After falling in love with Istanbul, I have now a new city crush: Budapest, the capital city of Hungary.
Budapest originally consisted of two cities, Buda and Pest, which are separated by the Danube River. It was only unified to become Budapest in 1873. Buda has a more hilly contour while Pest is more flat, and thus overlooking the Danube River and Pest from Buda draws such an amazing view. The two cities were only connected when the Chain Bridge was constructed in 1839 and completed in 1849. A lot of Budapest attractions are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historical importance such as Castle Hill, the Royal Palace, Matthias Church & Fisherman’s Bastian. Everything is so pretty.
It wasn’t the view during the day though that caught me off guard. Don’t get me wrong, Budapest is extremely beautiful during the day, but at night it gets unbelievably much more beautiful. The lights are turned on in the historical buildings, the bridges and also its surroundings and just like that the city instantly glows and turn into something magical. Taking a cruise ride along the Danube River at night to enjoy this view simply magnifies the beauty of the city. While you are around the city, you can also try dinner in one of the boats that sits on the riverside to enjoy the view.
Budapest has an extensive historical background. The Romans once stayed in Hungary for a couple of centuries starting from 35BC, of which traces of their influence can be seen until now. They found that there are abundant of thermal springs available in the area and built the first public baths. Today, Budapest is famous for its spas and medicinal waters. After the Romans, several tribes controlled the city: Huns, Eastern Goths, Longobards, Avars.
In 1541 the Ottoman Empire from Turkey conquered Budapest for around 150 years. They introduced paprika, brought coffee and built fine bathhouses, of which some are still in use until now. After the Turks, came the Habsburg Empire who stayed during the 17 & 18 centuries. During the struggle of power between the Turks and Habsburg, the city was left in ruins, including the Royal Palace in Castle Hill. The Habsburg then started a large scale rencostruction in the 18th century to rebuild the city and replaced the demolished buildings with baroque dwelling houses and churches. Most of these buildings can be seen today in the Budapest Castle District.
By the 19th century Buda and Pest had became the political and cultural centre of the country. In 1838 a flood destroyed a large of Pest. It was then rebuilt in a contemporary style. For the first time the development in Pest began to outrank Buda. In Hungary’s history, the mid-19th century is called the Reform Era where Many important and grand buildings were established. Until this time Buda and Pest were still seperated and was only connected after the first permanent bridge, the Chain Bridge was completed in 1849 under the initiative of Count Széchenyi.
It is Budapest’s rich historical background that has shaped the city into what it has become today. Budapest for me is one of the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. The thing is, everytime I discover some place beautiful, I just can’t wait to explore other parts of the world to uncover other kinds of beautiful..