Published December 30, 2012
Budapest, the capital of Hungary, just might be one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. All major European roads and railway lines lead to Budapest, so one you get to Europe you have no excuse for not venturing out to these extraordinary sites.
UNESCO declared Buda Castle a World Heritage Site in 1987. Built during the 14th and 15th centuries, this was the first Gothic style palace. The Castle was essential in the diffusion of Gothic Art throughout the Magyar region. The Castle has experienced hardships and renovation, throughout periods of war and peace. This resulted in a heavier Baroque architectural influence. The castle’s vastness is matched only by the depth of its history. So take the time to learn about this historic building during your visit.
You can find this historic square at the entrance to City Park, at the end of Andrássy Avenue. Heroes Square is home to the Hall of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Millennium Monument. It was built as the center of the 1896 millennium celebration, which commemorated the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian’s arrival in the Carpathian Basin.
Travel expert Rick Steves reported, “At the Millennium Monument you’ll meet the world’s most historic Hungarians. The granddaddy of all Magyars was Árpád. Atop the pillar, the Archangel Gabriel offers the crown to Saint Stephen, the king who Christianized the Magyars.” The Magyars were the original Hungarian settlers who ventured to this region from Asia. Árpád, though not the founder of the Kingdom of Hungary, did in fact found an eponymous dynasty that ruled until the beginning of the 14th century.
Budapest is the only capital city in the world with thermal springs. For this reason it is known as the “City of Spas.” Back in the 2nd century, the Romans enjoyed the medicinal water of the region but later, during the 16th century Turkish occupation of Hungray, the bath culture grew. Today, Budapest boasts 15 public thermal baths, such as the Gellért Bath. The hot spring water in the Gellért Bath contains many nourishing elements, such as calcium, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate, sulphate-chloride, sodium and fluoride ions.
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is the first permanent stone-bridge to connect Buda to Pest. Stretching across the River Danube, the Chain Bridge offers spectacular sights of Buda Castle and more areas of the city. Now the most famous bridge in Hungary, this suspension bridge is an icon of the nation. It was initially built between 1839 and 1849 by English engineer William Tierney Clark and Scottish engineer Adam Clark, at the request of Count István Széchenyi. During World War II, the Nazis blew up all of the bridges in Budapest, including the Chain Bridge. Approximately a century after its creation, Budapest began rebuilding this historic bridge. Now, it is a must-see tourism destination of the city.
Dohány Street Synagogue
The old Jewish district is home to the Dohány Street Synagogue. This is Europe’s largest synagogue and a center for Neolog Judaism. The Jewish Museum, the Heroes’ Temple, the Jewish cemetery and the Holocaust memorial are all part of the synagogue complex. Any visit to Dohány Street will amaze you with the richness of its history and the beauty of the architecture.