For a city that has over 2,000 years of history, Budapest looks great! Despite the years of invasion, oppression and even independence, Budapest has been able to maintain its title as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
The history of this city will make your head spin and shows how Budapest was a revolving door for invaders. First settled by the Celts then the Romans who were followed by a pillaging at the hands of the Ottomans. Next were the Turks, who left some great baths, and then the Hapsburg Empire. It was during the Hapsburg rule that Buda and Pest were merged. A free country after WWI, Budapest was declared a communist country at the end of WWII. Later the Soviet Union came in to squash a rebellion and a people until the communist era ended in 1989-1990.
You can see the visual images of all this history on the buildings making up this city’s stunning sights.
Budapest is bisected by the Danube which is crossed by 9 bridges. The buildings include all styles of architecture – Classic, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau – sometimes even in the same building!
Music has been a part of Budapest’s history for centuries. Music lovers, or not, will find a plethora of musically related events and sites to behold.
Budapest’s many World Heritage Sites will entice any traveler and keep you busy for days.
I will be spending a few days in Budapest later this summer and have been looking at ways to stretch the budget. Below are a few of the free or nearly free things I have come up with.
-From the west side of the Danube take in the panorama that is Castle Hill. This is a must-see district for any Budapest visitor as the castle walls and cobbled streets will be a vision in your mind for a long time!
– From here you could visit the Romanesque Matthias Church. This church reflects the history Budapest has endured and was even once transformed into a mosque during the Turkish occupation. Here you will find architecture, history and art all for about $4.
-While in the Castle district, don’t miss Holy Trinity Square. In the center you will find the ornate Holy Trinity Column which dates back to 1713. The square was the main marketplace of Buda during medieval times and the column is a memorial to all the people who died during the plague of 1691. Also in the square is a replica statue of Pallas Athene, protector of cities.
–Fisherman’s Bastion is located at the site of the medieval fish market and is one of the most beautiful sights in Budapest. Not only is the structure magnificent but so are the views of the Danube and the Pest side of the city. The stunning architecture is both neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque.
–Heroes’ Square is devoted to “the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence,” and is one of Budapest’s most emotional monuments. Don’t forget to take a picture of the Millennium Monument and the tall column with the archangel Gabriel on top holding the Hungarian crown in one hand.
–Nagycsarnok or Great Market Hall is an architectural gem. Its Baroque roof is just a part of this 20th century structure. There are over 200 market stalls where you will find souvenirs as well as paprika, salami and wine. The bottom floor is where you will see lively shopping complete with bartering. A real taste of Budapest in this more traditional part of the market.
I know Budapest is full of amazing sights to see.
What did I leave off the list – free or not?