HUNGARY’s Budapest, grandeur on the mighty Danube River.

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A tale of three cities, Budapest’s charm comes from the gradual union of Óbuda, the oldest and original settlement; Buda on the high grounds of the left bank of the Danube; and populous, flatter Pest on the right bank. The three parts were unified in 1873 and the new city was named Budapest.

Romanced by the constant presence of the Danube River, which bisects Hungary’s capital and forms a natural highlight of the city, Budapest is considered one of the most culturally significant cities in Eastern Europe.

The old towns are connected by the 19th-century Chain Bridge, and a funicular runs up to Castle Hill. Trinity Square is home to the 13th-century Matthias Church, and the turrets of the Fishermen’s Bastion are significant drawing cards. Although Budapest is a sizeable city, it is easily walkable.

A highlight to be discovered from its pedestrian-friendly cobbled streets is the area around Parliament building. The seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, the notable landmark is likely the most popular tourist destination in Budapest. Situated in Pest on Kossuth Square, it was inaugurated in 1886 to mark the country’s 1,000th anniversary.

Rising above the Danube on Castle Hill is Buda Castle, a massive 200-room 18th-century palace. Although damaged in World War II, it has mostly been restored and is now home to the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.

Within Castle Hill is a fascinating, albeit rather eerie, a maze of caves and passageways that have been in use since prehistoric times and now house the Hospital in the Rock museum that tells the story of lifesaving efforts during the Siege of Budapest in World War II.

The Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial is a series of 60 pairs of steel-sculpted shoes in memoriam of Jews shot here by the Nazis. It’s a poignant and moving reminder of the Nazi atrocities suffered by Hungary in World War II.

Classical music lovers will appreciate a performance at the Academy of Music or at the world-famous Budapest Opera House, while the Palace of Arts is Budapest’s cultural hub and a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts is always a good idea.

Taking the Waters

The world’s largest geothermal cave system, Budapest’s hot baths are credited for their physical and meditative benefits. The most visited is the impressive Szechenyi Baths, built in 1913 in a Neo-baroque palace that honours the City of Baths. The practice of “taking the waters” dates to early Roman settlers, who built the first spa baths, through 16th-century Turkish occupation and has been extended to accommodate today’s natural medical trends.

 

In Hungary, all native music, in its origin, is divided naturally into melodies destined for song or melody for dance.— Franz Liszt, Hungarian Composer

** This post forms part of my 100x Magical Places series which offers an introduction to my favourite destinations.

** Pics sourced.

 

 

 

 

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