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pest could with some poetic exaggeration be said to compete with Naples or Rio de Janeiro. It is also rare that a large city reflects the characteristic landscapes of the whole country. To the west, beyond Buda, there are the hills and valleys typical of Transdanubia, whereas to the East, not so far from Pest, behind some small hills, the Great Hungarian Plain stretches out perfectly flat. True, to the north there are mountains, though with the high24peak at 1,015 metres they areAnot crash course in Budapest est very high. A lot more will be said about the history of the seven bridges over the sists of and Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Károly Danube, we will also haveút, a close lookkörút, at themMúzeum during ourkörút walks.and Just Vámház now, let’s körút. find them on the map. (Remember that “híd” is Hungarian for “bridge”.) is anend island two of the abridges. The bridge south FromThere the Pest of between Margit híd runs semicircular avenue, of the island an obtuse angle in thethe middle. This is Margit Let’s built in theforms Parisian style, called Nagykörút (the híd. “Grand take this as our It starting point. Boulevard”). reaches the Danube at both ends, joining Margit

híd in the north and Petőfi híd in the south. The nagykörút is the BRIDGES AND BOULEVARDS The historic centre of name for Szent István körút, Teréz körút, Erzsébet körút, József

Buda can still be seen today on Castle Hill; almost nothing has survived of körút taken together. Nagykörút that of and Pest. Ferenc Historickörút, Pest was situated betweenBoth Deákthe Ferenc utca and and Szathe Kiskörút commonly used nicknames, street badság híd; thatare is, just roughly between the first and the thirdhowever, bridges south of Margit híd. This whatthose we stillnames call thewritten city centre downtown today; offisigns will not ishave onorthem. út


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The semicircle continues on the Buda side, although not quite as regularly as in Pest. Thus the circle is completed by Irinyi József utca, Karinthy Frigyes út, Villányi út, Alkotás utca and Margit körút, and there we are again at Margit híd (most of this can be travelled by trams 4 and 6). Budapest was more or less built within this circle by the early 20th century, with some additional building along the main roads running out of town such as Andrássy út, which ends in

PARK_Budapest_belivek_v065.indd 24-25

A crash course in Budapest


Városliget (City Park) in the east. Árpád híd, which is the bridge north of Margit híd, is the beginning of an outer semicircular ring which includes Róbert Károly körút, Hungária körút and Könyves Kálmán körút. The latter had just reached the Danube again in the south when Lágymányosi híd was built besides the rail bridge, Déli vasúti híd. Pest had spread more or less this far by the beginning of World War Two. The outer ring roads join five major roads that carry traffic from the city towards the suburbs: Váci út, Andrássy út, Rákóczi út (which continues on Kerepesi út), Üllői út and Soroksári út, respectively. Metro lines run along all of these except the last. With the exception of Andrássy út, the history of these main roads goes back to the middle ages. Their names indicate the cities which they lead to. The somewhat lackluster Váci utca is a former main street of Pest. Halfway along this street is the Pest end of Erzsébet híd, the first of the two modern bridges in the city. On the Buda side, the road from the bridge turns sharply to the right and starts climbing steeply, leading to the motorway to Vienna and Lake Balaton. Weather is far from boring in Budapest, but it is pretty predictable. It can be very hot in the summer when temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) are common. It can theoretically be very cold in the winter, but that only happens every five or six years. A really heavy snowfall is somewhat rare, but is usually followed by slush and filthy piles of frozen snow pushed to the curb. Dusk falls early in the winter, between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. and the sun is rarely seen. However, the other three seasons make up for this. In Hungary we celebrate name days which are usually the feast days of saints. The name days of Sándor, József and Benedek fall between March 18 and 21 and, the saying goes, they bring the warm weather in their bags. Indeed, this is usually the time when spring allows us to shed our winter topcoats – and it‘s a good time to visit. Stormy days total about 30. If it rains on Medárd Day (June 8), however, tradition has it that the next forty days will also bring rain.

Phones Wired and wireless Budapesters can hardly remember the precell-phone days when waiting for telephone installation before 1989 lasted years, sometimes a dozen or more. In the early 1980s a member of parliament in the Communist government made a suggestion that telephone applications should be made inheritable.

2011.04.20. 15:49:05

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András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

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