1. The House of Terror
Budapest’s history is varied and in some places, darkly fascinating. Nowhere is this expressed more so than in the city’s famous “House of Terror”. In the former HQ of the ÁVH Secret police, the House of Terror is tainted with a gruesome history of interrogation and torture. It has been said that the walls were doubly thick to muffle the bloodcurdling screams of the victims.
The main instigators of the events were Hungary’s Stalinist and fascist regimes and the crimes of both are displayed at a permanent exhibition known as Double Occupation. The main attractions however, are over multiple floors and consist of post-WWI memorabilia including tanks, photos and reconstructed prison cells – Truly terrifying.
2. Basilica of St Stephen
The construction of Budapest’s glorious, neoclassical cathedral was completed after half a century of labour, in 1905. After an unimaginable disaster – the building’s dome collapsed during a storm in 1868 – the entire project had to be scrapped, cleared and then rebuilt form the ground up. Traverse the 146 steps up towards the dome and you’ll free yourself of the gloom inside the basilica itself and be introduced to one of the most spectacular city views anywhere in Europe.
The basilica has one final card to play: the Holy Right Chapel. The Chapel contains as some claim, the mummified right hand of St. Stephen. Whether you want to see mummified body parts or not, the basilica is a definite must.
Ranging from 26°C to 38°C, the eight pools of Gellert are filled with water, rich in magnesium, hydrogen carbonate and calcium, all of which are good for the body, especially the joints, blood circulation and arthritis. The experience of bathing in this art nouveau palace itself has been described as similar to bathing in a cathedral. Open to both sexes, the baths have separate sections for men and women, so even the most modest of us can enjoy them thoroughly. The beautifully landscaped gardens of the outdoor pools are open from May to September and one can gain admission to the entire complex for 2700 Forint – this price is inclusive of a cabin.
4. Hungarian National Museum
Purpose built in 1847, the neoclassical structure that is the Hungarian National Museum plays host to, what is considered a collection of Hungary’s most important relics in recent and classical history. In the belly of the building, down the stairs and into the basement, the lapidarium contains relics from digs from as early as the roman period, ranging up to the medieval and contemporary times. The first and second floors elucidate the history of the Carpathian Basin from as far back as the 9th century. The building also houses a mammoth Roman mosaic from Balácapuszta and a beautifully reconstructed Roman villa. Again, if you’re interested in cultural history, this is one not to miss.
Travelling to these places is always an inevitable part of any trip. Fortunately, with modern travel it’s getting easier and easier every day. So, park up the car, jump onto a flight from your nearest international airport and set off to experience the magic for yourself.
Izzy Gardener, a freelance writer, provided this article for Glasgow Airport. The opinions expressed are those of the author and any data provided does not originate from Glasgow Airport.