I spent few days in Budapest and I stayed in a hostel in Rakoczi Ut street which was very accessible by walk from Keleti station and the Danube River. The area is on Pest side and the inner part is the historic Jewish quarter. The origin of the name Budapest can be traced back during Celtic, Romans or Slavic times combining both names of Buda and Pest in the 18th century which has many theories to where the name originally come from. Budapest is called the Pearl of the Danube because of its highly favorable geographical position and weather conditions.
Walking around Budapest, here are some of the remarkable buildings, churches and landmarks:
If you walk towards the Danube river from Rakoczi Ut, you will pass a building with an intricate design that looks like Moorish. The building is the Brudern House owned by Josef Brudern. During the 18th century, this street was the busiest street and this building was a shopping store with a glass arcade known as the Parizi Udvar.
Gresham Palace named after the founder of Royal Exchange -Sir Thomas Gresham who bought this neo-classical palace (Nako House) built on 18th century and renovated it on the 19th century.
Parliament Building is the largest building in Hungary and the tallest in Budapest. It is the icon of Hungary and a popular tourist destination. Architect Imre Steindl designed the neo-gothic building and before completion on the 19th century, he went blind.
A historical castle and palace complex of Hungarian Kings. The hill is called the Castle hill where the first royal residence was built during the 12th century, there is Buda castle, the complex has houses of the 19th century, churches public buildings and to access the castle and complex there is a funicular. The castle was declared a heritage site on 1987.
Várkert Bazaar is one of the most endangered monuments of the world. The building was renovated with a magnificent flower garden, fountains, grottoes, with cultural space exhibition areas, a park and also an escalator that connects to the palace grounds.
Gellért Monument- Bishop Gellért Monument.
Budai Vigadó is a theater where Hungarian State Folk Ensemble performs and at the same time serves as a library with simple appearance and some art nouveau decoration on the inside.
Vigadó Concert Hall means “Place for Merriment”. It is was built on 18th century and it is the second largest concert hall in Budapest.
Budapest Keleti railway station (Hungarian: Budapest Keleti pályaudvar) is the main international and inter-city railway terminal in Budapest, Hungary.
One of remarkable structure in Budapest is the Fisherman’s Bastion, it is situated on the Buda side with a Neo-Gothic Romanesque style, with towers and terraces overlooking the Pest side. It was built between the end of 18th century and the beginning of 19th century. You can clearly see from this side the parliament building.
From the towers, you can see the panoramic view of Danube and Margaret island.
Some of the churches that caught my attention are:
The Parish Church is the oldest building in the Pest side located next to Erzsebet Bridge (Elizabeth bridge) on the Danube. The church has been renovated many times from Romanesque to Gothic church and this was the home of Bishop Gellert (named Gellert Hill on his honor).
Franciscan Church was destroyed during the Turks Invasion on the 18th century and was rebuilt by Franciscan monks but church turned into a mosque. It is situated near the Brudern House.
Walking towards the Fisherman’s Bastion on the Buda side is the Calvinist Church. It was built on 18th century and suffered severe damage on World War II. Its very distinctive architecture and vibrant color of bricks and mosaic window glasses drew my attention but I was not able to get inside.
The Pauline Monastery & Cave Church was founded on 12th century by a hermit, Eusebius who went on exile on the 17th century. The church was closed during the communists times and monks were accused of treason.
Matthias Church was built on the 10th century by Saint Stephen and was destroyed by Mongols on the 12th century. It is a Roman Catholic Church named after King Matthias on the 19th century and located in the Buda side adjacent to Fisherman’s Bastion.
There are few interesting statues and monuments in Budapest. mostly located in the inner Jewish quarter or the Pest side.
The girl and a dog statue by David Raffai, at that time it was in front of the Vigado Concert hall.
Little Princess Statue by László Marton (1925–2008) inspired by his daughter Evike. The statue become one of the most photographed sights in the city.
Roskovics Ignatius, Jr- Hungarian religious and genre painter.
The Danube River plays an important role in the history of Europe. It originates from the Black Forest of Germany passing through Central and Eastern Europe. As for the Budapest, the Danube gives a city its character and become famous due to the famous bridges that was built and rebuilt after World War II. There is a famous day trip from Budapest through smaller towns. My plan was to visit Szentendre but the weather that time was somber and misty.
These are the famous and few of the Budapest bridges:
Elisabeth Bridge or Erzsebet bridge was named after Queen Elizabeth of Bavaria. The original bridge was destroyed during World War II and they cannot rebuilt to its original form; looks very modern.
This Chain Bridge is one of the best known landmarks of Budapest. It is originally known as Szechenyi Lanchid, opened on 18th century and was named after Count Szechenyi who built this bridge in memory of his father. This is the first and permanent bridge and was destroyed during World War II but it was rebuilt on its original form. The Bridge host a Summer on Chain bridge festival every weekend from July-August with varieties of programs for everyone.
Liberty bridge or Freedom Bridge with its green painted iron bridge is one of the city’s most beautiful. It has splendid decorations, aspires with statues of a mythical bird Turul-Hungary’s symbol with a crown and a Parisian lamppost. Like other bridges, this was rebuilt after World War II.
Walking around Jewish quarter, I can’t help but to notice that, there are areas in Budapest which are totally modern and clean, areas with great architectural designs of buildings and some areas are drab, vandalism everywhere, many worn out abandoned lots and buildings. Some have been renovated but some had been left empty and deteriorating. Nowadays, those ruin buildings and vacant lots have turned into the latest craze which is the “ruin pubs”. There was costume party organized by other hostel but I was a bit ill that time due to the weather so I stayed only at the hostel.
Budapest also is one of cheapest cities in Europe. So if you are on a tight budget and want to experience great fun and visit historical sites, then Budapest is the right choice. Be sure not to miss visiting nearby towns, the Thermal baths and ruin pubs. 🙂