jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 80 [19 Apr 09] – Budapest

Posted in Budapest by jn82 on April 19, 2009

Today, we just walked up and down Andrássy út, an iconic boulevard in Budapest that links Erzsébet tér (Elizabeth Square) with Városliget (the “City Park”). Wikipedia tells us that the street is flaned by neo-renaissance palaces and houses that feature fine facades, staircases and interiors, and it a recognised World Heritage Site.

The first stop along the walk was Terror Háza (House of Terror), a museum which is housed in the same building that served as the headquarters of the dreaded Államvédelmi Hatóság (ÁVH) secret police. The museum purports to focus on the crimes and atrocities committed by both Hungary’s Nazi and Communist regimes.

Terror Háza (House of Terror).

Tank in the centre courtyard, a jarring introduction.

Life under the Nazis and Communists.

Inside the museum in the basement are the reconstructed prison cells and the final Perpetrator’s Gallery, featuring photographs of the turncoats, spies, torturers and ‘cogs-in-the-wheel’, many of them still alive, who allowed or caused these atrocities to take place. The first and second floors contain exhibits of life under the Nazi and Communist regimes in Hungary. Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside.

On to happier things, we saw many old buildings for the rest of the walk down towards Erzsébet tér (Elizabeth Square).

Drechsler House.

Hungarian State Opera House.

Inside the foyer of the opera house.

As you might have noticed in one of the previous pictures, there were a lot of cyclists on the street today. This is because there was a Earth Day event called “Critical Mass” in which around 50,000 cyclists took to the street today from 3.30pm – 5.00pm down Andrássy út, from one of the bridges from Buda across the Danube to Városliget.

Critical Mass cyclists.

Just off Andrássy út on Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út stands the Basilica of St. Stephen, the landmark cathedral of Budapest. The cathedral is pretty dark and gloomy inside, but for 400 florints we took a lift all the way to the top of the dome for a panoramic view of the city below.

Basilica of St. Stephen.

Inside the basilica.

Views of buda across the Danube and Pest below.

View of Pest and the cyclists below.

After the basilica, we walked all the way up Andrássy út to the other end where Városliget was. It was a pretty long walk but the weather was good so that made it more bearable. At the end of the street was Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square), which marked the end of the walk for today.

Hősök tere.

Dinner looked pretty unappetising, so no pictures of that will be posted here.

Off to Vienna tomorrow morning!

Today’s pictures here.


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