The Story of Budapest:
About 2 million people live in the capital. It is a European city. During its long history it was destroyed several times, and its citizens exterminated; yet it has always risen again, evolving and becoming ever bigger and more colorful.
The Danube, Europe’s highway, determines the life of Budapest dividing it into two and yet connecting both sides of the city. Not only the Danube, but also the hot springs under the city have had a significant role in the area’s development. The first city, Aquincum (in the area of today’s Óbuda) with a significant number of citizens was founded by the bath loving Romans.
Budapest was created by the unification the three cities of Buda, Óbuda and Pest in the year 1873.
Sights of Budapest
I think I would take the visitor to Gellért Hill frist, because this is the best point from which to see the panorama of the city. There is also a fortress on the top of the hill, called the Citadel. It is a white-stoned fortress from the 19 th century on the top of Gellért Hill, crowned by the 14 m tall Liberation Monument, a striking statue of a woman holding a palm leaf of victory. You can enjoy from here a wonderful panorama of the whole city.
Then I would take the visitor to the centre of Buda where we can find the Castle Hill. You can find Buda Castle here. This was the residence of Hungarian kings. The fortification system and palace, built in the 13th century following the Mongol invasion, was destroyed and rebuilt many times.
In the central square there stands Matthias Church. This was the coronation church of Hungarian kings since King Matthias. It was built in the 13th century in Gothic style. Next to it we can see the bronze statue of King Stephen I.
Behind the church the Fishermen’s Bastion can be found, from which there is a magnificient view of the Danube with the Houses of Parliament on the opposite bank. The construction of Parliament began in 1885 according to plans by Imre Steindl. Completed in 1904 it is one of Europe’s most splendid Parliament buildings, and at the same time it is one of the landmarks of the capital.
The most popular park for people living in Budapest is the beautiful Margaret Island, which is right in the middle of River Danube. It got its name after Princess Margaret who lived here in a convent in the 13 th century. Today medicinal thermal baths, an open-air theatre and fine restaurants attract thousands of tourists each year.
One of the best known monuments in Pest is the one in the Heroes’ square. It was built for the Millenium Celebrations of 1896, celebrating the 1000 years of Hungarian history. Near the monument you can find The Hungarian National Museum. It was built in 1847 according to plans by Mihály Pollack. Treasures of Hungarian history, including the coronation insignia are displayed here. The staircase of the Museum is adorned by the frescoes of famous Hungarian painters.
To the left of the Millenary Monument stands the Museum of Fine Arts by architect Albert Schickedanz. Most notably, the “Old Picture Gallery” holds masterpieces by Spanish painters like Murillo, El Greco and Goya. It contains also a special Egyptian exhibit.
In the City Park you can find Széchenyi Bath, the largest thermal bath of Budapest. Its thermal springs were discovered in 1879 – they are the deepest and warmest thermal wells in Budapest. It is a vast complex of indoor and outdoor pools, situated in the middle of the City Park near the Budapest Zoo and The Amusement Park which all tourist with children should also visit.
In Pest tourists should also visit St. Stephen’s Basilica. Dedicated in 1905, with a dome 96 m high Basilica holds up to 8500 persons. St. Stephen’s statue of Carrara marble by Alajos Stróbl stands in the Sanctuary.
Hungary has various tourist attractions. Beside enjoying the wonderful sights in Budapest, tourists can relax on the numerous beaches of Lake Balaton. They can go and see the lovely Hungarian villages where traditions of folk art are preserved and treasured. Or they can visit some of the smaller but beautiful towns like Veszprém, Kőszeg, Eger, Szeged, Sopron etc.