20+1 interesting facts about Budapest that you may not know…
Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, tells fascinating tales about historic architecture and is a paradise for explorers.
The scenic beauty of the city is not all natural but somewhat, manmade as well.
The history is complex and has many layers to unfold.
1.Tons Of World Heritage Sites
The city of Budapest has tons of UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Danube, Heroes Square, Buda Castle, and many others. It is a city filled with several fascinating places to visit which makes it one of the most scenic places in the world.
2. Budapest was created by the merger of three cities
The city of Budapest has been officially created on 17th November 1873 by the merger of the neighboring cities of Pest, Buda, and Óbuda. The unification was an extremely important historic event that leads to the rapid development of the city. However, naming the new capital created a lot of controversies. Some of the names suggested included Hunvár, Etelvár, or Honderű. But in the end, Budapest won, becoming thus the official name of the Hungarian capital.
3.No building in Budapest is taller than 96 meters
Budapest’s blend of old and modern makes the city an architectural delight. A look at Budapest’s downtown reveals that all buildings stand at about the same height. All except for two: Szent Istvan Basilica and the Hungarian Parliament, which both measure exactly 96 meters. One of the most interesting facts about Budapest is that no building in the city can be taller than 96 meters. The number 96 represents the year when the Magyars settled in the area (896). The fact that Szent Istvan Basilica and the Hungarian Parliament are the same height is not coincidental, but rather symbolic of the equal importance of religion and government in Hungary. When Fredy Mercury was in Budapest, he asked if this building is for sale.
4. Budapest has more thermal water springs than any other capital city in the world
Hungary has an incredible abundance of underground hot water sources. There is no surprise that people consider Budapest the thermal „Bath capital of the world”. An amazing 70 million liters of thermal water rises to the surface daily. The hot springs have given birth to dozens of medicinal baths and to a bathing culture dating back to Roman times. There are dozens of spas and baths in the Hungarian capital, some of which are in magnificent buildings, likeSzéchenyi, Gellert, or Kiraly Baths. The chemical composition of the waters differs from bath to bath and is absolutely unique in the world.
5. Budapest is home to the third-largest Parliament building in the world
The Parliament covers an area of 18,000 sq meters (193,750 sq feet), it has 691 rooms, 20 kilometers (12,5 miles) of stairs and it is 96 meters (315 feet) high. There are 90 statues on the façade and 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of 23-carat gold were used to decorate the interior. The building began in 1885 and the Neo-Gothic palace was completed in 1902.
6. Budapest is home to the oldest metro line of continental Europe
There is only one metro system in the world that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and that is the Budapest Millennium Underground. The line opened in 1896, making it the oldest metro line of continental Europe and the second oldest in the world, after the London Underground. 1896 was the year when Hungary celebrated its 1000th anniversary, hence the name Millennium Underground. The line is still operational today (M1) connecting the Heroes’ Square and Vörösmarty Square.
7. Budapest is home to the second-largest synagogue in the world
And to the largest synagogue in Europe. The Dohány Street Synagogue can accommodate 3,000 worshipers, it is 44 meters (144 feet) high and it covers an area of 2000 sq meters (21,528 sq feet). The synagogue was built between 1854 and 1859 in Neo-Moorish style.
8. Budapest is big on art and culture
There are more than 40 theaters and over 100 museums and galleries in the city. Many concerts, festivals, and events are held year-round, not to mention performances at the famous Opera House, which is considered to be among the best opera houses in the world.
9. The Budapest Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world
The Budapest Zoo opened its doors in 1865 and in addition to the animals, it features a number of noteworthy Art Nouveau buildings and structures, like the Elephant House, the Palm House, and the main entrance.
10. The northernmost holy place of Islam is in Budapest
It’s the burial place of a Turkish dervish, named Gül Baba, who came to Hungary during the Turkish invasion in the 16th century. He was honored as a holy man and after he died in 1541 his tomb in Buda became an Islamic sacred place and a site of pilgrimage. The chapel, built between 1543 and 1548, is one of the few remaining Turkish buildings in Budapest. Other noteworthy buildings include the Király and Rudas Turkish baths.
11. Budapest is home to one of the largest music festivals in the world
Around 400,000 people from all over the world flock to the Sziget Fesztivál every August. The week-long celebration of music is named after the Shipyard Island (Hajógyári Sziget) where the festival is held.
12. Every 5th person in Hungary is a ‘Budapester’.
Budapest is the biggest city in Hungary, 20% of Hungary’s population lives in Budapest.
13. Budapest was not always the capital of Hungary
Until the 13th century Esztergom, the birth and coronation place of St. Stephen the first king of Hungary, was the capital of Hungary. After the Mongolian invasion in 1241-1242, King Béla IV moved the Royal Seat to Buda, seeking protection. Today’s Budapest was formed in 1873 through the joining of three cities: Buda, Pest, and Óbuda (Old Buda).
14. Budapest has a secret subterranean world
Beneath the city of Budapest lies a hidden subterranean world, a maze of over 200 caverns. The caverns are the result of a large number of geothermal springs in the area. Many of these caves are open to the public for guided spelunking adventures. The most interesting one of them is the underground labyrinth located right beneath the Castle Hill, in Budapest Old Town. The 6-mile long Budavári Labirintus has a very tumultuous history. From a refuge for prehistoric people to a cellar and a prison in medieval times, a bomb shelter and a military hospital during World War II, and a command post during the Cold War, the Labyrinth had many functions. In more recent times, the Labirintus has been turned into a museum that displays Budapest’s rich history.
15. Budapest has a train run by children
Did you know Budapest has a train that is run almost entirely by children? The Children’s Railway was started after World War II as a training ground for communist kids after a model introduced in the former Soviet Union in the 1940s. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 can complete a four-month training course to become train conductors, workers, and inspectors, on this 11 km railway. Except for the station master and the train drivers who are adults, all the other jobs are performed by children. It’s impressive to see how seriously these children take their role. The ride is about 45 minutes long and takes you to the top of the Buda Hills. There are some beautiful spots where you can stop to admire the scenery. Buying a day ticket gives you the option to hop off and hop back on at one of nine alpine-looking stations.
16. There is a cave church in Budapest
Few of the visitors of Budapest know of the little church in the rock under the Gellert Hill, in Budapest Old Town. Truth is that Sziklatemplom (‘Rock Church’) enjoys very little fame, being surrounded by so many grandiose churches. If you happen to be at the Liberty Bridge.
17.Absolutely New Way To Drink Tap Water!
Apart from the hot thermals, drinking tap water in Budapest is also a healthy option. Budapest people have found a new way to cool down on hot summer days by installing drinking taps on fire hydrants. Now, the local crowd and tourists can enjoy the refreshing water of Budapest.
18. The famous ‘Ruin Pubs’ has become alive history.
A few years ago, a group of young people managed to exchange the promise of cheap rent, for the permission to turn abandoned houses in the city center into bars, decorating them with whatever they could find on the streets. The result has been incredible, giving life to the famous ‘Ruin Bars,’ Soviet-style houses with gardens that regularly hold parties and concerts.
19. You can find tributes here to the murdered Jews of the Holocaust.
The holocaust of the Third Reich had a big effect on this central European city. In fact, Hungary was one of the biggest sufferers of both its causes and consequences. Next to the parliament, by the edge of the river Danube, you can find lots of shoes made of bronze fixed to the ground. These are a tribute to all the Jews that were killed.
20. Rubik, the inventor of the famous Rubik’s Cube was born in Budapest.
+1 According to legend, upon the opening of the magnificent Chain Bridge, a boy shouted that the lions that guard the four ends of the bridge didn’t have any tongues.
Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, tells fascinating tales about historic architecture and is a paradise for explorers. The scenic beauty of the city is not all natural but somewhat, manmade as well. The history is complex and has many layers to unfold.