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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


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