Budapest

BUDAPEST, PARIS OF THE EAST?

On this short trip to the capital of Hungary, I had 2 days exploring the city and find out why Budapest is called “the Paris of the East”.

Budapest is the capital and the most populous city of Hungary, and cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Once in Budapest, you will see yourself surrounded by history, traditions and beautiful monuments.

The first attraction I went to see in Budapest is St.Stephen’s Basilica. It is the largest church in Budapest and can hold up to 8,500 people. On top of this building, there is an observation deck with 360 view over the city and it costs very cheap for tickets, and you are gonna have to climb over 364 steps to go up there. Elevators are actually available too but for young explorers like us, walking up over 300 stairs should not be a problem at all.

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It took a bit of energy to reach the top, but the beautiful panoramic views are definitely worth the climb. From here I could see most of Budapest’s famous attractions, as well as the city’s beautiful rooftops.

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Once you are in Budapest, of course there is no reason to miss out the city’s most iconic building: the Hungary Parliament. The neo-Gothic building is just over 100 years old. It was built for the big 1896 party to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Hungary and fully completed in 1902.

Hungary Parliament is the third largest Parliament building in the world, with 691 rooms and 20 kilometers of stairs. At 96 meters tall, it  is the same height as St.Stephen’s Basilica, where I just came from. Interesting fact, the idea of a Neo Gothic building located on the riverside was inspired by the design of London Parliament building where the famous Big Ben tower locates .

Budapest in the past was actually 2 cities separated by the Danube river. Budapest today as a single city is the combination of the city names "Buda" and "Pest" from 1873. Buda is the former capital of the Kingdom of Hungary and located on the Western part of the Danube river while Pest is the eastern, mostly flatpart of Budapest and comprise about two thirds of the city's territory.

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A view from Buda to Pest. Buda and Pest are separated by the Danube river, while the famous Chain Bridge connects the two parts with friendly walkways. 

Chain Bridge is another iconic piece of architecture of Budapest. It is the city's first permanent bridge which connects Buda and Pest. Before this bridge was built, people needed boats to cross the river. Chain Bridge was completed in 1849, and immediately became an important symbol of Budapest. 

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One thing I love about Budapest is there are so many good places to watch the city's beautiful skyline. With so many architecturally stunning buildings, I guess Budapest is best viewed from above. Fortunately, the city offers plenty of opportunities to do that. One of the best place to do this is from Buda Castle, after crossing Chain Bridge from Pest you can get here easily. 

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Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest. Besides the monuments, you get a breathtaking panorama of the Danube with the Chain Bridge and the Pest side of the city on the opposite side of the river.This is a must do in Budapest. Allow yourself at least half a day to explore the castle district – it’s bigger than you think.

"Paris of the East”

Budapest is often referred as Paris of the East. As the capital city of Hungary, Budapest’s historical architecture rivals the Baroque style of much of Paris’ sights. From gorgeous cathedrals to historical theaters and even ruins and museums, the ancient city shows off some of the most historically awe-inspiring architecture in Europe. 

Paris is often referred to as the “City of Love,” and for good reasons. Budapest is also a romantic city. From walking along the Danube to sampling food and taking in some theater, it’s definitely a city you’d want to visit with someone you love. Ok, you may not get the Eiffel Tower, but you’ll still get gorgeous architecture – and an amazing city scene, especially at night like this.

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After all, I don’t always like the idea of comparing a city with aother. Every city in the world has it’s own unique spirit and lifestyle, which makes travelling more interesting. So let’s just call Budapest Budapest, a very beautiful and romantic capital city of Hungary. Beside the well known attractions, allow yourself to get lost here too, you will be surprised how many hidden charms are existing in this city. 

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Khoi Nguyen

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