Discovering Treasures of Caste Hill. Budapest, Day 2

Some people say – happiness is to wake up in a new country… Yes, somehow it is a wonderful feeling to wake up in a new place, where you have a lot to see, to discover, to explore.. Today the day starting with visiting the main cathedral of Budapest, a Roman Catholic St. Stephen’s Basilica. It is named in honor of the first king of Hungary Stephen, whose right hand is housed in reliquary. This is the most important and the third highest church building in Hungary. It has 2 bell towers and for some additional fee you can get your ticket to the top of the tower, up the dome. Amazing place with magnificent architecture and glorious decorations inside. Very peaceful place to spend hours..

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?! πŸ™‚

Gresham Palace

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.

Chain Bridge

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.

On the other side of the hill, not very far from Maria Magdalena Temple, there is another castle-style building seen, which is called Fiherman’s bastion. This place is well seen from far and is like a castle from fairy tales with a beautiful architecture. Actually it’s just a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style with many stairs and walking paths. There is an amazing view opened from it’s balconies to Danube River, Parliament house, Gellert Hill, whole Pest and Margaret Island. The place takes its name from the fishermen, who was defending this part of the city in Middle Ages.
Fisherman’s Bastion
On the same terrace, in front of Fisherman’s Bastion, there is a majestic Roman Catholic church, that was originally buil in Romanesque style, but currently no archaeological remains exist. This was Mattias Church, one of the most visited places in Budapest. Currently it’s made in Gothic style. It was second largest church in Medieval Buda. The church has 7 bells, from which 6 are located in bell tower. This was also a coronation scene for several Hungarian kings and also site for Kind Mattias’s two weddings. Again, it was already closed and we couldn’t get inside, but hope I’ll still have another chance to visit Budapest and at that time I’ll start to explore Buda Castle from early morning, with less people and everything open.
Mattias Church
And how to go back? It’s already dark and we are on the other side of the hill. Shall we go back to the entrance of Buda Castle or find another way back? The decision was taken and we went down with the first seen steps. We walked through colorful buildings, little cozy cafes, almost empty streets, as there were not much tourists here, passed through some other churches and monuments and finally reached the main street, found the closest bridge to pass the river and here we are back to Pest. The view opened in front of us was the giant building of Parliament house which was all illuminated with lights. Trees on this area were also decorated with lights so the building was shining from every side with its unique beauty. But we’ll still come back to this. We still have two more days to walk over here πŸ˜‰

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