THE CITY THAT TAKES REFUGE IN THE DANUBE: BUDAPEST

BUDAPEST IS A DYNAMIC AND A LYRIC DESTINATION THAT AMAZES THE VISITORS WITH ITS STRIKING ARCHITECTURE, MUSEUMS, BAZAARS, GALLERIES, LANDSCAPES AND PLACES.

Budapest that carries the lyricism of Central Serbia with its unique ambience owes much of it to the inspirational River Danube. Buda and Pest, two distinctive sides of the river, are full of countless discoveries that will delight the eyes of the curious traveler in the Hungarian capital. With every passing day, adapting the European identity by leaving behind the image of the communist era, this dynamic and lyrical destination continues to glorify its location with stunning architectural structures, museums, galleries, bazaars, landscapes and places that amaze visitors.

The Danube is a source of inspiration
A boat tour on the Danube River to explore Budapest is a must-do activity in the city. This tour also allows you to see the bridges connecting the two sides of the Danube River. Hungary was once part of the Roman Empire. After the empire was destroyed, Hungary built its own kingdom. It later became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the Reformation period (1825-1848) structures such as the Hungarian National Museum and the Chain Bridge, the first permanent link connecting the two banks of the Danube River, were built. The Chain Bridge (Széchenyi lanchid), one of the most beautiful bridges in Budapest, is particularly impressive at night.

A city of landscapes
The most beautiful panoramic views of Budapest and the Danube River are visible from the Gellért Hill. From this point you can feel as if you are looking at the map of the city; you can better understand the geographical structure of the city and the difference between Buda where the hills are dominant and Pest where the land is flatter. There are also some caves used as churches, the St. Gellért Monument, a castle, and the Statue of Liberty.

691 chambers
On the banks of the Danube River, the Parliament, completed in 1902, is the world’s third largest parliament building, with 691 chambers. It is possible to see some parts of the building which has been built in about 20 years. On the guided tours of the northern wing, you can see the Gold Staircase and the Dome Hall, where the most important national icon, the crown of St. Stephen, is exhibited. The eclectic building that harmoniously carry all neo-Romanesque, gothic and neo-baroque styles within its structure should be seen both in daylight and at night.

Timeless values
The oldest district of Buda, Óbuda, is a town that still carries the lost values of the old days. On narrow streets, there are notable museums and traditional small restaurants. There are also ruins belonging to the ancient Roman settlement Aquincum to the north. The Buda Hills have magnificent views to enjoy as you walk. Adventurers can also discover caves.

World Heritage Street
Andrássy út, about 2.5 km long, is the city’s most famous street. You should take a walk to the park from the Hungarian State Opera to enjoy this charming street that its architecture pleases the eyes with famous brand stores, cafes, and restaurants. Lined with trees on both sides, it was taken in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2002. Along the way, you will find the magnificent New Theater, the typical Hungarian restaurant Művész Kávéház, the Horror House that was used as headquarters by the Nazis in 1940 and transformed into a museum today, the Kodály körönd, a beautiful square in the halfway of the road. The street ends with the Heroes Square (Hősök tere) and the City Park (Városliget).

Half century old construction
Although inside the city’s neo-classical church St. Stephen’s Basilica (Istvan Cathedral), completed in 1905, is dark, a wonderful view awaits you when you climb the dome. The most important feature of the church of which the construction took about half a century is that St. Stephen’s mummified right hand is here. The hand, which was found in a monastery in Bosnia, was given to Hungary by the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa in 1771. To see the hand better, put a coin inside the hole, light will be lit.

City of baths
What about enjoying a traditional bath dating back to the 16th and the 17th centuries? Budapest has one of the most important spa cultures in Europe with about 1300 spas and thermal waters and is one of the few cities in the world in terms of health tourism. The city, which has many hot springs and baths with Roman, Greek and Turkish architecture, is also known as the ‘City of Baths’. Rudas is one of the most popular baths of the city as well as many other baths from the Ottoman period of the city such as Kiraly, and Veli Bej. This Ottoman-style bath of 1566 is the most important bath in Budapest, with its octagonal pool, colorful glass dome and magnificent columns. Rudas’ health center with many prescription treatments is note worthy for those who love getting massages and in search of various treatments.

Historical panorama
It is an impressive open-air museum that sheds light on Hungary’s communist era… Memento Park, 10 km from the center, offers a panoramic view of the period 1945-1989. Lenin, Marx, Engels, Dimitrov, Captain Ostapenko, Béla Kun and other ‘heroes’ of the communist era are exhibited in this park in addition to over forty statues, busts and inscription stones.

Magnificent past
In the midst of the 13th century, Bela IV had built a house in the place where the royal residence is today, and the subsequent kings had also made additions. In the battle of 1686, the palace was demolished, and although the Habsburgs rebuilt it, they had little time here. Today the Royal Palace has the National Gallery, the Museum Castle and the National Széchenyi Library.

Tree of life
Except the one in New York, the world’s largest Jewish temple is the Great Synagogue in Budapest. The Jewish Museum and the Archives located in the synagogue built in 1859 exhibits objects belonging to both religious and daily life. In the northern part of the synagogue, the Holocaust Tree of Life Monument on the graves of those killed by the Nazis is quite impressive.