I just returned home from a marvelous long weekend that I spend with my significant other in Austria’s “Mühlviertel”. During the trip home today we passed through the Czech Republic, visiting Unesco’s World Heritage Site in Český Krumlov (pictures are coming up). Which brings the total of visited countries in the last 7 days to 5 (Germany, Egypt, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic). And Tuesday I head back over the pond to Portland.
During last weeks business trip I actually had a free evening in Hungary’s capital Budapest, were I had the chance for 5 hours sightseeing (from 7pm to midnight). To see the photos and for a bit of history and information continue after the jump….
Staying in the Radisson Blue Beke Hotel on the Pest side of the city I took my Olympus PEN-F with the mZuiko 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 Travel Zoom and took the city tram (Line 4 or 6) towards the Buda side. First stop was the historic Nyugati Train Station. Opened in 1877, it features a spectacular iron roof construction. This is no surprise as the station was constructed by French company „Eiffel & Cie“ of Gustav Eiffel (father of Paris’ Eiffel Tower, who supervised the construction in person).
Next stop was the Margaret Bridge (one of nine bridges spanning the Danube in Budapest), there is a tram stop in the middle of the bridge, built 1872-76. From here you have a first spectacular view across the Danube River over to the Parliament Building.
Walking along the South bank on the Buda side I spotted this lady working in a modern office building, making for a great multi level street photo.
Walking along the river I was treated to great views of the majestic Parliament Building. Visible to the right is the famous Chain Bridge and behind the citadel on the Gellert Hill.
The sunset I spend directly opposite the Parliament Building, the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary. It is currently the largest building in Hungary and still the tallest building in Budapest. Construction was started in 1885 and the building was inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896, and finally completed in 1904. About 100,000 people were involved in construction, during which 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones and 40 kilograms of gold were used. The building is in Gothic style and its symmetrical facade is 268 m (879 ft) long.
From Batthyany Square with its baroque St. Ann’s Church I started the climb up Castle Hill towards the Fisherman’s Bastion, arriving on top with dusk. Castle District (Várnegyed) is famous for its medieval, baroque and 19th-century houses, churches and public buildings.
Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style on the Castle hill just behind Matthias Church. It was designed and built between 1895 and 1902 on the plans of Hungarian architect Frigyes Schulek. One of the principal attractions in Budapest it sports splendid views across the Danube with its bridges over to the Pest side of the city.
The church in the photo above is St. Stephens Basilica named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (975–1038), whose supposed right hand is housed in the reliquary. It was completed in 1905 after 54 years of construction.
As main tourist hot spot the Fisherman’s Bastion attracts hundreds if tourists at all times of days, making it a Street Photographers heaven. Everyone is taking selfies or snapping the vistas of the city, so there isn’t a better sport to shoot some inconspicuous street portraits.
A bronze statue of Stephen I of Hungary mounted on a horse, erected in 1906, can be seen between the Bastion and the Matthias Church.
Matthias Church was originally built in Romanesque style in 1015. The current building was constructed in Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century and was extensively restored in the late 19th century. The church was the scene of several coronations of Hungarian kings.
Then I strolled on over the Castle Hill towards the Royal Palace. Following are some photos from the illuminated streets and alleys.
Final Stop is the Royal Palace, now site of the Hungarian National Gallery.
The Royal Palace (or Buda castle) was first constructed in 1265. It was significantly enlarged in the 15th century. The medieval palace was destroyed beyond repair in the great siege of 1686 when Buda was captured by allied Christian forces. In 1715 a small baroque palace was built but later burned down. The foundation of the current structure, a splendid, U-shaped baroque palace with a cour d’honneur was laid on 13 May 1749,the birthday of Queen Maria Theresia of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
From the terraces of the Danube side I had splendid views down to the famous Chain Bridge (constructed 1840-1849) and over to the Parliament Building.
The Palace was heavily damaged in the air bombardments of WWII and later reconstructed. Today it houses the National Gallery and a few smaller museums like the Coin Museum, the entrance to which sports a beautiful illuminated walkway.
The back side of the Palace features the Court D’Honneur, the honor court yard, with the famous Lion Gate (initial photo in this post) as main entrance to the Palace.
And with a final spectacular photo of the Parliament Building I finished the visit to Budapest’s Castle Hill District, taking Bus number 16 down to the tram station at the foot of the hill.
I hope you enjoyed this little sightseeing tour to Budapest and wish you a great week!