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Nature reserve

The Arboretum of Buda

Nature reserve · Dunazug-hegyvidék · 113 m
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  • The Arboretum of Buda
    The Arboretum of Buda
    Photo: Eszter Szabó, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
A green island in the heart of the bustling capital at the foot of Gellért Hill. The arboretum amazing and colurful in any season established in 1835 is home to nearly 2000 trees and shrubs, 240 bulbous flowers and 300 perennials in an area of 7.5 hectares.

A wine press house turns into university – the beginnings

The Arboretum of Buda has become one of the richest botanical garden in the country. Its origin is closely linked to the foundation of the Training Institute of Wine Making and Horticulture. The founder, Ferenc Entz (1805-1877) worked as a viticulturist and horticulturist, although he is also known for serving as a chief military physician during the Independence War of 1848. His bust is displayed at Building A in the Lower Garden. 

It was Entz who established the first garden for horticultural education in Hungary, which later on gained recognition continent-wide. The first building (currently E building) on the left in the Upper Garden used to function as a wine press house as hillsides of Buda used to be covered with vineyards until the devastation of the philloxera epidemic in the late 1800s. The eclectic style building just opposite the entrance (Building F) used to host the management board office.

Planting works began around the two buildings in autumn of 1893 and spring of 1894 by the plans of chief horticulturist and dendrologist Károly Räde. The arrangement of the plants according to taxonomic classification served educational purposes. It was also Räde who designed the green houses and supervised their construction.

Besides the green houses and outdoor crops around 1000 types of trees and shrubs as well as 90 perennials were planted in 3 hectares. Some of them have survived until today with an age over 125 years.

Expansion

In the 1920s expansion was necessary and the other side of Ménesi Street was attached to the arboretum forming two parts (Upper Garden, Lower Garden). Based on a concept by landscape architect Dr. Béla Rerrich the project was managed by dendrologist Gyula Magyar, also teacher of the training institute. Several rarities were planted extending the botanical collection to more than 1300 species.

The Lower Garden was designed to follow a different arrangement concept compared to that of the Upper Garden. Unlike in the Upper Garden arrangement was based on plant communities with plants of similar needs rather than taxonomic classification. As a result a park-like garden was established with 19 thematic groups of plant communities. Following the map of the arboretum it is easy to find the rock garden, bamboos, shade-loving plants, climbing plants or pines, just to mention a few. The green houses are home to subtropical plants and a tiny pond in the Lower Garden displays an aquatic plant community.

Bad times

Unfortunately, plants demanding special soil conditions, climate and care were short-lived and the two world wars also caused considerable damages. Marks of firearms are still visible on the trunk of some old trees. The number of species dropped to around 800.

Post-war years brought progress again. The training institute had outgrown this location by then so the educational farm was relocated to the outskirts of the city. Rehabilitation could begin under the management of Prof. Imre Ormos. Damaged and old plants were replaced. The number of specimens per species was increased to assure their survival.

The arboretum today

It gained a nature reserve status in 1975 and since 2005 it has been a protected heritage site open to the public. Visitors may enjoy blooming flowers in spring, 30 species of native singing birds in summer, foliage in a variety of colours in autumn and sleeping nature in winter, all hidden in the middle of a bustling city. To the left of the entrance across the parking lot a map guides visitors and plant tags help to identify plants.

Since 2018 the arboretum has also functioned as a campus of Szent István University. Students may graduate as horticulturists, landscape designers, viticulturists, wine makers and brewers here.

The Lower Garden hosts an ornamental plant fair and exhibition every spring and autumn.

Opening hours

Open all year round with seasonal opening hours

Summer season (March 1 - October 23)

  • Monday - Friday: 8:00-18:00 (Upper and Lower Garden)
  • Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 8:00-18:00 (Lower Garden only)

Winter seasaon (October 24 - February 28)

  • Monday - Friday: 8:00-16:00 (Upper and Lower Garden)
  • Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 8:00-16:00 (Lower Garden only)

Price:

Free of charge.
Profile picture of Szabó Eszter / Magyar Arborétumok és Botanikus Kertek Szövetsége
Author
Szabó Eszter / Magyar Arborétumok és Botanikus Kertek Szövetsége
Update: September 19, 2022

Public transport

  • Get off tram 19 and 61, or bus 27 at "Tas vezér utca".

Getting there

  • Head west from the stops along Villányi Street. In 120-130 metres the entrance is on the right at the gate. 
  • The garden is baby stroller accessible (bigger wheels recommended), except the stairs at the upper end of the Lower Garden leading to the Upper Garden. Alternately, the entrance to the Upper Garden is accessible with a short detour via Szüret Street and Ménesi Street. 

Parking

  • The main entrance of the arboretum is accessible from Villányi Street. 
  • Only staff may enter by car; Park your car (payable on weekdays) in Villányi Street or nearby streets (Szüret Street next to the arboretum is adviseable).

Coordinates

DD
47.479523, 19.039183
DMS
47°28'46.3"N 19°02'21.1"E
UTM
34T 352269 5260317
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The Arboretum of Buda

Villányi út 29-43.
1118 Budapest
Phone +36 1 305 7270 Fax +36 1 305 7333

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