Budapest is Hungary's glittering capital, a fascinating metropolis of 1.7 people in a cosmopolitan hub in the very heart of Europe. The city is symbolised by the River Danube, and not only because of the breathtaking views from the Buda Hills of the water and its bridges. The Danube not only links the two halves of the city, it also connects Budapest to the countryside, to other countries, and so to the rest of the world. And just like the river, Budapest is permanently in flux.
Yet the capital's citizens are also acutely aware of their shared heritage, resulting in a city that is a living meeting place for the traditional and the modern. The cityscape is typified by the architecture of Hungary's “Golden Age” of the early 20th century. Art nouveau buildings, coffee houses, shopping passages and bathing complexes are all part of the era's lasting legacy. Yet the modern shopping options of the Pest and Buda sides are in stark contrast to the famous traditional market halls. These retail hubs include the premium Fashion Street and the new malls of Mammut, Arena and West End City Center. Unusually, Budapest's shopping centres are transferred into lively dance and party clubs once the shop shutters go down on a Friday or Saturday night.

UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites in Budapest:

Budapest boasts several locations that are so unique that they are considered by UNESCO to be of particular significance to all of humankind. These attractions have therefore been included in the organisation's list of Cultural Heritage Sites.

The historic Buda Castle District

1. The historic Buda Castle District and its view across the Danube

Budapest is one of the the most attractively situated cities in the world. The Danube splits the city in two: The rolling hills of Buda to the right and Pest extending on the flat left-hand shore of the river. The palaces on both sides of the Danube and the historic Castle District on the plateau of Castle Hill are together listed as World Heritage Sites. The spectacular bridges over the Danube are particularly impressive when illuminated  at night.

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Andrássy Boulevard in Budapest

2. Andrássy Boulevard in Budapest and its historical surroundings

Another highlight of the Hungarian capital is Andrassy út with its Millennium Subway line and Heroes' Square at its apex. The broad shopping and residential street has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 2002 and is regularly referred to as the “Champs-Élysées of Budapest”. Its architectural star attractions are the State Opera House, the old Academy of Music and its Franz Liszt Museum, the Academy of Arts, and the street's corner houses decorated with unusual painted façades. Beneath the street level, continental Europe's first underground railway is still in operation.

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The Parliament in Budapest


In 1882, a tender was issued for the construction of a new Hungarian parliament building. The winner was Imre Steindl, a professor at the Budapest Technical University, whose edifice in the eclectic-historical style has since become an unmistakable symbol of Budapest. The external appearance of the building is clearly influenced by the Gothic revival movement of 1830s England, the prime example of which was are the Houses of Parliament in London.

[Translate to Englisch:] Steindl scheute sich allerdings nicht Neuerungen vorzunehmen, wo die Funktion des Gebäudes eine spezielle Lösung erforderte. Für den Mittelpunkt seines monumentalen Bauwerkes entwarf er eine Kuppel, wie sie in der Gotik kaum bekannt war. Genauso frei verwendete er bei der Innenraumgestaltung die Prinzipen der Renaissance und des Barock. Steindls Ziel war es nicht, einen neuen Stil zu erschaffen, sondern ein Parlament für die Jahrhunderte zu planen. Durch die atemberaubende Prunk-Treppenhalle kommen die Besucher in den Kuppelsaal, wo Ungarns heilige Krone und die Krönungsinsignien ausgestellt sind. Rechts und links davon befinden sich die symmetrisch angeordneten Sitzungssäle des Abgeordnetenhauses – reich geschmückt durch Fresken, Skulpturen und historische Realien.

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The Buda Castle in Budapest

The Buda Castle

The southern end of the narrow plateau of Castle Hill is dominated by the enormous Royal Palace. The centre of the Castle District is marked by the pointed spire of the Matthias Church, while narrow cobbled streets reminiscent of the middle ages make for a pleasant walk to the north. The Fisherman's Bastion directly behind the church was built in the late 19th century with walls and turrets in the style of a fairytale castle. The neo-Roman construction is without doubt one of the iconic views of Budapest.

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The Heroes' Square in Budapest

Heroes' Square

Heroes' Square was constructed in 1896 to commemorate 1000 years since the foundation of Hungary. The archangel Gabriel rises on a column at its centre and is flanked by a semicircle of statues of past Hungarian kings. The monument is overlooked to the left by the Museum of Fine Art, with the Arts Hall to the right. The city park spreads out behind the statues, complete with a lake that functions as an ice rink in winter, the Budapest Zoo and the Széchenyi Baths. All these sites complement one another to create a wonderful tourist attraction.

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St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest

St. Stephen's Basilica

Just as St. Stephen made an impressive contribution to Hungarian history, the basilica built in his honour is among the most awe-inspiring buildings in our beautiful city. St. Stephen's Basilica continues to be the country's most important church, not only as a place of worship, but also as a showcase of art through the ages. The construction of the church began in 1851 according to plans drawn up by the architect József Hild, while the construction was overseen by Miklós Ybl, creater of the Budapest Opera House. 

A huge dome, one of the tallest points in Pest, rises up from the centre of the cross that forms the footprint of the  building. A panorama balcony runs around the dome, offering excellent views of the Pest rooftops as they extend in all directions. Inside, the main alter with its intricate ciborium is graced by a statue of St. Stephen.

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The Art Nouveau Museum in Budapest

The Art Nouveau Museum

This unique building in the Budapest city centre was built in 1903. It belonged to Béla Bedő, the wealthy owner of a paint and glue factory who also possessed copper mines in Transylvania. Bedő's considerable financial means allowed him to construct what was at the time a very modern building with the help of architect Emil Vidor. Although he originally envisaged a residential block for rent, Béla Bedő eventually moved in with his family, his lawyer, his chauffeur and the company office. The widow of his grandson continues to live here among the original interiors.

The Art Nouveau Museum in Budapest
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Budapest's Jewish District

Budapest's Jewish District

Gravestones provide evidence that there were Jews among the population of the Roman province of Pannonia in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The high water mark of Hungarian Judaism came during the reign of King Matthias in the middle ages, when the popular head of state introduced the Jewish prefecture. In the 18th century, the Jews were ordered by Joseph II to take on German surnames instead of their traditional Hebrew names, but they were granted equal rights during the reform era of the early 19th century, after which they played an increasingly important role in the growth of trade and industry. From 1840, Jews were allowed to do business in Hungary, a move that attracted immigrants from other European countries where conditions were less favourable.

The Budapest Jewish quarter with its art nouveau buildings and enormous synagogue is a fine and unique example of their influence on city life right up until WWII, when the population was all but wiped out. Although many fewer Jews now live in what is still known as the Jewish ghetto, their legacy remains in this lively and historically remarkable district.

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Great Synagogue in Budapest

Great Synagogue

The Synagogue on Dohány utca is the dominant building in Budapest's Jewish district. It is the largest Jewish place of worship in Europe, second only in the world to the Emanu-El Temple in New York in terms of size. Featuring a host of architectural elements rarely seen in synagogue design, the moorish building was consecrated on September 6, 1859. The columns are designed to remind worshippers of the two tall columns of Salomon's Temple in Jerusalem.

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The state opera in Budapest

Hungarian State Opera House

The construction of the Budapest Opera House began in 1875 according to the plans of Miklós Ybl and took nine years to complete. The gala opening took place on September 27, 1884 in the presence of Franz Joseph I. Franz Erkel conducted overtures from “Hunyadi László”, an opera he himself composed, as well as the first act of Lohengrin. Gustav Mahler served as artistic director from 1888 to 1891, during which time he heralded the opera house's first golden age. Other world-famous directors at this celebrated institution have included Sergio Failoni, Otto Klemperer, János Ferencsik and, until 2010, Ádám Fischer.

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The Palace of Arts in Budapest

The Palace of Arts

The spectacular Palace of Arts was opened on the bank of the Danube alongside the National Theatre in 2005. A winner of the Prix d’Excellence, an award regarded as the Oscar for architecture, it sets new standards for both architecture and acoustics. The building houses the 1,800 capacity Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, the Festival Theatre, which seats 500, and the Ludwig Museum under a single roof. The opening of the Palace of Arts in March 2005 defined a new era in Hungary's cultural development. The venue has not only raised the standard of conversation on a local level, it is on a par with the finest of its kind in the world and represents an international meeting place for all genres of music, dance and fine art.

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The House of Hungarian Photographys in Budapest

Mai Manó Ház – The House of Hungarian Photography

The House of Hungarian Photography is essentially a studio built by Manó Mai (1855-1917), court photographer to the king and emperor, in the late 19th century. It is not only a very special art nouveau monument, but also a unique cultural institution – it is rare to find a fin de siècle court studio that has been so well maintained. Furthermore, the building continues to serve its original function of supporting local photography. The famous Daylight Studio on the second floor, with frescos on its walls providing a backdrop to the photographs on display, is one of the most remarkable of its kind in Europe.

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Béla Bartók Memorial House in Budapest

Béla Bartók Memorial House

“All my life, in every sphere, always and in every way, I shall have one objective: the good of Hungary and the Hungarian nation,” Béla Bartók wrote on September 8, 1903. Bartók's last residence in Hungary was at Csalán út 29 in the Buda district of Pasarét, where he lived and composed from 1932 to 1940. On October 12, 1940, he fled with his wife Ditta Pásztory to escape the dictators that were increasingly threatening all of Europe. He settled in the United States of America, where he died in September 1945, shortly before the end of the war. His former home has since been restored and decorated with the great composer's personal belongings.

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