Budapest
About city: Budapest

The capital of Hungary, Budapest, was the second important center of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire that was ruled by the Habsburg dynasty for several centuries. As in any im-perial capital, there were a lot of magnificent buildings and curious sites that had to reflect the greatness of the state.

There are a lot of monuments on both sides of Danube River. The old part of the city, Buda, is on the hill and it is just there that the most beautiful sights are located: the Royal Palace, Fi-sherman Bastion, St. Anne's Cathedral. So-called medieval quarter has survived in the neigh-bourhood of these sights where the streets paved with cobbles looks as they were hundreds of years ago.

The incredibly beautiful St. Matthiash Church, aka Church of Our Lady, is near the Fisherman Bastion. By its style, as well as roofing, it strongly resembles the Church of St. Stephene in Vienna, and it is quite logic as both cities were sometime the capitals of a single country.

The famous Chain Bridge located not far from the Royal Palace (sometimes called Buda Castle) is one of the symbols of Budapest. You should take a stroll across the bridge, from one bank to the other. The lower part of the city, Pest, also has a number of interesting sights.

The main building on the embankment is that of the Parliament, which is one of the largest parliamentary buildings in Europe. This big building with huge dome was built at the end of 19th century when Hungary wanted to become an independent state. And the building was to place special emphasis on the importance of Budapest as a European capital.

As to the other sights of Budapest, you may go to the Squares of Heroe's and Freedom, St. Stephen's Basilica (Hungarian: St. Ishtvan's Basilica), and Opera Theatre. Also, you should walk along the pedestrian Vazi street.

Budapest is rightly considered one of the biggest balneotherapeutic health resort in Europe. There are more than a hundred hot springs with mineral water in the city. The Széchenyi Medi-cinal Bath in the City Park (Városliget) is the largest balneotherapeutic center in Budapest. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century and now is one of the most visited places in Budapest. Apart from baths and therapy tanks, there are also open-air swimming-pools in the pavilions of the center. You can bathe in them all round the year as the average temperature of water at the Széchenyi rarely falls below 32°C (in different pools temperature may vary from 27 to 38°C).

If you have time for out-of-town excursions, you can make a trip to Balathon Lake, or visit some small old towns: Eger, Győr, Miskolc, Tata, Pecs, and Gödöllő. In Tokaij Region you can know in detail about Hungarian wine-making.

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