The Old Jewish Quarter

The Old Jewish Quarter

Up to the turn of the 18th century the city of Pest had been surrounded by a wall. Since no Jews were allowed to live within the city until the end of the 18th century, a ghetto was formed outside of the city. This prohibition was abrogated in 1783 when Emperor Joseph II decreed that cities could not restrict the settlement of Jews. (Previously they were allowed to enter the cities only during the large country markets – by paying an excessive toll). The city of Pest permitted settlement in 1786. The Jews were integrated into the evolving middle class and the way was opened for their assimilation and their own development to middle class citizens.

Three synagogues served the community in their district. The Orthodox Synagogue on Kazinczy Street built in 1913 based upon the designs the the Löffler brothers has an oriental floor plan and can seat 1000 believers. Viennese architect Otto Wagner made the plans for the Synagogue on Rumbach Sebestyén Street, which makes use of a central design and also has an oriental appearance. Regrettably, it is in very bad condition, but is something special none-the-less. The imposing complex of the synagogue in Dohány Street symbolizes the power and vitality of the Jewish community of Pest. The second largest synagogue in the world, it was built with Byzantine and Moorish features based upon the designs of Ludwig Förster. Its three naves can hold three thousand people.

A wing added to the synagogue in 1931 provides space for the Hungarian Jewish Museum. Its exhibits present the historical, religious, and artistic artifacts of the Hungarian Jews from the Roman age on. On the site of the museum once stood the birth house of Tivadar Herzl, the founder of Zionism. A commemorative marble plaque pays tribute to him. Via Wesselényi Street one reaches Heroes’ Temple. Also built in 1931, it is a memorial to the ten thousand Hungarian Jews who fell during World War I. The weeping willow-shaped Holocaust Memorial in the courtyard is a monument in memory of the six hundred thousand Hungarian Jews deported during World War 2 On the leaves of metal the survivors engraved the names of their lost relatives.


The horrors of World War 2 destroyed the life of an integrated middle class community and decimated a significant number of its members, who had added very much to Hungarian culture. Many great figures of Hungarian literary, artistic and scientific history were members of this community.


After decades of oppression, the Hungarian Jewish community is once again experiencing a renaissance. Today this district is again called “The Golden Triangle”. A kosher hotel, a jesiwa, a mikwe, book and records shops, and galleries have recently been reopened. Restaurants offer kosher eastern European cuisine and traditional Jewish sweets are made at the Frölich Confectionary. The recently opened Simonyi Gallery next to the synagogue on Rumbach Sebestyén Street is a real treasure chest. Here we find pearls of arts and crafts and graphic arts by contemporary artists: modern Jewish items with a popular touch, silver, bronze, porcelain, enamel and the luster of silk, reflecting the lights of the “golden triangle”. The pen sketches “für Emil”, illustrations with loving irony, show the events in the lives of the Jews on weekdays and on holidays and illustrate the duality which characterizes the relationship of Jewish people to life: the love of life and humor, always helping and sustaining through all the tragedies and persecutions.

The Budapest Zoo

The Budapest Zoo

The first Zoo of Pest opened its gates as a private institution in 1866. But the majority of its beautiful buildings were built during a large-scale reconstruction, which began in the beginning of 1900s when the Capital became the owner of the Zoo. A great number of the famous buildings were constructed: The artificial Great and Small Rocks, the row of Transylvanian-style buildings designed by Károly Kós, the elephant-headed gate of the main entrance and the oriental Elephant House decorated with Zsolnay ceramic tiles that has also become the symbol of the Zoo, both designed by Korné l Neuschloss.


The place is not only of interest to children, its huge green trees, particularly eye-catching flowers, and monuments make it a favorite spot for everybody. Kids come here to play, young couples meet for dates at the gate and walk hand in hand down the alleys, old folks sit chatting on the benches – age is of no importance here.

The most visited cultural institution of the country, the Budapest Municipal Zoological and Botanical Garden, welcomes its visitors with a variety of programs every day of the year from 9.00 a.m. to sunset.


Here are a few of the attractions:
– The Elephant House, from whose tower the whole panorama of City Park can be admired, can again be seen in its original beauty.
– The remodeled Kós Károly Bird-house, where the worlds smallest monkeys, largest vipers, and the frightening spectacled caiman can be seen.
– The only gorilla family in the country and many rare animals, for example: the bald crow, elephant shrew, Bali starling, Indian hornet hawk, jumping hare, fennec, and sea lion
– The artistic Bonsai Pavilion and Japanese Garden where bouquet-like dwarf trees are on display
– The remodeled Small Rock, with the country’s only cave restaurant and cinema
– The “Jewels of nature” exhibition, where colorful reptiles, amphibians and birds can be seen
– The “Life and Death House”, where one can glimpse the birth and passing of life
– The huge vulture-cage and squirrel petting cage, where visitors can walk among the animals
– The country’s only butterfly-garden
– The most beautiful playground in the country, where your child can experience how it feels to move underground or in the air.

Have fun!

Heroe’s Square

Heroe’s Square

One of most beautiful and greatest ornamental squares leades into Heros’ Square, behind which starts the avenue of City Park. The Milleneum Monument was started to be built on the 1000th anniversary of Hungarian settlement in 1896.


In the centre the archangel of Gabriel figure stands on a high column and on its support are the statues of Árpád and the other six Hungarian Chieftains. Behind the main group of statues there is a semicircular, ornamental colonnade with the pantheon of Hungarian history, kings and other great historical figures.



Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle, which consists of 21 buildings was planned by Ignác Alpár and built in 1896.


This group of buildings represent some piece of well-known famous monuments of Historic Hungary and almost every historical styles from Roman throught Gothic, Renessaince to Baroque. Some part of it imitates Vajdahunyad Castle in Transsylvania and its name is originated from here as well.




The 265-meter-long building with its excellent proportions dominates the view of the Pest bank of the Danube. The architect Imre Steindl used the Neo-Gothic London Parliament in the so-called parliament style as a model when he dreamed of “the House of the Nation”, the symbol devoted to the creation of the Hungarian constitution. Construction began in 1884, and preparations were done in time for the Millennium Celebration of the 1000-years since the Hungarian settlement, but it wasn’t completely finished until 1902.


Its internal architectural solutions are a good fit to the style of the building. Historic classicism, the monumental frescos and wall paintings of historical themes, the rich gold decorations create a worthy exterior for the festive mood of the place where Hungarian laws are made.


Even today the Hungarian parliament meets here, and the President and the Prime Minister also have their offices here.


Since January 1st 2000 the symbol of the Hungarian state, the Holy Crown and the Crown Jewels can be visited here. The Crown of St. Stephen, the country’s founder, together with the Royal Scepter and the Imperial orb are vital symbols for the nation.

In the park in front of the parliament stand the statues of the two great figures of the Hungarian fight for independence, Ferenc Rákóczi II and Lajos Kossuth. The third monument made of gray granite honors the heroes and victims of the revolution of 1956 with an eternal flame.…

The Opera House

The Opera House

The Hungarian State Opera House was constructed in Neo-Renaissance style from 1875 to 1884 by the great Hungarian architect of the 19th century, Miklós Ybl.


On the front facade the four muses of representational art and the statues of the great figures of incidental music already indicate the function of the building from the outside.

Inside, the marble stairs which lead to the boxes are one of Ybl’s most brilliant internal Architectural solutions. The interior is ornamented with frescos and paintings by the best Hungarian painters of the 19th century.

The Opera House

Above the acoustically excellent auditorium one of the most beautiful creations of Hungarian painting, a fresco by Károly Lotz representing Olympus, can be seen.

The best-known works of music literature performed by excellent Hungarian artists can be heard at the Opera House.…

Chain Bridge

Chain Bridge

This was the first permanent stone bridge between Pest and Buda. Its official name is Széchenyi Chain Bridge, named after Count István Széchenyi who was one of the leading figures of the intensified efforts for the nation’s independence at beginning of the 19th century. Based on his efforts, the building of the bridge began in 1839 with designs by the English architect Tierney W. Clarke. The construction was led by Scotsman Adam Clark, who, after completion of the bridge in 1849, settled himself in Hungary. The round about between the tunnel and the Chain Bridge bears his name.


The two river piers built in Classicist style carry the iron chains, on which the road of the bridge hang, hence the name Chain Bridge.


The lions on both ends of the bridge are the work of the sculptor János Marschalkó. It is a popular legend among the people of Pest that the Chain Bridge’s lions have no tongues. There is no truth in this, however, as the lions do have tongues, though they are only visible from above.


At the end of World War 2 the withdrawing German troops blew up every one of Budapest’s bridges, but the best known Landmark of Budapest and its Symbol was again handed over to traffic on November 21st, 1949, its on 100th anniversary.…

Margaret Island

Margaret Island

This park-covered Danube island, which was artificially created by connecting three smaller islands, is larger than the city center and is also called the lungs of Budapest.

Like the Margaret Bridge leading to the island, St Margaret from the house of Árpád, the daughter of Béla VI. is the island’s namesake. According to a vow made during the invasion of the Mongols, her father established a Dominican convent on the island, where she was sent. The ruins of the convent and the chapel built in the memory of St. Margaret can be seen on the upper third of the island.



At the Margaret Bridge entrance to the island stands the Centenarium monument, erected to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the unification of Pest, Buda and Óbuda.

Swimming Pools and other sport facilities line the left side of the island, and a youth hotel, restaurant, casino, and leisure center are situated on the right side. This is also where ships tie up.


At the center of the island one finds the most beautiful flower garden of Budapest, the so-called rose garden. Thousands of distinctive flowers bloom here from early spring to late autumn, a real show of color contrasting the surrounding green. A beautiful view of the rose garden and the island can be enjoyed from the top of the water tower, which is a protected artistic monument.

Restaurants, cafes, and confectioneries await guests further up, at the head of the island in the two hotels, the Grand Hotel and the Hotel Thermal Margaret Island.

Also at the head of the island is a rock garden, which draws innumerable visitors with its small streams, a goldfish pond, and hundreds of varieties of plants. Sitting on the benches one can hear the hourly chimes of the Music Fountain.

The fountains, the pools, the bushes, the huge trees and the romantic convent ruins conjure up the irresistible mood of the island.…

The Basilica

The Basilica

The building of Budapest’s largest church was not carried out without problems. Building was begun in 1851 based upon the classicist designs of József Hild. In 1868, after Hild’s death, the dome collapsed due to a bad foundation and the building was continued under the direction of Miklós Ybl, in Neo-Renaissance style. However, during the building Miklós Ybl also died, and thus József Kauser completed the Basilica in the year 1905.


At the tympanum of the main portal the Virgin Mary is portrayed as the Patrona Hungariae encircled by Hungarian saints. According to Hungarian religious history, St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary, entrusted into the keeping of the Virgin Mary the crown that he had received from the Pope to symbolize the nation of Hungary. This is why the Virgin Mary can be seen in various depictions wearing the Hungarian crown on her head and also why Hungary is said to be the “Country of Mary”. The imposing dimensions of the Basilica only become truly evident from the inside. In the dim interior one feels quite small, looking up into the mighty dome, where far above, a mosaic representing God, Jesus and the angels looks almost real.


In the Basilica’s chapel of Saint Leopold one will find the so-called “Holy Right Hand”, the right hand of St. Stephen, first king and founder of Hungary. Every year, on the 20th of August, thousands of believers take part in a procession accompanying the relic celebrating the festival of the St. Stephen.

A beautiful panorama of Budapest is visible from the observation area of the 96-meter high dome. From this view from above, one can see the bridges across the Danube, the castle, the city’s forest and the green spot of Margaret Island – a sight which truly compensates for the climb-up.…