Hungary: Budapest – Living Metropolis on the Danube - VIDEO
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. It is the 9th largest city in the EU with 1,75 milion people. Originally Budapest was three different cities - Buda, Old Buda and Pest. In 1873, the towns joined into one unit. Budapest is situated on the both banks of the Danube and couple of islands on the river. Large share of the center is part of the UNESCO world heritage list.
There are numerous landmarks spanning from the times of the Roman empire until the 19th and 20th centuries and its typical monumental buildings. Except for this you can visit here thermal springs, some natural wonders (caves), as well as you can take part in cultural activities.
My day starts with a short walk in the downtown center. I simply enjoy the atmosphere and the autumn sun. I breakfast on the bank of the Danube sitting under golden leafed maple trees. Then I go up the stream to the building of the parliament.
Országház the House of the Republic, is probably the largest building in the Pest part of the city. It is also one of Europe’s oldest government buildings. A number of important architects of the era took part on its decorations. The house was finished in 1904. The complex of Országház is 268 meters long and 123 meters wide. Its neorenaissance dome is 96 high. The number symbolizes the date of the arrival of Hungarians to the country in 896. The building is opened to the public. People can take a tour inside.
I walk along couple of museums and return back to the center of Pest. I try to find a good café to perform my daily ritual and also to have a short break. Accidentally I find Espresso Embassy – a modern Berlin-style café. There I get coffee of the highest quality. Pity they don’t have snacks.
When I finish coffee I walk to the old Jewish quarter. There are many small shops and in them old men with long beards and large hats. There is also the largest synagogue in Europe . I do not walk inside. Eventually, I regret it.
However, I do not skip a visit to the St Stephan’s basilica. I do not regret. The buildings is much more prettier from the inside. One could stay and meditate there for long hours. It was built in 1905 as a neoclassical building. It is dedicated to the country’s first Christian king.
After a lunch break in one of the cozy restaurants in the downtown, and after tasting local Tokai wine I walk across famous the Széchenyi Chain Bridge built in 1849 to the other part of the city. In the latter, there is the former royal palace. Unlike the left bank with flat terrain, the right Danube’s bank is characteristic for Buda’s hills . From there you have beautiful views of the city. I walk in Royal Palace, Fisherman's Bastion, monumental Temple of Mathias , and then I watch the sundown for about an hour, and traffic on the Danube .
I conclude the evening in one of the local restaurants and I taste also couple of fantastic wines. I am lucky to find a restaurant with live music. So I can admire talent of Hungarian violinists and dulcimers. I should eat Hungarian goulash yet as I am a vegetarian I am unlucky because I cannot eat it without meat.
The second day I start with a large breakfast. I ponder if I should visit some local museums or galleries. Some are famous for quality and quantity of their collections. Yet enventually I decide to walk in back streets of the city. I visit a flee market, explore a stop of the second oldest subway in Europe (after the Underground in London).
If you decide to visit Budapest and you realize you have plenty of time then you should see the National Museum , Jewish Museum near the synagogue, National Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, or the House of Terror documenting crimes of totalitarian regimes. Also the Museum of Holocaust is very impressive.
I felt in love with Budapest right during my first stay there. I plan to see it again as soon as possible to visit places I missed. The city is lively. You find there nice, quite streets with cafés and restaurants, noisy boulevards lined with fashion stores. Also you can see historic landmarks, museums, galleries, beautiful parks, or infinite number of bars for some night fun. Two days in Budapest is really the minimum necessary to learn about the city!
Text/photo/video: Matouš Vinš
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