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A Guide to Budapest’s Best Autumn Events of 2013
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A Guide to Budapest’s Best Autumn Events of 2013

Picture of Helen Brady
Updated: 9 February 2017
Budapest has been one of Europe’s most important cultural centres for centuries. Situated on the banks of the glorious Danube River, the city is split into two parts — Buda and Pest, both of which have their own distinctive character and cultural calendar. From wine festivals to some of the most exquisite Renaissance drawings, discover the best upcoming events in both sides of Budapest this autumn and winter.

Culture | Septemberfest 2013:

6 September 2013 – 8 September 2013

Septemberfest celebrates the changing of seasons and welcomes autumn in Népliget — one of the largest parks in Budapest. For three days in the beginning of September, Septemberfest offers a wide variety of programmes involving gastronomy, culture and entertainment for all generations. Extremely popular with locals, this free festival offers visitors lots of activities — such as trying your hand at making homemade Hungarian stews in a Goulash cooking contest. At the centre of the park, a huge stage will be erected with performances from great Hungarian musicians in every style — including rock, pop and jazz. Every year has a special guest performer, with this year’s act to be confirmed.

Food | Budapest International Wine Festival:

11 September 2013 – 15 September 2013

As one of the most prestigious events of its kind in Hungary, The Budapest International Wine Festival gives people the chance to sample some of the best Hungarian wines, whilst meeting notable wine makers and learning about the art of winemaking. This year’s edition will showcase over two hundred wines from fifteen countries, along with almost sixty cultural programmes. The fabulous wines deserve to be accompanied by great food, and this year’s festival is no exception. Cauldron-cooked dishes, corn cake with plum jam, goat’s milk and cow cheeses and crispy strudels are just some of the delicacies which can be perfectly partnered with the wine on display. In addition to domestic wines, many foreign vintages will also be exhibited, as well as wines from the guest wine-region. Musical events will include jazz performances by the Budapest Jazz Orchestra, the Ghymes, and Magna Cum Laude, whilst the Csík Orchestra will provide the closing notes of the Wine Festival.

Art | Chagall – Between War and Peace Exhibition – Hungarian National Gallery:

13 September 2013 – 5 January 2014

An exhibition displaying works by Marc Chagall and Imre Ámos will run at the Hungarian National Gallery this coming fall. For both artists, their personal histories, religion and Jewish identity played a central role in their oeuvres. Their art is deeply centred upon the traditions and history of Eastern Europe — Ámos was a martyred Hungarian Jew and Chagall was a Russian émigré. Both choose art as a means of interpreting their tumultuous personal and national history, as well as escaping from it; Chagall once said in a 1958 lecture ‘I chose painting; it was as indispensable to me as eating… It appeared before me like a window through which I would fly toward another world.’ The first two sections of the exhibition focus on Chagall and take us from 1914 up to the end of the 1930s, in which some of his most creative and purposeful works were created. The works by Imre Ámos, who is often called the ‘Hungarian Chagall’, provide a counterpoint to the more widely known works of the Russian artist, whilst also offering a perspective on the turmoil of 20th European history.

Design | Budapest Design Week:

27 September 2013 – 10 October 2014

Entering its tenth year in 2013, Budapest Design Week is a festival which focuses on the crossovers of contemporary design with other art forms, and on the intersections that design creates with fine arts, architecture, digital technologies and crafts. This year’s Design Week will also focus on the impact that economic, social and cultural changes have had upon the evolution of design. The economic crisis has resulted in the increased demand for cheap products, and thanks to modern technologies, almost anyone can become a designer. However, professionals can also not disregard their social consciousness, with activities such as recycling becoming more prevalent than ever. Contemporary design has never been so characterised by high tech and low tech at once – ‘by uniqueness and a democratic dimension, by high technical quality and contingency’. Budapest Design Week 2013 aims to inform visitors about this extremely exciting time in contemporary design, and to reveal the future of this constantly evolving field.

Culture | Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival:

5 October 2013 – 14 October 2013

This October event could be loosely summarised as ten days dedicated entirely to culture. Known for the past twenty years as ‘Budapest Autumn Festival’, this event has recently been renamed as Café Budapest and its aim is to celebrate the best of creative talent and the great achievements across the field of contemporary arts. The list of venues includes popular cafes and retro pubs (past venues have included A38 and Szatyor Bar) along with bigger spaces such as the art gallery Trafó and the city’s theatres (Átrium Cinema, and the National Theater). The programme offers an exciting repertoire of musical performances, theatre and dance. The event series will also offer wide-ranging musical highlights — from giants of contemporary popular and classical music, to electronic music and compositions incorporating visual design. Jazz lovers will be spoiled with this year’s jazz marathon, suitably hosted by the Budapest Jazz Club and now at a new location. Café Budapest will also present this year’s Night of Contemporary Galleries of Budapest — featuring twenty-four private establishments in the city showcasing some sensational contemporary art.

Art | Caravaggio to Canaletto Exhibition – Museum of Fine Arts Budapest:

26 October 2013 – 16 February 2014

This exciting exhibition will celebrate the glory of Italian Baroque and Rococo painting at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, with particular focus on Caravaggio and Canaletto. A few years ago, the staff at the Szépművészeti Múzeum (Museum of Fine Arts) set themselves the ambitious goal of presenting Italian painting from the 15th and 18th centuries in two consecutive exhibitions. The first — Botticelli to Titian was held in 2009/2010 and was one of the museum’s most successful exhibitions in recent times. This second exhibition will hopefully match the success of its predecessor and will bring a wide range of Italian painting to Hungary for the first time. The thirty pictures from the core collection of the Szépművészeti Múzeum (including works by leading masters such as Annibale Carracci, Artemisia Gentileschi and Bernardo Bellotto) are accompanied by pieces from Hungarian private collections, and about one hundred paintings loaned by various European and American museums and collections, both public and private.

Art | Art Market Budapest:

28 November – 1 December 2013

After its premiere in 2011, the overwhelming success of Art Market Budapest has proven that there is a growing appreciation for Eastern European art in the Hungarian capital and beyond. Professionals and art lovers alike can ignite their interest at this fair which is simultaneously a cultural, sociological and social event. Art Market Budapest renders contemporary art visible and accessible to observers, and to the local and worldwide professional audience; providing a context within which art can be discussed and crucial ideas exchanged. Art Market and its programmes are specifically designed to help bring the public and artists closer together. Featured presentations include the project entitled ‘Gypsy Art Program’ – an activity which focuses on the Central and Eastern European social and artistic phenomenon, showcasing some of the region’s most exciting emerging artists. Art Market Budapest will be held at Millenáris, a ‘Europa Nostra’ awarded complex and one of best-equipped cultural centres in Central and Eastern Europe.

Art | Raphael Exhibition – Triumph of Perfection – Museum of Fine Arts:

14 November 2013 – 16 November 2014

This year long exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest looks at Raphael, the youngest of the famous Renaissance triad including Leonardo and Michelangelo, and his enduring legacy for Italian art. Raphael was among the first to recognize the advantages of reproducing his compositions in print. Collaborating with the most eminent Italian engraver, Marcantonio Raimondi, he engaged a successful undertaking, which marked the birth of the print publishing business in Rome. From Renaissance drawings and prints, this exhibition includes sixty-five masterpieces, which demonstrate Raphael’s genius as well as his influence on the next generation. In his highly organised and prolific workshop, many gifted artists and protagonists worked under Raphael’s supervision, such as Perino del Vafa, Giulio Romano and Polidoro da Caravaggio. Curated by Zoltán Kárpáti and Eszter Seres, the show offers an extraordinary opportunity to understand Raphael’s working method in detail. The exhibition was preceded by a detailed, expert and technical examination of the Raphael drawings, which will be published in a catalogue to accompany the show.

Culture | Budapest Christmas Fair:

16 November 2013 – 30 December 2013

A visit to the Budapest Christmas Fair guarantees a special and unique Christmas gift for your loved ones. At the end of November each year, Vörösmarty square turns into a magical, festive marketplace. Situated in the centre of Budapest, the fair contains a staggering 122 stalls of high-quality products — selected and approved by a special jury of folk art experts. Kalocsa town is this year’s guest of honour, and famous for its paprika spice and the colourful embroidery of unique floral motifs. Visitors can purchase embroidered tablecloths, hand-painted porcelain and the famous Hungarian spice at their kiosk. For great gastronomy, be sure to try the traditional Hungarian Christmas dishes: such as roasted goose thigh, grilled sausage and meat, pork knuckle and stuffed cabbage. From 30th November until the 23rd of December, guests can enjoy a three minute long spectacular animated light show with Christmas themes, every day at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 8pm.

Culture | Quarter6Quarter7 Festival:

8 December 2013 – 16 December 2013

Established in 2009, the Quarter6Quarter7 Festival commemorates the annual Hanukkah celebrations of miracles and light in Budapest’s former Jewish Quarter. The Jewish Quarter is located in downtown Budapest, in between districts six and seven, hence the name of the festival. The activities are very lively with various festivities from film screenings to Jewish cultural events, kosher and non-kosher Jewish traditional foods, live concerts, exhibitions and theatre performances. At over eighteen cultural venues, visitors can learn about Jewish culture and its heritage in locations such as restaurants, clubs, ruins and pubs. Previous venues have included Doblo Wine Bar, Israeli Cultural Institute in Budapest (Izraeli Kulturalis Intezet), Mosaic Tea House (Mozaik Teahaz), Koleves Restaurant (Koleves Etterem), and the streets of the Jewish Quarter, especially Kazinczy Street and Kiraly Street. If you fancy being more active, guided walking tours are available which focus on detailed information about Judaism and Hungarian Jewish culture.

By Helen Brady