Today we’re going to familiarize you with one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. No, not Paris or Vienna, although both are really rather nice. And not Dubrovnik, Munich, Barcelona or even Bruges, all of which are considered to be exceedingly lovely. We’re actually talking about Budapest, and since it is one of the coolest destinations around, we thought you should know more about it.
Hungary’s capital and largest city is a really interesting place. Occupying both sides of the Danube River – the longest river in the European Union and 2nd largest on the continent (Volga River being the 1st) – Budapest got its name after west bank (Buda) became unified with east bank (Pest) creating the elaborate and sprawling city in 1873. The two sides are joined by the world famous Chain Bridge built in 1849, which was the cities first permanent bridge and is still one of it’s most recognized landmarks.
The area on which Budapest is currently situated on was originally settled by the Celtics. Then, when the Roman Empire engulfed Europe, it became the capital of Lower Pannonia. Interestingly enough, Hungarians didn’t actually settle the region until the 9th century and the Mongols ravaged their first village shortly thereafter. It was rebuilt by the the Renaissance only to submit to the Ottoman Empire for 150 years during the 15th century, after which it became the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1867, and Hungary in 1918.
Budapest’s elaborate and eclectic evolution has established the city as a rather unique cultural and historic beacon. It’s extremely long list of World Heritage Sites is only one testimony of it’s complex past. The list includes the Danube, Buda Castle Quarter (the castle itself was completed in 1265), the iconic boulevard Andrassy Avenue, Heroes’ Square, and the second oldest railway in the world called the Millennium Underground.
Yet one of the coolest attractions in Budapest is the super amazing Szechenyi Medicinal Bath! Built in 1913, it celebrated its 100th anniversary this year! Resembling the ancient Roman and Turkish baths from two millennia ago, the Szechenyai features over 20 different thermal pools and a number of steaming rooms. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs that have the respective temperatures of 74C and 77C, and embody a number of natural healing and medicinal properties – via minerals – that help visitors with various ailments.
One other important to mention thing about Budapest is the food! Anything meat related is simply amazing, try the salamis, sausages and beef stews, they are all delicious. And because Budapest is the land of paprika, check out anything spicy as well! Whether you try the goulash, liver, or the super spicy Hungarian fish soup, you surely won’t be disappointed!
Image Source: Wiki Commons