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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

A Venerable Budapest Courtyard - Popular with Filmmakers - UPDATED

Updated: Mar 10

Or so says the photographer. It's GuesterTester110 - But where?

Photo: This pic (or at least one print of it) is one of a series of 35 images currently on display in a 'niche' exhibition, all taken by a Swiss-Hungarian chappie who delights in discovering and photographing the stairways and inner courtyards of Hungarian and central European buildings - and then learning about their histories.

By one of those strange coincidences, this street, which I didn't know previously, has come up in my life three times in the past month. In fact, just a day or two before I encountered this photograph, I had to visit another address in the same street. And a few days later, someone else mentioned it for some reason. Funny, eh?

(I've met two totally separate people from Tipperary in the past week too - I'm now awaiting my third Tipperary incident.)

But back on topic: for the fabulous chance to win a KesterTester and accompanying global celebrity status - where is this scene? I won't mention the name of the photographer, nor where his works are on show, just yet.

Answers please via an email or the site messaging system, kindly put KT110 into the subject line so I don't lose your entry!

And have a great weekend! (Oh, almost forgot - answer to KT108 has been posted, KT109 is still open for entries. Maybe I should put another clue into that one. Hmmm.)

Done. Well, I've added a bit of commentary to KT109 - might help the canny sleuther who knows this part of the world. :)

UPDATE - Competitors and Esteemed Winner!

Rather to my surprise, this GuesterTester from Vincent Till Baumgartner did not find many takers. (I thought it might be difficult, but not THAT difficult.)

First in was Misi Varga (no, not Finance Minister Varga - a namesake).

He confidently pronounced: "Dohány utca"


Next to make a punt was Hubert "Poiroit" Warsmann:

"KT110 This is the courtyard of the old Zichy Palota in the nyolc ker (Szentkiraly u), behind the National Museum. The building also belonged to the Karolyi family at some point. 

It was eventually divided in two with the grander part now one of the sites of the Theatre and Cinema School and the other part remaining a residential building. 

Among colorful tenants, it once hosted the seat of the Hungarian National Fascist Party led by the infamous Pal Pronay; and that of the Magyar Nippon Társaság (pre WWII). 

The latter was created by Dr Istvan Mezey, a lawyer and former officer of the Austro Hungarian Army, captured by the Russians during WWI and sent to a POW camp in Siberia. He escaped to Japan, learned Japanese and organised the repatriation via Japan of Hungarian POWs in Siberia at the end of WWI, many of whom joined the Society. Although a number of its members were adept of Turanism, the Society focused on culture and arts and it became the main promoter of Japanese culture in the interwar period."

Wow! Where did you get all that from, Hubert? I suspect Vincent will learn something there. Escaping from Russia and getting to Japan must have been something, I suspect he took advantage of the chaos during the revolutions there. But back on topic:

Next we heard from Gabriela Hajos:

"Hi Kester, KT110 is it Szentkirályi u.32/b?!

It is a beautiful photo, this one too, and I really enjoy reading you!!, 

So did I win?

Best regards, Gabriela"

Dear me - young people today, eh? Patience dear Gabriela. We have to conform to Brussels' competition regulations, you know - it all gets very tricky these days. The Competition Committee come down hard on me for the slightest infraction.  (Bless 'em - they are only trying to save me from a raid from the EC monitors, of course). 

Ah, but then Gabriela sent in a confession.

"However, I have to admit it was cheating the way I found out about the address. 

My friend was born and raised in "belváros", i.e. in the center. I was sure he knew the courtyard, but it turned out he asked for help from a good old Google ..

Wish you a great weekend!"

Well, I don't know, Gabriela - I have no idea what some of the more devious sleuthers out there use to win KesterTesters these days - such is the lure of fame and glory that comes with winning a coveted Tester accolade - let alone the chance to buy me two beers. The temptations out there are many and powerful, I understand.

But let me tell you a little about the photo - which is part of an exhibition currently on show in a back street very near Blaha Lujza ter.

Photo: Vincent tells the story of the house in one of his pictures - this one used to house a brush making business in days of yore.

Vincent Till Baumgartner is as Hungarian-Swiss photographer who has set out to catalogue as many of the classical hallways and courtyards of the older buildings in Budapest as he can before they get demolished or renovated, or over-renovated you might say, which for Vincent means they lose their charm. (Though he is not against careful preservation of the original designs.)

He and Eszter, his girlfriend, spend many hours each year inveigling their way into housing blocks, often in the early morning hours, seeking new photographic subjects.

This current exhibition - their first ever - consists of 35 photos, all of Budapest homes, almost all on the Pest side (just two are from Buda), with the major part from District VIII.

The exhibition will close in mid-March.

Second Update: Vincent sent me this url saying: A scene of Budapest Noir was shot in Szentkirályi utca 32b : 

Exhibition details:

Buildings Tell Tales: Budapest's Hidden Architectural Heritage 

Photographs by Vincent Till Baumgartner  


1084 Budapest, Bacsó Béla utca 15.

Warning: the street surface Bacsó Béla utca is being renovated right now, so take care if walking down it in the dark - it is easy to lose one's footing.

Photo: Eszter and Vincent pose by one of the photos in the exhibition

Now, to relieve the mental tension in Hubert and Gabriela as they read this - tension which I know has been building to levels rarely survived by humankind in history - I'd better do the draw.

And since there are only two correct competitors (sorry Misi), the KesterTester Regulations allow me to toss a coin - I chose a Ft 200 and assigned the '200' side to Gabriella and the other side (can you guess what image it shows without checking - good pub quiz question)  - pinged it into the air and it came down ... Ft 200 side up.

This means the winner of GuesterTester 110 is none other than Gabriella Hajos! 

Congratulations Gabi - worldwide celebrity status now awaits - I hope you can take the adoration!

More information:

Vincent's website :

He uses the following websites for his research into the history of the buildings

BTW, Vincent says he is happy to have a companion with him when he is out on his forays - so you should contact him via his website if you fancy some hands-on experience.

Finally - I know I've not released the winner of KT109 - so that's STILL open.

I just had to get this one out earlier in order to help you catch the exhibition while it's still open. Have a great week!

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