The great civilisations of the past have left a legacy of constructions that still stand out and inspire. Built without the wonders of 20th-century technology, many are also monumental feats of engineering; others offer such grace and beauty, that they’ll literally take your breath away.
Travel bucket list idea:
Budapest, Central Hungary, Hungary|budacastlebudapest.com|
Perched on a limestone plateau overlooking the Danube, this has been the seat of Hungarian royalty since the 13th century. Since then everyone from Turkish Pashas to the last Regent, Admiral Horthy, have held court here.
There are intriguing remnants of the medieval castle – the largest Gothic castle/palace of the late Middle Ages – but in the main, this is a fairy-tale royal palace, built in neo-Renaissance and neo-baroque style.
The castle is also home to both the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.
Look out for the statue of St. Stephen, the first king and founder of the Kingdom of Hungary (circa 975–1038). He remains a popular saint, with a feast day and public holiday held in his honour on 20 August.
While you're there
The Fisherman’s Bastion is a neo-Gothic terrace, with seven towers affording panoramic views that take in Pest to the east, Margaret Island, Gellért Hill and of course the Danube.
Adjacent to the Fisherman’s Bastion is the Matthias Church. A church has stood on this spot for around 1,000 years, though the present house of worship dates from the 14th century and is unmistakably, and dramatically, High Gothic.
Getting there & doing it
The best way to explore Castle Hill is to do so independently, walking the battlements and dropping into the museums. There’s a funicular up to the top, or scale the hill by foot (it’s something of a steep ascent though up to the castle district). If you’re staying in Pest, a walk across the chain bridge and then a ride up the funicular is a lovely way to approach the castle complex.
When to do it
The museum and gallery are open all year round, Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Monday. Visitors are free to wander the outdoor spaces and battlements at any time.
Round-ups that include this experience