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Budapest, Hungary City Info
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Castle Hill
This central destination is easily visible from everywhere in Budapest. Unfortunately, the hill lacks any truly historical buildings, as every structure was destroyed in the battle between the Soviets and Nazis. Nevertheless, exploring the beautifully reconstructed buildings and streets can occupy an entire day. Reach the top via bus, funicular, or one of the numerous cobblestone paths winding through lush gardens. The central Trinity Square fills daily with tourists who are eager to visit the memorable Romanesque Mátyás templom (Matthias Church).

Magyar Nemzeti Galéria (Hungarian National Gallery)
Buda Castle, The Royal Palace, Buiding B,C,D
2 Szent György square
(36-1) 1757-533
This museum displays Medieval and Renaissance stonework, Gothic wood sculptures, altars, and collections representing the past five hundred years of art. Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free on Saturdays.

Historical Museum of Budapest (Budapesti Történeti Múzeum)
Buda Castle, The Royal Palace, building E
2 Szent György square
(36-1) 757-533b (36-1) 558-894
Permanent exhibits include the history of the development of the city of Budapest and archeological items uncovered in various local excavations. Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4/6 p.m. Free on Saturdays.

Országház (Parliament Building)
V Kossuth Lajos Tér
(36-1) 319-7520
This magnificent example of architecture is just over 100 years old, but modern air pollution constantly attacks its porous limestone walls, requiring continuous restoration. Tours are available when Congress is not in session.

Szepmüveszeti Múzeum (National Museum of Fine Arts)
41 Dózsa György út
(36-1) 343-9759
This museum houses extensive exhibits of antiquities, including Greek, Roman, and Egyptian collections. The most significant exhibit introduces the development of painting in Europe, making the museum one of the best of its kind in Europe. European sculpture includes Italian works dating back to the 4th century, and French, English, German, and Dutch sculpture from the 13th. The highlight of this exhibit is the Horseman sculpture carved by Leonardo da Vinci. The museum also has extensive collections of 19th and 20th century paintings.

Margaret Island (Margitsziget)
Long a religious center, this island now serves as a recreational park in the center of the Danube River. Walking the length of the island takes 20 minutes, but most visitors spend more time in the Hajós Alfréd pool complex. There they enjoy the outdoor pool, a diving pool, children's pool, and thermal hot baths. If it is too cool to splash around, an island tour introduces relics hailing back to the island's religious origins, including the 12th century Premonstratensian Chapel. During summer months, it is possible to rent bicycles and hire horse-drawn buggies. Since vehicular traffic is prohibited, the island is a fantastic escape from the bustle of the big city.

Thermal Baths
Budapest is the largest spa town in Europe, boasting over 120 springs. Locals and visitors alike utilize the spas for their reputed healing properties. Prehistoric people were the first to use them and later the Romans introduced the basis of the bathing customs. Magyars elaborated upon the tradition for roughly 800 years, but the spas reached their refinement under the Ottomans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is still possible to see the original domes and pools, but most have been modified and modernized. The spas provide everything the visitor may need, including towels and swimsuits (however, it is best to bring your own). Prices are low. An hour or two is usually sufficient. Showers are provided. Massages are available.

Magyar Allami Operaház (Hungarian State Opera House)
VI Andrássy Ut 22
(36-1) 331-2550
The opera house in Budapest stands as one of the most beautiful in Europe. Consider that when it was opened in 1884, the city shared the administrative duties of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with Vienna. In fact, Emporer Franz Josef commissioned its design. Contruction includes the use of marble, guilding, and frescos by some of the best artisans of that era. World-class concerts and operas are still performed, and quickly sell out.

Széchenyi Lánchid (Chain Bridge)
Spanning the Danube between I Clark Adám Tér and V Roosevelt Tér
This bridge was the first to permanently connect Buda and Pest. The engineer Adam Clark completed the span in 1849.

Monument Museum
When Magyars chose to embrace a free market economy, the new government removed many of the statues and monuments identified with the former Communist regime. Now these formerly revered relics of an unfulfilled dream stand together in an outdoor museum just outside the city. However, anyone with even a remote interest in the country's history will find the short trip worth it. Don't be afraid of climbing next to Lenin for an once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. The easiest way to get there is to take a bus. As bus schedules often change, ask your hotel concierge for directions. Admission is charged.


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