Budapest, Hungary

Szechenyi Baths City Park Budapest Hungary
Szechenyi Baths in City Park 
- Budapest, Hungary
Parliament Margaret Island Danube River Budapest Hungary
Parliament & Margaret Island
on Danube River - Budapest, Hungary
Fisherman's Bastion Budapest Hungary
Fisherman's Bastion 
- Budapest, Hungary
Chain Bridge Buda Danube River Budapest Hungary
Chain Bridge & Buda
on Danube River - Budapest, Hungary
Opera House Budapest Hungary
Opera House - Budapest, Hungary
Budapest, Hungary (5/21-24/2011) – What a beautiful and enjoyable city - one of our favorites in the world! 

Budapest is considered one of the “Golden Triangle” of Eastern European cities also consisting of Prague and Krakow (click these links to see more on these cities in these other blog posts). Budapest is the capital city of Hungary with a population about 1.7 million of Hungary’s 10 million.

We stayed on the Pest side where the majority of the things to do in Budapest are located including easy access to the Buda Castle Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After our overnight sleeper train ride from Transylvania (click here to see) to Budapest (sounds like a Agatha Christie novel), we got right into exploring Budapest. 

Budapest is actually two cities (Buda and Pest) divided by the Danube River and famous for its attractive mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque architecture built in the past 150 years made designed to look old. Walking around Budapest is just a pure joy. 

We fully appreciated this by walking down Budapest's Andrassy ut Boulevard (another UNESCO World Heritage Site) to the City Park (Varosliget) to spend the afternoon enjoying one the great things to do in here… go “bathing”.

Women Zooma St. Stephen Basilica Budapest Hungary
Women Doing Zooma in Front
of St. Stephen Basilica 
- Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is a famous spa city. The hot mineral-water baths are the last vestige of Turkish culture left over from their century-and-a-half occupation of the city. More than 120 thermal springs gush from 14 sources within the city of Budapest. 

All of Budapest's baths are built around hot mineral springs complemented with several steam baths, saunas, and massage services. 

Szechenyi Baths Budapest
Szechenyi Baths
We had a wonderful afternoon at the , the largest bathing complex in Europe built in 1909 in the City Park (Varosliget) in Pest. The springs of the Szechenyi Baths rise to the surface from a depth of 3,180 feet. A fun part was the circular outside pool where they turn on the large jets and you speed float around and around bumping into other fun-loving people.

Another great place in Budapest was the stunning Opera House (see photo), one of the most beautiful in the world where we enjoyed a mini-opera performance. On the Dunube River, we were thrilled by the famous skyline of Buda backed by the pretty leafy Buda hills. 

Chain Bridge at Night Budapest Hungary
Chain Bridge at Night 
- Budapest, Hungary
We crossed Budapest's historical Chain Bridge (Szechenyi lanchid) to visit Buda’s Castle Hill and its 13th-century neogothic Matthias Church (Matyas templom), Royal Palace (Kiralyi palota), and seven-turreted Fisherman’s Bastion (Halaszbastya).

St. Stephen's Basilica Budapest Hungary
St. Stephen's Basilica 
- Budapest, Hungary
Back in Pest, we got caught in a rainstorm at Budapest’s most famous site, the St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent Istvan Bazilika) built and named in honor of Hungary’s first king. Hungarians revere their first king that started Hungary’s golden period of one of the greatest empires in Europe. His mummified right hand is kept in the chapel. St. Stephen Basilica’s 300-foot high dome can be seen from most anywhere in Budapest and inside is decorated with beautiful mosaics.

Horse Szentendre Hungary
Szentendre, Hungary
We also took a Danube Bend day trip for a 2-hour ferry trip up the Dunube River passing Hungary’s massive Parliament Building (Orszaghaz) to the pretty village of Szentendre. Szentendre was settled in medieval times by Serbs and has been a charming artist colony since the 1920's. Pat enjoyed the overly cute shops. 

Skanzen Open-Air Village Szentendre Hungary
Skanzen Open-Air Village 
- Szentendre, Hungary
Near Szentendre we visited the amazing Skanzen open-air village museum where they have moved 274 century-or-two year-old buildings (houses barns, churches, workshops, etc.) from all over Hungary and reconstructed them in villages and farms with authentic furniture. The Danube Bend is considered the most beautiful stretch of the Danube River.

Map of Hungary
Map of Hungary
Some history of Hungary... The Romans were replaced around 900AD by the Magyars, who went on to found the kingdom of Hungary. The kingdom lasted (interrupted by the Mongols in 1241) until 1541, when Budapest fell to the Ottomans and stayed in the hands of the Turks until 1686 when the Austrian Habsburgs conquered the town. After the Hungarian revolution, the great Compromise of 1867 made Budapest the united capital of the Hungarian half of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. 

Map of Budapest Hungary
Map of Budapest, Hungary
Hungary was on the losing side of WWI and WWII when Budapest sustained substantial damage in a terrible three-month siege. A total of 400,000 Jews in the area were murdered by the Nazis and their Nyilas sympathizers. After WWII, a hardline Communist government was established in Hungary. In 1956, the revolution against communist rule ended only when the Soviets sent in the tanks as they felt Hungary slipping out of their influence and control. Today Budapest is by far the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan city in Hungary and is deservedly popular with tourists.

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2 comments:

  1. Amazing place, i must say. Also the pictures are so nice. Thanks for sharing the information about the various fun destinations of Hungary.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Simply coooool,I really love your writing style that you are using for your posts and stuff

    ReplyDelete

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