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.
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).
The basilica is now also famous because it contains the intact remains of his right 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:
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.
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.
For more photos of the castle, click here.
- Opera House and Theater District – On our last day in Budapest, we weren’t scheduled to leave until 3 pm (15:00), so left us with some time to visit a few of the places we hadn’t managed to see, such as the Hungarian State Opera House, Theater District, and Great Synagogue.
First, the Opera House. No tours were available this day, but you could wander around the foyer and, of course, visit the gift shop.
Then, the Theater District:
For more shots from the theater district, click here.
Finally we visited the Great Synagogue, the largest in Europe:
Back next time with final thoughts (the biggest this! the biggest that!) and photos from here and there (and at night!).