May 25

DEBRECEN, THE SECOND LARGEST CITY OF HUNGARY

The second largest city of Hungary is a sixteenth century-like burg called Debrecen, located at the eastern border of the country, close to Romania. It is a historical town filled with architectural hardware displaying the conservatory classicism of the previous centuries, but it is nevertheless an important cultural center where good vibe and festivals are at home, as well as the thermal baths, spas and open-air shows. Between the perimeter bordered by the historic Aranybika Hotel and the Golden Great Church there is the Old town, where you will find plenty of pubs, bars, restaurant, nightclubs, museums, galleries and theatres, just perfect for your holiday schedule.

travel.njwebdd.co.th

travel.njwebdd.co.th

Debrecen is known as “’Capital of the Eastern Plain”, and the atmosphere will keep you busy all the time; and in case you get tired of so much sightseeing and partying, you can go on a getaway to the puszta to explore natural beauties of the rural area, where you can enjoy a cowboy show, purchase local pottery or visit and use the facilities of the largest spa in Hungary.

orangesmile.com

orangesmile.com

The first objective that you will notice is the Great Reformed Church, which is placed between Kossuth and Calvin markets; it is the symbol of Debrecen and is the largest Protestant church in Hungary.

Left to Reformed Churches there is a large pyramid that offers a view of the old walls of a historical monument right behind it. The pedestrian area in front of the church will extend until it reaches Piac Utca, one of the biggest streets of Debrecen.

haon.hu

haon.hu

Take a short walk in front of the church and find Kossuth Statuary Complex. Set on the right side of the market as you stand with your back to the church, the statuary group seems rather eccentric, giving the impression that it creates an imbalance, being placed perpendicularly to the axis of the church. The square in front of the big church is Kossuth Square, the main pedestrian area of the town.

Here you can also find the biggest (and very beautiful) ceramic fountain in Europe, with a diameter of 20 meters.

debrecensun.hu

debrecensun.hu

Close to this area there is the Minor Reformed Church – Reformatus Kistemplom – an old church of over 400 years. It distinguishes itself by its single tower, at the first glance reminiscent of a medieval castle tower, which is very well maintained and perfectly white, contrasting with the colours of the surroundings. From the tower visitors can admire a beautiful panoramic view of the city: to the South, we see the Piac Street, the hotel Aranybika and in the foreground, the Kossuth statuary group, erected in the memory of the meeting held in the church in 1849, gathering before which Kossuth read the Declaration of Independence of Hungary.

The city (or at least the central part) is clean, elegant and pleasing. The well-preserved buildings are drawing the visitor’s attention, and also the green of the grass that contrasted sharply with the buildings’ facades.

familypedia.wikia.com

familypedia.wikia.com

At about 200 meters from the intersection with Burgundy Street, Kossuth Street ends in Meliusz tér, a square where you will find Verestemplom – the Red Church – a beautiful Reformed church, dating from the second half of the nineteenth century and built in red brick – hence the name – in a neo-Gothic style.

If you go back to Kossuth Street, this time on the other side, you can stop and admire the outside Csokonai Színház, the City Theatre built in Romantic style in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Debrecen is a small town, but still you will need at least one visit to discover its mysteries and exquisite Hungarian cuisine that its many restaurants have to offer.

Oct 31

The Fisherman’s Bastion

Today we will travel to the Carpathian Basin, all the way to Hungary, where we will unravel the mystery surrounding another highly valuable monument, the Fisherman’s Bastion.

While the construction in itself is imposing and appears to be a grand fortification of Buda that used to protect the city, it should be mentioned from the start  that this was definitely not the purpose of the bastion. Tourists have the opportunity to ascend on the high walls of the construction and admire the panoramic view of Budapest. For this precise reason, several towers have been added in the most recent years in order to give tourists the opportunity to appreciate Budapest in all its glory.  But this should not be the reason for which you want to visit the bastion. Yes, it offers a mesmerizing image of the city, but you should also acknowledge the beauty of the construction itself.

http://theworldwelivein.tumblr.com/post/20630812025/the-fishermans-bastion-varhegy-budapest

http://theworldwelivein.tumblr.com/post/20630812025/the-fishermans-bastion-varhegy-budapest

The Fisherman’s Bastion was constructed at the turn of the 19th century (from 1895 until 1902) and it includes in its structure 7 turrets which symbolize the 7 Hungarian tribes that have put the basis of this country.

Its development was part of a sequence of events which were meant to mark the day when Hungary  celebrated 1000 years since its foundation. So naturally it included elements relevant from that ancient time. For once, there were the 7 turrets mentioned previously, and their inclusion in the architectural design was actually a way to eulogize the communities which have settled in this region and thus instituted the present state. Another important element which emphasizes the historical past of that time is the Statue of St. Stephan, who was the first king of the newly emergent state.

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/tags/ungarn/interesting/

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/tags/ungarn/interesting/

The Fisherman’s Bastion was constructed as a terrace where each member of the community could come and enjoy the beautiful scenery. If we were to give this an extra thought, maybe the structure chosen was actually a statement of freedom and of a united community. We can easily follow this stream of thought and consider that different tribes with different ways of life have come together and have managed to live in harmony, thus forming a society. And this idea of unity is further enhanced after centuries by the bastion which was constructed as an open space where anyone can come.

http://www.bahighlife.com/destinations/danube-river.html

The architect behind this project, Frigyes Schulek, has developed a neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style edifice. World War II took no mercy on the monument, the Bastion being severely damaged in these times of warfare. However, the restoration work did not take too much time to come into effect, – this time around, it was the son of Schulek who supervised the renovation. Time is unforgiving and by 1980s, the bastion was again on the verge of ruin. The smog lifting from the city was detrimental to the walls of the edifice which seemed to age and slowly die under the negative impacts of urbanization. Even the sculptures sprinkled all over the bastion felt the immense weight of time, especially since no one tended to them.

But the situation changed after the municipality took notice of the constant deterioration of the Bastion and restored it to the fullest. Nowadays, it seems that the edifice is quite new due to these renovations which have kept an important piece of history alive.

http://vi.sualize.us/no_description_fishermans_bastion

There is one aspect which we have failed to tackle so far: the name of the construction. Why does it bear the name Fisherman’s Bastion? Well, there is no trustworthy source which can give an accurate answer to this question. So far, we have come across three theories. The first says that it was named this way in order to bring homage to the fishermen who lived right below the walls of the bastion and who protected the edifice in times of perils. Another theory is that the name comes after the fishermen that lived near the Danube, in Watertown, while the third one suggests that the name was given after the fish market that existed in that time close by.

Oct 31

The Chain Bridge (Podul cu Lanturi)

The Szechenyi Chain Bridge is one of the main attractions in Budapest. It is a suspension bridge that traverses the Danube River, uniting the western and the eastern sides of Budapest: Buda and Pest.

The western end of the bridge is connected to the Szechenyi Square from where tourists can take the path that leads towards the Gresham Palace and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (two points of interest situated in the Hungarian capital city). At the eastern end of the bridge one can find the Adam Clark Square. In close vicinity there are other touristic attractions which are worth visiting such as Castle Hill Funicular, or the Buda Castle which is located at a considerable distance from the bridge.

http://gregbenzphotography.com

While you might not be fond of the idea of traversing Buda in order to reach the castle, you should take into account that this is precisely the reason for which you have come to Budapest: to visit the surroundings and indulge yourself with the unique architectural design that Hungary has to offer.

The name of the bridge was given after István Széchenyi, one of the most ardent supporters of the construction. But the official name of the bridge is rarely used, the majority referring to the construction as the Chain Bridge. This was the first bridge ever to traverse the Danube River. When the construction was completed, the bridge was regarded as an engineering marvel and its importance was highly praised as the bridge was seen as bearing economic, social and cultural significance. The Chain Bridge became highly recognized throughout the European continent, its structure having contributed extensively to its fame. The imposing bridge, which is adorned with elements made out of cast iron, has been designed by William Tierney Clark.

http://www.destinatiieuropene.ro

The development of the bridge was possible due to Georgios Sinas, a merchant of Greek origin, who had financed the construction. His donation had transformed the project on paper into a reality and because of this his name has been inscribed at the base of the bridge.

The bridge was inaugurated in mid-19th century (1849) being the sole permanent bridge to stand erect in Budapest. The bridge, at its broadest point, measures 202 meters, an impressive width at that time thus making the Chain Bridge the largest in the world. The buttresses are each adorned by means of sculptures – depictions of lions. The artist who had taken upon himself the task of carving the stone statuettes had taken inspiration from the well-known sculpture which decorates the Trafalgar Square – in which bronze lions are illustrated.

http://turism.bzi.ro

The Chain Bridge was not constructed per se in Hungary. The structure consisted of segments which were designed in UK and shipped to Budapest where they were assembled. As time went by, the bridge became somewhat frailer so a project was initiated with the purpose of strengthening the structure of the construction. The second world conflagration left a deep mark on the bridge. More precisely, during the Siege of Budapest, massive damages were inflicted on the construction. But the years following WWII were dedicated to the refurbishing of the city and this meant rebuilding the Chain Bridge as well (which was resurrected in 1949).

Under the bridge, at the end of the bridge that leads into Pest, one can find a commemorative plaque on which the following words are inscribed: “To commemorate the only two surviving bridges designed by Willian Tierney Clarke: The Széchenyi Chain Bridge over the Danube at Budapest and the suspension bridge over the Thames at Marlow, England.”

Sep 14

Kiskunsag National Park (Parcul National Kiskunsag)

It is of utmost importance to preserve intact the scare regions which have managed to maintain their naturelness in this time of urbanism and development which seems to engulf every remnant of wildlife that it runs across.

Hungary is home to ten national park, and Kiskunsag is one of them. This specific national park is situated in Bacs-Kiskun County and it has been created back in 1975. The total area it comprises within its borders is of 570 square kilometers. The park is not a unified component, so to speak, but it encompasses 7 distinct parts, each characterized by specific traits but which, brought together, capture the essence of the Hungarian natural environment.

http://www.discoverthetrip.com

One of the disconnected units is the Kiskunsag’s Puszta where, on a yearly basis, several events are organized with the purpose of revitalizing the ancient customs and traditions of the countryside.

Another part of the Kiskunsag National Park consists of Lake Kolon which is located in close proximity of the city Izsak. This region is an important ecosystem as it provides shelter to marsh tortois and herons. In terms of plant life, Lake Kolon is renown for the vast space covered with intact reeds and the 9 different species of orchids located in the surrounding area.

http://www.localyte.com

Kiskunsag National Park has been named a monument of nature and has become a part of the natural heritages of the world, under the program designed especially for this purpose by UNESCO. The unique examples of flora and fauna encountered here are the ones to convey such a special value to this specific park. Species of avocets, geese, and black-winded stilts have made the park their home.

Besides the permanent ‘dwellers’ of the park, there are also migratory birds which come by the tens of thousands to the area. With such an impressive population of birds it is no wonder that the park has been declared a biosphere reserve. Besides getting to see these beautiful species in their natural habitat, tourists also have the opportunity to find the perfect places where to experience nature to the fullest and this refers to discovering an idyllical location to set their tent and spend some time into the wild.

http://puszta.com

Even if the park has maintained its wilderness, this does not mean that there are no paths or delimitations set so as to help tourists guide themselves while venturing inside the park. These are aimed at creating the best experience for those interested in exploring Kiskunsag National Park. After visiting this park, you are bound to understand why the place bears the name of ‘House of Nature.’

Aug 29

The Hungarian State Opera House (Opera Nationala din Budapesta)

The Hungarian State Opera House is located in the central of the Hungarian capital city, Budapest, and it is hosted by an artistically crafted edifice, whose architecture is representative for the Neo-Renaissance style.

The architect behind the Opera House was Miklós Ybl, a representative figure in the Hungarian architecture of the 19th century, who had supervised the project until its completion in 1884 (after 9 years of work).

The institution had the pleasure of counting quite a handful of important figures of the cultural life of Hungary as part of the performing artists going on stage. Among these, Gustav Mahler and Otto Klemperer, the great composers and conductors of their generation (late 19th century – early 20th century) are worth mentioning.

http://www.apartmentsbudapest.info

 

The passage of time had left its imprint on the edifice in as much that in the ‘70s, the Hungarian officials had decided to begin a restoration project which would retrieve the former glorious appearance of the Opera House. The renovation lasted for 4 years, from 1980 until 1984, and the refurbished Opera House was revealed to the public on  the 27th of September, 100 years after the original opera house was inaugurated.

The Hungarian State Opera House is not mentioned on this page solely because it is relevant in defining the state and its cultural life, but also because it is a beautiful edifice, which, while architecturally designed in the Neo-Renaissance style, it also consists of Baroque influences. The decoration involves magnificent sculptural work, as well as paintings, signed by major artists such as Bertalan Szekely or Karoly Lotz.

 

http://writingthemoon.blogspot.ro

 

The magnitude of the building as well as the number of people it can fit within its walls is limited so these are definitely not the characteristics which impress the public. However, there are other elements which contribute to the name the Opera House has gained: the architectural detailing and the quality of the sound. These precise characteristics are the ones to place the Hungarian State Opera House among the greatest opera houses in the world.

In front of the opera house stands erect the statue of Ferenc Erkel, the composer of the national anthem of Hungary together with the sculpture representing Frantz Ritter von Liszt, the great Hungarian composer, pianist and conductor.

 

http://www.globeimages.net

 

Besides the opera recitals held at this specific institution, the Hungarian State Opera House also shows ballet performances. This specific institution is not opened throughout the year. Thus, if you happen to arrive in Budapest sometime between July and August, you will not have the opportunity of visiting the opera house as it is closed in this interval.

Besides the main building, the Opera House consists of an ancillary edifice, the Erkel Theatre, which is actually much larger than the principal building.

http://www.bigpicture.in

 

In terms of decorations, the opera house stands out due to the impressive mural work which covers the arched ceiling of the hallway. This segment of the edifice is covered with the Greek mythological figures – the Nine Muses (the goddesses of inspiration of literature, science and fine arts). But, besides the murals, the hallway is also noteworthy due to its structure which consists of a dome and marble pilasters, at which are added the luxurious chandeliers, thus the edifice conveying a feeling of lavishness. Just to make an idea of the richness of the details and of the luxuriousness of the ornaments, it should be mentioned that the main hall is adorned by means of a massive chandelier made out of bronze which reaches an impressive weight – 3050 kg.

Aug 22

St. Stephen’s Basilica (Basilica Sf. Stefan)

Among the must-see tourist attractions in Budapest, you will undoubtedly find St. Stephen’s Basilica, a Roman Catholic basilica which was erected in the honor of King Stephen, the first king of Hungary. The relics of the king, or more precisely his right hand, are still preserved in the reliquary of the basilica. The importance of the relics is known throughout the Hungarian territory, if not beyond its borders. King Stephen I was an honorable man who could have never been corrupted, and his right hand is mean as a reminder of the dignity with which he conducted himself as well as of the importance of ethics in a world prone to moral degradation.

http://www.gogobot.com/st-stephens-basilica-budapest-attraction

The basilica is the third largest construction in Hungary and it measures 96 m. There is an important aspect worth mentioning at this point and that is that St. Stephen’s Basilica has the same height as the Parliament Building. This characteristic is definitely not dictated by chance and there is a symbolism in the matter. The parliament is in charge of administering the worldly matters concerning the Republic of Hungary, whereas the basilica is meant to look after the spiritual life of the Hungarian citizens. The fact that the two buildings have the same stature can allude to only one thing: that one is not superior to the next, but that they are equally important and should be looked upon with the utmost reverence.

 

http://lovingapartments.com/

St. Stephen’s Basilica, which measures 55 meters in width and 87.4 in length, took 54 years to be erected. The construction work was not finished earlier than 1905, but there is an explanation for the extensive timeframe in which it was built. In 1868, the basilica suffered a terrible fate, as the cupola collapsed. While in many cases, this part of the edifice can be reconstructed as such, the structure of the basilica did not allow for the dome to be added at a later time. The fact was that the remaining part of the structure had to be completely demolished and reconstructed from scratch.

In terms of structure, the Basilica is shaped as a Greek cross, whereas in terms of architectural design it is representative for Neoclassicism. The bell towers which limit the fascia are quite large and the cupolas which cover them are identical to the larger one of the basilica, only that they are miniature representations of this one.

http://www.123rf.com

The southern bell tower stands out because it holds within the largest bell found on the territory of Hungary, which weights more than 9 tons. The Great St. Stephen Bell, as it is known, has been constructed in the ‘90s and measures 240 cm in diameter.

The northern tower, on the other hand, comprises five bells, each bearing a specific name, so as to differentiate among them. Thus we have the Bell of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Henry II Bell, St. Emeric’s Bell, the Bell of the Blessed Gizella, and St. Elizabeth’s Bell. Each carries a specific significance, but probably the most important one is the first one listed as it is the second largest bell after the Great Bell, but it is also the oldest one in the basilica.

http://www.flickr.com

The dome is accessible to visitors who can climb the tower either by means of the elevators especially designed for this purpose or by going up the 364 stairs. Upon reaching the top, you will comprehend why it was a good idea to ascend to the cupola. The view you are presented with is impressive as you have the opportunity to look at Budapest and at the life it shelters within its limits.

The Basilica fulfills an important role in the community as it organizes on a regular basis various cultural events. Each Sunday is dedicated to music as concerts are scheduled in the evenings. Visiting the basilica on such a day will give you the opportunity to listen to gospel, classical and contemporary musical compositions.

Jul 31

The Great Synagogue (Marea Sinagoga)

The Great Synagogue, or more accurately the Dohany Street Synagogue (named after the street it is located on), can be found in Budapest. This is the largest synagogue located on the European continent and it occupies the fifth position among the largest synagogues of the world. The edifice can hold within its walls an impressive number of people – there are approximately 3.000 seats available, divided more or less equally among women and men (the seats available for men outnumber those available for women by 20).

The synagogue, which is affiliated with the Neolog Judaism movement, has been constructed in the 19th century (between the 1854 and 1859) in the Moorish Revival architectural style. The embellishments used were of Islamic inspiration, in combination with elements of décor based on the architectural design used in medieval Spain.

http://www.flickriver.com

 

The architect that undertook the construction of the synagogue was Ludwig Forster, but the interior decorations were signed by Frigyes Feszl.

The Dohany Street Synagogue comprises various edifices: the Great Synagogue (whose name has been extended to encompass the whole complex), the Hero’s Temple, the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial, and a graveyard.

The history of the synagogue was quite tumultuous. In 1939, the edifice was bombed by the Hungarian supporters of the Nazis, and it had changed its destination. It was no longer used as a place of worship but underwent various transformations, so as to fit the purpose for which it was intended at that particular time: a center for a German radio and even a stable during the second world conflagration. But the most devastating alterations it underwent took place when the Nazis occupied the city, but more so near the end of the Second World War, during the Siege of Budapest.

http://www.planetware.com

 

Under the communist regime, the edifice had been re-established as a religious site, only that this time the Jewish community it addressed to was far too diminished. The restoration work was initiated in 1991, but it took seven years to be completed, until 1998.

The synagogue measures  75 m in length and 27 in width. While the prevalent style is Neo-Moorish (or Moorish Revival) as it has been mentioned previously, there are other architectural elements as well which can be depicted. Thus the visitor will be presented with an assortment of architectural details pertaining to the Romantic, Gothic and Byzantine styles.  The structure of the synagogue comprises two identical towers which are completed by means of two onion-shaped domes. The towers are meant to represent the columns of Solomon’s Temple.

http://www.tvl.ro

 

The interior is similar to that of basilicas, having 3 aisles elaborately adorned, 2 balconies and 1 organ. The women and men who attend the religious service are not seated together: the seats for men occupy the ground floor, while women are seated in the upper gallery.

As it was aforementioned, the synagogue also comprises the Jewish Museum, an edifice erected in 1930 in the same architectural style as the house of prayer. The collections encountered here are representative for the Jewish religion (objects used in various rituals, documents, relics, etc.). Within the museum, tourists will also find a Holocaust room which recaptures the tragic destiny the Jewish community had under the Nazis’ reign of terror.

http://www.flickr.com

 

If ever in Budapest, it is advisable to make time and visit this specific house of prayer. Not only that it is an important tourist attraction, known throughout the world, but the architectural design and the interior decoration of the synagogue are definitely worth your time – you will be looking at an impressive work of art.

Jul 20

Gellert Hill and the Citadel (Citadela si Dealul Gellert)

Gellert Hill is situated in Buda, right near the Danube River, and measures 140 m. The name was given after St. Gellert who had arrived in Hungary at the request of King Stephan, his purpose being to convert the Hungarian population to Christianity. But he was not welcomed with open arms. On the contrary, several heathens did not approve of his religious beliefs and his intent to change their ways so they put him into a barrel and threw him down the hill into the Danube.

In order to commemorate the death of the bishop, a statue was erected in his honor on the north-eastern side of the hill. The statuette is enormous and illustrates a man holding a cross in his right hand, a clear symbol of the bishop’s scope in Hungary: that of spreading the Christian religion in these lands.

http://gotohungary.com/en_GB/about-hungary/-/netaview/40449

 

Besides the cultural and historical significance, the Gellert Hill is also important due to its hydrologic characteristics: an important part of Budapest’s clean water reserve is located in a tank inside the hill.

Gellert Hill also bears an essential strategic position, and the Habsburgs had no trouble in noticing this truth. As a consequence, they have erected a fortress on top of the hill right after managing to suppress the revolution of 1848 and the independence war. The purpose of the citadel was obvious – the Habsburgs wanted to remind the rebels that they were in power and that nobody could overthrow their ruling. It is no wonder that at that particular time the citadel was one of the most hated places in all of Budapest.

http://www.julia-nki.hu

 

At the end of the 19th century, the citadel was no longer in the hands of the Habsburgs, having been now administered by the local council. In order to mark this moment, several sections of the citadel have been destroyed, symbolically representing the fall of the Habsburg dynasty.

From then onward, the citadel has changed its scope several times. It has been a prison, a temporary shelter for the homeless, and the base for air defense artillery. But from the 1960’s onward, the citadel has become one of the most important tourist objectives in Budapest. It is definitely worthwhile to climb up the Gellert Hill and visit the citadel.

http://www.eps12.kfki.hu

 

If you are not that into historical facts, which is definitely a shame since the place carries historical importance, you will at least appreciate the impressive scenery, and the breathtaking image you are bound to gaze upon from atop the hill. There is a museum located within the citadel, but there is a tax that you ought to pay in order to get access within. The ticket is of 300 Hungarian forints, but exchanging this amount into euros you will find out that the tax is a little over one euro.

In front of the citadel one will encounter the Statue of Liberty, a female statuette of immense proportions which can be seen almost from every part of the city. This has become the symbol of Hungary as it commemorates the moment when Hungary had free itself from under the Nazi oppression.

http://www.budapest-tourist-guide.com

 

Apparently, the initial design of the statue was quite different. This was intended as bearing a sword in its arm but during the construction work the Nazi regime had been substituted by Communism. As a consequence, the design of the statue was changed so that the sword was transformed into a palm leaf, and an additional element was used: the statue of a Soviet soldier was placed at the base.

But when the communist regime fell, all of the statues which commemorated that period were removed – they were either destroyed or transferred at the edge of the city, in the Park of Statues. However, the Statue of Liberty was preserved in its original position. Only the Soviet soldier and the names of the soldiers from the Red Army who had perished in the Siege of Budapest were removed.

Nowadays it is impossible to think how Budapest would look without the Statue of Liberty. This goes to show that the monument is an important part of the city, which contributes to the defining of Budapest.

http://www.topsightseeing.com

 

Gellert Hill is also home to a little church which was constructed in a natural cave in 1926. The church functioned until the 50s when the Communists had arrested the Magyar monks located here and had executed their leader. The result of this ‘intervention’ was obvious: the church was closed.

And it remained as such up until 1989 when the wall which had concealed the cave was torn down. Since then and up until the present-day the church has been opened for visitations. In the central chapel of the church, one can notice the statue representing Saint Paul with a raven on his shoulder. The reason for which this statuette exists is that the Saint is said to have lived in the cave for a number of years, with only a raven as companion.

Tourists can visit the church from 8:00 to 19:00, regardless of the day of the week and entrance within the church is toll-free.

Jun 12

The Heroes’ Square in Budapest (Piata Eroilor din Budapesta)

The Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere, in Hungarian) is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Budapest. The Square is located in front of the Central Park, at the end of the Andrassy Bulevard – this being one of the most important streets in the Hungarian capital city, and is a monument which has been inscribed in UNESCO’s Universal Patrimony. The square bears high political and historical meaning, having been constructed in 1896 in order to commemorate 1000 years since the Magyar population had migrated in the Carpathian Basin.

http://www.budapest-tourist-guide.com

 

The monument is formed of two semicircles which are adorned from above with various symbols – for peace and war, for work and wellbeing, for knowledge and glory. On the sides, the Heroes’ Square is decorated with sculptural representations of some of the most relevant figures of Hungarian history: kings, governors and other famous personalities.

The reason for which those people had been included in the monument in the form of statues is presented by means of a small slate situated at the bottom in which the most important moment from that person’s life (relevant for the Hungarian history) is described.

http://www.budapest-discovery-guide.com/

 

In the middle of the square stands erect, on a tall column of 36 meters, the statue of Archangel Gabriel. At the bottom, surrounding the column, tourists will gaze on equestrian statuettes. These are meant to honor Árpád Göncz, the former President of Hungary (who had played a major role in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956), and the seven leaders of the Magyar tribes. It should also be noted that the descendants of Árpád were the ones to institute the royal dynasty in Hungary.

The construction work for the memorial under discussion was initiated in 1896, as it has been aforementioned, but the completed monument was to be revealed four years later, in 1900.

http://www.budapest-tourist-guide.com

 

When the work began, Hungary was part of the Austrian Empire. This goes to explain why the last five spaces within the row of columns were left unfilled initially. These were designated to hold the sculptural representations of the ones who were to rule the Habsburg Dynasty. Thus, the ones to fill in the spaces were Ferdinand I, Leopold I, Charles III, Maria Theresa and Franz Joseph. But WWII left its imprint on the monument, in as much as it had to be reconstructed after the war. With this occasion, the Habsburg rulers were replaced and in their place were included the figures we can see at present.

http://www.panoramio.com

 

Another element of interest in the Heroes’ Square is the Monument of the Unknown Soldier which has been constructed in the honor of the soldiers who had fought and died for the independence of their nation.

The square has on each side an edifice dedicated to art: on the left, one can find the Museum of Fine Arts, while on the right, is the Gallery of Art. Both of them are worth your time, so if you ever go to the Heroes’ Square make sure you do not miss your chance to visit them. Throughout the years, the museum and the gallery had been in competition with one another in their attempt to attract a large number of tourists. The result was that there had been temporary exhibits held here with works of art of renowned painters such as Van Gogh or Rembrandt.

 

http://www.flickriver.com

 

Behind the commemorative monument lies a bronze plate in the exact place that marks the drilling site of an artesian well. This project was undertaken by Vilmos Zsigmondy, who finished the work in the later part of the 19th century (1878). This well is close to 1000 m in depth (971m) and it produces 831 liters/minute of hot water.

May 02

Matthias Church (Biserica Matthias)

Matthias Church is one of the most important touristic attractions located in the Hungarian capital city, Budapest.

Initially, on this site another church was founded (between 1255 and 1269) during the reign of King Bela IV. Throughout time, the church underwent several reconstructions. Different sections of the edifice had been extended; these were developed in a polygonal shape at the end of the 14th century.

The entrance door which contains a beautiful bas-relief that illustrates the Death of the Virgin Mary dates from the same period.

http://www.planetware.com

 

Important events occurred within the walls of the church. For example, Charles Robert of Anjou had been crowned king in this church in 1309, thus becoming King Carol I of Hungary.

The name of the church is given after King Matthias, who had made several modifications to the edifice. He added lateral chapels, an oratory for the royal family and a new tower (to the southern wing). It was in this specific tower that the weapons of Matei Corvin were sheltered in 1470. However, at present, the weaponry is located within the church.

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1526 was a fatidic year as the edifice was destroyed in a fire. The edifice shifts “religions” as 15 years later, during the Turkish domination, it is transformed into a mosque. But after the Turks are driven away, the Matthias Church undergoes massive renovation work, conducted by the Jesuits, who rename the edifice The Coronation Church. The building followed the Baroque architectural style.

The church is once again chosen as the site of royal coronation in 1867 when Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and his wife Elizabeth (also known as “Sissi”) have been crowned king and queen of Hungary.

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Another reconstruction occurred between 1874 and 1896, this time in a Gothic style. In fact,  the appearance conveyed to the church at that time is still noticeable today, as the church has been preserved as such.

World War II badly damaged the edifice, but Matthias Church was restored, a project that took many years to be completed. The work had to be done attentively and patiently if the former design was to be preserved. On each side of the entrance door, you can notice a statue: the statue of King Stephan I and of King Ladislau I.

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The interior design comprises a diversified array of geometrical shapes and floral ornaments which are reminiscent of the former mosque that existed here. The frescoes and the strained-glass windows, together with the neo-gothic altar date from the 1890s.

Matthias Church is also the home of the Ecclesiastical Art Museum where a multitude of objects are on display. Among the most valuable ones, tourists can admire a medieval crypt, the Saint Stephan’s Chapel, royal pieces of jewelry dating from the medieval time, sacred relics, as well as replicas of the Hungarian Royal Crown.

 

Visiting Hours:

Daily from 9:00 to 18:00

Price:

400 Hungarian Forints