Les Clefs D'Or
Les Clefs D'Or

Your Key To Budapest Hungary- 2024 Les Clefs d’Or Award Nominee

Budapest is the dazzling, vibrant, energetic, and never-resting capital of Hungary.

Mihaly Kolodko’s mini statues all over the city to tell you stories on the communist era, raise awareness on diabetes, remember iconic locals of different districts, campaign for more public toilets in the city, or educate you on how Hungarians contributed to the Moon landing.

When we are walking around casually, we often do not pay attention to our surroundings, but stare at our smartphones. Kolodko’s mission is that all these statues just suddenly appear in the city without any warning – you will recognize them if not only you look but see what is happening around you.

The Moon buggy on Moon street

The artist and his family decided to move to Budapest in 2016. They lived on Moon Street (Hold utca in Hungarian) for a longer period. The statue portrays an astronaut waving at us from his buggy. The Lunar Rover, which was used in the Apollo program, was – no surprise here – designed by a Hungarian, who left Hungary after the ‘56 Freedom Fight, Ferenc Pavlics. He received an award from NASA for his contribution to this historic first step.

“Franz Joska”

This mini is located in Liberty Bridge, that used to be named after our emperor, Franz Joseph II., who used to be our emperor during the 19th century, when we formed a monarchy with Austria. After taking back the bridge he is resting in his hammock. Also, in 2016 the bridge was closed from car traffic – locals took back the bridge, hosted sunset yoga lessons, organized picnics – they took the bridge back too!

Aranka néni és Béla bácsi (Auntie Aranka and Uncle Bela)

Auntie Aranka and Uncle Bela used to run their flower business, and according to locals they were a charming old couple; always happy to spoil the residents nearby with fresh flowers. Uncle Bela passed away during Covid-19, 9 years after Aranka. The community of Pasarét district were so touched by their legacy that they started brainstorming on how they could honor their memory. Can you tell how much they loved the elderly couple – I took this picture recently, they dressed the statues up in scarves, to make sure they are not cold during Christmas!

Winnie the Pooh (a tribute to Frigyes Karinthy)

The house (Damjanich Street 27.) where this statue is located, is where Frigyes Karinthy (one of the most famous Hungarian writer, poet and translator) was born. To celebrate the anniversary of the writer’s birthday, a mini appeared underneath; Winnie the Pooh, holding the honey jar, sipping the last drops of honey. Karinthy contributed greatly to translate Winnie the Pooh to Hungarian, however he himself did not speak English – his sister, Emília Karinthy (by nickname Mici Karinthy) prepared the translation and for him to do the literary editing. Therefore, he named the main character after her: Micimackó.

Rezső Seress and the Gloomy Sunday (Szomorú Vasárnap)

Rezső Seress (a former trapeze artist, songwriter, and Holocaust-survivor) was the grizzled pianist of Kispipa bar on Akacfa street. He is the author of a quite infamous song: the Gloomy Sunday (which he wrote in 1933). It is often dubbed as the Hungarian Suicide Song, due to its heartbreaking lyrics and melody. There were more understandable factors that played a huge role in the unusual number of misfortune deaths: The Great Depression post war, and bigger and bigger headway of the Soviet Union. The British government thought the song was so harmful and had such negative effects on wartime moral, that the BBC banned the song – this ban was lifted in 2002.


Anna Salgó is a candidate for the 2024 Les Clefs d’Or Award. This article has been published in its original form.

Meet the Author
Anna Salgó

My name is Anna Salgó, born and currently living in Budapest, Hungary. I have been working in tourism for a decade now, as from my university years I worked at the Hungarian State Opera; created my own Airbnb experience where we explored markets of Budapest and have been guiding foreigners in my beautiful city. I landed in an aparthotel, and soon found my calling as a hotelier. I always wanted to try myself in a luxury hotel, and when the opportunity rose, I took all my courage and applied to the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. Starting as a front desk agent, I gained insight into the professional operation of a five-star hotel, and my connecting departments. However, I soon recognized that reception does not allow me to be in touch with guests and take care of them as I would wish, so concierge seemed like the perfect choice! I am part of the Les Clefs D’or community now, which I consider a great honor and a milestone in my career. I am happy to share my passion and knowledge with tourists of this dazzling city!

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest

The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace opened its doors in 2004.06.18. and has been dominating the luxury hotel scene in Hungary ever since. The building itself was built in 1906 by the British Gresham Life Insurance Company, as a representation of wealth and power. All artwork, tiles, lead glass and sculptures were made by the best of the Hungarian artists of the time. The Gresham Palace soon conquered Budapest with its elegance, art-deco charm, and grandiosity. It became a prestige to live here, shop, or simply show up in the building. The Gresham-Venezia café was of course one of the most popular places of the era, and a selected group of artists met there frequently from 1920. The building was affected by the airstrikes of the II. World War, and then unfortunately the government overlooked all the renovation that should have been made for the palace to shine again. Then our current owners saw huge potential in Budapest and the Gresham palace and contributed greatly to its renewal. 179 guest rooms show now excellent care and luxurious treatment, that I could not be happier to be part of.


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