Great Rock - Budapest


Between 1902 and 1912 an artificial rock was built for the National Zoo of Hungary, in order to enlarge the habitable space of the zoo. Originally the rock housed the cages of lions, tigers and bears, complete with panoramic runways. The plan was to house a Museum of Zoology inside the rock, unfortunately because of the war and lack of money this was never realized. Later it was used as a skating venue, shooting gallery and warehouse. However the long forgotten dreams came true hundred years later, when the interior of the rock was filled with life between 2010 and 2012.

In 2006 the renovation of the rock begun. Despites some problems it was completed in 2008. At this time the zoo decided to rehabilitate the original purpose of the interior: to make it accessible to the public and create a new, exciting museum inside.

Architect Péter KIS was awarded with the design, who completed previously some pavilions and reconstruction for the zoo. The concept was to create a cave-like, crystallized structure which is supported by the existing construction. A major challenge was the heating of this huge place. The architect recommended to use the remaining heat of the nearby thermal bath “Széchenyi” which was approved.

There are plans for the further use of this renewable energy source. The building was successfully completed in 2012, and the exhibition (about the evolution of life) was named “Magical Mountain”.

Translation by András BOTOS

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