Budapest Travel Information

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Budapest
 
Undoubtedly the brightest jewel on the Danube, present-day Budapest was created in 1873 from the separate towns of Buda, Pest and Obuda. Its population of two million resides in twenty-eight districts - the central ones will be covered here.

The definitive view of Budapest is that of Castle Hill and the first district. It's hard to imagine that the palace and entire hill with its medieval and baroque residences were utterly flattened during World War II. More baroque splendour extends along Fo utca and flanks Batthyany ter, site of the most spectacular Buda-side view of Pest and the Parliament.

The adjacent Gellert Hill and the mammoth Freedom
Statue form part of the profile of the first district. The hills drop abruptly into the river and define the city's geography, an utterly flat Pest sits on the opposite bank and the majestic Danube flows between them.

The city center (Belvaros) is Pest's District V, embracing the area within the Kiskorut ('little boulevard'). With the awe-inspiring brick and tiled hulk of the Vasarcsarnok (main market hall) at one end, its spine is the affluent retail hub that is the Vaci utca. The city's administrative flank, the Lipotvaros section, extends between Bajcsy-Zsilinsky and the Danube. It includes the parliament building and the many ministries that make up the country's adminstration. Less institutionalized corruption has ensured that the array of shops and restaurants in this district is ever-changing: here today, gone tomorrow.

District VI is the city's mainstream cultural wedge and features Andrassy ut, Budapest's most beautiful boulevard. Budapest's very own 'Broadway' crosses it at Nagymezo utca and the Opera House and Liszt Academy are also comfortably ensconced here among the hundreds of eclectic buildings. Franz Liszt ter has become the city's social hot spot, particularly during the summer when the hip hold court at the half a dozen outdoor bars and cafés that spill out onto the pavement.

District VII is Budapest's historic Jewish Quarter, containing several synagogues, Kosher bakeries e.g. Frolich Koser Cukraszda, restaurants and hotels. One recurring architectural theme is the presence of long, interconnnected courtyards that link two parallel streets, out of practical and strategic necessity. The most incredible example of this is the haunting, vacant Gozsdu udvar. The sixth undoubtedly has the best 'neighborhood' feel of all the districts within the Nagykorut.

The eighth could also be known as the 'District of Ill Repute'. Rakoczi ter has long since entered the lexicon as more than just a place name, but other areas have outshone it in its brand of commerce. There have been many attempts to establish Red Light Districts for legal prostitution here in Jozsefvaros, and just as many attempts to discourage them. However, visitors won't run into any brazen tawdriness unless they venture outside the Nagykorut.

District IX, Ferencvaros, is similar in character to the working-class if not downright impoverished eighth, except that it is now an 'up-and-coming' area. Trendy bars and cafés are springing up on Raday utca and in the section bounded by the Nagykorut. Gentrification will continue due to the potential for development alongside the Danube.

Let's pop across the river again. Obuda ('Old Buda') makes up District III. It was the site of the Roman encampment Aquincum, the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire in continental Europe. Consequently, many amphitheatres and artefacts have been unearthed here. However, many of Budapest's oldest and most beautiful dwellings were razed during the Communist period in order to make way for the huge apartment blocks just off Arpad bridge. Practically all that remains is a small collection of (restored) buildings around Fo ter.

District II, the Rozsadomb, or 'Rose Hill', is where Budapest's elite live. Dotted thickly with old villas and embassy residences, it got its name from the Turk - Gul Baba - whose tomb is reached via a cobblestone lane.

District XII is the gateway to the Buda hills and serenity, a mere few minutes from Mozskva ter. Buda's tallest hill, Janoshegy, presides over this area, and there are many spectacular views to be had from here, including from the chair-lift, Children's Railway and the cog-wheel railway. The latter two also service Szechenyi Hill.

District XI is where the bourgeois of Buda lived before they took to the hills, but the area remains quite affluent. It curves around Gellert Hill and extends to the border of Budapest itself. Most of the activity in this district centers around Moricz Zsigmond korter and the Technical University, which fronts a huge stretch of the Danube between Szabadsag and Lagymanyosi bridges. It is home to the emergent bastion of Hungarian musical culture - Fono.

Eileen Brown

Weather

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High 34° 40° 50° 61° 70° 75° 79° 78° 71° 61° 46° 37°
Avg. Low 24° 28° 35° 43° 51° 57° 59° 58° 52° 44° 35° 28°
Mean 29° 34° 42° 52° 61° 66° 69° 68° 62° 52° 41° 33°
Avg. Precip. 1.3 in 1.2 in 1.1 in 1.5 in 2.2 in 2.5 in 2.1 in 2.0 in 1.6 in 1.3 in 2.1 in 1.6 in

Fahrenheit temperature scale is used.