Hidden away from the touristic centre, the Hungarian Institute of Geophysics and Geology on Stefánia út is one of Budapest's Secessionist secrets. Each detail in Ödön Lechner's architectural masterpiece has been carefully crafted to carry a geological meaning.
The brilliant blue tiled rooftop symbolises the sea, crowned with globes on the turrets. The entrance hall with brown walls and tiled floors represent the inside of cave, while the plastercast features conjure up an art nouveau interpretation of stalactites and stalagmites or fossil shaped details.
The building was designed to be seen from afar, since this part of Budapest was just parkland when the insitute was originally built. However, since the city expanded, the instutute is now lost between houses, embassies and palatial structures on the wide boulevard, and you only really notice it when you look up.
This building designed by the Hungarian Gaudí met all the pre-requisite expectations, which was to function as a geological exhibition space. Today, you can arrange guided yours through the institute itself in either Hungarian or English, where you'll see the local collection of fossils, crystals and items of geological interest, but the building itself is undoubtedly the most precious item in the collection.