Budapest Whale

Budapest Whale

The city's newest sight, the Whale (Bálna, formerly called CET) opened in November 2013 after a long period of debate and legal dispute between the municipality of Budapest and the constructor.
Have you wondered what the colossal glass and metal structure sprawling at the Danube bank in Pest between Petőfi Bridge and Szabadság Bridge is?

That's the "Bálna / Whale" (formerly called CET building) a modern shopping, cultural, and entertainment centre, as well as a tourist attraction on par with Paris's Eiffel Tower, or the Covent Garden in London - at least that's what the city leaders want it to be.

This aim seems to be a bit far fetched considering that a few weeks before the planned opening the Whale is still yawning almost empty.

There is a large scale model of Budapest made 30 years ago in the head of the animal that could be visited for free on two days at the beginning of October. It might stay there after the opening unless a retailer want's to rent the space in the head.

A Brief History of the Whale

Whale Shopping Centre southern entranceThe Danube was a very important transportation route in the 19th century: the main portion of wheat produced in Hungary was transported on ship. To serve this water traffic, four public warehouses were built in the Pest side of the river between 1874 and 1881.

By the beginning of the 21. century the buildings were in bad shape, on the road to dilapidation.

A project was launched to refurbish and use the warehouses in ways that meet the requirements of a 21. century, modern capital city. A Dutch architect, Kas Oosterhuis, was commissioned to design a multifunctional complex from the four buildings preserving some of the original architectural elements.

Construction begun in 2009 but the 2011 opening had to be delayed due to legal issues. In 2012 the structure became the property of the Municipality of Budapest that done some necessary repairs and started to prepare for the opening.
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