In 1871 the Italian artist Giuseppe Barroccaldi erected a wooden circus in the Square in front of the Bethesda Hospital. It was the first circus building in the Budapest city forest or Városliget area. The first generation of Hungarian Circus performers ‘graduated’ in that ring. Due to its succes the board of director of the nearby Zoo decided construct a modern and more fire proof metal circus building. The building that could seat 3000 spectators was opened on the 27th of June 1889. Around 1907-1908 the circus director Beketow who rented the building from the Budapest City had the entire circus building moved 60 to 80 meters towards the fun fair. During WWII the building was closed in 1944 due to increasing bomb attacks. The German troupes used the circus as a stable. After the German has left locals used a great part of the building as firewood. But in June 1945 the new tenants had restored the building good enough to host the first post-war shows again.
On the 17th of September 1949 the circus was nationalized.
In 1956 a huge renovation of the building took place, but the biggest change was to come ten years later when it was announced that the circus says goodbye and was to be dismantled. A new circus building was constructed on the same location. During the construction a big top was erected on the crossroad of György Dózsa and Damjanich street and shows were given there till 1970.
On the 14th of January 1971 the current circus building was inaugurated. 2000 seats, height under the dome of 15 meters, capacity of 150 artists in the dressing rooms and many technical highlights in that age such as airconditioning, modern stables and an automatic cage for big cats incorporated into the circus ring.
Although there have been talks on remodeling the building or even building a new circus building on a different location to make more room for the Budapest Zoo, the FŐVÁROSI NAGYCIRKUSZ still stands proudly and offers joy to the citizens of Budapest.
Állatkerti krt. 12/A