Click for some background music while you look and read, enjoy Hungarian Dance No. 5 (Johannes Brahms)
BUDA-pesht – is how they pronounce it – not BUDA-pest
Budapest – the capital of Hungary with a vibrant population approaching two million. It was also a co-capital of the Austria-Hungary Empire.
Although we hear about the Danube separating Buda and Pest, we forget that Óbuda was the third city joining in the union forming Budapest in 1873.
The Buda side of the river is hilly and Buda Castle (Royal Castle) sits atop a hill along with Matthias Church and Fishermen’s Bastion. These structures and a few statues and monuments amplify the skyline. Buda’s streets are narrow and the buildings echo with history.
The hills of Buda offers wonder views of the Danube and Pest.
The Pest side of the river is flat, newer, vibrant, and a grand display of architecture of Art Nouveau, Baroque, Classical, Neo-classical, Romantic, and Renaissance providing a grand visual treat. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Parliament, Hero’s Square, Liberty Square, National Theater, Great Market Hall, parks, spas, shopping, entertainment, and more. Numerous pedestrian-only streets make Pest very walkable.
Hero’s Square celebrates 1000 years of conquest by the Magyars. Whereas the other countries on the tour were Slavic, Hungary is not – and it’s language is more similar to Finnish and Estonian instead of being close to any of its neighbors. Before this tour, I had no clue about this. Hero’s Square celebrates the seven Magyar tribes of Central Asia that came to the region. The square includes statues to labor, war, knowledge, and glory along with a few early national heroes.
A short walk beyond Hero’s Square, Varosliget (a 302 acre city park) also celebrates the 1896 millennium with galleries, museums, a thermal spa, and more in a beautiful park setting.
If you visit Budapest, make sure you take a night-time cruise on the Danube River because the city lights provide a great show.
Of the places we visited on the tour, Budapest was the biggest and the grandest. It’s a vibrant, beautiful city and worth at least at least 3 days – if not more. The excellent 6-minute video below showing Budapest is done by a group of travelling friends. Enjoy
Next Stop: Plitvice National Park (posted)
Next Post: Rovinj