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recent years, which benefited the American Embassy. The embassy overlooks the former stock exchange, which is now the headquarters of the public television. Richard Baltimore III, an American diplomat, looked out of his window in the 1990s and said: “it looks like the cross of a Greek Temple and Angkor Vat”. The ambassador works in the third floor corner office, where Cardinal Mindszenty lived from 1956 to 1971 after taking refuge there at the end of the 1956 revolution. (VI. Szabadság tér 12.)

7 Street Names With Stories Behind Them V. Vörösmarty tér This central square was once called Spazieren Platz (Walking Square), and then Theatre Platz (for the German theatre here). In 1874 a rich merchant of Greek origin, who had a large house on the square, offered a large sum for the square to be named after his family. The city council hesitated, and chose the name “Gizella” for the newborn daughter of the king. Since 1926 the square has been named for the great Romantic poet (1800 – 1855). V. Falk Miksa This street lined with antique shops is named after a sort of child prodigy of modest origin (1828 – 1908). He started his journalism career at the age of 15. He was an influential editor and a MP during the 1870s and 1880s. His name was taken off the street twice: from 1943 to 1945, and later from 1953 to 1990. V. Miatyánk utca The tiny street between the hotels Le Méridien and Kempinski has a nice name: “Lord’s Prayer Street”. It is named that because it is so short that it offers just enough time to say a prayer, one missed during the week. During Communist times this street name was never officially changed. There was no need to, since no address contained the name. The street signs were simply taken off, and were put back in 1990. V. Váci utca This downtown shopping street was once simply called main street. Then it became Leopold street (Lipót utca), after the Habsburg king who liberated the city from Turkish rule (around 1695). The northern part was renamed Váci utca at the end of the 18th century, when the so-called Vác Gate was pulled down. A century later the merchants of the southern part, still called Leopold street, sent a request to city hall: they want to be called Váci utca as well. They were listened to.

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VIII. Karácsony Sándor utca This street, which is in a not very pretty part of Józsefváros, is now named after a trade union leader and resistance hero who was murdered by Hungarian fascists in 1944. Earlier it was called Karpfenstein utca, after the family that owned the land nearby. That’s the clue to the widely known anecdote. One day some time near the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century a horse collapsed and died in this street. A policemen arrived to write the memo – but he was unable to spell the difficult name. Then he asked the onlookers: “Well guys, help me to drag this poor animal to Magdolna utca, round the corner…” And so they did. For many years Budapesters referred to Karpfenstein utca in the following way: “In the street where the horse kicked the bucket”. VII. Barát utca This is a short side street, running parallel with Rákóczi út, between Szövetség and Hársfa utcas. The buildings are all from the 1930s, constructed in the so-called Bauhaus modernist style. Most of the apartments are very small here. Since “barát” in Hungarian means “friend”, the popular belief in the neighbourhood is that it is called like that since most of the apartments were originally bought by rich industrialists as presents for some young(er) ladies, as tokens of their admiration. II. Gül baba utca This steep, romantic, cobbled street leads to a small, but nice memorial of a Dervish, or Turkish monk, who died in 1541, a couple of weeks after the Turkish army conquered Buda. His name means “father of Roses”, and the hill was named after him as well. The neighbourhood is still called Rózsadomb (“rose hill”), and today it is a chic residential area.

7 Ideas for Entertaining a Visiting CEO from Portland, Oregon River Ride amphibious tour in Budapest A funny looking luxury bus that is registered in Malta can take you partly on land and in water. As it did not get permission to splash in the river downtown, it will take you to some of the real Budapest… The narration was written by the author of this book, but it is related every time by a live guide who adds his personality. (Leaves from Roosevelt tér, www.riverride.com) Budapest Public Library between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. At this Revival Baroque baronial palace, with modern extensions, it is quite an adventure to take a look around the café (that was once

2011.04.20. 15:50:11

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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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