- About Downtown
Information about the neighborhood
It is not easy to sum up the beauty and highlights of this capital. One thing for sure, Budapest is truly a picture of history dating back a thousand years. You can find Celtic ruins, Roman ruins and symbols of ancient Christianity. There are many parks and green areas but the natural beauty of the Danube is unparalleled in majesty. The river at the capital city is so wide and deep that it is like a picture postcard if you sit at any part of the embankment.
Buda and Pest: two cities for the price of one, and with a fabled river, the Danube, in between. Bustling Pest has historical treasures from its Habsburg and Jewish past, while verdant, hilly Buda is a hiker’s heaven. Although Hungary joined the European Union in 2004, its capital retains an eastern mystique, with twisty old streets lined with beautiful architecture and a populace that knows the importance of not spending all one’s time working. The nightlife is buzzy, the classical music scene impressive and the thermal baths cheap and plentiful.
Every visitor to Budapest walks along the River Danube, and for a good reason: liquid history flows below and spectacular views greet you at every turn. On the west bank is Buda, on the east Pest.
Pest’s street layout features Habsburg-style ring roads, joined by important spokes, such as Andrássy út, the tree-lined boulevard that begins next to the monument to the nation’s leaders at Heroes’ Square (Hösök tere). Further up towards the downtown is the opulent Opera House built in 1884 by Miklós Ybl, and the Basilica named after St. Stephen, first king of Hungary.
On the river, three blocks from the Basilica, is the Chain Bridge (1873), the first permanent crossing between Buda and Pest.
A few blocks north of the Chain Bridge, on the Pest side, is the Parliament. This structure, along with much of central Pest, was built in the late 19th century, during Hungary’s heyday as a partner in the dual monarchy with Austria.
Other periods have clearly influenced the look of the city, including the period of Habsburg domination, when the castle district was built, and the 16th-century Ottoman occupation, which produced a number of Turkish baths.
Further site of note that has to be mentioned is the world’s second largest synagogue in the VIIth district.