If Buda is the reserved, sedate sister, then Pest is the fun-loving, don’t-wait-for-a-guy-to-make-the-first-move sister.
In addition to Parliament, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the five wine bars already mentioned, I also explored other parts of the fifth, sixth, and seventh districts—all in Pest. One place where I just scratched the surface is City Park.
Entering the park from the city center side, you start at Heroes’ Square. There was a formal ceremony happening the morning I was there. I learned later that the big wig talking was the defense minister.
The square is dominated by the Millennium Monument, built to celebrate the 1,000 anniversary of the Magyars’ arrival in Hungary. The original seven Magyar chieftains are at the base of the central pillar. The 14 statues found between the monument’s columns represent other key leaders throughout Hungary’s history. On either side of the square are the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hall of Art.
Inside the park is the Vajdahunyad Castle. It was also built to celebrate the 1,000 anniversary. The design incorporates four typical Hungarian architectural styles: a Romanesque chapel, Gothic gate, Renaissance (Transylvanian) castle, and Baroque palace.
On the grounds, there’s a creepy looking statue—Anonymous—that I loved. The story behind it is almost disappointing: it’s someone who wrote the first Hungarian history during the Middle Ages. They wanted to acknowledge him even though they didn’t know who he was—hence Anonymous.
There’s also a bust on one of the palace’s corners of Bela Legosi, the Hungarian actor who originated Dracula. I’ve since learned there’s a statue of George Washington in the park. I’ll have to find that. The park also holds the famous Széchenyi Baths (more on the thermal spas in a later post), the zoo, an amusement park, and a place to rent boats during the summer and an ice skating rink during the winter. Rumor has it, there’s also a flea market there every Sunday. Another reason to return.
Coming up: More Pest