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Budapest Travel Guide
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It’s located in northern Hungary near Danube River: it covers 525 Km2, the hills of Buda, a part of the city, is between 150 and 500 metres high. The population is about 1,730,000.
Towards the north you can enjoy the view to the Buda hills and to Margaret Bridge on the Danube. On the other side, you can see baroque church towers above mass of houses of Water Town. To the south, instead, there is the Gellért Hill.
The town has ancient fifteenth-century town walls, even if it was completely rebuilt in the eighteenth century; there is also an historic and famous centre, between Liberty Bridge, Chain Bridge, Múzeum körút and Károly körút.
It’s a cultural and an industrial town: there are many libraries, universities, theatres and museums (nearly 100): the largest museums are Hungarian National Museum, the Hungarian National Galleryand the Budapest History Museum.
Every major world cuisine is represented in the city. So, as well as hearty traditional feasts, you can go Italian, Chinese, Mexican or even Russian. Hungarian dishes have a distinctive character of their own, rich with sour cream, onions, eggs, butter and wine. An abundance of good local produce, meat and fish make for dishes such as Halászlé (Fish soup).
The climate is temperate; spring is cool, summer is hot and humid. In winter, the weather is cloudy and often snowy.
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Overall rating 6
Overall Guide : Unique Sights behind the Gates of BudaWhen locals say Buda Castle they are usually referring not just to the Royal Palace but to the whole of the medieval town built on Castle Hill, with its charming squares, narrow... more twisting streets, and fantastic views over the city. Some of the old houses sport Gothic decorated door and window frames. It is worth looking into the courtyards and long gateways, for you can sometimes see a Buda speciality, the medicval sedilia. In olden times the retinue accompanying an important guest could rest awhile in these hollowed-out stone seats with their Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance decorations.The Church of Royal WeddingsOne of the most beautiful Gothic churches in all Hungary stands next to the Holy Trinity Column commemorating the plague of 1709 in Szentháromság Square in Buda. The Church of Our Lady – more commonly known as the Matthias Church – was founded at the same time as the first of the Buda Castles, by King Béla IV. Later rulers left their mark on it, adding a tower here and a door there, and generally enlarging the building, and for a while it was also used as a coronation church. It came to be called the Matthias Church in honour of King Matthias, Hungary’s illustrious monarch, who held both his marriage ceremonies here. Its appearance today results largely from nineteenth century reconstruction, and its excellent acoustics make it a favourite venue for organ recitals and orchestral concerts.A Collection of Hungarian WinesA somewhat newer attraction on Szentháromság Square is the House of Hungarian Wines (Magyar Borok Háza), where 450 wines from all 22 of Hungary’s historical wine-producing regions can be tried in the huge cellars. Visitors receive a small cup on arrival and can begin their adventure, for 70 to 80 different types can be tasted within the admission price.The Only Bastion never to have seen a SoldierIf you walk up to the Castle District in the evening from the Danube embankment, the illuminated, snow-white towers of the Fishermen’s Bastion (Halászbástya) rise up ahead, like so many sugar-loaves. You are more likely to associate the sight with fairy tales than with soldiers, although it is the latter who are the rightful users of a bastion. The Fishermen’s Bastion has never served as a defence; it was built in 1905 purely as a lookout terrace and to augment the cityscape. It follows the line of the old city walls and is near the site of a former fish market. And the connection with fishermen? Back in the mists of time it was the Fishermen’s Guild who were responsible for defending this section of the castle ramparts.Labyrinths – a Town under the TownOn the northern and western slopes of Castle Hill it has been known for people to go out into their garden and suddenly find a cave, sometimes with spring water gushing up in it! The northern and central parts of Castle Hill have more holes in them than an Emmental cheese! The caves are very old and were formed by thermal springs. They were developed and enlarged in the Middle Ages and, extending to over six miles, they really did become like an underground town. In times of war they served both as somewhere to hide and as a place where the defence forces could regroup in secret.A part of the system of natural and man-made passages, the Buda Castle Labyrinth, is open to the public.Special Attraction – a Cave Tour in the CapitalAmong the many ways in which Budapest can be summed up, one is as a City of Caves. It is the only city in the world where there are surface openings to cave systems in built-up residential districts. One such is the Pálvölgy dripstone cave system; it is Hungary’s third longest, a protected site and open to visitors for guided tours starting hourly and extending for 500 metres. A 300 metre-long, recently renovated section of the Szemlo-hegy cave is also open to visitors. This is one of those rare instances where the entrance is fully accessible to visitors with impaired mobility.The First Permanent Bridge between Buda and PestThe Lánchíd (Chain Bridge), the symbol of Budapest, was the first permanent crossing over the Danube on Hungarian territory, and only the second along its entire length. The river had long bisected an important trade route, and in early times people were ferried across in boats. By the beginning of the fifteenth century pontoon bridges were being used, and although in winter when the river froze over people could cross on foot or with horse and cart, when the ice started to thaw the two shores were completely cut off from each other. In a particularly cold December in 1820, Count István Széchenyi had to wait a whole week to cross, as there wasn’t a boatman willing to take the chance of carrying him from Pest to Buda between the ice flows. Széchenyi is a legend in Hungarian history for the things he did to develop the capital and the country, and after this experience he declared he would give a whole year’s income towards the building of a permanent bridge. There had been plans earlier than this. One that originated from the end of the 1700’s took the multiple buttressed Charles Bridge in Prague as its model, but this was not adopted. In England Count Széchenyi saw the bridges of William Tierney Clark and, on the basis of those, commissioned him to design the first bridge over the Hungarian Danube. Construction was entrusted to the Scottish engineer Adam Clark (no relation), and the Chain Bridge was officially opened on 20th November, 1849. Traffic crossing the bridge from Pest still had to wait a few more years, though, before it could continue its journey westwards without diverting around Castle Hill. The Tunnel under the hill was constructed in just 7? months in 1853; it is 32 feet wide and 32 feet tall, and, at 382 yards long, exactly the same length as its neighbour the Chain Bridge. One of the many anecdotes about these landmarks says that when it rains the Bridge can be pushed into the Tunnel to prevent it from getting wet!Adding the Royal Touch to Nineteenth Century Bridge ConstructionAccording to the superstition, if you make a wish while going under a bridge in a boat, that wish will come true. In Budapest you can have nine wishes. Counting the two railway crossings, there are nine bridges spanning the Danube, of which the newest is the Lágymányosi Bridge, dating from 1995. All Budapest’s bridges were blown up by the retreating Germans in 1945. The majority were rebuilt to the original plans, but the Elizabeth Bridge, named after the popular Queen Elizabeth, was deemed to be in such bad a state that a completely new bridge had to be built in its place. The fine suspension bridge we see today was inaugurated in 1965 after much public debate.The Szabadság (Liberty) Bridge, restored after the War to its original condition, was first opened in 1896 to mark the millennium of the Magyar Conquest. The King Emperor Franz Joseph himself ceremonially hammered in the last rivet with great technical bravura. He had no tool in his hand but stood in a ceremonial tent on the Pest side and pressed a button which activated a 45-ton hammer across on the Buda bridgehead. And so the last rivet, made of silver, was put in place. Subsequently it disappeared, a feat that would certainly have demanded real bravura. There is a replacement now, with a protective covering, but it’s not made of silver.Budapest’s Most Beautiful Park is an IslandThe seven-buttress Margaret Bridge, built to a French design, was Budapest’s second permanent river crossing and opened in 1876. From the central buttress a spur links to Margaret Island, unquestionably the city’s most beautiful park. After the Mongol invasion it became home for several monastic orders; it was at that time known as the Island of Hares, and only later assumed its current name in honour of the pious daughter of King Béla IV. His Margaret joined the Dominican nuns in their new convent in 1252, and remained there until her death.In its time Margaret Island has also been a royal hunting ground, and from the nineteenth century, a 250-acre municipal park. Hidden behind its noble trees are sports grounds, swimming pools, the capital’s largest open-air leisure pool, an outdoor theatre, and two spa hotels. The island, which can also be reached by small boat, is free from traffic, and a very popular way of getting around it is by hiring a “bringóhintó” family cycle car. The north end of the island is connected by Árpád Bridge to both Buda and Pest.Roman TownThe part of the city now known as Óbuda is the site of the principal town of the Roman province of Pannonia. The frontier of the Empire ran along the line of the Danube, and Budapest’s 2,000-year old forerunner was called Aquincum. It was an important military centre, but a civilian town of merchants and artisans also grew up around it. Remains of the military amphitheatre can be seen at Óbuda and, a mile further on, ruins of the streets of the civilian town and some of its houses. You can go on March, April and May because Spring comes early, so you can take place to music Hungarian festival like Budapest Spring Festival, featured by dance and drama. During Winter snowfall can be heavy, so it’s difficult to visit the city.
Overall rating 9
Overall Guide : The city has a rich historical background and unique cultural heritage. The whole city is packed with fortifications and buildings from Roman times, Turkish baths still in use today, the heritages of the Gothic and Baroc eras and the incredibly... more rich architecture of the Art Nouveau. The Buda Hills, superb natural enviroment, can be best and most conveniently explored using a most varied range of unusual transport: cog-wheel railwey, chair- lift and children's railway.
Overall rating 10
Overall Guide : Awesome:- an appreciation of cultural and historical origins, combined with openness to the preservation of all things natural sets the tempo for those who have an adventurous spirit and are prepared to discover ever new and exciting experiences as to... more where we come from and where we are going.
Overall rating 10
Overall Guide : You must visit Budapest once in your life! It's romantic and modern at the same time. Don't miss the Fishermen's Bastion at dusk ... it's a spectacle which will always stay in your heart. The transport is very good, very... more clean, and also quite cheap. The city is also full of history, with its "red shoes". Don't miss it
Overall rating 10
Overall Guide : The Parliament and Ramparts really belong to this beautiful city, which is a real open-air museum. The Chain Bridge is in centre position, the Buda side is the older. I would recommend trying the cable car that takes you directly... more to the Ramparts, they're beautiful by day and inspiring by night.
Overall rating 8
Overall Guide : BEAUTIFUL CITY, GOT THE MOST OUT OF IT THANKS TO OUR GUIDE KATI, WHOM WE FOUND ON THE INTERNET. SHE ACCOMPANIED US FOR TWO DAYS AND INTRODUCED US NOT ONLY TO MONUMENTS, BUT ALSO GREAT VIEWS. SHE PUT US AT... more EASE BY NOT TO FOLLOWING A RIGID PROGRAMME, BUT CONSULTING US BEFORE TAKING US SOMEWHERE.
Overall rating 10
Overall Guide : Great city, great people! :) Nice affordable trips, good places to eat, and to go out, mostly good weather, good entertaining facilities, festivals, etc. Highgly recommend it to everyone!
Overall rating 9
Overall Guide : Budapest is a lively Place. People are happier compared to the neighboring Vienna. Nice eating places in famous restaurants like Hard Rock Cafe. Expansive River that leaves me staring for so long and very calming. Comparing the Buda side and... more the Pest side, Buda is cleaner.
Not to be missed House of Parliament , Chain Bridge , Hungarian National Museum
Overall rating 10
Overall Guide : Charming and majestic, rich in history, culture and musical events to suit all tastes. Don't miss the spa, the craft breweries and a night ride on the Danube. In the downtown cafes, drinking a cup of tea you can feel... more the ancient splendor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
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