Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a city of 1.7 million, and is the political, cultural, commercial, industrial and transportation centre.
Locates on both banks of the mighty Danube River, the city’s name is derived from the combination of two small towns Buda and Pest. Buda is the hilly with the highest hill reaching and apex of 527 metres and affords the best view of the city, and Pest on the plain is opposite it.
Budapest was funded by Celts, who called it Aquincum. Later, the Roman army occupied it and made the city the capital of the Hungarian Plains which they called Lower Pannonia
Magyars, the majority of the population today, arrived in the ninth century. Mongols pillaged the region, and Budapest in 1241 and 42. Later on in the 15th century Budapest became the humanist centre of Europe.
After the Battle of Mohacs in 1541, Hungary came under the rule of Ottoman Empire for 1560 years. Today, there is no trace of the Ottoman rule in Budapest or Hungary anywhere.
The city became globally impotent after 1873 unification of the country.
The communist regime, installed after World War II, was seriously challenged with the 1956 revolution during which hundreds of thousands of intellectuals and ordinary citizens fled. Some of them were granted asylum in Canada, and many evolved to successful entrepreneurs.
After the dissolution of the Soviet regime, Hungary in general, Budapest in particular became popular destination for Austrians, Germans, and many other nationals of neighbouring countries.
Even during the Soviet-times Hungary was a popular tourist destination as it offered fine gastronomic experiences, very affordable accommodation and interesting sights.
Budapest is a compact city, but as a tourist you can easily use the extensive transportation system consisting of streetcars, buses, and the subway.
Budapest was the first European city to build a subway system on
the Pest side.
There are many sites of interest including the Museum of Fine Arts, the City Park, Vajdahunyad Castle, the Parliament Building, which includes the Hungarian Crown Jewels, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Castle Hill containing three churches, six museums, and architecturally interesting buildings, streets full of souvenir shops, cafes, patisseries, and squares that are well worth studying.
The 700-year-old Mathias Church is well worth a visit for those interested in church architecture and ornate decorations. There is enough to do for one week in this cosmopolitan city with a lively nightlife. Many of the entertainers are gypsy (Roma) violinists and dancers.
Some of the restaurants, especially since 1990, offer typical up-scale Hungarian specialties.
The best time to visit Budapest is May – September. While there you book excursions to Balaton on Lake Balaton or take a two-day trip to Tokaji famous for its dessert wines.
Budapest offers many types of accommodation from luxury to bed and breakfast.
You can reach Budapest from Vienna by rail, or fly direct from any major European capital.
From North America most international airlines fly to their European hub (London, Paris, Frankfurt am Main, and Vienna, with transfers to Budapest.
Malev is the national airline servicing many European capitals and some North American cities.