Budapest – Paris of the East

By | October 5, 2021

Budapest is the capital of the Republic of Hungary. It lies in the Hungarian Plain on both sides of the Danube. It consists of the two districts Buda and Pest, which were united in 1872 under the name Budapest. See for European oldest cities.

Budapest has 1.74 million residents and is the administrative, economic and transport center of the country. The metropolis is also the most important industrial location in the country. As a cultural center, Budapest enjoys the reputation of a cultural metropolis. The city is one of the country’s tourist attractions.

City structure

Budapest consists of two parts of the city, separated by the Danube, but connected by numerous bridges.

To the right of the Danube, on its west bank, lies the old royal city of Buda on the slopes of the limestone mountains on the 150 m high castle hill. Worth seeing in Buda are the castle, the Gothic Matthias Church, the coronation church of the Hungarian kings, the old town hall and numerous representative government buildings.

The neo-Romanesque complex of the Fisherman’s Bastion towers over the city on the steep slope facing the Danube.

The old trading town of Pest lies on the east bank of the Danube. The old town with the castle district and the shore zone is rich in monuments. Many, mostly younger, magnificent buildings determine the cityscape, e.g. B. the Parliament, the St. Stephen’s Church or the National Gallery of Hungary.

Generously laid out ring and radial streets, lined with buildings in the classical style, give the district a very homogeneous appearance. Green areas loosen up the pleasant cityscape.


The Romans founded a settlement on the west bank of the Danube in the 1st century AD. Little of its buildings and facilities have survived, however, as they were destroyed during the migration in the 4th century.

In the 11th century, Magyar (Hungarian) merchants and craftsmen from Western and Central Europe settled on the Danube. In 1274 the first royal castle was built in Buda. Buda became a royal city and has been the residence of the Hungarian rulers ever since.

The city of Pest, originally more a suburb of Buda, soon developed into a junction of the Danube crossing and a market place of the first order. It had been an independent municipality since the beginning of the 15th century and became a royal free city in 1470.

Buda and Pest exerted a great attraction on the surrounding regions. Immigrants poured into the two cities from all parts of the country, even from southern Germany.

In 1872 both places were united under the name Budapest. With that began her rise to the European metropolis, the “Paris of the East”. The 375 m long Chain Bridge (Fig. 2) built in 1849 was the first of six large bridges to connect the two parts of the city, and in 1896 an underground railway was built. At that time Budapest already had 150,000 residents.

The Second World War also left traces of severe destruction in Budapest. After its reconstruction, the city shines in its old splendor. The restored historical buildings in the Castle District and on the banks of the Danube have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Budapest today

As the state capital, Budapest is the administrative and economic center of the country, but also the cultural center of Hungary.

Its position as a cultural metropolis is undisputed.

There are around 20 colleges in Budapest, six universities alone, as well as 60 museums and large galleries. The Budapest Burgtheater, founded in 1787 and destroyed in the war, reopened in the 1980’s. His performances, like those of the State Opera, are not only highly regarded in Hungary.

Budapest is also the most important industrial center in the country. Around 40% of total Hungarian industrial production is generated in the city. Mechanical engineering and vehicle construction, the chemical industry as well as the food and textile industries are among the most important branches of production in the capital.

The city’s numerous sights attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Since the mid-1990’s, the number of foreign tourists in particular has increased significantly, and tourism has become an important economic factor in the country.

Budapest - Paris of the East