Audio tourVisit Budapest with MP3 City Guides (premium)
- Audio tour Summary
- Heroes' Square
- History of Budapest
- House of Terror
- St. Stephen's Basilica
- Lutheran Church
- Main Synagogue
- Hungarian National Museum
- Central Market Hall
- Vaci Utca
- Vorosmarty Square
- Roosevelt Square
- Clark Adam Square
- Mathias Church and View of Parliament
Audio tour Summary
Thanks very much for choosing this mp3cityguides guide to Budapest If you've already done any of our other walks, you'll know how it works but if not, I'll tell you now.
As you've probably already noticed, each of these sections of the walk that you've downloaded on to your machine has a name - this first one is ‘Heroes Square’. Just consider each of these walks as individual tracks on an 'album' which is the complete tour of Budapest. You'll hear directions about where to go next at the end of each section but the route and the stopping points are also marked on your map.
Work started on Heroes’ Square in 1896 to celebrate the thousandth anniversary of the foundation of Hungary in the year 896. This was when the Magyar tribes arrived from what is now Russia under their leader Prince Arpad and began to settle this area. The figures in between the pillars of the two curved monuments – known as the Millennium Monuments - are of great Hungarian kings and statesmen.
History of Budapest
Strictly speaking, Budapest only came into existence during the late nineteenth century. For hundreds of years there had been two very separate, very different cities on either side of the River Danube – Buda had its castle and palace while Pest was the main economic centre. The third constituent was – and still is - the most ancient. It’s called Obuda or old Buda and today it’s a quiet but attractive suburb to the north.
House of Terror
Originally this was the home of a noble Budapest family before it became the HQ of the fascist party in the 1930s and then the offices of first the Nazi and then the Soviet secret police.
This history of invasion and repression has meant that over the years tens of thousands of Hungarians have been imprisoned, tortured and terrorised. The new House of Terror museum commemorates their suffering and shows how the various Nazi and Soviet security and interrogation teams who worked here went about their evil business.
This magnificent building was built during the nineteenth century to rival Paris’s Opera Garnier and the Opera house in nearby Vienna. Hungary is proud of its musical traditions and the new opera house was part of the country’s thousand year celebrations. Gustav Mahler and Otto Klemperer and were both musical directors here.
St. Stephen's Basilica
This is one of the most famous churches in Budapest. Stephen or Istvan was Hungary’s first King. He was such a godly man that he was made a saint and this church is named after him. Inside it you can see his mummified right hand contained in a highly decorated glass and metal box, called a reliquary. On St Stephen’s Day which is the 20th August, it’s marched around the streets in a great procession.
The Lutheran church was built in the early nineteenth century in the elegant, understated Neo-Classical style with none of the detailed decoration of St Stephen’s Basilica. Tired of the heavy ornamentation of Baroque, during the eighteenth century, architects began to look to ancient Greece for their inspiration.
At the far end of the church, above the altar you’ll find an impressive replica of the Transfiguration by Raphael, showing Christ ascending to heaven. There is also a small museum to the right of the church devoted to Lutheranism in Hungary.
The Great Synagogue was built in the middle of the nineteenth century. It’s the largest in Europe and can accommodate up to 6,000 worshippers – 3,000 men downstairs and 3,000 women in the upper levels. It’s in the Byzantine-Moorish style. The spires and the semi-circular arches would not look out of place in a Mosque.
Next to the Synagogue and, effectively part of it, is the Jewish Museum. It gives you a simple explanation of the rituals of Jewish daily life and the objects used in them.
Hungarian National Museum
The Hungarian National Museum was established in 1802 when a public spirited Hungarian nobleman offered his collection of treasures to the nation. In the 1830s this elegant neo-Classical building was constructed especially to house the growing collection.
Above the columns of the portico on the right are figures representing the arts while those on left are characters from history. The woman in the centre holding the laurel wreaths in her outstretched arms is a personification of Pannonia, the name given by the Romans to this part of Central Europe when they conquered it.
Central Market Hall
The Central Market Hall is the largest of all Budapest’s food markets and you’ll find over 180 stalls here selling every type of fresh and cured meats, fish, cheese, fruit, vegetables, bread and cakes. It’s also a great place to pick up a kilo or two of chicken feet. The market is open Monday to Friday 7am – 6pm and on Saturdays from 7am until 1pm.
During the Communist period Vaci Utca was, compared to other streets in Budapest, lively, affluent and full of things that you could actually buy. Today, half of it, anyway, is rather unappealing but the northern half does have some better quality shops.
One of the most elegant in Budapest, Vorosmarty Square is named after the poet Mihaly Vorosmarty. His statue is in the middle, sitting in intense contemplation, surrounded by trees.
Vorosmarty lived from 1800 until 1855 and he is regarded as one of the Hungary’s greatest poets. He was a Romantic, writing epic poems about a bygone age. On the base of the statue are the words: “Be faithful to your homeland for ever, Hungarians.” Just imagine how poignant those words must have been to people walking through this square during the dark days of first the Nazi and then the Soviet dictatorship.
Surprisingly, Roosevelt Square was named after the great American president while Budapest was still under Soviet control. , Roosevelt Square one of the largest squares in Budapest but unfortunately also one of the noisiest. Still, it does offer views of some of the city’s most famous landmarks including the Gresham Palace and Chain Bridge which spans the River Danube.
Clark Adam Square
Clark Adam Square was named after one of the engineers who built the Chain Bridge. The large, elongated stone to the left of the Funicular office is the Zero Kilometre stone, the official centre of Budapest.
Buda is very different from Pest. It’s home to the Sandor Palace, the Office of the President of Hungary and some of the city’s most interesting churches. Looking over the river you can also see the Hungarian parliament, the House of the Nation.
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