Budapest offers much to explore. Our two days there went so quickly. We did cram a lot in, though, and I want to inspire you to visit this intriguing city by showing you some of its charm. As I think back on our time in Budapest, what most impressed me was its beauty. Rather than any one building or castle lookout, central Budapest as a whole will take your breath away because it is simply beautiful. Here are a few reasons.
Architecture – A Blend of Cultures and Styles
In its long history, Budapest has been invaded at some time by Celts, Romans, Turks, Habsburgs, and German Nazis. After World War II it fell under communist rule by the Soviet Union. A rebellion in 1956 was swiftly put down. Budapest finally broke free in 1989 with the collapse of the Iron Curtain. It is now part of the EU, but parts of the city are frozen in the past. All of this back and forth contributes to the style of architecture, which clearly shows that Budapest is a blend of Eastern and Western Europe.
The most famous example is the Houses of Parliament, built from 1885 to 1904. This Neo-Gothic and Baroque building is topped with a high red dome. It boasts 233 statues, 27 gates, 10 courtyards, and almost 700 rooms.
Parliament is on the Pest side of the Danube River, and across from it, on the Buda side, is the Buda Castle. Hungarian kings have ruled from here since 1265. The Baroque Royal Palace there today, finished in 1769, takes up a big part of the castle grounds. You’ll also find meandering medieval streets, quaint shops, and cafes. Dominating the area is the renowned Matyas Church, with an impressive mosaic tiled roof, and Fisherman’s Bastion, which is the part of the medieval wall that was maintained by the Fisherman’s Guild. Wander around here and you will think you’ve been transported into a fairy tale.
The Danube River flows between Buda and Pest, lending its beauty to both halves of the city.
All of the bridges connecting Buda and Pest were destroyed in World War II and have since been rebuilt. The most well-known is the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, a suspension bridge originally built in 1849 and named for the Hungarian Count who prompted the construction.