The Castle District Of Budapest Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a very exciting place for history. Tourists can enjoy the historic beauty of the Castle District, and see how it has managed to mirror the country's history in its stones. The Castle District rises 50 to 60 meters (165 to 200 ft. ) above the Danube River, and is more than a square mile in diameter. Most of the buildings were built around the 13 th century. It is one of the most romantic pedestrian sections in Europe.

The golden age of the district came during the reign of King Matthias (1458-1490). For centuries it was the heart of the nation, with most of the offices of state located there. After the Second World War, no more than four of the 170 buildings on Castle Hill survived. Earlier the Turks had taken it over and destroyed just as many buildings. It took many years of restoration to become the historical center of Hungary, and part of the Unesco.

The historic buildings include Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastion, The Royal Palace of Buda, King Matthias's Well, Museums, National Library, and the Courtyard. Families have houses inside the district located on the historic streets. Every single house has traditional characteristics, and most of them are designed to tell or show something about the past. Visitors rarely see white houses, since all of them are colorful with magnificent decoration on the windows. While it has a quiet atmosphere, it is usually crowded with hundreds of tourists. By the time the sun is rising, tourist's start to walk around, taking pictures of themselves, and visiting the historic landmarks, like the famous Matthias Church with it's 80-meter (260 ft.

) high stone-laced Gothic tower. A 14 th century portrait depicting the Virgin Mary's death decorates the church's southern portal. Inside, the plastered walls are painted with colored ornamental design and at the northern part there are a series of sanctuaries. The most popular part of the district is the Fisherman's Bastion, which offers a grand view of almost the entire city.

Its architecture is characteristic of the 15 th century; its flights of stairs, its projections, its turrets, and its ambulatory-like galleries make it a mixture of the neo-Gothic and neo-Roman styles. Museums in the Castle District include attractions such as the collection of ecclesiastical art and stonework found in the Matthias Church, the medieval Synagogue and its relics, Museum of Catering and Trade, War History Museum, and the pharmaceutical exhibition in the old "Ar any Sas" (Golden Eagle) pharmacy. The Royal Palace was built at the start of the 13 th century and concluded around the beginning of the 15 th century. The construction work reached its peak with King Matthias, who had the southeastern fortifications built, as well as a Renaissance royal palace. In the late fifteenth century the King of Hungary's palace was one of the most splendid royal seats in Europe.

His famous library, the Bibliotheca Corviniana is still a treasure. As people get tired of walking, they sit down to have a rest, and enjoy the unique atmosphere while sipping their coffee or tea. While walking on the flag pavement, one smells coffee, fresh bakery, and hears people talking and smiling all the time. From the center of Castle Hill four parallel streets run north, and two south, all of which can be explored in an hour's walk. It is recommended to walk along the streets to see the old-fashioned pastry-shops or restaurants, and the lovely old buildings with their doorways and inner courts.

Around the district there is a small forest, another place for a leisurely walk. It has many different types of vegetation, and it is kept beautiful thanks to the gardeners. The fallen timber cracks under your feet, birds are chirping, and the cool Hungarian air gently blows through your hair while walking through this forest. There are also benches where one can lay and relax in the cool forest air. Once the sun goes down everyone leaves, souvenir shops close, and by late night the streets are deserted. The light of the moon reflects majestically on the decorated buildings and windows.

The environment becomes dead silent until the next morning, another beautiful, relaxing day in historic Hungary. Words used: 698 Online Sources: Castle District of Budapest. Print Sources (Book): Izak, Tibor. Photo Guide Budapest.

Private Edition Own Experience: Gabor Szabo, Castle District, Budapest, 1994-2003.