Located in Szabó Ervin tér 1, in the VIII district of Budapest, the Metropolitan Ervin Szabò Library is one of the hidden treasures of the city that not everyone knows but that everyone should visit. The library is actually part of the Fővárosi Szabó Ervin Könyvtár, a historical library network. This group of libraries has been promoting cultural events and reading-related activities throughout the city for 110 years now, and with 48 branch libraries and offices in all 23 districts of Budapest, it is the largest resource in Hungary as a whole, in particularly for sociology books.
But why is the Metropolitan Ervin Szabò Library considered so important and special? It should be remembered that it was Ervin Szabò, a sociologist, who in 1931 had already established the Central Library inside the Wenckheim Palace which can still be visited today. Szabò's collection began to grow rather rapidly, and it is also thanks to this that new offices were created, spread throughout the city, adding more and more buildings to the Central Library, which is now recognized as a national monument and has a total of more than 13,000 m² with approximately a capacity for 1,100,000 volumes.
The Wenckheim Palace is a Baroque building built in 1889 by Frigyes Wenckheim and his wife Krisztina Wenckheim, in a Neo-Baroque style. Count Wenckheim was at the time a wealthy landowner, member of Parliament, and had what is now considered a real jewel in the heart of the city built, as well as one of the most beautiful buildings in the 8th district. The façade is in stone, finely decorated, and the wrought iron gate, with intricate decorations, which stands out at the corner of Ervin Szabò Tèr certainly does not go unnoticed.
Entering the building it hardly seems that it still contains traces of its baroque past: the entrance is in fact totally modernized and the most surprising part of the building is hidden inside, on the fourth floor.
The cost of the ticket is 1500HUF, no reservation is required and at the information desk at the entrance they provide tickets and a brief description of the building. You can reach the fourth floor on foot or by elevator, the part dedicated to the building is on the right, with various indications indicating it.
What remains of the Wenckheim Palace helps to understand its original magnificence: the wing of the building that houses it is composed of large, bright rooms, where gold, white and green stand out above any other color. You immediately feel catapulted back in time, and the silence that embraces each room helps to make the atmosphere even more magical. It is good to remember that, except for special events - weddings or receptions, which can be organized inside the building on request -, this wing of the building is also reserved for library users: it is therefore not difficult to enter a room, admire the enchanted decorations and then realize that there are students busy studying inside.
The rooms that can currently be visited are the old and huge ballroom, which could undoubtedly accommodate 500 people inside, and some smaller but no less fascinating lounges. The place is well cared for and it is possible to explore it calmly, although even a thorough visit does not take more than an hour, considering that there are only seven rooms.
Certainly a place that lovers of this style, art and photography cannot miss, but a hidden gem even for cinephiles: in fact, several films have been shot inside the building, including " ", “ ”, “” and “ ”.