Photo Tour: Budapest

I had only eight hours in Budapest, Hungary -- not enough to get much of a feel for the city, but long enough to see some of the sights without making many notes about them. Thanks to Karin Eszterhás for helping me (and you!) by sending captions for most of the pictures. If you recognize one of the other photos and you'd like to send me a caption, I'll add it to the page... thanks!

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This is Vörösmarty Square in the central part of Pest. Everyone meets here for appointments during lunch or after work in the famous coffee house on the square. The statue is the very well known poet Mihaly Vörösmarty. Considered one of the greatest Hungarian poets, he created a new poetic language and combined the characteristics of the national and classical schools in his work. He is best known abroad for his patriotic lyrics, especially The Call (1837). His national epics, notable for their splendor of language, include Zalan's Flight (1825), Erlan (1825), and Two Neighboring Castles (1831). Vörösmarty also wrote dramas and critical works and translated the Thousand and One Nights and works of Shakespeare.
Street lamps and building
Street lamps and building... probably (according to Karin) taken in one of the streets near Vörösmarty Square, probably the main street called Váci utca, which means it's in Pest too.
Outside of Liszt academy
Outside the Liszt Academy, a music school. Officially called the Ferenc Liszt College of Music Art, it was founded in 1875. The Academy today not only trains musicians, it's also the centre of concert life in Budapest.
Chain Bridge
The Chain Bridge across the Danube, with the hills of Buda behind it (taken from the Pest side of the river). This bridge was the first permanent span across the Danube. Designed by an English engineer, Adam Clark (the Square at the Buda end of the bridge is named after him), and built between 1842 and 1849, one of its first uses was to allow the Hungarian Army of Independence to retreat from the advancing Austrians in 1849. The Austrians then tried to blow up the bridge with explosives, but luckily the charges failed to detonate. Sadly, almost 100 years later, the German army succeeded in collapsing the centre span during fierce fighting towards the end of World War II. The bridge was quickly rebuilt and has been periodically renovated (which makes driving in Budapest an even greater chore as the bridge usually has to be closed).
Old and new above the Danube
Old and new above the Danube: This shows the Royal Castle, which was bombed during World War II and rebuilt. In 1972 it was still a ruin and closed to the public. But late in the seventies and for many years the reconstruction went on, giving us this view in 2003.
A new tower
A new tower on Castle Hill, Buda: the tower of the Hilton Hotel. This was the first "foreign" hotel in Budapest, built close to the very important old Mártyás church. The Mártyás church (called Matthias Church in English) is Hungary's gothic coronation church - the Matthias Church - as well as the fairy-tale-like Fisherman's Bastion. Built some 25 years ago on the site of a Dominican church and cloister of the 13th century, the hotel incorporates the remnants of the old cloister and monastery that are embraced by the present 20th century architecture. Thus the unique blending of the two styles, modern and pre-Renaissance.
Old and new on Castle Hill
On Castle Hill: the old Fisherman's Bastion mirrored in the new windows of the Hilton.
View of Pest from Castle Hill
View of Pest, and the Parliament building, from Castle Hill. This view is from the above-mentioned Fisherman's Bastion, which was completed in 1905 on the site of a former fish market - this is where the name came from. It has never served a defensive purpose, but it is an excellent lookout place. The floodlit row of bastions offer a panoramic view onto the other bank of the Danube. The cityscape opening up from there, including the Fishermen's Bastion, has been part of UNESCO's World Heritage site since 1988.
Corner of a building on Castle Hill
Corner of a building on Castle Hill
From the Citadella
Taking in the view from the Citadella: Buda (to the left), the Danube, and Pest

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(These photographs are Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Peek. Much higher-resolution versions of most images, and many other images too, are available at Jerry Peek Photography. Photos are available at reduced prices, or free, for non-commercial use.)

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