Budapest, the capital of the Hungarian Republic, is one of the most attractive cities in Europe to visit. Known as the ‚Queen of the Danube’, it is often compared to cities like Paris, Prague and Vienna.
The city you can see today is the result of many years of rich history. The area was inhabited as early as in the Paleolithic era. The Magyar tribes arrived here from the Urals in 896 and the Hungarian Kingdom was established in 1000. In 1247 Buda became the capital and permanent royal residence for Hungarians kings.The golden age of the city corresponds with the reign of King Mathias in the 15th century. He declared Pest an equal city to Buda. Further development was stopped by the Turks, who took the region in the 16th century and ruled for 150 years. Next centuries were marked by the rule of the Habsburg family. It was a period of intensive economic and architectural growth.
Budapest was officially founded in 1873 after the unification of the two twin cities: Buda, on the west bank of the Danube and Pest on the east. The Chain Bridge, connecting two parts, used to be considered as on of the world’s wonders.
As a result of the First World War, the monarchy fell and Hungary lost two thirds of its territory.
During the 20th century the country staggered from one terror regime to another. The capital witnessed several revolts, but free elections took place only in 1990.
The city is filled with marvelous architecture, from medieval to Baroque to Art Nouveau.
Most of the city tourist attractions are found on Castle Hill in Buda and in the central part of Pest.
In 1987 Budapest was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for the cultural and architectural significance of the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue, a tree-lined boulevard often compared to the Champs-Élysées. At the end of the Avenue lies Heroes’ Square, which is the main entrance to the City Park with its romantic Vajdahunyad castle. The main street accomodates also the House of Terror. Located in former headquarters of State Security Police, it recalls the Fascist and Communist regimes and acts as a memorial to those who were tortured or killed in the building.
Budapest boasts Continental Europe’s first underground railway, built in 1896 to celebrate country’s Millenium and the largest Parliament building in Europe. The impressive Saint Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in all Hungary.
The Margaret Island and Szechenyi Baths are Budapest’s best recreational spots.