BudaPEST – the beauty on the Danube (part 2)
In the first blog I wrote about Buda and you already realized that Budapest is a fantastic place, filled with incredible architecture and interesting historical buildings. In this second blog I want to show you more from Pest. Compare to Buda it is flat, busy and noisy, but more interesting and cultural. The nightlife is happening there. There are lot of perfect restaurants and bars, museums, green areas and parks. It has very lively atmosphere. I prefer Pest instead of Buda. Therefore I would like to invite you to “walk” with me again through the city.
WELCOME TO PEST
You can cross Liberty bridge from hilly Buda and reach flat Pest. It is very busy place. Very different than Buda. Cars, trams, people everywhere you look. On the right side you can see the famous Great Market hall.
Liberty bridge also called bridge of Franz Joseph was built between 1894 and 1896. Emperor Franz Joseph opened the bridge by himself when he inserted the last silver rivet into the iron structure on the Pest abutment. The top of the four masts are decorated with large bronze statues of the Turul, a falcon-like bird, prominent in ancient Hungarian mythology.
The Great Market Hall is right behind Liberty bridge. It is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. The building was built around 1897.
The market offers a huge variety of stalls on three floors. During WW2 was completely destroyed. It was reopened only in 1990’s.
Market is the best place where you can buy a lot of fresh local fruit and vegetable….
….and where you can taste Hungarian herbal liquer Unicum, Hungarian langos, buy famous red paprika, taste Hungarian salami, or blood sausage hurka and other things.
After a good lunch in the Market you may stop and drink coffee and get a breath of fresh air.
When you walk out from Great Market Hall you can reach the famous Vaci utca. It is the main shopping street. From my point of view it is quite boring…
The big imposing Kossuth Lajos utca with many architectural buildings like Brudern House with the famous Parizsi Udvar (Parisian court) is worth seeing. It is a hidden gem in the city centre only one block from the Vaci shopping street. Unfortunately I found out that it is closed and it is impossible to admire the mixture of Neo-Gothic, Eclectic and Art Nouveau architectural elements inspired by Moorish buildings and motifs. Currently the Paris Court is for sale and there is nothing in the building. Maybe later… At the end of the Vaci street is the famous Gerbeaud café. It is one of the greatest and most traditional coffeehouses in Europe. They have delicious cakes and ice cream. St.Stephen Basilica. It is named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c 975–1038), whose supposed right hand is housed in the reliquary. Today, it is the third largest church building in present-day Hungary. Very close to the cathedral on the left side is ice cream shop. Over there you can taste rose-shaped ice cream 🙂
Hungarians held some protest meetings very often. There are very national, pride and stubborn nation.
Some people don’t care about it, they just want to find a place for chill time.
Other people want to feed pigeons….
We enter to the former Jewish quarter. It is changing very rapidly. Old buildings are slowly replaced by new ones. Old and new life is mixed together and creates very special atmosphere.
As a good example of this mixture is the famous ruin bar Szimpla kert. It was opened in 2001. It is the pioneer of all ruin bars in Hungary. Undoubtedly the best known ruin pub among the locals and the tourists, as well. Very unique atmosphere and if you visit Budapest make damn sure you stop by Szimpla for two or more drinks…
The main and iconic feature of the Jewish quarter is the Great Dohány synagogue. It is the second biggest synagogue in the world. Today, more than 80,000 Jews live scattered in different parts of the city. Some of them remained in the old historic Jewish quarter, therefore it has a unique atmosphere. It is the most authentic and the most valuable architectural part of the city.
Nazi Adolph Eichmann used the synagogue as a radio station and for some time had his office behind the rose window in the women’s balcony. It is irony of fate, but Eichmann sent thousands of the Jews to the concentration camps from their main sanctuary. The synagogue suffered severe damage from aerial raids during the battle for the liberation of Budapest, towards the end of World War II.
Very sad, touching and emotional is the “shoe memorial” at the Danube promenade. The history about the Budapest Jews is very sad, because the Hungarian fascists, the members of the Arrow Cross Party, killed thousands of Jews during the siege of Budapest.
Jews were forced to take off their shoes and afterwards they were killed and thrown into the Danube…Maybe you ask yourself: Why shoes serve as a memorial of the victims? Shoes were very precious during the crucial war times and fascists knew, that Jews were hiding some of their gold in their shoes. The Danube promenade is beautiful and it is perfect place to relax. The views on Buda part is amazing.
Parliament building is spectacular during the day and also during the night.
Parliament lies in Lajos Kossuth Square. It is currently the largest building in Hungary and still the highest building in Budapest.
With its height of 96 m (315 ft), it is one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest, along with Saint Stephen’s Basilica. The number 96 refers to the nation’s millennium, 1896, and the conquest of the later Kingdom of Hungary in 896.
Another interesting place is the Heroe’s Square – one of the major squares in Hungary, noted for its iconic statue complex featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important national leaders, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Construction began in 1896 to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin and the foundation of the Hungarian state in 896. It is Millennium Memorial. Detail on the horses from the Millennium memorial.
From the Heroe’s square you can visit several interesting places. One direction is on the Andrassy avenue. Over there you can find many museums, but I recommend you to visit the House of Terror.
This museum contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes in 20th-century Hungary. Museum is a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed. The building it self was used by the communists and therefore thousands of people were killed and tortured inside. Part of the exhibition takes visitors to the basement, where they can see examples of the cells that the ÁVH used to break the will of their prisoners.
Another option from Heroe’s square is to walk in the City park which was built again as a part of the Millennial Exhibition in 1896. On the picture you can see Vajdahunyad Castle. It is a copy of the Hunyad Castle in Transylvania. (Now in Romania.)
After the long trip we did together, it is great to sit down for a cup of coffee and cake. I recommend you to visit the famous Gundel restaurant, which is very close to the city park and over there you can taste the delicious Gundel pancakes also called Gundel palacsinta, a crepe with a filling made from rum, raisin, walnuts, and lemon zest, served with a chocolate sauce. OOO yummy! I hope you enjoyed Budapest and you will visit this amazing city! I wish you wonderful time and nice people around you! If you like the article please share.
Have a beautiful day and don’t forget to smile!
- BUDApest – the beauty on the Danube (part 1.)
- Fascinujúce mangrovové lesy