Gellert Hill and Buda Castle #Budapest

My last instalment of my posts about Budapest is finally here. I have to apologise for the delay, but a lot has been going on, as I am in the midst of a career change and plenty of responsibilities have been put on my plate as my current employment ends. However, enough of real life, let’s talk travel.

We were located just across the Danube from Gellert Hill, and right at the bottom are the gorgeous Gellert Baths, which I have already shared with you, and right at the start of the climb up we encounter the stunning Cave Church, which you can read about in my post named ‘The Churches of Budapest’.

However, we are going to speak of the spectacular hike to the citadel. Before we even reach the summit of the hill, a gorgeous nature walk greets you and leads you up the mountain path, through glorious vegetation and with the most breathtaking views of the city and the castle.

The citadel itself is a beautiful structure, featuring the statue of liberty of Hungary at the top. It is a truly stunning walk up hill with beautiful views.

The most devastating thing is that the Castle, is actually on a separate hill, so after a long trek upwards, we had to go all the way down hill to climb another hill adjacent. Queue tears and absolutely burning thighs and busted calves.

The Castle is grand structure to behold, and it is currently the building used for the Museum of Art. It is truly stunning and the views of the city continue to be phenomenal. A true symbol of aristocratic wealth contradicted by the mesmerising and enchanting Parliament building across the river. The Democratic  symbol and Monarchy symbol go head to head on the banks of the Danube to the astonishment and bewildermant of all that have the pleasure to pass by.

I hope you guys have enjoyed discovering a little bit of Budapest with me. I definitely recommend you visit the beautiful Hungarian Capital, take in its sights, food, people and baths and make the most of the historic cities of Europe. I am so blessed that I had the opportunity to visit this city, and that I was able to provide that first cultural experience to my 14 year old cousin as well. Budapest is a welcoming city for backpackers, lovers and families and really is well worth a visit.

That concludes by instalments on Budapest, onto the next adventure. Where to next?

Happy reading, writing and travelling.

The churches of Budapest

I am a little bit obsessed with how religion shapes different cultures and countries, and so I always insist on visiting as many churches, temples, synagogues, etc. You name it I want to see it.

Budapest was so exception, with some incredible churches and cathedrals that showcased phenomenal architecture and such bright decoration.

The Cave Church, Gellert Hill

This was actually one of my favourite structures to visit. It is so unique, a cave that was purposed into a church. This place has suffered its own trials, with a section being burnt down as it was support by wood, but it has since been recovered and the stunning building or infrastructure still holds mass and people were there to pray more so than to visit it as a tourist attraction. A truly marvellous structure and it has definitely made it to my list of favourite churches around the world.

St Anne Church

St Anne Church, a beautiful structure that you will come across whilst walking along the Danube on Buda side of the River. It is a quiet little church, but the ceiling is absolutely breath taking. The detail on the painting/mural is stunning and depicts Heaven, the apostles, angels and the open arm welcome for those who enter through the gates. Although it wasn’t very well lit, the soothing pastels of the ceiling added enough colour to the building.

The Capuchin Church

I didn’t get to see it inside, as it was closed on both occasions where I came cross it, however I love the exposed brick and the building looks like such fun. It actually reminded me a bit of a church I came across in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. You can read about the St John Evangelist Church here. In the meantime, just marvel at this gorgeous building. The bottom photo you can see from a distance the colourful roof tiles which I absolute adore.

St Stephen Basilica

One of the only places you will visit in Budapest for FREE, all they ask for is a 2 euro donation. We actually went to visit on Easter Sunday and they had a service going on, the cathedral was filled with people singing from the same hymn sheet. The wall of sound we walked into was absolutely mesmerising, everyone singing praise for the lord. The building itself is gorgeous. I adore the deocation in of the central cupula which lightens up the entire room. It all radiates with the golden colours and stone columns shimmering with the littlest of sunlight. It is truly fantastic, huge and sits in a quiet square in the middle of Budapest. Definitely top of my list of favourites!

Matthias Church

The first thing that made me fall in love with Matthias Church was the colourful roof top! Much more stark than the roof in the Capuchin Church because of the contrast with the white stone building, it looks absolutely stunning. The interior is similarly just as colourful and detailed. The columns of the church ooze colour and pattern which climbs all the way up to the ceiling and trails down the walls like a waterfall of colour that has washed over the inside of this building. I love how you can see it standing at the top of the Buda Hill behind the Capuchin Church. Two gorgeous colourful churches so close to each other.

I hope you enjoy reading about these beautiful buildings as well as reading about them. Do you guys like visiting churches too?

Happy reading, writing and Travelling!

The Hungarian Parliament #Budapest

The Hungarian Parliament is one of the most stunning and architecturally breath taking buildings. The sheer details both in the exterior and interior of the building make it a truly magnificent landmark and it is time I share some of its history with you.

In 1873 Budapest was born, as a unity of 3 cities that reside in the banks of the Danube. To celebrate this momentous occasion the Hungarian parliament decided to launch a competition to build a new building that represented the sovereignty of the nation. Imre Steindl emerged victorious from this competition and the new Parliament began construction soon after.

The building which is of renaissance revival style, is a symmetrical façade with a central dome that features in its perfect centre, the Holy Crown of Hungary. The Holy Crown of Hungary is the only crown that has EVER been used by the entire monarchy of Hungary. For this reason it is heavily protected and you are not allowed to stand closer than 2 metres from the glass case around it or take photos. there are two guards that stand either side of the glass case and move their swords every 5 minutes. Every 15 minutes they do a full circle around the crown and say a few words and move their swords once more. Guards are changed every hour. We were told by the guide that it a pleasure and honour for them to protect the crown… I wish she had seen the look on the guards’ faces. However, it is beautiful and the room it is in, the central point of the entire building, holds statues of each monarch of the Hungarian monarchy before.

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Other fun facts about this phenomenal grand building, are that almost every column and wall is decorated with real gold leaves from around 3 metres and above. They have used around 40 kg of gold to cover the columns and leaves in the thinnest and most delicate sheets of gold.

The Parliament was built on Pest side of the river to show the strength and unity of the newly formed and established republican structure of the government in contrast to the monarchy which is demonstrated by the castle on Buda side.

I would definitely encourage everyone to visit. It is one of the priciest monuments to visit, but the experience is well worth the 4000FT. It is so fascinating to see the room in which the debates are held and the grandeur of it all, and yet it is somewhat simple at the same time and therefore a familiar sight. I was often conflicted between feeling amazed and feeling as if this was a place I knew really well. Steindl’s simple structure for the building also makes it easy to navigate and keep your bearings, whilst admiring the intricate decoration and extravagance. A must see.

Happy reading, writing and travelling!

The Jewish Quarter #Budapest

Hungary is one of those countries that is truly steeped in history. It has been a larger and smaller territory, part of the Ottoman empire, ruler as the Austro-Hungarian empire. It has accepted different cultures but has also many times rejected the idea of multiple cultures and beliefs.

The Jews have a long history in the country that is now known as Hungary, and generally as a religious group, have been the targets of segregation and aggression in so many societies. They are, in my opinion, one of the strongest and most enduring religious groups in history, having survived so much suffering.

In Hungary, some records pre-date 895AD. Some examples of their discrimination in Hungary include the decree that stated every Jew should wear a piece of red cloth, a law that was passed during the reign of Kind Ladislaus IV (1272 to 1290). During the black death (1349) they were expelled from the country. They have been burnt at the stake (1490 – 1516) and during the reign of Queen Maria Theresa (1740 to 1780) the Jews were expelled from Buda, which is considered the more affluent side of the Danube river which crosses the now amalgamated capital Budapest. In much more recent years, during the last years of the World War II, over 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed, mainly through deportation to Nazi-German extermination camps.

We are no strangers to the sad and painful parts of Jewish history, most of learning of it mostly from WWII. However, after all this suffering, the Jews are now living and have budding lives in Hungary, mostly concentrated in Budapest. Knowing all their history and suffrage in the country made it all more fascinating for me to be able to spend some time at the Jewish Quarter and learn a bit more about their religion.

The fronts of the synagogues are absolutely breath taking and colourful buildings. Many recent synagogues are built in Moorish Revival, which is a sort of art nouveau and gothic mix, which is extremely colourful and almost exotic.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Great Synagogue inside. One of the things that I found fascinating was that they choose to feature the star of David as much as possible. The Great Synagogue, in Dohany Street, has the star featured so frequently, from the stain glass windows, the floor tiles, candelabras to the cross bars on their gates and fence. It is completely mesmerising, that it is such a clean building, so simple but at the same time looks so grand. The bimah is the table from which the Torah, the holy book of Judaism is read. The altar, if you will, is one of the most stunning centres and focal points I have ever seen and I absolutely love the 3D Star of David that hangs above it.

I found the building overall much more inviting and soothing than a church or cathedral in a way, because inspite of the Jewish community having suffered so much pain, their culture feels no need to cover their walls with images of the pain they have endured. It is just a simple faith that inspires simple living and acceptance. A truly welcoming building and beautiful insight into another culture. I would totally advise you all to visit at least one of the synagogues and either go for a walk around the Jewish Quarter or take one of the tours that run from the Great Synagogue.

Happy reading, writing and travelling!

 

Langos #DiscoveryFriday

Another week, another Friday! I love this time of the week, when I get to go relax and invest some time into actually doing things that fulfil me aside from building a career. It is important to have various interests and explore these. However, Fridays are also a good chance for me to reflect on the wonderful things I have discovered!

So this is a short but oh so delicious discovery from Budapest… Langos!

Now this is exactly what it looks like, a sort of pizza, which is made of this deep fried dough that it then covered on a sauce made of natural yoghurt and garlic – seriously two of my favourite things – and then usually eaten just with cheese or you can add other things that you like. It is DELICIOUS! The best street food I have ever tasted, the Hungarians got it right… And we discovered it on our first night on a charming Easter market that was open late.

So I now leave you with these photos and you can go find a recipe because I have been trolling the internet for one.