Exploring a European gem called Budapest
Budapest is not at the top of tourist preferences, true, but it should. The Hungarian capital is a real jewel still well kept.
A jewel called Budapest ? Yes, that’s right, and you’ll love getting to know more about this destination yet so well-guarded and full of treasures to discover.
BUDAPEST: A PIECE OF HUNGARY READY TO DISCOVER
It is far from being the first country that comes to mind when we think of exploring Europe. Its capital is also far from being one of the first cities on the list of those we want to know when we think of the Old Continent. But, Hungary has a rich history! Here people lived as the Celts, the Romans, the Slavs, the Gépidas and the Avares. The founding of this country occurred in the distant ninth century, making this nation millennia – and an incredible destination to know.
In the year 1000, it became a Christian kingdom and in the fifteenth century reached its apogee. During part of the sixteenth century and until the end of the seventeenth century, it was under Ottoman occupation. It was then under the rule of the Habsburgs, forming the great Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1867 and 1918, the date on which the First World War ended. Since the subsequent Treaty of Trianon no longer its borders have changed.
By joining the Axis Force during World War II, it would suffer significant damage in terms of heritage and population. After the war, it became a satellite state of the Soviet Union for four decades. In 1989, with the fall of the Eastern Bloc, Hungary became a democratic parliamentary republic. Recently, in 2004, membership of the European Union was given and in 2007 it became part of the Schengen area.
And ready! The preceding paragraphs summarize, at a glance, what is the history of Hungary. These same paragraphs make it clear that Hungarian culture is extremely interesting. What they do not tell us, but what we can calculate, is the richness of the culture we see when we start our own conquest of its capital, Budapest.
BUDDHA OR PLAGUE?
The location of the city, on both banks of the strategic Danube River, leaves us with a choice to make: what is the first margin to discover. The mountainous and aristocratic Buddha, or the flat Plague?
The suburban Buda and its wonderful castle offer us medieval cobbled streets, museums, caves and Roman ruins. Plague, on the other hand, is more dynamic and modern. It is here that we find a long riverside walk, the street markets, the bookstores and antique shops, the enormous avenues and the largest parliament in Europe. In fact, the differences mattered little. Understanding Budapest as a whole, the city is a kind of architectural treasure of baroque, neoclassical, art nouveau, and more.
Do you know the fame of Paris? Well, the capital of Hungary is often dubbed “East European Paris”. No wonder, therefore, that Unesco had distinguished as a world heritage the city itself, including the banks of the Danube, the Castle of Buda and Andrássy Avenue, .
But, let’s break it down. A walk along the river, on the Pest side may well start on the beautiful Liberty Bridge. Right next to it is the Budapest Central Market, in Fővám tér Square. With over 100 years, this is the ideal place to find a souvenir that will help you remember this trip every time you use the ingredients purchased here to try to replicate the delicious dishes you ate during your stay, for which Budapest is famous . And not only goulash was built this fame! A can with paprika, one of the main ingredients of this pitéu, also serves the purpose of decorating your corner of memories from home. Are you curious to explore? If yes, then book your tickets now to Budapest from one of the renowned travel agency in Europe named Cheap Flights Copenhagen now.
We leave the market and continue the path on foot towards the river source, near this or one of the main streets of this area, Váci utca. Enjoy life from a coffee shop and do some shopping. Do not worry, this city is much cheaper than many European capitals.
Returning to the river from Vörösmarty Square, we find a statue with history, the Kiskirálylány-szobor, or Little Princess. Following the waters leads us to the beautiful Széchenyi Lánchíd, Ponte das Correntes. If we do not cross it already and walk a little longer, we will reach the great parliament. Opposite this, we can see some bronze shoes, a memorial to the Hungarian Jews who were executed by the fascist government during World War II. The next bridge is the one that connects to the verdant Margarida Island, where the locals love to practice, walk and simply relax.
Another route you can take is what leads to the castle. Start by crossing the Chain Bridge. Just in front of it you will find a historic funicular that dates back to 1870. Use it to reach the top or go up the stairs on your right. In addition to the views, the upper part of the castle has plenty to entertain. The clear highlight goes to the Fishermen’s Bastion, a lookout with fantastic views that was built in 1902 in neogothic and neo-Roman style. Enter the beautiful Matias Church and stroll through the old streets.
Exploring this riverbank, one must visit Citadella, a fort built after the end of the Hungarian Revolution (1848), which has become a symbol of the city. Further on, near the Liberty Bridge, we find the Cave Church, (Sziklatemplom), excavated in the natural caves of Mount Gellért, formed by thermal waters. Right next to it, as it could not be otherwise, the Gellért Hot Springs appear.
It is now time to mention one of the peculiarities of the Hungarian capital. Faithful to the heritage of the people who settled there, the city leaves no doubt as to the presence of Romans and Ottomans – or were these two peoples widely known for their taste for “baths.” It is that this area was blessed by an amazing abundance of hot springs. For this reason, even nowadays, the swimming pools and thermal baths are a must for those who want to live the “typical” experience of Budapest.
There are spas inspired by the Turkish (Ottoman) and Art Nouveau era, but there are also more modern ones. Two of the most famous are the Gellért Thermal Baths and the Szechenyi Thermal Baths. Whatever the temperature of the air … be sure to soak in the warm waters. You can even relax further by playing, half immersed, a beautiful game of chess. I wanted to know what you really can not do in the Hungarian capital, right?
The third route that I propose, of many possible, is to leave from the Erzsébet Square and to walk all the Andrassy Avenue on foot. Get ready to discover the many palaces and neorrenascentistas houses. And to see (or enter) one of the following points of interest: Budapest Opera House, Post Office Museum, Franz Liszt Square, Old Art Palace, College of Fine Arts, Terror Háza (museum on Hungary’s oppressive regimes), Puppet Theater, Heroes’ Square … The walk culminates in the Városliget, the City Park, where we also find the aforementioned Szechenyi Hot Springs.
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