Seven tribal chieftains galloped gallantly into this neck of the European woods back in the 9th century and claimed it. So begins the history of Hungary, and the chieftains stand proudly on horse- back, larger than life at the center of Heroes' Square.
They're the inspiration for the National Gallop, when this stunning symbol of the nation is transformed into a racetrack and modern-day heroes on horse- back will gallop around it, grandstands will encircle it, and the crowds will encounter and enjoy every aspect of Hungarian history around the square and on impressive Andrássy Avenue. On Heroes' Square, the seven chieftains are gathered around an obelisk topped by Archangel Gabriel, who appeared in a dream to István and offered him the crown. Sure enough, he became Hungary's first king – and later a saint! Behind the chieftains is a pantheon of Hungarian kings and freedom-fighting leaders (the Habsburgs used to be there but they got kicked out after WWII), with allegorical sculptures on top (more horses, yay!). At one point the socialist dictatorship wanted to tear everything down. All they destroyed was the already-damaged memorial stone to the national heroes, which was returned to its place in front of the chieftains in 1956, phew! The square and the statues got a major cleanup in 2001 and the museums flanking it have also been spruced up, making Heroes' Square a must-see, even when it's not a racetrack!