After an early, long bus ride from Prague, we arrived in Budapest–the capital of Hungary–at around 2pm. The day we arrived was a national holiday (Oct 23, Hungarian Revolution day), thus our initial plan of hopping on a boat ride on the Danube was wrecked, replaced by a walking tour in the Hungarian Parliament Square vicinity.
The grand Budapest is a mixture of history and modernity. It is antique, vibrant, and absolutely beautiful. To me, it is the most beautiful city of all 5 I visited during the tour. In 1873, the two cities ‘Buda’ (West-bank of the Danube) and ‘Pest’ (East-bank) were combined together, it became a global city in the 19th century, and was also the second capital of the powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire until its dissolution in 1918.
Being one of the greatest cities in Europe, Budapest is overwhelmed with palatial and inspiring architecture. Every step I took I could snap a photo of a lavish building, of a beautiful statue, of a majestic bridge. The city is colossal and proud, but there is something aggressive in the architectonics. Likewise, the blue Danube didn’t feel poetic to me, but added more to the immensity and the vigor of Budapest.
The first day was spent on the elegant Pest side of the city. Our walking tour started at Lajos Kossuth Square, where I could see the side of Hungarian Parliament Building. Sadly there was some construction work going on :( (I, however, got to see the building again the following day from our boat on the Danube, and yes it is called one of the greatest buildings in Hungary for a reason).
The Danube I have heard so much about…
Just when I thought that Prague’s architecture was massive enough, Budapest’s quickly served as another eye-opener…
An Art Nouveau building… Budapest’s Four Season Hotel:
Opposite to the classical atchitecture is a much more modern counterpart:
Walking the path along the hotel, I could see the Roman Catholic St. Stephen’s Basilica–the third largest church in Hungary.
Lavish details ;__; unfortunately we had no time to walk inside:
The square in front of the church:
Within walking distance from the basilica is the Freedom Square (Szabadság tér), where we saw the former Hungarian Television’s central building, now closed and looking scary:
Around the square are the Hungarian National Bank, the US Embassy, the Irish Embassy, cool buildings etc etc :D
…you guess… the Soviet Army Memorial:
and our rock star, Bill O’Reilly’s favorite, Republicans’ favorite, basically everyone’s favorite, Ronald Reagan:
Well yes, Reagan is targeting the Soviets…
you can’t read what is written in the poster, but it was something about a farm boy fighting against evil empire. Way to go Budapest :)))))
Another half hour’s walk led us through numerous cool streets…
we saw the memorial of the Eternal Flame…
before heading back to the parliament, where we saw Statue of Imre Nagy, facing the parliament building. Imre Nagy was the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People’s Republic of Hungary during the anti-Soviet revolution in 1956, who announced Hungary’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, pleading Hungary as a neutral state, seeking to get Hungary out of the rigid, static Stalinist monopoly.
Hungarian State Opera House at night:
After dinner, we went to check out the UNESCO World Heritage site,Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere). The square, and especially its iconic Millennium Memorial, rivals the parliament building in being the symbol of the city:
The square looked absolutely phenomenal at night ;v;
The column with Archangel Gabriel on top with the Hungarian Holy Crown and the apostolic double cross in his hands:
The statues of the leaders of the 7 tribes led bce Árpád that founded Hungary in the 9th century, led by prince Árpád:
Statues on the left colonnade:
and on the right:
Museum of Fine Arts at the left side of the monument: