Budapest emerged in 1873 from the union of three previously independent cities, the medieval burg-castle of Ofen (hungarian Buda) and Pest and Altofen (hungarian Óbuda).
Next to the Matthias church and the Fisherman’s Bastion, the palace, the construction of which was commissioned by King Belá IV in 1242, represents the heart of the Buda burg-castle district on the western bank of the Danube. The palace, which has been rebuilt, expanded and restored several times since then (among others by the Hungarian architects Miklós Ybl und Alajos Hauszmann) served the Hungarian kings as residence and significantly shaped the image of Budapest.
On June 8, 1867, Franz Joseph and Elisabeth were crowned king and queen of Hungary in the Matthias church with the St.Stephen’s crown by the primate of the Catholic church. The political balance thus found its symbolic conclusion. Both states were now linked as the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy, but kept their own parliaments and ministries.
In 1987 the palace and the banks of the Danube below the burg-castle hill were declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Today the palace is mainly used by museums, the Széchényi- National Library (hungarian: Országos Széchényi Könyvtár), the Hungarian National Gallery (hungarian: Magyar Nemzeti Galéria) and the Historic Museum (hungarian: Budapesti Történeti Múzeum) and also for cultural events.