these photographs were taken in cooperation with them.
More doors HERE.
Slowly decaying on a small section of Tallinn’s coast is Linnahall, an old sports and concert venue built in 1980. The venue was built as part of the Olympics that took place in Moscow in the same year. At this time Estonia was apart of the Soviet Union and as Moscow didn’t have a suitable location to hold the sailing events Tallinn was chosen.
There was little sign of life and I was the only walking around. At the entrance there were a few cars parked outside but I had no idea where the owners would have gone. If the offices inside were used I thought to myself, what a miserable place to work.
When the venue was completed it was named V. I. Lenin Palace of Culture and Sport but was later changed to Linnahall, most likely when Estonia became independent in 1991.
Who knows when Poseidon saw its last customers. Not much of a night out now.
You can walk fairly freely around the building as long as you can navigate the maze of stairs, many of which still lead to a dead end or locked gate.
What surprised me most about Linnahall was that the building was completed in 1980, and from the looks of things, it was abandoned almost right away. I know, 1980 was actually sometime ago and more likely the venue has been used more recently.
It seems like such a waste to leave a large and interesting building to go unused but it happens everywhere, especially when it comes to buildings built for the Olympics. My visit to Linnahall has sparked my interested and I am keen to learn more about the building and what the city has planned for its future.
As with any building left to sink into disrepair, Linnahall has attracted a fair amount of attention from graffiti artists, some of it better than others..
Views of St Olaf’s Church and Tallinn’s medieval old town can be seen as it’s only a short distance away.
From the outside it is difficult to tell what Linnahall is all about. The crumbling and graffitied walls, the locked doors and barred windows, are hiding the secrets of what lies within. Unfortunately, that will have to wait for another time.
I am a team member of Day With A Local and these photographs were taken in cooperation with them.