Budapest, the capital of Hungary is divided by Danube River into two parts. Hilly Buda on its west bank and plain like Pest on its eastern bank. They existed as two separate cities till late 18th CE. Before they were combined as a single city called Budapest. Both parts of the city have many heritage structures. The Buda is more about history while Pest is more about heritage, history and current day bustling metropolis. As we were roaming around the streets in Budapest, out guide constantly told us to keep looking upwards as the top parts of the buildings are the most ornate in this city. And yes, even the plain-looking buildings had beautifully painted or sculpted tops.
First heritage structure that I saw was Heroes Square. A magnificent and majestic square right in the middle of the city. A tall column surrounded by figures of men on horses made ornate by two colonnades behind the central column adding to the aura of the central column. Seven men on horses represent the seven chieftains of the original tribes that settled in Hungary. People look like miniature versions of themselves when looked through these huge structures. This square was erected in 1900 to commemorate a millennium of the arrival of seven original tribes of Hungary. And is dedicated to the various heroes of these tribes.
War & Peace, Knowledge & Glory
The figures symbolize War and Peace, Knowledge and Glory. Two Colonnades have the statues of various important historical personalities of Hungary. Square is flanked on both sides by two opulent buildings – one of them is Museum of Fine Arts and the other an Art Gallery.
Next, we stopped at a thermal bath, which is a building in pale yellow with white columns and sculptures. There was a long queue of people waiting to enter the bath. At first, I thought why do they have such a long queue for bathing? Do they not have bathrooms at home? But then I reminded myself that bathing is more of a ritual in this part of the world. When people treat themselves to these therapeutic treatments and just enjoy being with water. Various sculptures depicted the various joys of having an exclusive bath. From what I saw there was a modern swimming pool like structure in open and various closed chambers that I assume may be for therapies and hot water baths. There are many Baths across the city, some more than a century old.
In the evening we had stopped at the central market, which is a market that both locals and the tourists use, and it was a colorful market on two floors. Hungarian Paprika is famous and the small shops selling them were as colorful as they can get. Giving stiff competition to the fruits and vegetable vendors. There were shops selling usual tourists merchandise like fridge magnets and small curios along with specialties like local wines.
In the streets outside, there were sculptures here and there. Some in stone that probably belongs to history and some in metal that is probably from this era. There are small stalls selling local brands and handmade items. I also saw a version of our local cycle rickshaws there. Like most European cities Budapest also has excellent public transport system with a combination of underground metro, trams, and buses. Though I think the best way to explore these cities is on foot. People in Budapest do walk a lot; so do in Rome as the Romans do.
Recommend you to read following travel blog posts on tourist attractions of Budapest, Hungary.