When asked how long she has lived in Obuda, Maria Santha, professor at Eotovos Josef College and Obuda resident, responds with pride by saying “Forty years, so basically forever!”
Obuda is a city within a city in Budapest, Hungary. It has historical and cultural wonders. A quiet place tucked away on western bank of the Danube River, the town has everything from Roman ruins to historic statues to old Soviet housing from the communist era still in us today.
Near the communist-era Soviet housing remain 2,000-year-old Roman Roman military encampment ruins. The excavation, carried out from 1981 to 1984, unearthed 10 square miles of rooms, shrines and baths.
In 1986 famous sculptor Imre Varga erected a sculpture named “Umbrella Carriers.” The inspiration for the sculpture came from Varga seeing prostitutes waiting on the street in the rain.
“It is not a story I tell my children or spread around, but it is a sad inspiration,” Santha said.
Another prominent sculpture in Obuda is the Holy Trinity Sculpture in Holy Spirit Square. This sculpture is an expression of gratitude to God from the survivors of the devastating plague from 1738-1739. The foundation stone for the sculpture was laid in 1740. The sculpture is 37 feet high with God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Virgin Mary as the central figures.
Maria lives in the former Soviet housing complex right beside the Roman ruins. Called a “panel building”, it is made of panels of pre-manufactured concrete blocks stacked one upon the other. In communist times the building was grey, much like communism, Maria said, but now it is bright and colorful because communism is no more.
“Back in communist times everyone from doctors to lawyers to candlestick makers lived in housing estates,” said Maria.
Maria said living the American dream would be nice, and having her own yard and garage would be ideal, but she loves where she lives. She said everyone says their housing estate feels different and isn’t drab, but she really believes hers is truly different and home to her.
“it is a sad inspiration”
Right outside the housing estate is the church Maria attends. The St. Peter and Paul Parish Church is the oldest reformed church in the capital. It was built in 1785-1786 on the foundation and walls of a medieval royal castle. The church is in Louis XVI style and the steeple dates from 100 years later.
Maria moved from the small Hungarian village she was born in to Obuda to go to university. She has lived in Obuda ever since. Her love for Obuda runs deep and she thinks it is the most beautiful part of Hungary.