Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East
As the capital city of Hungary, Budapest is fast emerging as one of the world’s most vibrant cities and in shrugging off its fractured past, has also become an important cultural centre.
In its infancy, Budapest was actually two separate cities – The Roman city of Buda and the Bulgarian-ruled city of Pest – which were situated on either side of the River Danube. Until its amalgamation as a single city, both sides were subject to many different claims of control. In recent times, Budapest had been under communist rule enforced by the Soviet Union after World War II but with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Third Hungarian Republic was inaugurated and the city of Budapest was open for exploration by tourists.
The city has managed to keep some of its traditions alive through modern times and these provide much interest and enjoyment for visitors. In ancient times, Budapest was famous for natural spa baths. This continues today with public spa baths to be found across the city. The Gellert Baths are some of the most beautiful baths found in Budapest, and with references to the healing powers of the spring water found at this location, there are many reasons to visit. The bath houses throughout Budapest contain natural spring water with minerals such as magnesium and calcium, and other naturally occurring compounds (for example chloride, hydrocarbonate and alkalis) believed to be good for your health and well being.
Buda Castle, found on the Buda side of the city is an enjoyable excursion. The castle rests on a plateau and you can ascend to the top using the funicular railway, whilst enjoying exhilarating views across the river. For the more energetic there are steps but those are best saved for the descent. The castle is also home to the Hungarian National Art Gallery that has 360-degree views of the city which cannot be matched anywhere. There is a pleasant cafe/bar that sits at the northern end of the hilltop, which is a good place to stop for refreshments.
No trip to Budapest would be complete without a stroll down Andrassy Avenue, which is one of the most picturesque streets in the city and was declared a recognised World Heritage Site in 1987. The impressive Heroes Square is situated at the end of the Andrassy Avenue and is home to the Millennium Memorial which recognises the leaders of the seven tribes that founded Hungary. The square is flanked by the Palace of Art on one side and Museum of Fine Arts on the other, with the City Park sitting just behind it.
With all that the city has to offer it is no surprise that Budapest is fast becoming a popular tourist destination, and with regular flights to Budapest available from London, it’s certainly within easy reach!
Adam Singleton is an online, freelance journalist and keen amateur photographer. His portfolio, called Capquest Photography is available to view online http://www.flickr.com/people/capquest_photography/