"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on November 12, 2016 by Sioux under General
1 Comment

 

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, has a history which dates back to the period after the anti-Hapsburg revolution in 1848–49 when the 1867 Compromise (Kiegyezés) saw a weakened Vienna make Buda the capital of a near-autonomous Hungary, a large, multi-ethnic Kingdom comprising half of the newly created Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.

In this peculiar double-state the Monarch was emperor and king, respectively, of these two rather autonomous realms. The following half century marked by peaceful development counts among the most successful times in the history of the country as well as its capital. With the 1873 unification of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda, the city of Budapest was officially created. It saw a leap in terms of industrialisation, urbanisation, and the development of a capitalistic society as well as population. In 2006 the world’s longest trams started their service on lines 4 and 6 within the city of Budapest.  

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View of Pest from Buda 

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View of Buda from Pest, including the Matthias Church

Matthias Church is a Roman Catholic church, in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion, at the heart of Buda’s Castle District. According to church tradition, it was originally built in Romanesque style in 1015, although no archaeological remains exist. The current building was constructed in the florid late Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century and was extensively restored in the late 19th century. It was the second largest church of medieval Buda and the seventh largest church of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom.  

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St. Stephen’s Basilica a Roman Catholic basilica was named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c 975–1038). Supposedly, his right hand is housed in the reliquary. It was the sixth largest church building in Hungary before 1920. Today, it is the third largest church building in the country.

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Széchenyi Baths  

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Szechenyi Spa Baths in Budapest is one of the best and largest medicinal spa baths in Europe with its 15 indoor baths and 3 grand outdoor pools. Water is supplied by two thermal springs, with temperatures of 74 °C and 77 °C, respectively.  The Neo-baroque style construction began in 1909. The pool construction cost approximately 3.9 million Austro-Hungarian korona, with attendance figures in excess of 200,000 people in 1913. After expansion, the thermal artesian well could not supply the larger volume of water needed, so a new well was drilled. The second thermal spring was found in 1938 at a depth of 1,256 metres, with a temperature of 77 °C. It supplies 6,000,000 litres of hot water daily.  

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The Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest, is a theater, film and TV forum for creative artists. Opened in 1865, The Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest is one of the most versatile, top-quality education institutions in Europe. 

The headquarters of the dreaded secret police have been turned into the striking House of Terror, a museum focusing on the crimes and atrocities of Hungary’s fascist and Stalinist regimes.

 

The reconstructed prison cells in the basement and the Perpetrators’ Gallery, featuring photographs of the turncoats, spies and torturers, are chilling. The building has a ghastly history – it was here that activists of every political persuasion before and after WWII were taken for interrogation and torture. The walls were apparently of double thickness to muffle the screams. 

The Széchenyi Chain Bridge (commonly known as Chain Bridge) is a suspension bridge that spans the Danube between Buda and Pest, the western and eastern sides of Budapest. Designed by an English engineer, it was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary, and was opened in 1849. For centuries only a pontoon bridge connected Buda and Pest. Count István Széchenyi (1791-1860), came up with the idea of constructing a permanent bridge across the Danube, when in December 1820 he received the news that his father had died in Vienna. Because of the hard winter the pontoon bridge was out of use. Stranded on the Pest side for a week, Count Széchenyi vowed that he would finance construction of a permanent bridge over the Danube, regardless of the costs. It took him almost 50 years to achieve his dream. Some of the first walkers across the bridge were the soldiers of the Hungarian Army of Independence. They retreated from the Austrian troops in 1849. The Austrians attempted to blow up the bridge, but luckily the explosives did not go off. The bridge facilitated the union of Buda, Pest and Óbuda in 1873 and contributed to Budapest’s boom. Széchenyi collapsed mentally in 1848 and was not able to see his dream come true. 

At the time of its construction, it was regarded as one of the modern world’s engineering wonders. It is anchored on the Pest side of the river to Széchenyi (formerly Roosevelt) Square, adjacent to the Gresham Palace and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and on the Buda side to Adam Clark Square, near the Zero Kilometer Stone and the lower end of the Castle Hill Funicular, leading to Buda Castle. The bridge is a larger scale version of William Tierney Clark’s earlier Marlow Bridge, across the River Thames in Marlow, England.

 

Designed in sections, the bridge was shipped from the United Kingdom to Hungary for final construction. The cast iron structure was updated and strengthened in 1914. In World War II, it was blown up in 1945 by the retreating Germans during the Siege of Budapest, with only the towers remaining. It was rebuilt in 1949.

 

People travelling from Pest had to walk round Castle Hill on the Buda side in order to proceed northwards. In 1853 the construction of a 350m tunnel through the hill, underneath Buda Castle, was started and it was officially opened in 1856, for pedestrians only, and in 1857 for vehicles.  

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Royal Buda Castle

Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of Hungarian

kings, and was completed in 1265. In the past, it has been called Royal

Palace and Royal Castle. Buda Castle was built on the southern tip of

Castle Hill, bounded on the north by what is known as the Castle

District, which is famous for its Medieval, Baroque, and 19th-century

houses, churches, and public buildings. The castle is a part of the Budapest World Heritage Site, which was declared a Heritage Site in 1987. 

Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square) is one of the major squares in Budapest, 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. The square hosts the Museum of Fine Arts and the Műcsarnok; and has played an important part in contemporary Hungarian history as well as being host to many political events, including the reburial of Imre Nagy in 1989.

 

At the front of the monument is a large stone cenotaph surrounded by an ornamental iron chain, dedicated “To the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of the Hungarian people and national independence.” The back of the monument consists of two matched colonnades, each with seven statues representing great figures of Hungarian history. The top of the column depicts Archangel Gabriel, who holds the Hungarian Holy Crown and the apostolic double cross in his hands. 

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The female statue of Peace 

 Man with a Snake the symbol of War 

Archangel Gabriel 

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In the early years of the eleventh century, Gellért (Gerard in English), the Benedictine Abbot of San

Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, was on his way to Palestine on a pilgrimage when he was detained by the

country’s King Stephen, who asked the bishop to stay and tutor his son Imre, and to help convert the

pagan Magyars to Christianity. Gellért agreed to take on the challenge and remained in the country for

many years under the protection of the king. In 1904 a monument was erected at the site where Gellért met his death. 

Gellért Hill is a 235m high hill overlooking the Danube in Budapest. Gellért Hill was named after Saint Gerard who was thrown to his death from the hill. 

At the top of the hill is the Citadella, giving a magnificent view down both directions of the Danube, and across Budapest. 

A fabulous holiday, and then it was time to board a plane and head for the UAE and more fun times!   

 

One response to “Budapest – the final – out & about”

  1. Pauline Smith says:

    Morning sweets, you are most certainly jetting around.
    Interesting pictures – John, I think, would be in seventh heaven if he saw some of those old cars, still running and in immaculate condition.
    The Szechenyi Spa Baths, you got a photo of the outside, didn’t you manage to get any of this inside?
    The history behind the bridge and the tunnel is an interesting history lesson.

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