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Three cities in one that bring together 2,000 years of history of a nation that also ruled an empire. The beauty of Budapest lies in its ability to preserve its history and grand identity intact.
BUDA, FROM THE MEDIEVAL ERA TO THE BAROQUE PERIOD
The Hungarian capital, officially constituted in 1873, is the amalgamation of three different cities: Obuda was the place the Romans arrived when they colonized Pannonia in 35 BC; Buda dominates the heights, and is rich in Magyar history, and, on the other bank of the Danube, Pest swarms with life and art.
Buda hill can be reached using the funicular, built in 1870. When you arrive you can enjoy the inspiring view of Pest and the Danube. Dominating the hill is Buda Castle. Built in the Middle Ages, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains the city's main museums: the Budapest History Museum and, above all, the National Gallery, home to countless works of art.
PEST; MONUMENTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
The elegant, nineteenth-century Chain Bridge is the oldest in the city and was the first to connect the two centers. Cross from Buda to Pest, the pulsating heart of the city, full of monuments and opportunities to have fun. The area where all the streets converge is Váci utca, a pedestrian area full of shops and elegant traditional bars and restaurants.
Budapest is famous throughout the world for its thermal baths, discovered and used by the Romans and then inherited by the Turks in the 16th century. There are 118 structures in total where you can enjoy the benefits of the hot springs under the Hungarian capital, but some are true institutions. Széchenyi, an example of the neo-Baroque style, is the most important and the largest thermal bath in Europe. Luxury reigns in the Gellért Baths where you can also find waves created with special machines and where the temperature of the water reaches 45 degrees.
Budapest is historically important for music. Testimony to this are buildings such as the State Opera House, which was built in 1884 and is still one of Budapest's most prestigious buildings with its gold decorations and facade, where the faces of some of the greatest composers can be seen. Music-lovers should pay a visit to the Franz Liszt Museum at the Academy of Ancient Music, where mementos of the greatest Hungarian composer's life and work can be found.
Religious buildings also contribute to Budapest's beauty. St. Stephen's Basilica is the most important of all the churches. Completed in 1905, it took 55 years to build and is now a center for believers and visitors amazed by its magnificence.
Budapest is also home to the Great Synagogue, the center of the Jewish quarter, the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world.
SHOPPING, PARKS AND CUISINE
There are many shopping malls and stores of every kind in Pest, but do not miss a trip to Nagycsarnok, the Central Market. Built over three floors in 1896, here you can buy all the traditional Hungarian crafts and food.
The Magyar city also offers green oases where you can wander while making artistic detours, such as Városliget, which is close to the Museum of Fine Art, or Margaret Island, a 100-hectare area where you can watch the Danube flowing slowly by half way between Buda and Pest. From here you can see monuments such as the Water Tower, a musical fountain that unites classical music and flowing water, or the open-air theater.
Budapest offers very interesting gastronomic experiences. Cold cuts are a true institution. The Hungarian capital is also the home of goulash and offers dishes characterized by the generous use of spices, like paprika chicken, rabbit with mustard or duck with sauerkraut. The desserts are to die for: try Bejgli, made from nuts and poppy seeds, and Dobos, a tart with seven layers of sponge cake topped with chocolate and caramel. Wash it all down with a good Tokaj, the Hungarian sweet wine.
Art and history make Budapest an extraordinary city, book your flight now with Alitalia!