The circus building in the heart of Budapest celebrates its 50th anniversary. The pandemic and COVID restrictions haven’t stopped the Hungarian circus community from commemorating this iconic building. Its fascinating 131 years history has always been shadowed by politics and the history of turmoil in the Central European region.
It all started in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1889, when the German-Dutch circus director, Ede Wulff, opened the first circus building in the Budapest City Park, accommodating an audience of 2,290 people. He built an iron-framed structure covered with tin sheets, avoiding wood for fire safety reasons. Six years later, Wulff handed over the lease of the City Circus to the neighboring Zoo. Matvej Ivanovics Beketov, clown, equestrian, and entrepreneur, took over the lease in 1904 and renovated the building at his own expense. The building for the next 30 years was called Circus Beketov. Sándor Könyöt joined Beketov as co-director in the 20s. In 1935, the circus building was up for lease again when entrepreneur György Fényes won the bid. In July of 1936, the opening night of the Fényes Grand City Circus was a huge success, showcasing the most acclaimed artists of the time, such as Gábor Eötvös, musical clown and a soon-to-be multiple prize and award winning ...
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