Budapest Tour In A Day, Must See Sights
Budapest reflects various cultures that have influenced it over centuries. I was there only for a day and I remember how we spent the entire day in the city soaking in the wonderful atmosphere there. It is a vast city, divided to two parts, Buda and Pest on either side of the river Danube.
Here is a picture of Heroes’ Square, a world heritage site. It was built to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest of Hungary in 895. The tall structure in the center is the Millennium Monument. That is the statue of the archangel Gabriel at the top. And there are statues of famous men who made their mark on Hungarian history in the semicircular colonnade.
The splendors of Budapest are many but how many can one visit in twenty four hours. How can you miss this! I knew I had difficult choices to make.
Luckily, since my Budapest parliament tour was reserved even before I left India, I knew where to start the tour from. We were in front of this amazing architectural wonder, the second largest parliament in Europe, on time. The gorgeous exteriors were a good indication of the grand interiors. Soon a smart young tour guide led us in. After a lot of understandable security checks we were inside, facing the dramatic, operatic entrance, Wow! Our guide presented us with lot of statistics and information on the building. It is hard to store so many details in the memory page of mind. Thankfully they permitted photography!
I still remember the opulence of the interiors. There are around 700 rooms, out of these 700 only three were in our tour itinerary. How disappointing! Hungary’s most important national icon, the Crown of St. Stephen is on display here. Most impressive of all the rooms was the old conference hall. Just as we were entering the guide drew our attention to the numbered cigar holders. These were used by ministers to place their cigars. They memorize the number before they go in to cast their vote on important matters.
I have not seen something so unique before!
2. Spot Statues along Walking Tour of Budapest
Exiting the Parliament we set off on a short walking tour, street by street, around Kossuth Square. To the southeast of Kossuth square we saw the statue of Imre Nagy, an elegant tribute to the great reformist. This life like bronze figure stands on a cute little footbridge over a tiny pool. Sitting on a bench there, reading about him helped me know the struggles Hungarian people had gone through to have a government of their own. It helped connect with the past of Hungary and appreciate its people better.
A little ahead was the statue of Attila Jozsef. He is this country’s most loved 20th century poet. Tourists around were getting themselves photographed with him.
60 pairs of Iron Shoes
Another touching sight I witnessed was that of 60 pairs of iron shoes in a row, on the banks of Danube. It is in honor of the Jews who had fallen victim to Arrow Cross Militiamen. They represent the shoes left behind on the bank when the Jews fell into the river after they were shot dead. My fourteen year old and ten year old were shocked to silence learning about this incident. Such grim reminders are essential so that we know how we got a ‘peaceful present’ today. With a somber mood we moved on.
3. St Istvan Basilica
The 100 years old St Istvan Basilica, well positioned in front of a huge open square, looked truly magnificent. Marbled columns in golden surroundings looked pleasing, the colors used and the sense of grandness is overwhelming. Most unusual experience here was seeing the Holy Right Hand, the relic of St. Stephen’s right hand. This one is too grand to be ignored. I strongly recommend to include this basilica in the itinerary of Budapest Tour in a Day.
4. Castle Hill of Budapest
We then visited the magical place, Castle Hill. In terms of statues and sculptures, it is feast for eyes here. The ornamental gateway, the mythical turul bird, the fountains, was constantly shot. None were spared by the photographers around. Museums are again worthwhile places where every foreigner can get exposed to a nation’s rich culture, art and artifacts. we were spellbound seeing the colored roof of Matthias Church. Its interiors is equally mesmerizing. The pretty fisherman’s bastion offered unhindered panorama over the river. I am glad it was a clear day and we got such wonderful views. Each and every monument sparkled in the plains on other bank of Danube. We stopped at a couple of places to hear the musicians on their instruments. This is definitely the best way to listen and appreciate Hungarian music, straight from locals.
5. Heroes’ Square in Budapest
The Heroes’ Square seemed like a good relaxing place. Huge statues of Arpad generations and other monarchs in a large arc formation make a memorable landmark. I had to stand at a good distance, almost near the road to get a decent capture of the entire place. Getting to know each character here was like reading chapters of Hungarian history book. After whiling away some time here in the square, following the street guide book we reached the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Jak Chapel.
By now we were close to the final moments of the day, obviously can’t expect the church and castle open. But the exteriors we got to see gave a good intimation of the glorious grand interiors that we missed. Do include this in itinerary for Budapest Tour in a Day.
That was it! This Budapest Tour in a Day was a memorable tour, etched clearly in our hearts!