The VIII District has a mixed reputation. Inside the Grand Boulevard you’ll find spectacular palatial residences, but on the outside the VIII District is more run down, with gritty buildings and with parts carrying a shadier reputation. However, in my opinion it’s also an underrated district housing many interesting hidden or off beat places in the city, and the Füvészkert is just one of these.
Located on the outskirts of the VIII District this green botanical sanctuary is perfect for the spring, especially when its fruit trees are in full bloom. Established in the 18th century, it’s Hungary’s oldest botanical garden, established by the Eötvös Loránd University’s Faculty of Medicine. However, the garden’s original location was not always here in the outer VIII District, since this particular garden was actually founded in the 19th century after several location changes. The garden is still owned by the University, and is home its own mini-Eden of over 200 endangered plants.
On the other side of the world, in Japan has been celebrating the arrival of its Sakura season – a festive time to view and picnic under the cherry blossoms. While most of us are too busy running around with our lives to stop and smell the flowers, the Füvészkert, Budapest’s own botanical garden, celebrates this wonderful tradition in its Asian garden.
Last weekend, the Japanese embassy and the Hungarian-Japanese friendship society organised events ranging from Japanese cooking classes to martial arts demonstrations, and the events are set to continue this weekend. While this cultural exchange presents a good excuse to visit the botanical garden, especially since you’ll find a festive vibe here, the gardens offer respite for most of the year between April and October.
Right now the cherry and plum trees are in full bloom and perfume the air, but you can still take a walk around the garden and explore its botanical wonders, from its bonsai collection, tucked away behind the modest ivy clad manor house, or the magnolia tree which is also in full bloom. Simply take a rug with you and set up a picnic under the cherry blossoms and the calming Zen pond.
Last weekend, we were not so lucky with the weather, so when the raindrops started to spit down, the vintage palm house offered the perfect escape. Inside this cage of iron and glass, the temperature the humidity jumps up a few degrees, and even the lens of my camera steamed up as we strolled past the wide leaves of the banana trees. The smell evokes a different side of the world; one that’s a world away from the grey skies outdoors.
Botanical gardens are the perfect place to escape urban life and reconnect with nature, so pack a picnic and head over to the Füvészkert for a lazy afternoon – just make sure you stop and smell the flowers once in your busy life.
Budapest, Illés u. 25, 1083
Metro Line 3: Klinikák