The views of Budapest by the River Danube are unparalleled in Europe. On one side the Buda Hills reach almost to the riverside, with Castle Hill and Gellert Hill offering outstanding panoramas. Pest, linked to Buda by a series of imposing bridges, with its mixture of late nineteenth-century Historicist and early twentieth-century Art Nouveau architecture, is still very much a “turn-of-the-century” city. For more than fifty years prior to the Second World War, Budapest was one of the outstanding cultural capitals of Central Europe, on a par with, and in some ways in advance of Vienna and Prague. Now no longer “hidden” behind the Iron Curtain, much of that old atmosphere has returned. With its rich and often turbulent history, its unique thermal baths, its excellent public transport system, its street cafes and broad-ranging cultural scene, Budapest is a captivating metropolis, currently being rediscovered as one of the liveliest cities in the region. CITY ON THE DANUBE: Straddling the majestic river, Budapest’s location is unique, its architecture stunning; the story of Castle Hill, overlooking the Danube, recalls the birth of the city as well as the fifteenth-century monarch, King Matthias, and Hungary’s “golden age” associated with his reign. CITY OF FUSIONS: Bartok and Kodaly fused folk and classical; the tradition continues with Budapest’s vibrant mixture of live folk, gypsy, klezmer and jazz. CITY OF THE UNKNOWN: Breaking through the barrier of the Hungarian language, often described as impenetrable, presented here are writers and poets deserving international recognition.
BOB DENT has lived in Budapest since 1986. He has written extensively on the city’s cultural and political history.
Cities of the Imagination Series
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256 pages, illustrations, index