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Published: September 7th 2003
From Castle Hill
On the banks of the Danube in the North of Hungary lie the twin cities of Buda and Pest. Together they form the capital Budapest, pronounced Boo-dapesht locally. Budapest is a beautiful city, the centre strangely reminiscent of London, due to the impressive 19th century architecture straddling the banks of a large river, crossed by many bridges.
The Danube flows north to south, with Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east. Looking up from the river banks to Buda, a ridge of hills follows the river. On the top of the ridge Castle Hill sits the Royal Palace, the historical home of the Hungarian royal family.
Close to the Pest bank stand today’s power centres, the parliament and the central district.
With a population of 2 million, Budapest dwarfs every other city in Hungary, it is the political and cultural capital for the Hungarian people. There are hundreds of attractions, museums, restaurants and bars to visit.
One of Budapest’s finest squares, near city park in Pest. Statues of Hungarian hero’s, from the 7 chief’s who lead the Hungarians to Hungary, (Almos, Elod, Ond, Kond, Tas, Huba, Tohotom), St. Stephen to a
coffin representing those that died in the 1956 uprising.
The Basilica of St. Stephen
Completed in 1905, and neglected under communism the Basilica has just finished being extensively renovated. The interior is decorated with saints and gold. The right hand of St. Stephen is in a small chapel off to one side. A glass cabinet holds it and some of the most precious artifacts, and a coin operated slot causes a holy glow to come from a small light, allowing you to see it.
The views from the top of the Basilica are wonderful, across the whole of Pest, over the Danube and to the castle hill.
Under the Royal Palace on Castle Hill in Buda, a network of caverns, tunnels and caves lie. They have been used throughout the centuries for storage, defence and now tourism. The Labyrinth allows you to walk through some of these tunnels, houses some sculptures, art and some tongue in cheek exhibits. The absolute darkness at the backs of some of the dead ended tunnels was the best thing, lots of opportunity to scare the other unwary tourists walking blind with arms out stretched.
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