By the beginning of WWI Budapest had become a true European Metropolis. Electricity had reached the outskirts of the city, even the nearby towns and the electric tram had become a daily routine for the residents of the capital. Public telephones were already at use and two large automotive companies based in the capital constructed everything from taxi-cubs to buses.

The Jewish population of the city had been decimated after the reconquest of 1686. In the mid 1700’s a new wave of settlers coming mostly from Czech and German territories moved in Budapest. Although the tensions with the Christian population were not uncommon the Jewish community grew significantly during the 1800’s.  Jewish merchants and craftsmen thrived in Obuda. Jewish linen weavers and silversmiths were well known in the city. Obuda was the only city in the Hapsburg Empire where Jews were free to carry out certain trades.

Between 1867 (year of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise) when the Hungarian Parliament approved a bill in favor of the Jewish emancipation & WWI the Jewish population grew to such a point that the city was often called Judapest or Jewish Mecca. The overall percentage reached 25% of the capital’s population by 1914. The Budapest University of Jewish Studies (established in 1877) and hundreds of Synagogues, the Jewish hospitals, orphanages and guilds all established during that period, stood as proof of that growth.

In World War I Hungary suffered unprecedented human and financial losses, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed. The city itself however stood more glorious than ever, with monumental structures like the Heroes’ Square, the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Hungarian Parliament Building, Gresham PalaceVajdahunyad Castle, the Hall of Art & the Museum of Fine Arts, all completed by the end of war, giving the Hungarian capital some basic elements of the fairytale-like appearance we know today.

The shaky social-democratic coalition government that was formed after WWI was very quickly overshadowed by the star of the Communist leader Béla Kun. A radical ultra-left communist with strong ties in Moscow, Kun attracted all of Budapest’s left wing intelligentsia along with a sizable group of Social Democrats who supported him in order to establish the first Soviet Republic in Europe after Russia (21 March 1919).

Within its first two moths the communist government unleashed a wave of revolutionary terror. Red terror had as goal to find and violently crush all counter-revolutionary activities in Budapest & the Hungarian countryside. The so-called Lenin Boys sought out the enemies, among them many Social Democrats, arrested them, looted their homes & sometimes executed them. More than 500 people were executed for “crimes against the revolution”.

Among other things Kun had promised to restore Hungary to its former borders. The unsuccessful effort of the small volunteer red-army to recapture Transylvania from the Romanians would be the end of the three-month government. In the beginning of August 1919, the Romanian army was marching in the streets of Budapest. Bela Kun and the rest of the high ranking Communists had already fled across the border to Austria.

Admiral Miklós Horthy, a WWI veteran hero took over the command of a counter-revolutionary army named National Army which took control of Budapest in November 1919. Four months later the National Assembly of Hungary re-established the Kingdom of Hungary and appointed Admiral Horthy as regent (the restoration of the Habsburg former King Charles IV on the throne was something the winner alliance of the Triple Entente could not allow). The period that followed became known as the period of White Terror. Brutal retaliations against known or suspected communists such as murders, tortures and humiliations, even hangings in public places was the answer of those who suffered from the communist regime & those who wanted to suppress the spread and popularity of the communist ideology.

When WWII came, Hungary was aligned with the Axis powers, against the winners of WWI in hope of restoring the territories lost after WWI. Nationalism and Antisemitism became prevalent. Fascism became the norm. In a population of 1.5 million permanent residents, the Jewish population had peaked reaching 250.000 people just before the war. 125 Synagogues operated in the city. Although Regent Horthy resisted German pressure and refused to allow the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the German extermination camps more than 15.000 Jews from Budapest were killed in forced labor units of the eastern front.

By the beginning of 1942, Horthy was already seeking a way out from his alliance with Hitler. With the Soviet Army advancing from the east, after the Battle of Stalingrad, it became evident that the Allies would probably win the war. By the Summer of 1943 the Hungarian government had started secret contacts for the terms of a future surrender to the Allies. Although the Axis was losing the war, Hitler could not allow Hungary to leave his alliance. In March 1944 the German Wehrmacht invaded Hungary and in a few days time,  a puppet regime ran by the German plenipotentiary in Budapest, Edmund Veesenmayer and Ferenc Szálasi, the leader of the anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party was installed in the Hungarian capital. Adolf Eichmann, the orchestrator of the Jewish holocaust “set up his office” in Budapest.

All people of Jewish descent were immediately denied freedom of movement and were forced to wear a yellow badge. On June the Mayor of Budapest designated 2.000 starred houses scattered around the city and on July 6, more than 40.000 Jews from the suburbs of Budapest were deported to Auschwitz. On November 8, 1944, 70.000 Jews—men, women, and children were rounded up in the brickyards of Obuda and were forced to march on foot to the death camps of Austria. Thousands died before even reaching the camps.

At the end of November 1944, the Jewish ghetto in the area of the old Jewish quarter (around the Great Synagogue of Dohány Street) was surrounded by a high fence and stone wall was set up and 70.000 people were forced to move in. Thousands more were executed on the banks of the Danube with their bodies thrown into the river. Between October of 1944 and February 1945 nearly half the Jewish population of the city (about 100.000 or more) had perished. www.yadvashem.org

At a time of horror, a special mention should be given to a hero who’s story is not that well known. His contribution however in the rescue of thousands of Jewish lives became one of the most miraculous acts of WWII. Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish businessman recruited by the War Refugee Board (created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in January 1944 as a buffer to the Nazi persecutions) first managed to issue more than 9.000 protective passports, in order to prevent the same amount of deportations. He then rented (with the money raised by the board) 32 buildings around the city, that were characterized as diplomatic and bore the flags of Sweden (which was a country neutral in WWII) and ended up housing almost 10.000 persecuted Jews. He finally succeeded, through bribes, threats and fervent negotiations with Eichmann and the supreme commander of the German forces in Hungary, to postpone Eichmann’s plan to blow up the Budapest ghetto, saving the lives of more than 70.000 people.

In November 1944, Soviet and Romanian troops entered the eastern suburbs of Budapest. By December the city was completely cut off from the rest of the world.  33.000 German and 37,000 Hungarian soldiers, along with 800.000 citizens were trapped in what was according to Hitler a “fortress city that had to be defended to the last man”. By the time the last German and Hungarian troops finally surrendered on February 13th 1945, the city lay in ruins. About 80% of its buildings were either destroyed or damaged, among them the Hungarian Parliament and the Royal Castle. All seven bridges connecting Buda with Pest had been blown to pieces.

After the war Hungary was occupied by the Soviets and Budapest became one of the capitals of the communist Eastern Bloc. Massive deportations of Hungarian citizens to forced labor camps of the Soviet Union started taking place even before the country was officially declared a communist state. In August 1949, the country was declared a People’s Republic and the presence of Soviet troops in Hungary and Budapest was formalized with a treaty granting them the right for a permanent stay.

Although the reconstruction of the infrastructure progressed relatively fast, the Stalinist era was mainly remembered for the deterioration of the standard of living, the decline of the economy, the chronic shortages in basic foods & goods and most of all the political repression.,_1953_M%C3%A1jus1-4.jpg

After a decade of oppression and flagrant violations of fundamental human rights, the situation had come to a boiling point. On 23 October 1956, 20.000 protesters gathered around the statue of  József Bem, a hero of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, in Budapest. In a few hours the crowd had increased to more than 200.000 people, chanting a censored patriotic poem known as the National Song. In a wave of enthusiasm the demonstrators reached the Parliament building while others dismantled a 25 meters tall statue of Stalin that had been erected on the edge of Városliget city park, 2 years earlier.

Things escalated quickly with armed clashes between revolutionaries and forces of the soviet regime, ending with dozens of deaths and the collapse of the government. On November 4, 1956, a large joint military force of the Warsaw Pact, led by Moscow, entered Budapest to crush the armed resistance. After 6 days of heavy fighting, 2.500 dead Hungarians & 700 Soviets, more than 20.000 wounded, the city had been again turned into a pile of rubble and the revolution was crushed.

After the revolution the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, a Marxist party that initially supported the revolution but changed side when its leaders denounced the Warsaw Pact, took over the helm of the country with the support of the Soviets. What followed in the country and its capital became known as Goulash Communism, a more moderate, more liberal form of communism that helped Hungary become a paradigm of a relatively bearable reality for the rest of the communist countries and Budapest a destination for tourists.

The reconstruction of the city and its infrastructure progressed satisfyingly during the 60’s and 70’s. The old city center and the castle quarter were renovated, all the bridges were restored and the underground network was expanded. The neighboring towns were absorbed by the sprawling capital which reached the population of 2 million people by 1970. It would now be comprised of 22 different districts, many of them created by a large-scale construction of blocks of flats, along the lines and general aesthetic of soviet pragmatism.

Inflation, poverty and a massive public debt in the 1980’s rocked the foundations of the communist structure, pairing political instability with the economic woes especially after 1985. On March 15th 1988, in the annual anniversary of the Hungarians’ 1848 uprising against Habsburg rule, large numbers of people risked demonstrating to call for press freedom in the largest unofficial demonstration of the communist period until that time.

Two large demonstrations took place on June 27th on Heroes’ Square protesting the policies of Ceausescu against the Hungarians living in Romania and one in October of 1988 against the scheduled building of a hydroelectric power plant right on the front of the Danube, in a time when large-scale gatherings were only permitted on communist celebration days. The social unrest led to the adoption of a democracy package by the parliament in January of 1989. That would be the first of a series of events that would quickly unravel the communist restrictions that year. In May 1989 Hungary begins to dismantle its fences along the border with Austria and in June more than 100.000 people gather to honor a former prime minister that was executed after the revolution of 1956 in what became the most massive anti-Soviet demonstration in the history of Hungary.

On October 23rd 1989, on the 33rd anniversary of the Revolution of 1956, a few days before the official fall of the Berlin wall,  the communist People’s Republic of Hungary ceases to exist. The 3rd Republic of Hungary is inaugurated in a official ceremony before the Hungarian Parliament and thousands take the streets to celebrate the beginning of the new era.

Privatizations and western investments revived the Hungarian economy with Budapest concentrating the main bulk of the country’s capital.  The Lagymanyosi Bridge, the new National Theatre and the National Concert Hall have all been added to the Hungarian capital’s rich ensemble, while the Liberty Bridge and Margaret Bridge have been completely reconstructed since the fall of Communism.

Today Budapest is a significant Central European metropolis, a major economic hub with a GDP per capita in purchasing power parity, 147% of the EU average. Especially during the 2010’s Budapest excels in every given economic index (worldwide commerce, emerging markets, innovation, research and technology, start up activity) including that of tourism. The Hungarian capital is among the 25 most visited cities in the world, welcoming more than 4.4 million international visitors each year. With numerous landmark buildings and museums, amazing parks, a rich multicultural tradition and a bustling night-life. It is no wonder that the robust metropolis keeps stealing the hearts of an increasing amount of people who choose Budapest as their next European city-break or their next permanent location. The chance to visit the city could easily convince anyone that the title “Jewel of the Danube” is not just a catchy euphemism.


With the Hungarian public opinion aroused over the country’s relations with Austria after the Napoleonic Wars and the amounted tax burdens in a diminishing economy, in addition to the zest of a group of influential Hungarian politicians and intellectuals to follow the developments of the advanced countries of Western Europe, things led to a mass revolt for independence in the years 1848-49 that had as its epicenter the twin cities Buda and Pest. Although the Hungarian revolution managed to score several victories it was finally suppressed with the help of the Russian Empire & Czar Nicholas I who sent a massive army of more than 200.000 to assist the Austrians. What the revolution did manage was to make Budapest the twin capital of a dual monarchy a few years later.

Although the period that followed was an era of Neo-absolutism with the Hungarians facing cruel retaliations, the city of Budapest entered a phase of significant public works that would shape its landscape to this day. Three months after the surrender of the Hungarian army, the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge a 202 meters permanent bridge that linked the two twin cities of the Danube was finally inaugurated after a serious economic contribution by a Greek Merchant named Georgios Sinas who had considerable financial interests in the city.

In the same time the landmark castle of Buda that had become the stage of fierce fighting and was partially destroyed was reconstructed in austere Neoclassical Baroque style, new buildings were erected and the stately rooms were redesigned. The new fort of Citadella on top of the Gellért Hill would serve as the new symbol of Habsburg rule as well as a prime control mechanism of both Buda and Pest by the Austrian garrison and its cluster of sixty cannons.

A series of military defeats of the Austrian Empire in several fronts would make Emperor Franz Joseph I  more flexible in his overall handling of the Hungarian matter. The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 would be sealed with him & Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) being crowned with the Holy Crown of Hungary in the historic Matthias Church in Buda, after a solemn ceremonial oath on the other side of Danube (Pest). Up

Ιn November of 1873 the three separate settlements of Pest, Buda and Óbuda (Old Buda) were merged into one city with a population of more than 150,000. Budapest would be the official capital of the Hungarian Kingdom. A Council of Public Works was formed and ambitious urban planning projects were carried out to in order for the new Hungarian metropolis to express its higher status and the nation’s longing for self-determination. Andrássy Avenue, completed by 1876 became Pest’s main artery and the Hungarian State Opera House (the construction works started in 1875) its crown jewel. The Hungarian Diet (legislative organ) re-established after the compromise of 1867, orders in 1880 the construction of a new house of Parliament that would be “a monumental symbol to the eyes of foes and friends alike”.

The city’s golden age was inaugurated in the best possible way, in 1896 the year of the Hungarian millennial celebrations with the official inauguration of the amazing Hungarian Parliament (works carried on until 1903), the largest and one of the most impressive parliament buildings in the whole world, of the imposing Palace of Justice (the Museum of Ethography today) and the opening of the first underground railroad in continental Europe.

Ambitious projects were also implemented in the case of the Royal Palace (Buda Castle) which entered a phase of total reconstruction, expansion and embellishment, with new wings, gateways, pavilions, plateaus, lavish decorations and elaborate sculptures added to the pre-existing ensemble of the Castle Hill.

With the state funds flowing and the capital turned into a huge construction work, the need for working hands created a massive wave of internal migration, catapulting the capital’s population (from 150.000 in 1872, to  370.000 in 1881 & 730.000 in 1900) & ethnic Hungarians becoming the dominant ethnic group surpassing those of German origin (from 35% in 1850 to 85% in 1910).

Pest grew into Hungary’s administrative, political, economic, trade and cultural hub. Many of the state institutions of Hungary like the Central Bank & Budapest Stock Exchange were established between 1850 & 1900. In the same time the interconnection between the two sides of the city improved with two more bridges, Margaret Bridge & Liberty Bridge.

With Budapest turned into the power house of the Hungarian economy, most industries, with engineering, electric and agricultural industries leading the way, established their headquarters in one of the rapidly growing suburbs of the city. The railway system developed furiously in a radial pattern, connecting the capital with the rest of the Hungarian cities & European capitals to a point that its density was considered one of the highest in Europe by 1910.,_Pest_and_Csepel_Island_in_Danubius_Pannonico-Mysicus_1726_by_Marsigli.jpg

After the continuous warfare the region entered an age of moderate prosperity although in the beginning it enjoyed limited influence in the Viennese court and its population had been reduced considerably. Ten years after the liberation, the city of Pest consisted of just 126 houses. Between 1720 & 1790 due to the intensive colonization propelled by the Habsburgs, Hungary’s depopulated regions increased significantly and especially the city of Buda that was almost completely deserted by the end of the Ottoman occupation boomed with populations that came mostly from the southern parts of Germany but also by Austrians, Spaniards, Bavarians, Serbs, Croats, French, and Turks who had remained in the country after the end of the war. Both cities gained their rights after two decades of fighting hard for their reconstruction. Although Buda was the capital in name after 1703, the city was in fact far from fulfilling this role.

The civilian-residents of the free royal city were owners of real estate — mostly town houses — and engaged in some kind of handicraft or trade. Their leaders — the mayor, the judge, the chief captain — were elected. The city council took care of the important things of citizens and non-citizens. The tax was paid once a year, a payment that secured their rights and envoys of the city were sent to the parliament. The  title of the first mayor of Buda (Imperial Captain), András Prenner Farkas, indicated that the city was still under a direct military control of the Emperor and the Imperial court. After the approval of the court, the mayor could hold office but not actually govern at will. The affairs of Pest were handled by a judge for more than eighty years. In addition to the council, the management of the city is managed by a small electoral body. However, the power of the city administration extended not only to the settlement within the city walls, but also to the ever-expanding, developing suburbs.

The small Baroque Palace built by Emperor Charles VI in 1715 on the site of the castle was destroyed by a fire before it was even finished, in 1723. After the Emperor’s death in 1740, the support of her daughter Queen Maria Theresa by the Hungarian nobility in the War of the Austrian Succession that followed, would ensure the construction of a new Royal Palace with the help of the Queen in lavish Baroque and Rococo style. In 1777 the Queen decided to make the castle the home of the first university of the city, but due to the series of functional problems the faculties moved on the opposite side of the River (Pest). Soon after the palace became  the residence of the Habsburg palatine of the Kingdom of Hungary, Archduke Alexander Leopold of Austria.

In their second attempt to take Vienna in 1683, the Ottomans faced a crushing defeat that crippled their army. The Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I saw a great opportunity to counter-strike and take back Buda and its sister city, Pest. An army of about 80.000 men led by the Viennese Charles V, Duke of Lorraine set out to capture the former Hungarian Capital. In September of 1684, after a siege of 109 days and the loss of nearly 30.000 men the Imperial army retreated in the midst of poor weather, disease epidemics and low morale.

Just two years after the unsuccessful attack, an almost pan-European army (it included German, Hungarian, Croat, Dutch, English, Spanish, Czech, Italian, French, Burgundian, Danish, Swedish and other European soldiers) assembled with the aid of Pope Innocent XI (hence its name Holy League) would return to Buda determined to take the city from the Turks.

In June, 1686, the Christian army, led once again by Charles V, Duke of Lorraine began the siege. More than 70.000 soldiers (some estimations elevate the number to 100.000) unleashed a tsunami of cannon bombs and artillery fire against the 7 to 8 thousand men of the Ottoman garrison, that defended the city, with the hope of 50.000 troops that would supposedly come to their aid. The relief army never managed to break the blockade. In the first days of September after 78 days of siege and a series of unsuccessful attacks, the city and the castle that had been almost reduced to ashes, finally fell in the hands of Christians who managed to breach the northern wall, after 145 years of Turkish occupation.,_Duke_of_Lorraine#/media/File:Entr%C3%A9e_triomphale_dans_Bude_08976.JPG

Religion had no place in what followed after the long anticipated conquest. Thousands of Turks as well as Jews, men women and children paid with their lives the year-long hatred against the Ottomans and the bitterness for the many lives of comrades that had been lost in the fights against them in the past. All mosques, minarets and synagogues were burnt down or destroyed while the heathens who were spared after the intervention of the Duke of Lorraine, were expelled from the city, sold as slaves or held for ransom. Most of the Hungarian lands were retrieved until 1699 with the Treaty of Karlowitz, that ended the Austro-Ottoman war, resulting in the complete restoration of the territories of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1718 and its incorporation to the Habsburg Empire.

After the death of Mathias Cornivus his kingdom fell into a prolonged and steep decline. An oligarchy of aristocrat magnates decided who was to rule their kingdom depending on their own interests, leading to a destructive defeat of their army by the advancing Ottomans in the Battle of Mohács (1526) and the partition of the kingdom, with one part becoming an Ottoman vassal and the rest agonizing about its possible annihilation by the Muslim behemoth getting bigger by the day. In August of 1541, Suleiman the Magnificent and 6,000 Janissaries crushes the Habsburgs in front of Buda and makes the Hungarian capital a part and extension of the Ottoman Empire. All citizens and nobles were allowed to leave the city unharmed. Although the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand I would try to take back the twin cities less than a year later with the Siege of Pest he would fail. Buda and Pest would remain under Ottoman occupation for 150 years.

The Pasha of Budin (Buda) became the ruler of the Ottoman provinces (Eyalets) of Hungary. Land could only be possessed by the Sultan to do with it as he pleased. The Sultan then gave a large piece back to his soldiers and civil servants in order to collect taxes from it. Although different religions were tolerated, non-Muslims were in essence second-class citizens burdened with more taxes. Many Christians left their home, others converted, some were taken as slaves but gradually life found a new equilibrium. Although a form of self-government was preserved and Budin was for the Ottomans an important trading center and a bridgehead for the conquest of the Habsburg capital of Vienna, the native population decreased significantly and overall stagnated socioeconomically. The Royal Palace fell in disrepair and was subsequently used a munition storehouse. Mosques and Turkish baths with Rudas Baths surviving to this day were built around the city while Gül Baba, the author of an Esoteric interpretation of the Quran who had died during the conquest of Buda, was declared to be the Wali (Patron saint) of the city. His surviving tomb in Budapest is the northernmost Islamic pilgrimage site in the world today.

Gradually the ethnic composition of the city changed with the Jews and Gypsies becoming the dominant ethnic groups of the Ottoman outpost. In the same time due to the Ottoman Empire’s goal to conquer the Habsburg Capital of Vienna, Budin’s proximity to it created the need for its better defense with several rings of wall being built around the city. The old castle was somewhat enlarged, its walls enhanced and various defensive towers like the Karakas Pasha Tower were built.,_Buda_Castle,_Karakas_pasa_Tower_from_west.jpg


In 1361 after a period of increasing importance Buda becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary during the reign of the the Angevin kings. The real boost of growth for the city would wait until the time of  King Sigismund however (r. 1368 –1437). Sigismund was an iconic figure of his time, a king revered by both his peers and his subjects. He had led a crusade against the Turks and an effort to end the Papal Schism that plagued the church of his time. When he became a Holy Roman Emperor in 1433 he decided to make Buda Castle his power center and effectively transform it into a place worthy of an Emperor. He enlarged the palace and strengthened its fortifications. Soon the castle became the largest Gothic palace of the late Middle Ages and the city of Buda an important cultural centre.,_Holy_Roman_Emperor#/media/File:Copy_of_a_lost_painting_by_Jan_van_Eyck,_with_Emperor_Sigismund_in_the_middle.jpg

In the second half of the 15th century Matthias Cornivus (r. 1458–1490), following the model of a philosopher-king described by Plato, establishes educational institutions, becomes a patron of art & sciences, extends the Royal Palace further and makes Buda a centre of Renaissance culture. His love for knowledge is passed on to his subjects with the new invention of the printing press first established in the Hungarian capital in 1472.  The library Biblioteca Corniviana becomes Europe’s greatest collection of scientific and philosophic works, second only in size to the Library of the Vatican.

With the wave of mass migration being constant after the end of the 4th century and the Western Roman Empire disintegrating, Aquincum was deserted by its residents and was ready for the taking. In the 5th century AD the Huns and King Attila became the rulers of the area. After the death of Attila (453) and the dissolution of the Hunnic empire, the Avars, a Pontic-Caspian, nomadic war tribe which settled to Pannonia took their place from the late 6th until the early 9th century.

The Avars were succeeded by the Bulgarians, who gave their place to the Magyars, a group of tribes descended from the Ural Mountains, fleeing the Khazarian state. In 896 AD the Magyars led by Prince Arpad settled in the Carpathian Basin after conquering it from the Slavs. After a series of winning battles and raids in the territories of Western Roman Empire the Magyars would stop their aggressive expansion to the west after a defeat in 955 by the first King of the Germans, Otto I. They accept Christianity and the Pope offers his official approval of their settlement in Europe. They crown their first King, King Stephen I (r. 1001–1038) with the consent of both Otto III, the Holy Roman Emperor (r. 996–1002) and Pope Sylvester II.

After the consolidation of his kingdom King Stephen I encouraged the establishment of Christian institutions with one of them being built in the hilly Obuda (where the Roman Aquincum stood before). In the same time merchants from Central and Western Europe started to inhabit the eastern, mostly flat part of modern Budapest known as Pest. King Stephen was canonized by Pope Gregory VII soon after his death (1083) and is venerated on 20 August in Hungary. The invasion of the Mongols in 1241-2  destroyed the towns on both sides of the Danube. The need for a strong defence, led to the construction of the first Castle of Buda by King Bela IV (r. 1206 – 1270) who moved the people who lives in Pest on the other side of the Danube where they would have the protection of his castle and the advantage of the terrain in the case of another attack.

Both sides of the Danube, where Budapest stands today, were populated from the time of the Old Stone Age (Paleolithic Era) according to the archaeological evidence uncovered in the wider area. Scythians, Celts and Illyrians all inhabited the site of modern day Budapest for a certain period. As in many cases in Europe, the decisive factor in the city’s birth was the Roman settlement. The Roman fort in what is now Obuda became the fortified city of Aquincum and the capital of the Roman Province of Lower Pannonia. The Celtic tribe known as the Eravisci, who inhabited the area before the Romans, was gradually integrated to the life of the frontier Roman castrum which reached a population of 30,000 in its apogee during the end of the second century. Two amphitheaters, one of which larger than the Colosseum of Rome, an aqueduct, temples and thermal baths that one can find today in the Aquincum Museum testify to the city’s growth.

One of tourism’s objectives is to experience things you are not accustomed to, to experience life in another place. For those who are already experienced hobby hunters this particular experience will trigger a new buzz. Budapest is not only a thermal bath city.It is also a place of a large underground cave network. Among the countless caves of more than 120 km long in total, the visitor has the chance to have a professional guided tour under Budapest in two of them .It’s an unprecedented experience that you can pick and choose according to your experience. The website of the company responsible for the cave walk tours writes “The hydrothermal caves of Budapest were created by the same thermal springs that supply the famous spas of the capital and the entire area is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.” More

For those who want a quiet green refuge in the heart of the city the tiny island of Margaret or Margitsziget presents a perfect opportunity. Only 500 meters wide this little island between Margaret Bridge and Aprad bridge is the ideal place for a cyclist or someone who wants to take a quiet walk in nature. A beautiful and car-free park where you can rent all sorts of bicycles like big wheel 1920’s style ones or 4-person, 4-wheels to modern ones, Margitsziget is a green oasis in the heart of the city where one can have a leisurely stroll or even a siesta in the most picturesque environment possible.