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Some Buda, some Pest with a little Ӣuda thrown in

In Florida I worked with a man, who got out of Hungary as a teenager shortly after the second world war. Alex told me of the beauty of his homeland, and the friendliness of it's people. I found it, just as he said.
Except for two things. They want you to come back, and there's something wrong with their math. When purchasing my train ticket to Bucharest, I was made to buy a round trip ticket. Now get this a one way from Budapest to Bucharest costs around 19,000 Forints (about $100), while a round trip is 16,000 forints (about $85). And when I got to Romania, I couldn't cash it in or exchange it for a ticket to my next destination. It ended up in the trash.
Now for some history about Hungary, and Budapest.
The first town, built by Celts, occupied about 30 hectares along the slopes of Gellert Hill (first century BC). It was called Ak Ink (meaning 'spring rich in water'). Archaeological finds suggest that it may have been a densely populated settlement, with a separate district for craftsmen (potteries and bronze foundries). It may have been a trading centre as well, as coins coming from different regions would indicate.
The Hungarian appeared around the end of the ninth century, establishing the seat of their prince near the crossing of the Danube. Ӣuda, the territory of the civilian city of Aquincum, became the first center of Hungary. (The name of Buda derives from a Hungarian given name.)
Western European type of urban and bourgeois development began in Pest, on the other side of the Danube, which had a mixed German-Hungarian population in the thirteenth century.
After the conquests of the Mongol Genghis Khan , the Mongol and Turkic elements merged, and the invaders became known in Europe as Tatars. The Mongol invasion led by Batu Khan into Hungary and Germany in 1241 is also known as the Tatar invasion.
In 1247 after the Tatar invasion the royal castle and the walled city were built on Castle Hill, on an elevated terrace of the Danube. This third city was called Buda.
The Carpathian Basin, in which Hungary lies, has been populated by successive peoples for hundreds of thousands of years. A blend of Celts, Romans, Huns, Mongols, Turks, Slovaks, Austrians, Germans and Russians, have re-forged and distilled Hungary's identity many times over. And they call the USA the world's melting pot. Hungary did it first.
Magyars, as Hungarians call themselves, are part of the Finno-Ugric group of peoples, who originated from western Siberia. It is believed that one group of Magyars, fleeing attack, established themselves on Csepel Island and Ӣuda when Pest and Buda were only small villages.
In the year 1000, the Magyar prince Stephen was crowned 'Christian King' Stephen I (later canonized Saint Stephen), with a crown sent from Rome by the pope, and Hungary, the kingdom and the nation, was officially born.
Buda, Pest and Ӣuda united to form Budapest in 1873, after 300-plus years of rule by Turks and being made a province of Austria.
Things didn't get much easier for Hungary in the 20th century. They found themselves siding with Germany and on the losing side in both world wars, and in rigged elections the Communists came to power in 1947. The nation was then rocked irrevocably by the 1956 Uprising, an anti-Soviet revolution in Budapest, which left thousands dead after brutal Russian military retaliation.
Hungary was the first "crack" in the Iron Curtain. They liberalized their system of allowing people to enter the West. And soon became the preferred "vacation site" of those under Communist rule. East Germans, in particular headed off to Hungary to enter Austria and, subsequently, West Germany.
Following the collapse of Communism, the nation became the Republic of Hungary in 1989. The celebrated Soviet troop withdrawal from Hungary in June, 1991 soon saw the first free elections in more than four decades.
My tour guide in Budapest was Emese (pronounced Emeshie). She speaks six languages and did our tour in three. The city is separated into two parts by the Danube River, the Buda, which is mountains and hills and the Pest, which is a plain. Saint Stephen was the first king of Hungary, so his is that great Cathedral below.
SOURCES: My tour guides in Berlin and Budapest, and many historical sites referring to Hungary and Budapest on the web.

St. Stephens Basilica

Looking down the main aisle

Up into the dome

One of the side altars

Pure elegance from the candle albras to the Madonna to the marble pulpit

The organ and choir

Another side altar

The dome and one bell tower

The dome from outside

This is how it looks from across the Danube

Budapest castle from Pest

The castle from the Citadel

And again from the Danube

The Hungarian Parliament building

From the castle across the Danube

1000 steps from here to the castle

My best shot of the Parliament

We didn't walk all 1000, but we did climb a few steps to get to the Fisherman's Bastion and the Statue of Saint Stephen. The Fisherman's Bastion would be a place to defend the castle from attack. The naming probably came from the fish market, which was once below this point, or as a tribute to the fishermen, who helped defend the castle. The castle was never defended from here as it was added about 1905 for decoration. It consists of a stone wall with seven towers, one each for the Magyar tribes who once populated the country.

St. Matthias Church

With it's splendid ceramic tile roof

The Budapest Hilton

St. Stephen again

The Danube and Margaret Island

Buda and Pest
The Island, which has not been developed over is called the lungs of Budapest. It connects Buda with Pest by the ?pᤠBridge on the left and the St. Margaret's Bridge on the right.
The right photo shows Buda and Pest from the Citadel.

Trinity Square

Heroes Square

Baross Square
Gabor Baross, Hungarian statesman, who revolutionized industry, transportation, and trade with other European countries in the 1800's.

Heroes Square with Angel Gabriel on top

Budapest Museum of Fine Arts

The Madonna on a pedestal outside a church
(it's the yellow church on the right down below)

Interesting, a sheet of steel about 5 cm thick
and over 2 m tall. The figure was cut out with a torch



Budapest is filled with great buildings like those above.

It also has some great sculptures like these on the arches at Heroes Square. The Square also houses the Tomb of their Unknown Soldier.

The same architect must have designed these two churches. You can see the Madonna from above in the right photo.

The new steel and glass

Mixed with the old stone and tile

A beautiful city with architecture I saw

No place else

Just what can we do in the park?

Glass box with white cotton floating in a pool?????

You might guess this was available

Dusk and I was too soon here
The Budapest train station. I really liked Budapest and wished I hadn't been in such a hurry. A couple of more days here would have suited me just fine. Maybe next time.

Music is "Liebestraume No. 3"
by Franz Liszt

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