The interior of the hall has a Romanesque design, but at certain points accommodated Hungarian motifs and style. The architect, Hauszmann, used the finest craftsmen in the country at the time to produce a masterpiece of turn-of-the-century Hungarian applied art. The assemblage of masterpieces was much appreciated by the monarch, Franz Joseph, who ordered that the interior be displayed at the 1900 Paris World’s Fair. In Paris, the display gained enormous public and critical acclaim and won several prizes, including the Grand Prix. The public was also permitted to view the ornate hall in the Palace of Buda Castle when it was completed in 1902.
During the Second World War, the Palace building suffered significant damage due to bombings and a fire that lasted for weeks. The devastation did not spare the Szent István room as it was completely burned down and its furnishings were destroyed. The hall was not restored and was used among other things, as a storage room.
As part of the National Hauszmann Program, the Szent István hall has been restored. Its interior layout, use of materials, decoration, and furniture follow the original Haussmann design using surviving plans, sketches, and photographs. The work was carried out by masters from around twenty workshops across the country to recreate the ornate furnishings as accurately as possible using the original materials. The hall has only been opened to the public since 2021.
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