5 things you need to know about Budapest
Budapest could have been called Pest-Buda
“Budapest” is easy to pronounce, while the city itself feels as if it has been around for centuries. Nevertheless, Hungarian capital is a comparatively new construct – the result of an 1873 merger between two distinct cities lying on opposite banks of Danube: Buda and Pest. It is difficult to imagine, but the alternative name for this beautiful city at the heart of Europe was “Pest-Buda”.
*photo credit Budapest
The dark past
Budapest is a lovely place and not so many things now remind of the dark chapters of its history. It is not that easy to imagine tanks invading this city, along with riots and shootings on its streets. The square in front of the Parliament, which is now one of the most popular selfie spots in the entire city, is exactly where the 1956 bloody protests took place – protesters were demanding national independence and democracy, as well as the relief from Soviet dictatorship. House of Terror Museum is one of the places that may remind of those events. Knowing the history makes the first impression of Budapest even richer!
*photo credit Budapest Parliament
No buildings taller than 96 meters
What makes Budapest especially charming is the fact there are no skyscrapers or high-rises, while the status of the highest city points belongs to two historic buildings, the Parliament and St. Stephen’s Basilica, both 96 meters high. This is not a coincidence – the number 896 signifies the year when Hungarian Magyars settled in this area.
International Meeting Point
This is a non-profit organization launched by a bunch of friends to help foreigners who just arrived in Budapest find new friends, as well as to give locals an opportunity to exercise their English, German, or any other language in a cheerful and cozy atmosphere. It is possible to meet basically anyone at the IMP events, starting from yoga teachers to high frequency traders, and the biggest advantage is that there’s no authority behind these events, which is why they will always stay free and full of fun.
*photo credit Budapest meeting point
One of the greatest things about Budapest is its thermal baths. This is not just a chance to enjoy unforgettable swimming experience, but also an opportunity to admire historical mosaics in the magnificent entrance halls and meet many new people. Gellért Baths (in the photo), for instance, look like a real palace and are often called the most photographed public baths in the entire city. Find out more about Budapest in my other article.
*photo credit Budapest Gellert Baths