Budapest: St. Stephen’s Basilica, Vajdahunyad Castle, and the Theater District

Back with the third installment of the Budapest Chronicles. Today, we’ll visit:

  • St. Stephen’s Basilica – This cathedral, right in the middle of the city on the Pest side, is named after the first king and patron saint of Hungary: Stephen I.
Go over to the Buda side and the dome of the cathedral is an easy-to-identify landmark.

Go over to the Buda side and the dome of the cathedral is an easy-to-identify landmark.

Born somewhere around 975, he became king in 1000 and was the first devout Christian in his family. He went about converting the country’s pagans to Catholicism and died in 1038. (Interestingly, he outlived all of his children, most of whom died in infancy; his one son who made it to adulthood, Emeric, died in a hunting accident.) In 1083, he became a saint (as did Emeric on the same day).

Even on a cloudy day, the interior is bright.

Even on a cloudy day, the interior is bright.

The basilica is now also famous because it contains the intact remains of his right hand.

See the photo album for more shots of the hand.

See the photo album for more shots of the hand.

Aforementioned photo album is here.

  • Vajdahunyad Castle – On our first day in Budapest, whilst visiting Heroes’ Square with our tour group, we looked out past the square and saw this anomaly:
Be it ever so humble...

Be it ever so humble…

A couple of days made, we decided to come back for a closer look. Built in 1896 on an island in City Park, Vajdahunyad Castle is now the home of the Hungarian Agricultural Museum, the biggest agriculture museum in Europe.

There's no place like the entrance to the Hungarian Agriculture. Museum

There’s no place like the entrance to the Hungarian Agriculture. Museum

Lion?

Lion?

Anyhoo, the site features an eclectic collection of different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and probably others. It also hosted a free-range violinist who was quite adept with a salesman’s patter and seemed to be doing a nice business with the tourists.

If it ain't Baroque, don't remodel it.

If it ain’t Baroque, don’t remodel it.

For more photos of the castle, click here.

First, the Opera House. No tours were available this day, but you could wander around the foyer and, of course, visit the gift shop.

Exterior.

Exterior.

Interior.

Interior.

Then, the Theater District:

A Moulin Rouge in Budapest? Who knew?

A Moulin Rouge in Budapest? Who knew?

Chillin' with the only cigar-holding statue I've seen in person.

Chillin’ with the only cigar-holding statue I’ve seen in person.

Not a play for the Airbus crowd.

Not a play for the Airbus crowd.

Oh those wacky Hungarian theater folk!

Oh those wacky Hungarian theater folk!

For more shots from the theater district, click here.

Finally we visited the Great Synagogue, the largest in Europe:

Exterior.

Exterior.

Bright interior.

Bright interior.

Back next time with final thoughts (the biggest this! the biggest that!) and photos from here and there (and at night!).

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About skinsphins

The stories of a 'never out of the country until we moved to France' American.
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