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Walking the Hill

The castle gate on Castle Hill, part of Budapest's extensive World Heritage site, including the Turul statue, a mythical bird seen as the symbol of power, strength, & nobility, carrying the flaming sword of God

The castle gate on Castle Hill, part of Budapest’s extensive World Heritage site, including the Turul statue, a mythical bird seen as the symbol of power, strength, & nobility, carrying the flaming sword of God

Matthias Church in Budapest on Castle Hill with King Saint Stephen's sculpture in the foreground

Matthias Church in Budapest on Castle Hill with King Saint Stephen’s sculpture in the foreground


Our hotel is located on the Pest side of the river, and so we spent the day walking the hill for which it is noted. We took a bus to the top and were amazed with the great transformation of the area since we were here about twelve years ago. Refurbishment had made everything appealing and clean. When we came to spend a week here years ago, Hungary was just being discovered again after years under the communist shadow. It has now definitely been discovered.
Interior of Matthias Church, founded in 1015 by King Saint Stephen

Interior of Matthias Church, founded in 1015 by King Saint Stephen

A stained glass window in Budapest's Matthias Church

A stained glass window in Budapest’s Matthias Church

We spent major time around St. Matthias Church, the historic church of Budapest. Founded by King Saint Stephen in 1015, it has seen much destruction and renewal as the Mongolian hordes destroyed the city in the 1200s and later, in the 1500s, when the Turkish invasion turned the church into a mosque. The Muslims whitewashed the walls and destroyed most imagery, but walled up the Madonna statue, the Virgin Mary. It was forgotten until the Christian forces assaulted the hill in an effort to retake the city in 1686. As the Muslim leadership assembled in prayer, a powder arsenal accidentally exploded and shook the mosque so hard the wall crumbled, exposing the Madonna to the astonished praying Muslim Turks. That night, the hill fell back into Hungarian hands and the church reclaimed its heritage. Later, the church was badly damaged in both world wars, and then the Soviets turned it into a military vehicle storage facility and stable. The target of a terrorist bomb attack in the late 1990s by unknown assailants damaged some of the priceless stained glass windows. In spite of all these trials, today the church is a marvel of Art Nouveau style. It houses many treasures of the Hungarian heritage and is a testament to the Hungarian spirit.

Fishermen's Bastion on Castle Hill - The entire Casstle District is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Fishermen’s Bastion on Castle Hill – The entire Casstle District is a UNESCO World Heritage Site


Budapest's Fishermen's Bastion, with seven white towers, was named for the guild of fishermen responsible for the defense of the city walls in the Middle Ages.

Budapest’s Fishermen’s Bastion, with seven white towers, was named for the guild of fishermen responsible for the defense of the city walls in the Middle Ages.

We walked to the Fishermen’s Bastion with its white stone buildings and beautiful monuments. The scenes from its terrace over the Danube give unforgettable views of the Hungarian Parliament building with its iconic red tiled roof and majestic spires standing out in regal beauty on the Buda side of the river. Then, we walked to the massive palace that gives the hill its name, “Castle Hill.” It has impressive statues and flower plantings.

A view from Castle Hill  that includes St. Stephen's Basilica across the Danube River

A view from Castle Hill that includes St. Stephen’s Basilica across the Danube River

Another view  across the Danube from Castle Hill

Another view across the Danube from Castle Hill


After some shopping, we got on the bus for the trip back down the hill where we spent a long relaxing meal time in a “cave” room with vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows of a great restaurant near our hotel. WEG – September 30, 2015


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