Budapest, Capital of Hungary

Budapest, Hungary’s capital, straddles the River Danube. Its 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly old town of Buda with flat modern  Pest. Trinity Square in Buda is home to the iconic sights of gold roofed thirteenth century Matthias Church and the turrets of the Fishermen’s Bastion terrace serving up views across the city.  The Matthias Church. with its diamond patterned roof has been heavily restored in a style described as 'florid' on Wikipedia. The Hungarian parliament in Budapest is the world’s third largest parliamentary building and is the tallest building in the capital city, as well. It is also counted among the oldest legislative buildings in Europe. Pest is overflowing with little restaurants, every one of of them serving goulash.  Budapest has the highest number of thermal springs in the world. 70 million litres of thermal water rise to the earth’s surface daily.

The Danube Bend

A scenic boat trip up the Danube. First stop Visegrád,  a small castle town, north of Budapest. (It had a population of 1,864 in 2010.) Visegrád is famous for the remains of the Early Renaissance summer palace of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and the medieval citadel. That's me, going in the entrance. Next, the city of Esztergom, the capital of Hungary between 10th and 13th century. The basilica is the seat of the Catholic Church of Hungary, and the largest church and tallest building in the country. This neo-classical building  is the predecessor of several earlier churches, the earliest of which was   the first cathedral in Hungary. It 's stately rather than beautiful , possessing  three impressive domes  with an  altarpiece reputed to be the largest painting in the world  on a single piece of canvas. It also houses a fascinating museum of church treasures, plate, reliquaries, vestments, chasubles, mitres etc.

Hungary - Snippets of Information

  • Hungary was formerly a part of the Roman Empire, after the fall of which, the people of the country at that time, the Huns, gave the country their name – Hungary. Hungarian is the direct descendant of the language spoken by the Huns.
  • The country came under communist rule after the Second World War.
  • Hungary became an independent nation in 1989, joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
  • Hungarians write their last name first and first name last. You cannot name your child in Hungary, unless the name is approved by the government. You can choose from an extensive list of names or fill in a form for approval, with the Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  • The world’s highest denomination notes ever were issued in Hungary, with a face value of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 Hungarian pengos (one quintillion pengo).
  • Hungary has the highest rate of VAT in the world - 27%

Next stop, on the train, Prague, via Vienna

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