The three dominant elements of this grandiose square are the Art Gallery built in 1896, the Museum of Fine Arts that opened its doors in December of 1906, and the Millennium Monument which visually connects the two. On top of the Monument’s 36-metre-high central column stands the Archangel Gabriel who holds Hungary’s Holy Crown and the apostolic double cross. The monument displays features of the eclectic style and is arranged in a semicircular shape. Among the columns of the semi-colonnades to the left and right, 7 bronze statues of famous personalities from Hungarian history stand on either side.
Andrássy Avenue is a 2310-metre-long thoroughfare in Budapest connecting the city centre with the City Park and mostly known for its unified architectural style. The Avenue, together with the Millennium Underground running under it and Heroes’ Square at its end, became part of the World Heritage in 2002. The best of the city’s eclectic buildings, including the Opera House designed by the famed Hungarian architect Miklós Ybl, are located along the Avenue alongside numerous apartment blocks containing delicately decorated inner spaces, statues and fountains.
The city was officially awarded the title ‘City of Spas’ in 1934, but people made use of and enjoyed the wealth of natural thermal waters as early as ancient Roman times. 70 million litres of medicinal thermal water (21 to 78 °C) burst to the surface every day from the 118 hot springs that have been discovered so far in the city. 10 of Budapest’s 15 thermal baths are open all year round; the more adventurous have the chance to even taste the medicinal waters from the numerous drinking fountains in the city. The most renowned spas are: the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, the Gellért Thermal Baths, and the Király Thermal Baths.
Buda Castle and the whole of the Castle District is the most renowned and most visited tourist attraction of Budapest. The Royal Palace is the symbol of the country; and since the 13th century the site has been a stage for battles and wars. The Matthias Church, standing in the Holy Trinity Square, is one of the most picturesque and beloved Roman Catholic churches in Budapest. In addition, five museums and a number of historically significant buildings and monuments are also located in the area, right alongside famous theatres. The panorama from the Fishermen’s Bastion and from the square in front of the National Gallery is simply breathtaking: the scenery reveals one of the most impressive views of the Danube.
The very first permanent bridge in the city – today a national monument – with the Buda Castle in the background provides a marvellous view enticing many tourists to take a trip to the city. At the request of Count István Széchenyi, the bridge was designed by William Tierney Clark and constructed by Adam Clark from 1839-1849. This bridge was not able to survive the devastations of the Second World War, but it was rebuilt at the centenary of its opening, in 1949. A short walk to the hill atop the tunnel on the Buda side offers an excellent view of the bridge and the Danube.
One of the largest buildings in the country, the permanent site for the Hungarian National Assembly’s gatherings, the Hungarian Parliament building lays on the bank of the Danube. The building complex was constructed according to the designs of the architect Imre Steindl in a Neo-Gothic style, between 1884-1904. The 268-metre-long building holds 691 rooms and its dome is 96 metres tall. Since 2000, the coronation jewels have been on exhibit in the Parliament: the Holy Crown of St. Stephen, the sceptre, the orb and the sword from the Renaissance. The square in front of the Parliament was redesigned in the spring of 2014.
ST. STEPHEN’S BASILICA
St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of the most significant ecclesiastic buildings of Hungary and an outstanding tourist attraction for Budapest. It also holds a holy relic, the so-called Holy Right Hand, the mummified right hand of the patron saint of the church, (St.) Stephen I, the king who founded the state of Hungary. The dome of this church, Budapest’s largest, is easily visible from anywhere in the city. The Neo-Classical style Basilica was built from 1851 to 1905. The Basilica is the final rest-place of one of the most famous Hungarians, the football player Ferenc Puskás, who was buried there in 2006; and it often hosts high-quality organ concerts as well.
GREAT SYNAGOGUE – DOHÁNY UTCA
The second largest Jewish synagogue in the world, and alongside the Amsterdam Synagogue the biggest in Europe, the Great Synagogue of Budapest was built between 1854-59 in the Romantic style according to the plans of Ludwig Förster and with the cooperation of Frigyes Feszl. The building, able to seat as many as 3,000 people, is best characterized by its vigorous, eastern-influenced style, the use of multicoloured rough bricks and its cast-iron structure, which is visible only on the interior. During the Second World War, the Synagogue marked the border of the Budapest Ghetto. It is worthwhile to take the guided tour that introduces the Jewish Quarter of the city.
This is the green boat of the Danube, realm of springs, spas and extensive grassy fields. The 2.8 km long narrow island, stretching between Margaret Bridge and Árpád Bridge, is undoubtedly the most beautiful park in the capital. The charm of the island is enhanced by mystical medieval ruins, promenades with statuary and modern skywalks. In addition to the UNESCO-protected water tower and the famous musical fountain, the island provides a site for the Hajós Alfréd Swimming Pool, Palatinus Beach, a running track, restaurants and pubs.
Gellért Hill is a popular location for day trips in the capital. On top of the hill sits a former fortress, built by the Habsburg rulers in 1854 after quelling the 1848-49 Hungarian War of Independence. The Budapest Panorama, constituting part of the World Heritage, unfolds here in its fullest might and beauty. Other sights on the hill include a statue of the bishop St. Gellért, St. Gellért Cave Church and the Liberty Statue.