Budapest's great Parliament, the second largest in Europe after London, is an eclectic design mixing the predominant Gothic revival style with a neo-Renaissance dome. Construction began in 1884, 16 years after Westminster, and was completed in 1902. Standing proudly on the Danube bank, visible from almost any riverside point, it has from the outset been one of Budapest's proud symbols, though until 1989 a democratically elected government had convened here only once (just after World War II, before the Communist takeover). Before entering, take note that the top of the building is 29m (96 ft) high at its peak, commemorating the 896 conquest. St. Stephen's Basilica is the same height.
It used to be a bicameral parliament with an upper and lower house, but now is unicameral with coalitions having to be formed. As you walk up the imposing staircase, you are led under the dome along a 16-sided hallway with 16 statues of rulers. In the center floor under the dome is a glass case with the legendary jeweled crown and scepter of King St. Stephen. Historical records have shown that the crown is of two parts and from two different eras, neither from King St. Stephen's time, but Hungarians want to believe it was Stephen's. Nevertheless, it is one of the oldest royal crowns in history. You will notice the bent cross on the top; although there are many legends as to why it is bent, no one knows for sure. In St. Matthias Church on Castle Hill, there is a small, but impressive museum dedicated to the crown.