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Budapest - The Pearl of the Danube

Budapest The Pearl of the DanubeSome fall in love with the city at first sight, others become devotees of Budapest only after a longer period of discovery; but all agree that it is one of the most beautiful locations in the world.

It is considered to be one of the most vibrant and wonderful cities in Europe where the charm of old times and the characteristics of cosmopolitan living are blended. The broad Danube runs through the middle of this metropolis of two million, dividing the hilly Buda from the low-lying Pest. The riverside panorama has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. To understand why, you just have to see the Castle District and the embankment at night, beautifully illuminated.

Some interesting facts about Budapest:

  • Although initially inhabited fifty thousand years ago, it has only had its present name for a mere 128 years. Prior to 1873, Óbuda, Buda and Pest were considered separate settlementsUnder its hills there is a system of caves with thermal waters gushing from 80 thermal springs, which supply 12 spas with 70 million litres of water daily.
  • Its monuments include 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatres, 400-year-old Turkish baths and unique Hungarian Art Nouveau buildings from the 19th century. The cityscape owes its uniform appearance to the elegant mansions erected in Eclectic style in the early 20th century.
  • Lovers of culture are spoilt for choice with 237 monuments, 223 museums and galleries, 35 theatres, 90 cinemas, 2 opera houses and 12 concert halls. Around 200 excursion destinations offer a wide variety of things to do.
  • “Queen of the Danube” with a marvellous location: the Castle District and the view of Budapest from the Danube Bank are parts of the World Heritage
  • a relaxing environment with sports and leisure facilities:
    •       spas and hot springs
    •       caves and nature reserves
    •       lots of parks and green areas
  • a romantic city with abundant tourist sights:
    •       Castle District: Royal Castle, Matthias Church, Fishermen’s Bastion
    •       Parliament, Chain Bridgde
    •       Andrássy Avenue, Opera House
    •       Budapest Zoo, Heroes’ Square, City Park
    •       historical buildings in various art styles representing different eras from Roman times to the Belle Époque
  • a vivid and lively metropolis with rich cultural life:
    •       outstanding theatre and opera performances (in foreign languages as well)
    •       diverse theme festivals and events
    •       concerts in all music styles
    •       museums hosting world-class exhibitions
    •       many places of entertainment: restaurants, bars, music clubs etc.

Budapest River Danube

Budapest is divided into two parts by the River Danube and many of the must-sees (Buda Castle, National Gallery, Matthias Church, Fishermen’s Bastion, Parliament, National Academy of Sciences, etc.) are situated on or near the river banks. The bridges alone are worth taking a look at, especially the Chain Bridge (Lánchíd), the oldest in the city.

Not to be missed are the Heroes’ Square and its surroundings with two art museums (Museum of Fine Arts, “Műcsarnok” Art Gallery) and the “City Park” (Városliget) behind it. Once you are here, it is strongly recommended that you walk along Andrássy Street to get a feeling of 19th century luxury by looking at the sumptuous palaces along the alley. This is a fine occasion to get a glimpse of the Hungarian State Opera as well.

Catholic and protestant churches and other religious sites are also omnipresent in Budapest. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, recently restored is the city’s biggest Catholic church and one of the most wonderful ones. The Synagogue in Dohány Street is definitely worth a mention because it is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. The Jewish Museum around the corner has a unique collection of traditional Jewish artefacts.

The city’s cultural life is extremely diverse so one can select a different field of entertainment every night: there are plenty of movies, theatres, concerts of classical and pop/rock music, folk programmes, etc. to choose from.

A more active recreation is to visit one of the city’s numerous baths. Hot springs supplying water of 35-76 degrees centigrade gave rise to a flourishing culture of spas already in the Roman Age and made Budapest one of the most popular spa cities of Europe.

Budapest is also the city of festivals – several major cultural events are held in and around the city every year.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96