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Sights in Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and like many European cities is steeped in history with a Communist and royal past. It has interesting sights to explore and unique attractions.

  • Aquincum—a complex that consists of the reconstructed remains of a Roman settlement that can be dated back to the first century AD with excavations uncovering artifacts such as a gymnasium and central heating system along with ruins of two baths and a shrine once run by the cult of Mithras; a museum on the site has notable archaeological discoveries such as ceramics, a red marble sarcophagus showing a triton and flying Eros on one side and Telesphorus, the angel of death, on the other, Roman board games, interactive videogames, and a reconstructed Roman musical organ in the basement level; District III, Szentendrei ut 135
  • Budapesti Allat-Es-Novenykert (Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden)—a renovated zoo and botanical garden that began renovations in the late 1990s and is still undergoing renovations but the upgrades add to its appeal; the zoo has a monkey house, elephant pavilion decorated with Zsolnay majolica and glazed ceramic animals, and other animals; District XIV, Varosliget, Allatkerti korut 6-12
  • Citadella—a fortress atop a hill that has great views of Budapest and has a graphic exhibition with relics of Budapest’s 2,000-year-old history and a WWII bunker exhibition; District XI, Citadella setany
  • Gozsdu Udvar (Gozsdu Courtyard)—a series of connected courtyards filled with restaurants, cafes, and bars that has painters selling their works on Tuesday and Thursday and on weekends is home to a bustling marketplace with jewelry, textiles, and other unique items for sale; District VII, Kiraly utca 13
  • Gyermekvasut (Children’s Railway)—a 7-mile-long railway operated mainly by children runs from Szechnyi-hegy to Huvosvolgy with great views along the route; District XII, Szilagyi Erzsebet fasor and Pasareti ut
  • Hadtorteneti Muzeum (Museum of Military History)—a museum situated in the former barracks on the northwestern corner of Kapisztran ter that has cannonballs lodged in its walls and exhibits that include collections of uniforms and military regalia that trace Hungary’s history from the Magyar conquest in the 9th century through Ottoman rule to the mid-20th century; District I, Toth Arpad setany 40
  • Halaszbastya (Fishermen’s Bastion)—a neo-Romanesque porch that looks out over the Danube and Pest rivers and is a cluster of white stone towers, arches, and columns above a bronze statue of St. Stephen, Hungary’s first king, and has merchants selling souvenirs and crafts and musicians; District I, East of Szentharomsag ter
  • Holocaust Emlekkozpont (Holocaust Memorial Center)—Hungary’s first major center for Holocaust research with a stone façade and two tall massive iron doors as an entrance into a courtyard where the names of Hungarian Jewish and Roma (Gypsy) victims are listed and inside a cellar has family and individual stories told through photos, films, original documents, personal objects, and touch-screen computers; District IX, Pava utca 39
  • Hosok Tere (Heroes’ Square)—Budapest’s version of the Brandenburg Gate that is a semi-circular twin colonnade with statues of Hungary’s kings and leaders between its pillars and in the center is a 118-foot stone column crowned by a statue of the archangel Gabriel bearing the ancient emblems of Hungary; District VI, Hosok tere
  • Janosjegy (Janos Hill)—the highest point in Budapest at 1,729 feet that provides the best view of the city; District XII, Zugligeti ut 97
  • Kiralyi Palota (Royal Palace)—a site with a long history that was a palace in the 13th century for the kings of Hungary and was reconstructed in Renaissance style under King Matthias’s supervision during the 15th century before being demolished when Buda was recaptured from Turks in 1686; it was rebuilt under the direction of Habsburg empress Maria Theresa in the 1700s before being damaged during an attack by revolutionaries in 1849 and completed in 1905; District I, Szent Gyorgy ter 2
  • Magyar Nemzeti Galeria (Hungarian National Gallery)—the national gallery that is in the center block of the Royal Palace and showcases Hungarian fine art from medieval ecclesiastical paintings and statues through Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque art to 19th and 20th century works; District I, Kiralyi Palota (entrance in Wing C), Disz ter 17
  • Magyar Nemzeti Muzeum (Hungarian National Museum)—a museum that describes the everyday experiences of Hungarians from the past to the present with a 20th century exhibit featuring an early cinema with films from the period, an old schoolroom, a 1960s apartment interior, and historical posters and masterpieces of cabinetmaking and woodcarving; District IX, Muzeum korut 14-16
  • Memento Park—a park with statues and memorials to former Communist leaders and souvenirs for sale as well as a tiny speaker system that plays songs from the Hungarian and Russian workers’ movements; District XXII, Balatoni ut, corner of Szabadkai utca
  • Miniversum—an attraction with miniature dioramas of Budapest and Hungary’s major sights and landmarks with moving trains and pedestrians and interactive screens that provide historical context on highlights; District VI, Andrassy ut 12
  • Matyas-Templom (Matthias Church)—known as the Matthias Church since the 15th century, this church’s ornate white steeple is the highest point on Castle Hill and has been renovated once into a mosque and rebuilt in 1686 with a fine Gothic stone carving of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Trinity Chapel which is home to an enameled casket containing a miniature copy of the Gospel to be worn on the chest of the 12th century king Bela III and his wife Anne of Chatillon; District I, Szentharomsag ter 2
  • Nagy Zsinagoga (Great Synagogue)—Europe’s largest synagogue that seats 3,000 and was built between 1844 and 1859 in a Byzantine-Moorish style but was desecrated by German and Hungarian Nazis and donations facilitated its reconstruction; it reopened in 1996 and is used for regular services during much of the year but not generally used in midwinter due to the heating space and also includes a courtyard behind the synagogue that has a metal weeping willow honoring victims of the Holocaust; District VII, Dohany utca 2-8
  • Neprajzi Muzeum (Museum of Ethnography)—formerly the home of the Supreme Court, this 1890s neoclassical building is now home to a permanent exhibition entitled “The Folk Culture of the Hungarian People” which explains aspects of peasant life from the end of the 18th century until WWI and features artifacts such as embroideries, pottery, carvings, farming tools, furniture, and traditional costumes; District V, Kossuth ter 12
  • Szechenyi Furdo (Szenchenyi Baths)—the largest medicinal bathing complex in Europe located within a neo-Baroque building in the middle of City Park with several indoor thermal pools, two outdoor pools, medical and underwater massage treatments, carbonated bath treatments, and mud wraps; District XIV, Varosliget, Allatkerti korut 9-11

 

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