Nicknamed as “Paris of the East”, the capital is filled with interesting architecture that pulses with history, infamous thermal baths, and a operatic music scene that swarms into each venue, as well as exquisite fine dining that satisfies any tourist that ventures here. All these aesthetics come together to form a dynamic metropolis, and one I visited on a mini break with my mum, too young to fully appreciate the cheap beer and the charm behind all the confusing districts- one area being Buda, the other being Pest.
Now regarded as one of the most popular tourist destinations, Budapest has multiplied in charm and beauty over time. Budapest has now become a hub for music, a hive of activity, filled with various museums and art galleries that one must explore. Either floating along the Danube River which separates areas of the city, or absent mindedly strolling though the town and losing yourself among cobbled streets, you will be sure to find the city delightful.
The architecture of the buildings are as if a treasure trove, with each corner telling a new story or design. Designs of buildings are eclectic and random, and even at times I felt… a little weathered. This is because of the history and the horrors that have passed through the streets during World War Two, so don’t be surprised to find memoirs of the sad destruction of so many innocent lives. The statue of Shoes On the Danube represents all the oppressed Jews who were shot into the Danube, or the House Of Terror, an original Nazi headquarters, prison and torture chamber. Melancholy still hangs in the air around the city, clinging on to buildings in desperation, reminding all those of the past, unlike the ambience you feel when exploring Vienna or Prague.
Despite this, there is much beauty in the Hungarian capital. Take a look at the Parliament Building which is a blend of architectural styles, but its neat ordered row of classical spires that point to the sky out stand any visiting tourist. With such a beautiful and practical building, it really puts the Houses of Parliament in London to shame. Similar to this design, visit Buda Palace on Castle Hill. Visiting the Royal Palace is most definitely, the sight which makes Budapest the city it is now. After years of fighting and rebuilding the structure, finally the establishment stands in all of its full glory, proud and defiant. Not only is it a symbol of the modern and present time, it also offers sweeping views over the city amidst the River Danube, and houses the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum– instrumental elements of the city’s present being. Another important aspect of Budapest is Heroes’s Square. Famous for its role in history, a visit here with its iconic structure and similar parallel in design as St Peter’s Square in Rome, the site offers an interesting contrast to other areas of Budapest.
Wander deeper into the city passing traditional water fountains built of stone and Gothic churches to reach Basilica of St. Stephen, by far the most breathtaking cathedral in Hungary. Use the time to reflect and meditate in the Holy Right Chapel, absorbing the magnificent art work and religious connotations.
Although my visit here was brief, I still felt the ambience of the city, the pain and suffering it had faced, and delved into its stunning architecture and its history with a visit to some of its important tourist sights. There is much to see and do in this city, but unfortunately, it does not compete with its even more popular neighbours, Vienna and Prague. It does, however create a wonderfully hearty and warming traditional dish of goulash stew, which must be tried before you leave.