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"The Big Budapest Name Change" Top 5 Page for this destination Budapest Warnings Or Dangers Tip by antistar

Budapest Warnings and Dangers: 202 reviews and 106 photos

After the collapse of Communism, many of Budapest's streets and squares were changed from their previous roles glorifying the heroes of the people, usually to their original names. Almost a quarter of a century later, they decided to make another big change, but this time it wasn't just Communist names that got the boot. It total 26 squares and streets got renamed, but easily the biggest name on the list is Moskva Ter.

Moscow Square is the central hub of Buda, and one of the busiest squares in the city. Moscow Square might not be the most fitting name for a square in Hungary, but it is at least easily remembered by tourists swamped by strange Hungarian words. The new name, Széll Kálmán tér, doesn't exactly spring off the tongue.

Another big square to get renamed is Roosevelt tér, right in front of Gresham Palace and at the start of the famous Chain Bridge. This will be a little less problematic, as they are renaming it after the bridge: Szechenyi Ter. Most of the rest are in suburbs and out of the way places, although there is an amusing new square at the end of Margaret Island, now named Elvis Presley square. I'm not sure how that got its name, but it might have won a vote. Some odd names in Hungary have come about that way already.

The big problem for visitors is that all the old maps will say Moskva Ter, and all the signs will say something else. Thankfully until 2013 there will be dual signs, but after that you are on your own. If the last big name change is anything to go by, the locals will continue to call the places after their old name for maybe ten years or more, meaning if you ask someone for Széll Kálmán tér, instead of Moskva Ter, you might get blank looks for years to come.

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  • Updated Oct 30, 2013
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