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Corvinus Univ. Main Building (formerly Main Customs Office)

Only a few know where the name of Fővám Square comes from. The story of the area on the Pest side of Liberty Bridge dates back to the mid-19th century when the small town of Pest started a rapid development after the Compromise of 1867. Development posed some challenges. One of them was monitoring incoming goods of expanding quantity and range so a spacious building for numerous and complex customs services was needed.

Main Building of Corvinus University of Budapest
Main Building of Corvinus University of Budapest Photo: funiQ

Why here? It was Earl Gyula Andrássy’s choice who, despite debates and conflicting interests, insisting on a location near public warehouses, the Danube and railway for freight transport (Freight trains arriving from the south reached the former public warehouses (today Bálna Budapest) and later the Main Customs Office.).

It was the most famous and best architect of his time, Miklós Ybl who was assigned to plan the building. Construction works began in 1870 and finished four years later. Although Ybl adjusted the design more times to meet changing needs, the final outcome was not only beautiful but up-to-date too.

Rails led into the building where the engine was turned on a turntable. There was navigable tunnel to the Danube with a lock, telephone and more elevators. The building included not only storage rooms and offices but flats for visiting officers. No wonder costs considerably exceeded budget and Ybl was heavily criticized for exaggerated decoration of the façade. His work became a landmark of the Pest side, however, WW2 badly damaged the building. Reconstruction after the war followed guidelines for a new function: the customs office was transformed into a university.

main entrance of Corvinus University of Budapest
Main entrance of Corvinus University of Budapest Photo: funiQ

Following the remodeling the Hungarian University of Economics moved in the building in 1950, renamed to Budapest Corvinus University in 2004.

Recommended tours

Universities and parks on the two sides of the Danube The bike trip from the university campus to Kopaszi levee lets you discover the riverbanks crossing the Danube twice. Riding along the river you will a beautiful spa, a university building that dominates the riverside, significant cultural spots and probably the most popular park of the city.

Discovering underground line M4 Underground line 4 has brought elegance and style to the world of underground transport in Budapest. Contemporary architecture makes everyday commutes an artistic experience for locals. Surface level attractions will also be discovered during the tour.