|St. Stephen’s Basilica|
Just in a few minutes walk far from the cathedral there is another famous building, called Gresham Palace. A luxury hotel located along river Danube is built in Art Nouveau style. There is a big green area in front of the building. While searching “things to see” I found a giant statue of open mouth man, coming out under the ground. The statue was supposed to be right there, on that green area in front of the Gresham Palace. But our long searching didn’t bring results. So we asked some locals where can we find this statue? Maybe we mixed the place? But the answer surprised us more. It turns out that the statue is there only on summer time. During winter it’s gone … where?? Who knows?! 🙂
Anyway, we missed the giant man’s statue, but in front of us was the main and famous Chain Bridge, that was connecting Buda and Pest, the Western and Eastern parts of Budapest. Strong lions sitting on both sides of the bridge seem to protect it. The bridge starts on Pest from the Szechenyi square and goes over Danube River ending with Castle Hill Funicular, where we went after.
We passed the bridge walking and admiring with river waves, and reached the funicular, but there was a huge queue on the entrance, so we skipped it and walked over the Castle Hill, straight to the Buda Castle. This is a historical castle and Royal complex of Hungarian kings. In the past it has been called Royal Palace and Royal Castle. Now it’s a part of World Heritage sites in Budapest. Nowadays the castle is a complex of historical museums, which is surrounded with many sculptured showing the historical moments of Budapest. On the western forecourt of the castle there is also spectacular fountain showing a group of hunters led by King Mattias Corvinus with a killed deer under his feet.
If you like to visit mysterious places, than Buda Palace Labyrinth (Budavari Labirintus) is just for you. This is an old underground cave complex with 6 miles length, from which only 1 mile is open for visitors. It used to be a hospital, used in military purposes by Turks and later in 15th century it gave home for some prisoners, from whom the most popular was Vlad Tepes, more known as Count Dracula. Even today you may find is grave inside the cave, if you’ll not be lost in many of its corridors. The cave has many rooms with different themes, and the music coming from the corners makes this place more dramatic. Just in case, be aware to take a torch with you, as some rooms and corridors doesn’t have enough light to show the way!
The Castle hill has many sites to visit, but not all of them are well announced on online searches. But once you climb to the hill, you’ll see a map of attractions to be visited, which is being updated on every new attraction site, showing where you are, what is near you and how to go to another place. This map helped us to see a hidden Temple of Maria Magdalena, which was standing behind residential buildings. Unfortunately it was already closed when we arrive, but still was a great opportunity to see the Tower of the medieval Church, which was the only Christian Church remaining during Turkish occupancy. There were also some guns outside, showing the spirit of war happened there in the past.