Kazinczy street is one of the most fascinating streets in Budapest: It is not as straight as the streets of Pest in general, therefore the street has an “old town” feeling. Originally it was called “Small Cross Street” and “Big Cross Street”, and it was named after the outstanding Hungarian linguist Ferenc Kazinczy in 1879. The houses are full of interesting memories and stories, as they hosted a card painting workshop, a brass goods factory, a furnace factory and even a steam bath. Furthermore, the street still has a micve, a ritual Jewish bath. Its gem is the art deco style Orthodox synagogue still in use today, built at the breaking point of the street in the first part of the 20th century.
When we start our discovery tour at number 55 in Kazinczy street, let us stop for a moment in front of the Wichmann pub (Szent Jupát officially). This is the building where the legendary graphic design of the Hungarian seasons pattern playing cards were made by József Schneider in 1836. The designer created the iconic mirrored characters with the purpose of “by recalling the freedom fight of Wilhelm Tell to arise the national awareness of our playful citizens”. The pub, which was founded by nine time canoe world champion Tamás Wichmann, initially named after the patron saint of canoe rowers opened in 1987 and it became known for its huge Wiener snitzel sandwiches still available at midnight.
photo: Kovács Andrea
Just a few steps away we find the Mika Tivadar Bar. Who was place named after? Who was Tivadar Mika? He was a conscious businessman, who engraved his name on the façade of the house he built already in 1907, where he established a turner and metal polishing workshop. The products were pushed out to the street in mining wagons, and the incoming products were received through the gate. The building was saved from destruction around 2000 by the Óvás! Association, an NGO aiming to save the monuments of the Jewish quarter since 2004, and in 2010it was transformed into a club evoking the atmosphere of the 1920s.
source: Egy nap a városban
On the other side of the street, where today we can find the Choreographer and Dance Teacher Training Faculty of the Hungarian Dance Art College, there used to be the first steam bath of Pest, the so-called Scheibel bath until 1969. The classicist style bath, built with a so-called cour d'honneur, or opened ornamental yard was a very trendy place with a nice atmosphere, according to contemporary descriptions. Water for the separate showers for women and men and the steam rooms was provided from heated Danube water. József Scheibel allowed underprivileged, ailing people to visit the steam bath by providing 1000 free tickets for them annually.
At the place, where now the really popular Kőleves Restaurant stands, there used to be a kosher sausage smoker factory, and after it was closed down, the building was one of the first squats of Budapest. It was operated by an NGO, helping youths with addiction problems. Further down in the street, we can see the synagogue designed by Sándor Löffler and Béla Löffler, built in 1913, and still used regularly by the Orthodox Jewish community. The synagogue consists of several buildings. There is a synagogue and an adjoining building at the back, which is a community house and a school, surrounding an inner courtyard. The traditional Jewish marriage ceremonies are held in this courtyard.
source: Fortepan
We can walk further along the Pedagogy and Psychology Faculty of Eötvös Loránd University, and we reach the one-time transformer house with its high ceilings, now hosting the Electrotechnical Museum. The transformer house provided electric power for the neighbourhood from 1934 to 1965. The idea to transform the transformer house into a museum was born in the 1960s. The Hungarian Electrotechnical Collection commemorating world famous Hungarian scientists and technical experts, exhibiting historical objects and also hosting a library opened in 1975. Over the years, the place developed into training centre and scientific workshop specialized in the history of technology, renowned internationally. After the closing down of the cultural centre AKKU, now the team of TESLA organizes cultural and music events in the building.
Source: collection of the Electrotechnical Museum Budapest
Szimpla Kert at 14, Kazinczy street, is the first and most renowned ruin bar in Budapest, and was the initiator of the bar design based on upcycling, and is now one of the most popular tourist destinations of the city. The bar opened in 2004, and has been functioning ever since as a café, a restaurant, a bar, a garden cinema, a farmers’ market and a concert hall, where exhibitions, fairs, markets, workshops, concerts and other community events take place. As a member of Kazinczy utca and the NGO AZÉRT – Az Élő Erzsébetvárosért the place boosts events such as street festivals or cultural programs, also destined for the local community. Its unique atmosphere and city improving initiatives are the direct continuation of the heated ambiance of the one-time Héber furnace factory. Those who are skilful enough can still find an original “Zephir” furnace, antique yet still working, designed by Sándor Héber…
source: Országos Széchényi Könyvtár
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