#Budapest basics: culture, history, climate, geography and political situation of the city

We can’t skip this part, but I will try to save your time and limit myself to the necessary information that helps you understand Budapest more.

Budapest is a thousand years old city, and the current architecture and landscape are at least one or two hundred years’ old which gives the city a unique historical atmosphere. Hungary as a country was invaded or ruled by multiple and different cultures, and all of them marked the face of Budapest in different ways. You’re in the center of Europe with westernized attitude, but the next corner leads you to a Turkish bath.

The city consists of Buda (hill-side) and Pest (land-side) separated by the river Danube. The climate is standard Central European with a sweltering summer from May to September and a cold winter from December to February, with touches of spring and fall. The city is filled with museums, theatres, and venues. Due to the 1.7 million inhabitants, it’s a significant spot for international tours of artists. Hungary is a stable democracy, a member of the European Union and the NATO.

 

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Basics: history

Hungary was founded in the 9th century AD as an independent Christian kingdom by the Magyars or Huns. By the 12th century, the nation became a medium power in Europe with a golden age in the 15th century. Then in the 16-17th century, the country was occupied by the Ottomans / Turkish Empire then the country came under the Habsburg rule and in the 19th century formed the Austro-Hungarian Empire which was dissolved after the First World War. The current borders were established at the treaties of World War I.

Hungary joined the Axis in World War II, suffering significant casualties and damages under the war and coming under the influence of the Soviet Union behind the Iron Curtain. Hungary became a parliamentary republic in 1989. Because of its extremely long history as an independent and still-existing country in the heart of Europe, Hungary has many faces as many different cultures influenced and shaped the nation. Budapest itself has very different areas and architectures from the original independent kingdom era and the middle ages, to the Ottoman / Turkish baths, the Austrian-style inner city, and the Soviet era influenced cityscapes.

Basics: the present situation

Hungary is a parliamentary republic and a democracy. Today it is classified as a high-income economy with a very high Human Development Index. The country is a member of the European Union, the NATO, the OECD, and the Schengen Area.

Hungary is in the Central European Time (CET) time zone with summer DST. Cars drive on the right. It is the world’s 58th largest economy. It has a population of about 10 million inhabitants, from which around 1.7 million lives in the capital, Budapest.

Budapest is the country’s cultural, political, commercial, industrial and transportation center, and it is the primate city of Hungary. More than 3.3 million people are living in the Budapest Metropolitan Area. The town became a single city in 1873 when Buda and Pest, occupying both banks of the river Danube were united.

Budapest cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, the Paris of the East. It has multiple World Heritage Sites including the banks of Danube, the Buda Castle (Castle Hill), Andrassy Avenue, Heroes Square or the Millennium Underground Rail (line 1, yellow line). The city has 89 geothermal springs and the world’s largest thermal water cave system, the world’s second largest synagogue, and the third largest parliament building. Budapest attracts 4.5 million tourists per year which makes it the 6th most popular destinations in Europe.

Basics: climate and geography

Budapest lies on the banks of the Danube. The Westside is called Buda which mainly contains hills and mountains, and the Eastside is called Pest, which is understandable. Budapest is strategically placed on the center of the Carpathian Basin, and it’s the heart of the country.

The city has a humid continental climate with relatively cold winters and – recently – scorching summers. Winters are cold between November and March with frequent snowfalls, nighttime temperatures of -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) is not uncommon. Budapest has a very long summer between May and mid-September and is considered warm or very warm. Summer became more melting in the recent years with very little or even zero rainfalls. Budapest receives as much sunshine in the summer as a Mediterranean resort. Spring and fall have moderate temperatures with some rain and long sunny days.

In August the city has as much sunshine and as high temperature as a Mediterranean city.

 

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