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Back in fall 2014, we spent a long weekend in Budapest, Hungary.  We have a couple more posts on this city before we put up photos from our Malaysian trip.

While strolling along Andrássy út (Budapest’s Fifth Avenue), we came across this building with a rather impressive facade. The combination of art nouveau motifs and dramatic lighting gave the facade a steampunk vibe and later reminded me (Chris) the set design in the movies Dune (1984) and Tyrell Corporation in Blade Runner.


Inside it, we found a branch of the Alexandra bookstore chain. It is one of Hungary’s biggest bookstore.


The Alexandra bookstore started off as a casino in 1884, and then become the Párizsi Nagy Áruház (Paris Department Store) in 1911. It was Budapest’s first building which was built specifically for retail purposes.


Planned and designed by Gustav Petschacher and Sigismund Sziklai, the Neo-Renaissance building – had a billiard and ballrooms on the first floor, playing and reading rooms on the second floor, while the third floor was constructed as luxury apartments.


It has a very modern-looking atrium but the atrium was in the original design.


The interior design – including the spectacular art deco fresco’s which have survived to this day. They were done by the “Prince of Hungarian Arts” Karl Lotz.


It has a high glass-vaulted ceiling, and had a glass-mirrored elevator (which we did not see).


The building somehow survived World War II and the communist period.


The Orco Property Group bought the building in 2005 and spent the next 4 years renovating the building.


When the building reopened on the 10th of November 2009, the first tenant was the Alexandra Bookstore, which took over the ground and first floor.


Click here to see their online bookshop in Hungarian.


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