Budapest tourism, Budapest parliament house

Best places to see in Budapest

Budapest was founded in 1873 after the unification of three separate towns, Buda and Óbuda on the west bank of the Danube and Pest on the east. The city dates largely from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is very much the creation of the nationalist enthusiasm of that era. All three towns had originally grown up in the second half of the twelfth century and Buda was the seat of Hungary's rulers from 1247. Turkish rule from 1541 to 1686, when it was recaptured by the Habsburgs, left little mark, except for the city's wonderful bath houses.

SIGHTS AT A GLANCE

Gellért Hotel and Bath Complex
Hungarian National Museum
Inner City Parish Church
Mátyás Church
Museum of Fine Arts
Parliament
RoyalPalace
St. Stephen's Basilica
State Opera House
Vajda hunyad Castle

GETTING AROUND

Trams are a convenient means of transportation for tourists, especially the 18, 19, and 61 on the Buda side and the 2, 4, and 6 in Pest. There are also some 200 bus routes. The three metro lines and the HÉV rail lines link the center with the suburbs.

LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Modern Hungarian, like Finnish, derives from a language originally spoken by the Finno-Ugric tribes of the Urals. It differs greatly from most other European languages, although Slavic, German, Caucasian, Latin, and Turkic words have been incorporated.

Traditional peasant culture was all but destroyed in the 20th century, but folk songs and dances still survive; Christmas and Easter are the best times to witness these, particularly in the countryside, where holy days are celebrated in style.