HUNGARY : BUDAPEST
Budapest is often called the 'Pearl of the Danube', and is a
marvellous city. It is the capital of Hungary and with a population of
1,7 million citizens it is by far the largest city in the country.
Geography, history and human creativity have all combined to create a
city that simultaneously charms, amazes and fascinates.
Modern Budapest was born in 1873 when the towns of Buda, Obuda and
Pest were officially joined. Two and a half million people live in the
city totaling roughly one-fifth of Hungary’s population. The city is
often referred to as the Paris of the east, and deserves this name. It
bears some resemblance to Prague, but is larger and friendlier. The
picturesque setting on two sides of the Danube, the nine connecting
bridges and the villas and public buildings from the fin-de-siècle era
really make Budapest one of the most enjoyable cities in Europe.
Budapest is the political, commercial and cultural capital of
Hungary. Lying in north-central Hungary on the banks of the river
Danube, Budapest attracts almost twenty four million visitors annually.
Hilly Buda on the west bank of the Danube contains reminders of the
Turkish occupation whilst flat Pest on the east bank is home to the
Houses of Parliament, the Palace of Justice and various museums. Six
bridges including the beautiful Stone Chain bridge link the two. Known
as ‘the Pearl of the Danube’ there is something for everyone here,
breathtaking panoramas, healing spring waters as well as beautiful
Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance buildings.
The Parliament building on the banks of the Danube is one of the
major monuments of Budapest. From a distance it looks a lot like the
English Houses of Parliament, with Big Ben conspicuously absent. The
best view of the Parliament can be had from Castle Hill, a Budapest
highlight itself. This collection of palaces, churches and monuments has
been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is a must see for
every tourist. Budapest has some very good museums as well, The
National Museum (Nemzeti Muzeum), the Museum of Fine Arts (Szepmuveszeti
Muzeum), National Gallery (Nemzeti Galeria) and the Historical Museum of
Budapest being the best.
Budapest has varied manufactures, notably textiles, instruments,
and electronics. It has well-developed commercial, transport, and
communication services as well. Educational and cultural institutions in
the city include Loránd Eötvös Univ. (1635), Central European Univ., the
Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the National Széchenyi Library, the
National Museum, the National Theater, and the State Opera House