Budapest - Cultural Capital



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Although overshadowed by its neighbor, Vienna, Budapest easily holds its own in terms of concerts, museums, architecture, and fine dining. This trip will give you a taste of everything this world-class city has to offer starting at the imposing Basilica, winding up Andrassy via the Postal Museum (don’t miss this, even if it sounds less than thrilling – the architecture here is simply stunning), Liszt Square, Hunyadi Square/Liszt’s museum, Koday’s home/museum, and up to the Hero’s Square. Day two takes in the “holy trinity” of buildings by the Parliament before heading up to the Castle District for a day of fun, views, and breathtaking architecture.

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Author: Jennifer


Day 1 - Budapest


Begin your tour at the St. Stephen’s Basilica. Hungary is around 65% Catholic and this is the largest cathedral in the country. It was in a state of disrepair until about 10 years ago when it was completely refurbished and is indeed worth visiting regardless of your religion. It is well-worth purchasing a separate ticket and visiting the rooftop of the basilica, particularly if the weather is good, as it gives you a panoramic bird’s eye view out over the entire city. Cross over to Andrassy and ring the bell of the Postal Museum. Even if you are not interested in the Hungarian postal service, the interior of this building should not be missed. It remains to this day a landmark building, even on Andrassy. And the Postal Museum is surprising good and interactive! You may, for example, try operating an early telegraph machine and other historical equipment. Continue up Andrassy past the Opera (we’ll be returning later), toward Liszt Ferenc Square. Over the last 12 years or so, this square has become a hotspot of chic bars and clubs (although many feel it to be pretentious and overpriced…) but until that time, it was just a quiet square filled with students going to and from the legendary Music Academy (corner of Kiraly St). This location originally housed a synagogue and has been home to the music academy for over 100 years. Additionally, the trials of many Hungarian Arrow Cross members (the Hungarian Nazi party) occurred here after the war. Concerts here today still offer world-class entertainment, particularly their piano series, and it is worth inquiring as to what concerts will be taking place during your visit. Walk up Kiraly to Hunyadi Square, a quiet, off-the-beaten-path destination still in the early, early throes of gentrification. The market hall was erected in 1896 as part of the millennium celebration for the founding of the state of Hungary and, due to its proximity to the Jewish Quarter, was full of mainly Jewish merchants. Kosher goods were widely available here. An Orthodox synagogue was founded adjacent to the market hall so that the observant workers could pray before and after work. Unfortunately, today this synagogue is difficult to visit. Continue across the Square to Liszt’s Museum, the original site of the music academy and home to his pianos, archives, etc. This is a small museum but eminently worth visiting. Inquire as to upcoming piano concerts here, as well, as many claim the acoustic in their concert hall is superior to even the music academy. Continue walking up Andrassy to Zoltan Kodaly’s museum. Similar to the Liszt museum, this museum can be viewed in a short period of time but is well-worth visiting. Pictures mounted show Kodaly with a veritable who’s who of 20th century musicians and artists. Continue walking up Andrassy past several embassies *Hopp Ferenc*?? to the Hero’s Square. This square is flanked by the Museum of Fine Arts (Szepmuveszeti), open until 10 PM on Thursdays, and the Arts Hall (Mucsarnok) on the other. The Szepmuveszeti has one of the finest collections of Egyptian art in the world. The Mucsarnok, the largest museum in the country, is unique in that is has no permanent exhibit. Occasionally, dance performances and concerts are held here as well, inquire upon visiting. That evening, dine and catch at concert at A38, a classy club/restaurant with superb food at reasonable prices and housed on a ship docked on the Buda side.


1

St. Stephen's Basilica

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Location:

Szent István Square 1
District V
1051 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 311 08 39
fax: +36 1 342 93 90


2

Postal Museum

Location:

Andrassy ut 3
district VI
1061 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 268 1997
fax: +36 1 268 1958


3

Andrassy ut

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Location:

Andrassy utca
Oktogon to City Park
1061 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 (0)1 322 4098 (Budapest Tourist Information)
fax: +36 (0)1 488 0475 (Budapest Tourist Information)


5

Academy of Music

Location:

Liszt Ferenc ter, 8
District VI
1061 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: 36 1 341 4788


6

Ferenc Liszt Memorial Museum

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Location:

Vorosmarty Street 35
1064 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 322 9804
fax: +36 1 413 1526


7

Kodaly Zoltan Memorial Museum

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Location:

Andrássy Avenue 89
Andrássy út 89
1062 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +3613527106
fax: +3613229647


8

Rath Gyorgy Museum

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Location:

Varosligeti fasor 12
district VI
1068 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 142 3916


9

Museum of Fine Arts

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Location:

Hősök tere District XIV
1146 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: 469–7100
fax: +36 1 469 7171


10

Art Gallery

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Location:

Heroe's Square
1146 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 460 7000
fax: +36 1 363 7205


11

A38 SHIP

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Location:

Near Petöfi Bridge Muegyetem Embankment
1117 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 464 3940


Day 2 - Budapest


Begin your day at the Parliament, a legendary symbol of the city. The parliament has 691 rooms and took 19 years to build. Tours should be prearranged (ask your concierge to take care of this, it is not always easy). Nearby stand two other buildings, the Agricultural Ministry and the Museum of Ethnography. The Ethnography museum, odd as it seems, is a must-see, if only to marvel at its stunning architecture from the inside. The exhibits here hold their own, as well, detailing Hungarian customs, traditional dress, etc. Plan on spending a couple of hours at this mammoth institution, you won’t be disappointed. Upon finishing, head up to the Castle District. Duck into the Matthias Church and sit in awe at its stupendous detailing. This church is of extreme historical importance as the new Hungarian kings were first introduced to the townspeople of Buda, traditionally consisting of wealthy merchants and others of great influence. Next, walk around the Fisherman’s Bastion and snapping photos of the marvelous Budapest skyline before heading down to the Jewish Prayer House. Jews have a long history up here (where they were allowed to do business during extremely limited hours and in restricted areas) and this house of prayer dates from the 15th century. That evening, go the opera (if tickets are available) or a concert at the Artists’ Palace or music academy. Music lovers will be well-served in Budapest. Even if a program is sold out, it is worth going to the hall an hour or so before the concert and waiting around. More times than not, you can still score tickets.


1

Parliament Building

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Location:

Kossuth Square 1–3
1055 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 4414000
fax: +36 1 441 4801


2

Alkotmany St. Architecture

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Location:

Alkotmany utca
District V
1054 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 322 4098(Ministry of Tourism)


3

Museum of Ethnography

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Location:

Kossuth Square 12
Pest
1055 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 473 2440
fax: +36 1 473 2441


4

Matthias Church

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Location:

Szentharomsag ter 2
Országház utca 14 District I
1014 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: 489–0717


5

Fisherman's Bastion

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Location:

Szentháromság Square
1014 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 322 4098 (Tourist Information)


6

Medieval Jewish Prayer House

Location:

Tancsics Mihaly utca 26
1014 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 225 7816


7

Castle District

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Location:

Castle Hill
1014 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 (0) 1 322 4098 (Tourist Information)


8

Royal Palace

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Location:

Castle Hill
1014 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 322 4098 (Tourist Information)


9

Palace of Arts

Location:

1095 Budapest, Komor Marcell utca
1095 Budapest, Hungary

Contact:

tel: +36 1 555 3001


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