The ‘CSILLAGDA’ (already obsolete word for observatory in Hungarian), that only existed for a short period of 37 years on top of the most famous of hills, Gellert in Budapest, was named URANIAE. Urania was one of the nine Muses in Greek mythology, patroness of astronomy and astrology; hence the name of the observatory.
The idea to build an observatory already existed in the first half of the 19th century already and the Gellert hill was chosen as location eventually. The Uraniae was erected at the South end of the Citadel on a piece of land granted by the city of Buda based on the architectural work of Janos PASQUICH, a mathematician-astronomer and Mihaly POLLACK, well-known and celebrated architect of the age. The interior design and the majority of the tools were made by Munich-based Reichenbach Ltd.
The construction cost of the observatory reached 80000 Hungarian Forints of the era and it consisted of two dome-towers and the one main hall that served as a research centre. Inauguration ceremony took place on 26 October in 1815, however the building could not avoid its fate of destruction in the Battle of Buda (May, 1849) during the 1848-49 Hungarian revolution. The remaining ruins of the observatory were then blast in the so-called Bach-era (named after the Austrian Minister of Interior affairs) to give space to the planned military fortification, the Citadel (built btw. 1850-54).
During its 37 years of existence the ‘Csillagda’ was one of the most state-of-the-art observatories in Europe. The history of this short period provided a rich material, therefore I took them as a basis and incorporated them into the visual layout during the design phase. I created the graphics based on the descriptions of several astronomical and educational (mechanical observatories) tools, designs, all closely related to the Csillagda.
Today the existence of an observatory on the top of the hill would not be justified as the citylights around the hill and on the Pest-side are polluting the sky, thus making it impossible for inhabitants to see the stars...