Budapest – Hungary

Budapest is one of the most beautifully situated cities in Europe. Nobody can ever forget the wonderful sight of the two sister towns divided by the wide and swiftly flowing Danube, with the steamers and barges on her waters. Buda, the old stronghold, is on one side with the fantastic “Gellert” hill, which is a formidable-looking mass of rocks and caves; farther on is the lovely royal palace with its beautifully kept gardens clinging to the hillside; then the oldest part, called the stronghold, which has been rebuilt exactly in the style Matthias Corvinus built it, and which was demolished during the Turkish invasion. Here is the old church of Matthias too, but it is so much renovated that it lacks the appearance of age. Behind the smaller hills larger ones are to be seen covered with shady woods; these are the villa regions and summer excursion places for the people.

Along the Danube are green and shady islands of which the most beautiful is St. Margaret’s Isle, and on the other side of the waters is the city of “Pest,” with the majestic Houses of Parliament, Palace of Justice, Academy of Science, and numerous other fine buildings. At the present time four bridges join the two cities together, and a huge tunnel leads through the first hill in Buda into an-other part of the town. One can not say which is the more beautiful sight: to look from Pest, which stands on level ground, up to the varying hilly landscape of Buda; or to look from the hillside of the latter place on to the fairy-land of Pest, with the broad silver Danube re-ceding in the distance like a great winding snake, its scales all aglitter in the sunshine. It is beautiful by day, but still more so at night, for myriads of lights twinkle in the water, and the hillsides are dotted as if with flitting fairy-lamps. Even those who are used to the sight look at it in -speechless rapture and wonder. What must it be like to foreigners !

Besides her splendid natural situation, Buda-pest has another great treasure, and this is the great quantity of hot sulfur springs which exists on both sides of the Danube. The Romans made use of these at the time of their colonization, and we can find the ruins of the Roman baths in Aquincum half an hour from Budapest. During the Turkish rule many Turkish baths were erected in Buda. The Rudas bath exists to this day, and with its modernized system is one of the most popular. Csaszar bath, St. Lukacs bath, both in Buda, have an old-established reputation for the splendid cures of rheumatism. A new bath is being built in Pest where the hot sulfur water oozes up in the middle of the park—the same is to be found in St. Margaret’s Isle. Besides the sulfur baths there are the much-known bitter waters in Buda called “Hunyady” and “Franz Joseph,” as well as salt baths.

The city, with the exception of some parts in Buda, is quite modern,’ and has encircling boulevards and wide streets, one of the finest being the Andrassy Street. The electric car system is one of the most modern, while under-ground and overground electric railways lead to the most distant suburbs. The city has a gay and new look about it; all along the walks trees are planted, and cafes are to be seen with a screen of shrubs or flowers around them. In the evening the sound of music floats from the houses and cafes. There are plenty of theaters, in which only the Hungarian language is used, and a large and beautiful opera-house under government management. There are museums, institutions of art and learning, academies of painting and music, schools, and shops, and life and movement everywhere. At present [1911] the city numbers about 900,000 souls, but the more distant suburbs are not reckoned in this number.