BudapestAn international city with miles of old-world charm, Budapest lies on the Danube River (Duna as it is called) in the Hungarian interior.  Celtic, Roman and Christian ruins help to color Attila the Hun’s ancient stomping grounds.  The subsequent text offers facts, trivia and travel information relating to the beautiful city of Budapest.

The Huns conquered the area of Budapest (Pannonia) in 409.

It is believed that Hungarians, or Magyar tribes, migrated from the Ural Mountains in 896 to find the area of Budapest a strategic place for settlement.

Buda and Pest merged into one combined city in 1873.

Castle Hill, located on the Buda side of the city in the oldest district, contains a wealth of historic sights including St. Stephen’s Statue, the Royal Hill, the National Gallery and many restored medieval buildings.

The royal castle and walled city date to the mid-thirteenth century after the invasion of the Tatars.

The Budai Var, or Buda Castle, rises forty-eight meters above the Danube River.  The invading Turks nearly destroyed the palace in the sixteenth century, but it was rebuilt during the eighteenth century.

Heroes Square was constructed in 1896.  It was established to commemorate the 1000 year anniversary of the Hungarian conquest.

Margaret Island was named for King Bela IV’s daughter.  He sent her to live in a convent in the hopes that it would keep the Mongols from invading (they did not!).  Main attractions of the island today include the water tower and Japanese Garden.

The Historical Museum of Budapest is famous for its medieval collections.

Hungary’s Parliament House lies on the Danube in Budapest (on the Pest side) and was constructed between 1885 and 1902. The elegant structure was designed by Imre Steindl.

The best time to visit the Parliament House is when the Parliament is not in session; guided tours offer a chance to see all its exquisite attractions.

The city’s State Opera House, also built to commemorate the millennium of the Magyar Conquest, features frescoes and sculptures by artists Karoly Lotz, Mor Than and others.

Budapest contains roughly 120 thermal springs to which tourists flock from all over the world.  The Gellert Hotel is the most famous of all the city’s bath houses.

Designed by the Eiffel Firm (of Eiffel Tower fame), the West Station is the most famous of Budapest’s rail stations.

The lion-guarded Chain Bridge is one of the city’s most recognizable features.  The bridge was opened in 1889.

At the time of its construction in 1903, Budapest’s Elizabeth Bridge was the world’s longest suspension bridge.

During the Holocaust, it is believed that about 250,000 of the city’s Jewish people were killed.

When dining out in the city, most restaurants print menus in Hungarian, English and German.

Major events celebrated by the city each year include BudaFest, Summer on Chain Bridge, the Hungarian Arts and Crafts Festival, the Hungarian Grand Prix and the Danube Water Carnival.

Today, roughly 1.8 million people call Budapest home.