The revolution started here. In an easily overlooked building behind the National Museum you will find the Magyar Radio offices. It's here where protesters gathered in 1956 and attempted to enter the building. The AVH (Hungarian Secret Police) fired randomly at the unarmed protesters. The protesters responded by storming the building, arming themselves, and thus beginning the revolution. Fifty years later, during the riots of October 23rd 2006, the police barricaded the Magyar Radio building with cargo containers, such is the symbolism this place holds with Hungarians.
You'll find the modern Magyar Radio HQ directly behind the National Museum, at Pollack Mihaly 9. But the original MR building that started the revolution can be found on the adjacent Brody Sandor Utca, at numbers 5-7.
Address: Brody Sandor Utca 5-7
Directions: Take the metro to Kalvin Ter. Walk up the main street towards the National Museum and take the first right after it. This is Brody Sandor Utca. Keep on straight until you find the old HQ on the right side of the street.
There are several historically and architecturally interesting chuches in the Central Pest area, so I've decided to group some of them under one tip. The first would be the Servite Church dedicated to St. Anne and, located on Szervita Square. Completed in 1732, it is one of the few Baroque churches of its style left in Budapest. The church's elegant facade was completely rebuilt in 1871.
Another would be the Chapel of St. Roch, located just off Rakoczi utca. The chapel dates back to the beginning of the 18th century, and at the time it was built, the area was almost completely uninhabited The chapel was built through a decision of the town council of Pest to provide its citizens protection against a return of the plague, a disease that killed many people in 1711; it is dedicated to St. Roch and St. Rosalie. The chapel was later enlarged and its tower was added in 1797.
Located on Szerb utca, the small but beautiful Serbian Church testifies to the importance the Serbian population once had in the city, especially around Central Pest. Even though Serbs now only account for 0.1% of the country's population, back in the 17th century, records show that about 25% of home owners in the Pest area were Serbian immigrants.The community therefore built this church in 1698 to replace a former one that had become too small and it was designed in the Greek Orthodox tradition, with separate sections for men and women.
Finally, University Church dates back to the middle of the 18th century, and it was built for the Pauline Order. The Monastic Order of St. Paul the First Hermit was founded in Hungary in 1215 and to this day it remains the only religious order to have been founded in the country. Several of the church's Baroque works of art were designed and crarved by Pauline monks. It is located on Papnövelde utca.
I have to confess that I didn't think of this earlier, but it does seem rather odd that, for all of the history embodied by Budapest, its standing as one of the capitals of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its fairly important place in history as the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary, that there is so little ancient or even classical architecture. This is undoubtedly because of the numerous battles and sieges to which the city succombed, many of which caused total or near total destruction. Pest, despite not being the original capital, had an important role to play in the city after the creation of the Dual Monarchy in 1867, and as such much of the city was built up after that. In particular, the area around the Parliament and up along Andrássy út was developed in the 1870s onward, which is why there is a unique and eclectic blend of neo-Classical, neo-Renaissance and neo-Gothic (a bit, especially in the Parliament) styles in the buildings in these areas.
An outline of the things to see in Pest:
St Stephens Basilica on Bajcsy Zsilinszky ut.
The Parliament Buildings on Kossuth Lajos ter. Which houses the crown of Saint Stephen.
The Ethnography Museum which faces Kossuth Lajos ter (closed Mondays).
The Great Synagogue at Vll Dohany utca 2-8. Including the Jewish museum and the former Jewish quarter behind.
The National Museum at Vlll Muzeum Korut 14-16 (closed Mondays).
Heroes' Square at Hosok tere where you can see one of Budapest’s most famous monuments celebrating the conquest of the Carpathian Basin. In the same square you can find the Museum of Fine Art which has many famous foreign artists too including the best Spanish Collection outside Spain.
Vajdahunyad Castle by the city park.
Directions: Opposite Buda!
Pest, on the east bank of the Danube, does not share the same history as Buda. It is the part of the city that developed from the 19th century onwards. Consequently, there are few 'must sees' from an architectural point of view. To me, the beauty of Pest is its everyday grandeur - the impressive everyday buildings, its leafy streets and boulevards, the parks, the little details, the roof-tilings etc. It's to walk along the banks of the Danube and look across to Buda. It would hardly be true to say its Buda's poor relation, but it's quietness (and I do not mean literally - Pest is the larger of the two by a long way and also very much the capital city part of Budapest) that is its appeal. It's Pest (or at least central Pest) that has earned Budapest the name of the 'Paris of Central Europe'.
Its a pleasure to walk around this area in central Pest, there are shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
This is where you will easily find money exchange and banks, along with travel agencies and all of the usual city amenities.
Its the real heart of the cities business district, plenty of embassies and men in suits wandering around, some beautiful green areas to relax and get shade from the midday sun
The Pest side of the city is more of the commercial and business side to Budapest. There are still some wonderful sights to see on this side of the river, but its not always the clean, pampered up district that Buda felt to be!
Basically Pest felt more lived in to me!
It was real, and you would meet lots more locals here than what you would in the Buda District - Where there were tons of tourists.
It's not just Buda with the fantastic architecture. Pest is busy, dirty even, adding to its lived in feel, but it also has some notable sites. These include the Parliament and the National museum. Pest also offers the best restaurants and cafes, anyone been to the bar where you can throw your nut shells on the floor? Not sure what its called but it also has different currencies stuck to the wall and reasonable prices!!!
The city took its present form in 1890s, when the Millenary Monument, the City Park, the avenue leading there with the Opera House, St. Stephen?s Basilica and the Parliament Building were constructed.
Art. Nouveau was enriched by characteristically Hungarian motifs, so in Budapest it is called Hungarian Secession. Its most beautiful examples are the Museum of Applied Arts, the Post Offices Savings Bank and the Hungarian State Institute of Geology, the works of Odeon Lechner.
These are the shopping quarters, the big squares and the boulevards..
Directions: Around the Vörösmarty Tér and about a circle between Oktogon, Nyugati, Ferenc Körut, and to the Danube.
Picture of Vaci Utca, running from Vörösmarty Tér