On an early morning while visiting Budapest, I hopped a taxi to bring me across the Danube River to the Buda side of the city. My point of destination was Buda Castle, and I was purposely early for the reason that I do not enjoy crowds, especially when visiting a highly visited attraction. I enjoy quietness when I wander a castle, palace or museum, which is what I got when I visited the stately Buda Castle. It also gave me time to pop into a restaurant within the castle walls for a croissant with ham and eggs for breakfast- it was a win-win situation for me!
The Buda Castle District was a highlight for me while visiting Hungary’s capital city, as I have a deep interest for visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites. The castle district is part of Budapest’s UNESCO’s title – “Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrassay Avenue” and was inscribed in 1987. With the criterion as Buda Castle being an architectural ensemble, which together with the nearby old district (the Buda Castle Quarter) illustrates two significant periods of history that were separated by an interval corresponding to the Turkish invasion.
The large castle complex sits on a hill located on the Buda side of the city. If you are confused on what I am meaning, no worries as I once was too. Hungary’s capital city, Budapest, actually was two cities once upon a time, with the Danube River dividing both. The Buda side was the royal capital with the castle, and Pest being the commercial side of town. In 1873 both cities united to become “Budapest”, the Queen of the Danube.
Buda Castle, once referred to as either the Royal Palace or the Royal Castle was first completed in 1265, and was the palace complex for the Hungarian Kings of Budapest. Although built in the 13th century, most of the grand Baroque palace you see today on the site was constructed between 1749 and 1769. The original Royal Palace was rebuilt after WWII in a simplified Stalin Baroque style, since it was in ruin due to the war.
The castle is located on the southern tip of Castle Hill, which is surrounded by the Castle Quarter. This charming quarter is a touristic area filled with medieval, Baroque and Neoclassical monuments, houses, public buildings, and churches. This is the area that I had popped in for my breakfast when I first arrived to the castle, and it was a nice place to be in the morning before all the visitors arrived.
Since the castle complex is built on a hill, the views from the castle are stunning any time of the day. When I was wandering the castle grounds, I always took a deep breath when I caught marvelous glimpses of the Danube River and the Pest side of city. It was all so beautiful and tranquil, especially in the morning before all the visitors arrived.
I truly enjoyed my visit to Buda Castle and Budapest. I am positive that I will return one day to explore the city more, as well as revisiting the castle. When I had come to Buda Castle, I had arrived on a day that the National Gallery (located in the Castle District) was closed due to a local holiday. I have done that twice before, missing a gallery in an Eastern European country because it was closed, and I did return on a day that it was opened. Truthfully, I would have returned to Budapest even if I did not miss the National Gallery because I fell head over heels for this magnificent city.
Buda Castle has witnessed almost eight centuries of regional history including the Middle Ages, Ottoman Occupation, destruction, reconstruction, and war. The castle grounds are one of Eastern Europe’s historical and architectural treasures, and is one facet of what makes this city one of the most beautiful in this part of the world. Today the Palace and Castle Quarter is one of Budapest’s favorite attractions for tourists around the world. There are local tours that will take you to the castle or you can do it on your own, as I did. Either way you visit it, Buda Castle will surely be a highlight to your visit to Budapest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For more information, please visit- The Buda Castle District
-Buda Castle Photos-
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