Budapest is the capital and the largest city of Hungary, and one of the largest cities in the European Union. It is the country’s principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, andtransportation centre,sometimes described as the primate city of Hungary.
According to the census, in 2015 Budapest had 1.80 million inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2.1 million due to suburbanisation. The Budapest Metropolitan Area is home to 3.3 million people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (203 sq mi). Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with the unification of Buda and Óbuda on the west bank, with Pest on the east bank on 17 November 1873.
Buda Castle and the Matthias Church
With a vast array of sites, museums, as well as streets, squares, restaurants, cafés and stores with a unique atmosphere, Buda Castle and the whole of the Castle District are among the most well-known and frequently visited tourist attractions of Budapest. The Royal Palace, where many battles and wars took place from the 13th century, is a symbol for Hungary. In addition to three churches, including the Matthias Church (or Buda Castle Main Coronation Church), located on Szentháromság (Holy Trinity) Square—a monument with long history, one of the most beautiful and well-known catholic churches of the city, the Castle District also includes five museums, several buildings of historical interest as well as memorial sites and theatres. The Fisherman’s Bastion and the square in front of the National Gallery offer a breathtaking view of one of the most beautiful sections of the Danube.
With the Buda Castle in the background, the Hungarian capital’s first bridge, now a monument, is a fascinating spectacle that has attracted many tourists to Budapest. The bridge was built upon the request of Count István Széchenyi by designer William Tierney Clark and engineer Adam Clark between 1839 and 1849. Like many other Danube bridges, the Chain Bridge did not survive the ravages of the World War, so it had to be rebuilt in 1949, marking the centenary of its first opening. Visitors also have the opportunity to walk onto the top of the tunnel located on the Buda side, offering a marvellous view of the Danube, its bridges as well as the nicest parts of Pest.
The Parliament, built in Neo-Gothic style and located on the bank of the Danube, serves as the permanent seat of the National Assembly. The building complex, the biggest of its kind in Hungary, was erected between 1885 and 1904 on the plans of Imre Steindl. The building has 691 rooms, and it is 268 metres long and the dome 96 metres high. Since 2000, the Hungarian coronation symbols —Holy Crown of Hungary , the sceptre, the orb and the Renaissance sword— have been on display in the Parliament.
The three primary elements of this vast space are the Műcsarnok (Kunsthalle) built in 1896, the Museum of Fine Arts inaugurated in December 1906, and – bridging these two art institutions –the Millennium Memorial, on the 36-m-high central column of which Archangel Gabriel is shown holding aloft the Holy Crown of Hungary and the apostolic double cross. The monument was built in a semicircular form in Eclectic style. Bronze statues of seven figures from Hungarian history stand in each of the two colonnade