Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is the capital and largest city in Hungary. Straddling the Danube River, it is widely recognised as one of the most beautiful in Europe. The city covers 525.16 sq km (202.8 sq mi) and has a population of 1.7 million people (2011 estimate), within a metropolitan area (“Budapest Commuter Area”) holding a population of 3.2 million people.

Budapest observes the Central European Time zone, which is an hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+1), and two hours during Daylight Saving Time in summer. It experiences a temperate, transitional climate. The warmest month here are June and July, when the average high temperature of the day regularly reaches 26°C (78.8°F) and often more. Coldest month is January, when the average temperature drops to -4°C (24.8°F). June is the wettest month, with 69.8 mm (2.75 in) of precipitation, followed by May, with 64.5 mm (2.54 in).

Cupola of St Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest
Author: Roy Grundeken (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

The city of Budapest was created in 1873 from the merger of three cities, Buda and Óbuda on the west bank of the Danube, with the city of Pest, on the east bank. Human habitation in the area goes back to the time of the Celts before AD 1. The Romans established a settlement here in AD 106 called Aquincum. The modern city trace its roots to Buda Fortress and Pest Fortress built by the Bulgarian army during the 9th century.

The city of Buda was the main precursor of Budapest. It became the capital of Hungary in 1361. It was attacked by the Ottomans in 1526, besieged in 1529, and eventually occupied from 1541 until 1686, when the Holy League’s army of Christian soldiers managed to reconquer Buda, and in the following years, won back lands captured by the Turks.

Váci Street, Budapest
Author: uzo19 (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

In 1867, the twin monarchy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire made Buda the capita, just a few years before it merged with Pest and Óbuda. When the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed following the First World War, Hungary declared itself independent during a turbulent period where it saw its boundaries shrinking by over two-thirds. It was further devastated by the Second World War, when it suffered bombings by British and American forces. Many of its Jewish population was also liquidated genocide perpetrated by the Nazi and its local ally, the Arrow Cross Party.

Budapest went through a period of rebuilding and restoration between the 1960’s and late 1980’s. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought a peaceful transition to a free-market economy for Hungary.

Gresham Palace, Budapest
Author: Dd-ang2s (public domain)

Today Budapest is a modern, developed city that serves as the political, cultural, commercial and transportation hub of Hungary, and the financial hub of Central Europe. It is also one of Central Europe’s a major tourist destination. It has the biggest airport in the country, and all the major expressways of Hungary spread out from the city.

Visiting Budapest, Hungary

The Budapest-Franz Liszt International Airport (BUD) is the biggest airport in Hungary. Located 16 km (10 mi) to the southeast of downtown Budapest, the airport has two terminals. Arriving at the airport, you have the option of taking the bus, minibus or taxi. Bus 200E takes you from Terminals 1 and 2 to the Kõbánya-Kispest Metro Line 3 station.

Vajdahunyad Castle, Budapest
Author: Karelj (public domain)

Exploring Budapest

Exploring on foot provides you the best opportunity to view and appreciate Budapest’s historic buildings and architecture. For greater distances, you can take the subway, trams and buses. The public transport of Budapest is managed by the

Budapest Transport Company. The best value, if you wish to use public transport extensively, is to get the travel cards, which allow unlimited travel for specific durations. They are available for 24-hours for HUF 1550, 72 hours for HUF 3850 and 7 days for HUF 4600.

Places of Interest in Budapest, Hungary

  1. City Council Chamber
  2. Ervin Szabó Library
  3. Ferenc Liszt Music Academy
  4. Great Synagogue
  5. House of Terror Museum
  6. Hungarian National Museum
  7. Inner City Parish Church
  8. Jewish Quarter
  9. Klotild Palaces
  10. Mihály Vörösmarty Square
  11. Museum of Applied Arts
  12. New Theater
  13. New York Palace
  14. Pest County Hall
  15. Turkish Bank
  16. University Church
  17. Váci Street
  18. Vigadó Square
  1. Aquincum
  2. Buda Hills
  3. Budapest Holocaust Memorial Center
  4. Eagle Hill Nature Reserve
  5. Jewish Museum
  6. Margaret Island
  7. Memento Park
  8. Museum of Fine Arts
  9. Műcsarnok Palace of Art
  10. Palace of Arts
  11. St Anne’s Church
  12. Széchenyi Baths
  13. Vajdahunyad Castle
  14. Városliget City Park

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