Budapest National Gallop is a major cultural event, primarily equestrian in its focus, but you can expect gastronomical treats too.
How does it sound if you read “1000 years of Hungarian history, 6200 square meters racetrack, 380 horses, 70.000,- EURO cash prize…” Do you love horses? Beautiful running horses? Then Budapest National Gallop (Nemzeti Vagta) is a must see event for you. What is more, you do not need to travel to the countryside as the horses come to you, right to the Heroes’ Square, which is the culmination of Andrassy Avenue by the City Park and the Museum of Fine Arts.
National Gallop is one of the top highly characteristic events in Hungary attended by hundreds of thousands of spectators. The gallop is basically a competition amongst horse riders, but it is also a sort of equestrian festival with several accompanying events (equestrian parades featuring bareback horse riders, riding schools, fairs, exhibitions, war games, food and drink tents, etc.). Hungarians had a refined equestrian background before finally settling down in the Carpathian basin. The wandering Hungarian tribes travelled great distances on horseback, fought and hunted on horseback, shot their arrows backwards while on horseback, ate and drank on horseback, etc. In short, Hungarians consider themselves a horse-riding nation (even though the majority cannot ride a horse these days, and it is an expensive hobby and sport).
The seven Magyar tribes can be seen on the Heroes’ Square in a truly beautiful equestrian statue composition, at the bottom of the Millennial Monument: they are the artistic siblings of the breathing horses running in the National Gallop. And these statues must be one of the most beautiful equestrian statues, metal horses in the world. National Gallop was designed in a way so that the statue serves as the focal point of the horse race, when six horse riders compete for the precious rewards. The length of the track itself is approx. 6 furlongs.
Date: some time between May-September annually (e.g. in 2011, it was from September 15-18, and in 2010 from June 2 to 6)
Venue: Heroes’ Square (Hosok tere) for the horse race, Andrassy Avenue for the horse processions.
Admission is free
Children programmes include horse riding, drawing competition, etc.
Official website of National Gallop: Vagta.hu
Video of the National Gallop, Budapest
Last updated: June, 2012