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International relations

Budapest has quite a few sister cities and many partner cities around the world.
Like Budapest many of them are the most influential and largest cities of their country and region most of them are the primate city and political economical cultural capital of their country.
The Mayor of Budapest says the aim of improving sister city relationships is to allow and encourage a mutual exchange of information and experiences as well as co-operation in the areas of city management education culture tourism media and communication trade and business development.

Historic sister cities

  • New York City (USA) 1992

  • Fort Worth (USA) 1990

  • Shanghai (China) 2013

  • Beijing (China) 2005

  • Tehran (Iran) 2015

  • Berlin (Germany) 1992

  • Frankfurt am Main (Germany) 1990

  • Vienna (Austria) 1990

  • Bucharest (Romania) 1997

  • Lisbon (Portugal) 1992

  • Tel Aviv (Israel) 1989

  • Zagreb (Croatia) 1994

  • Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 1995

  • Florence (Italy) 2008

Partnerships around the world

  • Prague (Czech Republic) 2010

  • Rotterdam (Netherlands) 1991

  • Warsaw (Poland) 2005

  • Kraków (Poland) 2005

  • Bangkok (Thailand) 2007

  • Jakarta (Indonesia) 2009

  • Daejeon (South Korea) 1994

  • Naples (Italy) 1993

  • Istanbul (Turkey) 1985

  • İzmir (Turkey) 1985

  • Gaziantep (Turkey) 2010

  • Ankara (Turkey) 2015

  • Sofia (Bulgaria) 2009

  • Vilnius (Lithuania) 2000

  • Košice (Slovakia) 1997

  • Lviv (Ukraine) 1993

Some of the city's districts are also twinned to small cities or districts of other big cities; for details see the article List of districts and towns in Budapest.

Main sights and tourism

Budapest is widely known for its well-kept pre-war cityscape with a great variety of streets and landmarks in classical architecture.

The most well-known sight of the capital is the neo-Gothic Parliament the biggest building in Hungary with its 268 metres (879 ft) length holding (since 2001) also the Hungarian Crown Jewels.

Saint Stephen's Basilica is the most important religious building of the city where the Holy Right Hand of Hungary's first king Saint Stephen is on display as well.

The Hungarian cuisine and café culture can be seen and tasted in a lot of places like Gerbeaud Café the Százéves Biarritz Fortuna Alabárdos Arany Szarvas Kárpátia and the world-famous Mátyás-pince [hu] restaurans and beer bars.

There are Roman remains at the Aquincum Museum and historic furniture at the Nagytétény Castle Museum just 2 out of 223 museums in Budapest. Another historical museum is the House of Terror hosted in the building that was the venue of the Nazi Headquarters. The Castle Hill the River Danube embankments and the whole of Andrássy út have been officially recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Castle Hill and the Castle District; there are three churches here six museums and a host of interesting buildings streets and squares. The former Royal Palace is one of the symbols of Hungary – and has been the scene of battles and wars ever since the 13th century. Nowadays it houses two impressive museums and the National Széchenyi Library. The nearby Sándor Palace contains the offices and official residence of the President of Hungary. The seven-hundred-year-old Matthias Church is one of the jewels of Budapest it is in neo-Gothic style decorated with coloured shingles and elegant pinnacles. Next to it is an equestrian statue of the first king of Hungary King Saint Stephen and behind that is the Fisherman's Bastion built in 1905 by the architect Frigyes Schulek the Fishermen's Bastions owes its name to the namesake corporation that during the Middle Ages was responsible of the defence of this part of ramparts from where opens out a panoramic view of the whole city. Statues of the Turul the mythical guardian bird of Hungary can be found in both the Castle District and the Twelfth District.

In Pest arguably the most important sight is Andrássy út. This Avenue is an elegant 2.5 kilometres (2 miles) long tree-lined street that covers the distance from Deák Ferenc tér to the Heroes Square. On this Avenue overlook many important sites. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As far as Kodály körönd and Oktogon both sides are lined with large shops and flats built close together. Between there and Heroes' Square the houses are detached and altogether grander. Under the whole runs continental Europe's oldest Underground railway most of whose stations retain their original appearance. Heroes' Square is dominated by the Millenary Monument with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front. To the sides are the Museum of Fine Arts and the Kunsthalle Budapest and behind City Park opens out with Vajdahunyad Castle. One of the jewels of Andrássy út is the Hungarian State Opera House. Statue Park a theme park with striking statues of the Communist era is located just outside the main city and is accessible by public transport.

The Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest active synagogue in the world. The synagogue is located in the Jewish district taking up several blocks in central Budapest bordered by Király utca Wesselényi utca Grand Boulevard and Bajcsy Zsilinszky road. It was built in moorish revival style in 1859 and has a seating capacity of 3 000. Adjacent to it is a sculpture reproducing a weeping willow tree in steel to commemorate the Hungarian victims of the Holocaust.

The city is also home to the largest medicinal bath in Europe (Széchenyi Medicinal Bath) and the third largest Parliament building in the world once the largest in the world. Other attractions are the bridges of the capital. Seven bridges provide crossings over the Danube and from north to south are: the Árpád Bridge (built in 1950 at the north of Margaret Island); the Margaret Bridge (built in 1901 destroyed during the war by an explosion and then rebuilt in 1948); the Chain Bridge (built in 1849 destroyed during World War II and the rebuilt in 1949); the Elisabeth Bridge (completed in 1903 and dedicated to the murdered Queen Elisabeth it was destroyed by the Germans during the war and replaced with a new bridge in 1964); the Liberty Bridge (opened in 1896 and rebuilt in 1989 in Art Nouveau style); the Petőfi Bridge (completed in 1937 destroyed during the war and rebuilt in 1952); the Rákóczi Bridge (completed in 1995). Most remarkable for their beauty are the Margaret Bridge the Chain Bridge and the Liberty Bridge.
The world's largest panorama photograph was created in (and of) Budapest in 2010.

Tourists visiting Budapest can receive free maps and information from the nonprofit Budapest Festival and Tourism Center at its info-points. The info centers also offer the Budapest Card which allows free public transit and discounts for several museums restaurants and other places of interest. Cards are available for 24- 48- or 72-hour durations. The city is also well known for its ruin bars both day and night.


In Budapest there are many smaller and larger squares the most significant of which are Heroes' Square Kossuth Square Liberty Square St. Stephen's Square Ferenc Deák Square Vörösmarty Square Erzsébet Square St. George's Square and Széchenyi István Square. The Heroes' Square at the end of Andrássy Avenue is the largest and most influential square in the capital with the Millennium Monument in the center and the Museum of Fine Arts and The Hall of Art. Kossuth Square is a symbolic place of the Hungarian statehood the Hungarian Parliament Building the Palace of Justice and the Ministry of Agriculture. The Liberty Square is located in the Belváros-Lipótváros District (Inner City District) as one of Budapest's most beautiful squares. There are buildings such as the Hungarian National Bank the embassy of the United States the Stock Exchange Palace as well as numerous statues and monuments such as the Soviet War Memorial the Statue of Ronald Reagan or the controversial Monument to the victims of the German occupation. In the St. Stephen's Square is the St. Stephen's Basilica the square is connected by a walking street the Zrínyi Street to the Széchenyi István Square at the foot of The Chain Bridge. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Gresham Palace and the Ministry of Interior are also located here. Deák Ferenc Square is a central square of the capital a major transport hub where three Budapest subways meet. Here is the oldest and best known Evangelical Church of Budapest the Deák Ferenc Square Luteran Church. Vörösmarty Square is located in Belváros-Lipótváros District (Inner City District) behind the Vigadó of Pest as one of the endpoints of Váci Street. The Confectionery Gerbeaud is here and the annual Christmas Fair is held in the Square as well as is the centre of the Holiday Book Week.

Parks and gardens

Budapest has many municipal parks and most have playgrounds for children and seasonal activities like skating in the winter and boating in the summer. Access from the city center is quick and easy with the Millennium Underground. Budapest has a complex park system with various lands operated by the Budapest City Gardening Ltd.
The wealth of greenspace afforded by Budapest's parks is further augmented by a network of open spaces containing forest streams and lakes that are set aside as natural areas which lie not far from the inner city including the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden (established in 1866) in the City Park.
The most notable and popular parks in Budapest are the City Park which was established in 1751 (302 acres) along with Andrássy Avenue the Margaret Island in the Danube (238 acres or 96 hectares) the People's Park the Római Part and the Kopaszi Dam.

The Buda Hills also offer a variety of outdoor activities and views. A place frequented by locals is Normafa offering activities for all seasons. With a modest ski run it is also used by skiers and snow boarders – if there is enough snowfall in winter.


A number of islands can be found on the Danube in Budapest:

Margaret Island (Hungarian: Margit-sziget [ˈmɒrɡit.siɡɛt]) is a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) long island and 0.965 square kilometres (238 acres) in area. The island mostly consists of a park and is a popular recreational area for tourists and locals alike. The island lies between bridges Margaret Bridge (south) and Árpád Bridge (north). Dance clubs swimming pools an aqua park athletic and fitness centres bicycle and running tracks can be found around the Island. During the day the island is occupied by people doing sports or just resting. In the summer (generally on the weekends) mostly young people go to the island at night to party on its terraces or to recreate with a bottle of alcohol on a bench or on the grass (this form of entertainment is sometimes referred to as bench-partying).
Csepel Island (Hungarian: Csepel-sziget [ˈt͡ʃɛpɛlsiɡɛt]) is the largest island of the River Danube in Hungary. It is 48 km (30 mi) long; its width is 6 to 8 km (4 to 5 mi) and its area comprises 257 km2 (99 sq mi). However only the northern tip of the island is inside the city limits.
Hajógyári Island (Hungarian: Hajógyári-sziget [ˈhɒjoːɟaːrisiɡɛt]) also known as Óbuda Island (Hungarian: Óbudai-sziget) is a man-made island located in the third district. This island hosts many activities such as: wake-boarding jet-skiing during the day and dance clubs during the night. This is the island where the famous Sziget Festival takes place hosting hundreds of performances per year and now around 400 000 visitors in its last edition. Many building projects are taking place to make this island into one of the biggest entertainment centres of Europe. The plan is to build apartment buildings hotels casinos and a marina.
Molnár Island [hu] (Hungarian: Molnár-sziget) is an island in the channel of the Danube that separates Csepel Island from the east bank of the river.
The islands of Palotai Island [hu] Nép Island [hu] and Háros Island [hu] also formerly existed within the city but have been joined to the mainland.

The Ínség Rock [hu] (Hungarian: Ínség-szikla) is a reef in the Danube close to the shore under the Gellért Hill. It is only exposed during drought periods when the river level is very low.

Just outside the city boundary to the north lies the large Szentendre Island (Hungarian: Szentendrei-sziget) and the much smaller Lupa Island (Hungarian: Lupa-sziget).


One of the reasons the Romans first colonised the area immediately to the west of the River Danube and established their regional capital at Aquincum (now part of Óbuda in northern Budapest) is so that they could use and enjoy the thermal springs. There are still ruins visible today of the enormous baths that were built during that period. The new baths that were constructed during the Turkish period (1541–1686) served both bathing and medicinal purposes and some of these are still in use to this day.

Budapest gained its reputation as a city of spas in the 1920s following the first realisation of the economic potential of the thermal waters in drawing in visitors. Indeed in 1934 Budapest was officially ranked as a "City of Spas". Today the baths are mostly frequented by the older generation as with the exception of the "Magic Bath" and "Cinetrip" water discos young people tend to prefer the lidos which are open in the summer.

Construction of the Király Baths started in 1565 and most of the present-day building dates from the Turkish period including most notably the fine cupola-topped pool.

The Rudas Baths are centrally placed – in the narrow strip of land between Gellért Hill and the River Danube – and also an outstanding example of architecture dating from the Turkish period. The central feature is an octagonal pool over which light shines from a 10 metres (33 ft) diameter cupola supported by eight pillars.

The Gellért Baths and Hotel were built in 1918 although there had once been Turkish baths on the site and in the Middle Ages a hospital. In 1927 the Baths were extended to include the wave pool and the effervescent bath was added in 1934. The well-preserved Art Nouveau interior includes colourful mosaics marble columns stained glass windows and statues.

The Lukács Baths are also in Buda and are also Turkish in origin although they were only revived at the end of the 19th century. This was also when the spa and treatment centre were founded. There is still something of an atmosphere of fin-de-siècle about the place and all around the inner courtyard there are marble tablets recalling the thanks of patrons who were cured there. Since the 1950s it has been regarded as a centre for intellectuals and artists.

The Széchenyi Baths are one of the largest bathing complexes in all Europe and the only "old" medicinal baths to be found in the Pest side of the city. The indoor medicinal baths date from 1913 and the outdoor pools from 1927. There is an atmosphere of grandeur about the whole place with the bright largest pools resembling aspects associated with Roman baths the smaller bath tubs reminding one of the bathing culture of the Greeks and the saunas and diving pools borrowed from traditions emanating in northern Europe. The three outdoor pools (one of which is a fun pool) are open all year including winter. Indoors there are over ten separate pools and a whole host of medical treatments is also available. The Szécheny Baths are built in modern Renaissance style.

Politics and government

As the capital of Hungary Budapest is the seat of the country's national government. The President of Hungary resides at the Sándor Palace in the District I (Buda Castle District) while the office of the Hungarian Prime Minister is in the Hungarian Parliament. Government ministries are all located in various parts of the city most of them are in the District V Leopoldtown. The National Assembly is seated in the Hungarian Parliament which also located in the District V. The President of the National Assembly the third-highest public official in Hungary is also seated in the largest building in the country in the Hungarian Parliament.

Hungary's highest courts are located in Budapest. The Curia (supreme court of Hungary) the highest court in the judicial order which reviews criminal and civil cases is located in the District V Leopoldtown. Under the authority of its president it has three departments: criminal civil and administrative-labour law departments. Each department has various chambers. The Curia guarantees the uniform application of law. The decisions of the Curia on uniform jurisdiction are binding for other courts.
The second most important judicial authority the National Judicial Council is also housed in the District V with the tasks of controlling the financial management of the judicial administration and the courts and giving an opinion on the practice of the president of the National Office for the Judiciary and the Curia deciding about the applications of judges and court leaders among others.
The Constitutional Court of Hungary is one of the highest level actors independent of the politics in the country. The Constitutional Court serves as the main body for the protection of the Constitution its tasks being the review of the constitutionality of statutes. The Constitutional Court performs its tasks independently. With its own budget and its judges being elected by Parliament it does not constitute a part of the ordinary judicial system. The constitutional court passes on the constitutionality of laws and there is no right of appeal on these decisions.

Budapest hosts the main and regional headquarters of many international organizations as well including United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations European Institute of Innovation and Technology European Police Academy International Centre for Democratic Transition Institute of International Education International Labour Organization International Organization for Migration International Red Cross Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe Danube Commission and even others. The city is also home to more than 100 embassies and representative bodies as an international political actor.

Environmental issues have a high priority among Budapest's politics. Institutions such as the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe located in Budapest are very important assets.
To decrease the use of cars and greenhouse gas emissions the city has worked to improve public transportation and nowadays the city has one of the highest mass transit usage in Europe. Budapest has one of the best public transport systems in Europe with an efficient network of buses trolleys trams and subway. Budapest has an above-average proportion of people commuting on public transport or walking and cycling for European cities.
Riding on bike paths is one of the best ways to see Budapest – there are about 180 kilometres (110 miles) of bicycle paths in the city fitting into the EuroVelo system.

Crime in Budapest investigated by different bodies. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime notes in their 2011 Global Study on Homicide that according to criminal justice sources the homicide rate in Hungary calculated based on UN population estimates was 1.4 in 2009 compared to Canada's rate of 1.8 that same year.
The homicide rate in Budapest is below the EU capital cities' average according to WHO also. However the organised crime is associated with the city the Institute of Defence in a UN study named Budapest as the "global epicentres" of illegal pornography money laundering and contraband tobacco and also the negotiation center for international crime group leaders.

City governance

Composition of the 33 seats in the General Assembly

Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union
13 seats
Hungarian Socialist Party
7 seats
4 seats
Democratic Coalition
4 seats
Mayor + 1 seat
3 seats

Budapest has been a metropolitan municipality with a mayor-council form of government since its consolidation in 1873 but Budapest also holds a special status as a county-level government and also special within that as holds a capital-city territory status. In Budapest the central government is responsible for the urban planning statutory planning public transport housing waste management municipal taxes correctional institutions libraries public safety recreational facilities among others. The Mayor is responsible for all city services police and fire protection enforcement of all city and state laws within the city and administration of public property and most public agencies. Besides each of Budapest' twenty-three districts has its own town hall and a directly elected council and the directly elected mayor of district.

The Mayor of Budapest is Gergely Karácsony who was elected on 13 October 2019. The mayor and members of General Assembly are elected to five-year terms.
The Budapest General Assembly is a unicameral body consisting of 33 members which consist of the 23 mayors of the districts 9 from the electoral lists of political parties plus Mayor of Budapest (the Mayor is elected directly). Each term for the mayor and assembly members lasts five years. Submitting the budget of Budapest is the responsibility of the Mayor and the deputy-mayor in charge of finance. The latest 2014 budget was approved with 18 supporting votes from ruling Fidesz and 14 votes against by the opposition lawmakers.


Early history

The first settlement on the territory of Budapest was built by Celts before 1 AD. It was later occupied by the Romans. The Roman settlement – Aquincum – became the main city of Pannonia Inferior in 106 AD. At first it was a military settlement and gradually the city rose around it making it the focal point of the city's commercial life. Today this area corresponds to the Óbuda district within Budapest. The Romans constructed roads amphitheaters baths and houses with heated floors in this fortified military camp. The Roman city of Aquincum is the best-conserved of the Roman sites in Hungary. The archaeological site was turned into a museum with inside and open-air sections.

The Magyar tribes led by Árpád forced out of their original homeland north of Bulgaria by Tsar Simeon after the Battle of Southern Buh settled in the territory at the end of the 9th century displacing the founding Bulgarian settlers of the towns of Buda and Pest and a century later officially founded the Kingdom of Hungary. Research places the probable residence of the Árpáds as an early place of central power near what became Budapest. The Tatar invasion in the 13th century quickly proved it is difficult to defend a plain. King Béla IV of Hungary therefore ordered the construction of reinforced stone walls around the towns and set his own royal palace on the top of the protecting hills of Buda. In 1361 it became the capital of Hungary.

The cultural role of Buda was particularly significant during the reign of King Matthias Corvinus. The Italian Renaissance had a great influence on the city. His library the Bibliotheca Corviniana was Europe's greatest collection of historical chronicles and philosophic and scientific works in the 15th century and second in size only to the Vatican Library. After the foundation of the first Hungarian university in Pécs in 1367 (University of Pécs) the second one was established in Óbuda in 1395 (University of Óbuda). The first Hungarian book was printed in Buda in 1473. Buda had about 5 000 inhabitants around 1500.

The Ottomans conquered Buda in 1526 as well in 1529 and finally occupied it in 1541. The Turkish Rule lasted for more than 150 years. The Ottoman Turks constructed many prominent bathing facilities within the city. Some of the baths that the Turks erected during their rule are still in use 500 years later (Rudas Baths and Király Baths). By 1547 the number of Christians was down to about a thousand and by 1647 it had fallen to only about seventy. The unoccupied western part of the country became part of the Habsburg Monarchy as Royal Hungary.

In 1686 two years after the unsuccessful siege of Buda a renewed campaign was started to enter the Hungarian capital. This time the Holy League's army was twice as large containing over 74 000 men including German Croat Dutch Hungarian English Spanish Czech Italian French Burgundian Danish and Swedish soldiers along with other Europeans as volunteers artillerymen and officers. The Christian forces seized Buda and in the next few years all of the former Hungarian lands except areas near Temesvár (Timișoara) were taken from the Turks. In the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz these territorial changes were officially recognized to show the end of the rule of the Turks and in 1718 the entire Kingdom of Hungary was removed from Ottoman rule.

Contemporary history after Unification

The 19th century was dominated by the Hungarian struggle for independence and modernisation. The national insurrection against the Habsburgs began in the Hungarian capital in 1848 and was defeated one and a half years later with the help of the Russian Empire. 1867 was the year of Reconciliation that brought about the birth of Austria-Hungary. This made Budapest the twin capital of a dual monarchy. It was this compromise which opened the second great phase of development in the history of Budapest lasting until World War I. In 1849 the Chain Bridge linking Buda with Pest was opened as the first permanent bridge across the Danube and in 1873 Buda and Pest were officially merged with the third part Óbuda (Old Buda) thus creating the new metropolis of Budapest. The dynamic Pest grew into the country's administrative political economic trade and cultural hub. Ethnic Hungarians overtook Germans in the second half of the 19th century due to mass migration from the overpopulated rural Transdanubia and Great Hungarian Plain. Between 1851 and 1910 the proportion of Hungarians increased from 35.6% to 85.9% Hungarian became the dominant language and German was crowded out. The proportion of Jews peaked in 1900 with 23.6%. Due to the prosperity and the large Jewish community of the city at the start of the 20th century Budapest was often called the "Jewish Mecca" or "Judapest".
In 1918 Austria-Hungary lost the war and collapsed; Hungary declared itself an independent republic (Republic of Hungary). In 1920 the Treaty of Trianon partitioned the country and as a result Hungary lost over two-thirds of its territory and about two-thirds of its inhabitants including 3.3 million out of 15 million ethnic Hungarians.

In 1944 a year before the end of World War II Budapest was partly destroyed by British and American air raids (first attack 4 April 1944 ).
From 24 December 1944 to 13 February 1945 the city was besieged during the Battle of Budapest. Budapest suffered major damage caused by the attacking Soviet and Romanian troops and the defending German and Hungarian troops. More than 38 000 civilians lost their lives during the conflict. All bridges were destroyed by the Germans. The stone lions that have decorated the Chain Bridge since 1852 survived the devastation of the war.

Between 20% and 40% of Greater Budapest's 250 000 Jewish inhabitants died through Nazi and Arrow Cross Party during the German occupation of Hungary from 1944 to early 1945.

Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz rescued tens of thousands of Jews by issuing Swiss protection papers and designating numerous buildings including the now famous Glass House (Üvegház) at Vadász Street 29 to be Swiss protected territory. About 3 000 Hungarian Jews found refuge at the Glass House and in a neighboring building. Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg saved the lives of tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest by giving them Swedish protection papers and taking them under his consular protection. Wallenberg was abducted by the Russians on 17 January 1945 and never regained freedom. Giorgio Perlasca an Italian citizen saved thousands of Hungarian Jews posing as a Spanish diplomat. Some other diplomats also abandoned diplomatic protocol and rescued Jews. There are two monuments for Wallenberg one for Carl Lutz and one for Giorgio Perlasca in Budapest.

Following the capture of Hungary from Nazi Germany by the Red Army Soviet military occupation ensued which ended only in 1991. The Soviets exerted significant influence on Hungarian political affairs. In 1949 Hungary was declared a communist People's Republic (People's Republic of Hungary). The new Communist government considered the buildings like the Buda Castle symbols of the former regime and during the 1950s the palace was gutted and all the interiors were destroyed (also see Stalin era).
On 23 October 1956 citizens held a large peaceful demonstration in Budapest demanding democratic reform. The demonstrators went to the Budapest radio station and demanded to publish their demands. The regime ordered troops to shoot into the crowd. Hungarian soldiers gave rifles to the demonstrators who were now able to capture the building. This initiated the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The demonstrators demanded to appoint Imre Nagy to be Prime Minister of Hungary. To their surprise the central committee of the "Hungarian Working People's Party" did so that same evening. This uprising was an anti-Soviet revolt that lasted from 23 October until 11 November. After Nagy had declared that Hungary was to leave the Warsaw Pact and become neutral Soviet tanks and troops entered the country to crush the revolt. Fighting continued until mid November leaving more than 3000 dead. A monument was erected at the fiftieth anniversary of the revolt in 2006 at the edge of the City Park. Its shape is a wedge with a 56 angle degree made in rusted iron that gradually becomes shiny ending in an intersection to symbolize Hungarian forces that temporarily eradicated the Communist leadership.

From the 1960s to the late 1980s Hungary was often satirically referred to as "the happiest barrack" within the Eastern bloc and much of the wartime damage to the city was finally repaired. Work on Erzsébet Bridge the last to be rebuilt was finished in 1964. In the early 1970s Budapest Metro's east–west M2 line was first opened followed by the M3 line in 1976. In 1987 Buda Castle and the banks of the Danube were included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Andrássy Avenue (including the Millennium Underground Railway Hősök tere and Városliget) was added to the UNESCO list in 2002. In the 1980s the city's population reached 2.1 million. In recent times a significant decrease in population occurred mainly due to a massive movement to the neighbouring agglomeration in Pest county i.e. suburbanisation.

In the last decades of the 20th century the political changes of 1989–90 (Fall of the Iron Curtain) concealed changes in civil society and along the streets of Budapest. The monuments of the dictatorship were removed from public places into Memento Park. In the first 20 years of the new democracy the development of the city was managed by its mayor Gábor Demszky.

Culture and contemporary life

The culture of Budapest is reflected by Budapest's size and variety. Most Hungarian cultural movements first emerged in the city. Budapest is an important center for music film theatre dance and visual art. Artists have been drawn into the city by opportunity as the city government funds the arts with adequate financial resources.
Budapest is the headquarters of the Hungarian LGBT community.

Budapest was named "City of Design" in December 2015 and has been a member of UNESCO Creative Cities Network since then.

Museums and galleries

Budapest is packed with museums and galleries. The city glories in 223 museums and galleries which presents several memories next to the Hungarian ones as well those of universal and European culture and science. Here are the greatest examples among them: the Hungarian National Museum the Hungarian National Gallery the Museum of Fine Arts (where can see the pictures of Hungarian painters like Victor Vasarely Mihály Munkácsy and a great collection about Italian art Dutch art Spanish art and British art from before the 19th century and French art British art German art Austrian art after the 19th century) the House of Terror the Budapest Historical Museum the Aquincum Museum the Memento Park Museum of Applied Arts and the contemporary arts exhibition Palace of Arts Budapest. In Budapest there are 837 monuments which represent the most of the European artistic style. The classical and unique Hungarian Art Nouveau buildings are prominent.


A lot of libraries have unique collections in Budapest such as the National Széchényi Library which keeps historical relics from the age before the printing of books. The Metropolitan Szabó Ervin Library plays an important role in the general education of the capital's population. Other libraries: The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Eötvös University Library the Parliamentary Library Library of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office and the National Library of Foreign Literature.

Opera and theatres

In Budapest there are forty theatres seven concert halls and an opera house. Outdoor festivals concerts and lectures enrich the cultural offer of summer which are often held in historical buildings. The largest theatre facilities are the Budapest Operetta and Musical Theatre the József Attila Theatre the Katona József Theatre the Madách Theatre the Hungarian State Opera House the National Theatre the Vigadó Concert Hall Radnóti Miklós Theatre the Comedy Theatre and the Palace of Arts known as MUPA. The Budapest Opera Ball is an annual Hungarian society event taking place in the building of the Budapest Opera (Operaház) on the last Saturday of the carnival season usually late February.


There are 11 casinos in Hungary (11 is the maximum number of casinos allowed by law) and 5 of them are located in the capital. All 5 of these casinos are owned by LVC Diamond Játékkaszinó Üzemeltető Kft the gambling company of late Vajna András (better known as Andy Vajna). The biggest casino in Budapest and in all of Hungary is the Las Vegas Casino Corvin sétány.

Performing arts and festivals

Several annual festivals take place in Budapest. The Sziget Festival is one of the largest outdoor music festival in Europe. The Budapest Spring Festival includes concerts at several venues across the city. The Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival (formerly the Budapest Autumn Festival) brings free music dance art and other cultural events to the streets of the city. The Budapest Wine Festival and Budapest Pálinka Festival occurring each May are gastronomy festivals focusing on culinary pleasures. The Budapest Pride (or Budapest Pride Film and Cultural Festival) occurs annually across the city and usually involves a parade on the Andrássy Avenue. Other festivals include the Budapest Fringe Festival which brings more than 500 artists in about 50 shows to produce a wide range of works in alternative theatre dance music and comedy outside the mainstream. The LOW Festival is a multidisciplinary contemporary cultural festival held in Hungary in the cities Budapest and Pécs from February until March; the name of the festival alludes to the Low Countries the region encompassing the Netherlands and Flanders. The Budapest Jewish Summer Festival in late August is one of the largest in Europe.

There are many symphony orchestras in Budapest with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra being the preeminent one. It was founded in 1853 by Ferenc Erkel and still presents regular concerts in the Hungarian State Opera House and National Theatre. Budapest also has one of the more active jazz scenes in Central Europe.

The dance tradition of the Carpathian Basin is a unique area of the European dance culture which is also a special transition between the Balkans and Western Europe regions. The city is home to several authentic Hungarian folk dance ensembles which range from small ensembles to professional troupes. Budapest is one of the few cities in the world with a high school for learning folk dance.


Budapest is home to a fashion week twice a year where the city's fashion designers and houses present their collections and provide a meeting place for the fashion industry representatives. Budapest Fashion Week additionally a place for designers from other countries may present their collections in Budapest. Hungarian models like Barbara Palvin Enikő Mihalik Diána Mészáros Viktória Vámosi usually appearing at these events along international participants.
Fashion brands like Zara H&M Mango ESPRIT Douglas AG Lacoste Nike and other retail fashion brands are common across the city's shopping malls and on the streets.

Major luxury fashion brands such as Roberto Cavalli Dolce & Gabbana Gucci Versace Ferragamo Moschino Prada and Hugo Boss can be found among the city's most prestigious shopping streets the Fashion Street Váci Street and Andrássy Avenue in Budapest's main upscale fashion district the Leopoldtown.


Budapest is a prominent location for the Hungarian entertainment industry with many films television series books and other media set there. Budapest is the largest centre for film and television production in Hungary. In 2011 it employed more than 50 000 people and generated 63.9% of revenues of the media industry in the country.
Budapest is the media centre of Hungary and the location of the main headquarters of Hungarian Television and other local and national TV and radio stations such as M1 M2 Duna TV Duna World RTL Klub TV2 (Hungary) EuroNews Comedy Central MTV Hungary VIVA Hungary Viasat 3 Cool TV and Pro4 and politics and news channels such as Hír TV ATV and Echo TV. Documentary channels include Discovery Channel Discovery Science Discovery World National Geographic Channel Nat Geo Wild Spektrum and BBC Entertainment. This is less than a quarter of the channels broadcast from Budapest; for the whole picture see Television in Hungary.

In 2012 there were 7.2 million internet users in Hungary (72% of the population). and there were 2.3 million subscriptions for mobile broadband.


In the modern age Budapest developed its own peculiar cuisine based on products of the nearby region such as lamb pork and vegetables special to the region. Modern Hungarian cuisine is a synthesis of ancient Asiatic components mixed with French Germanic Italian and Slavic elements. The food of Hungary can be considered a melting pot of the continent with a culinary base formed from its own original Magyar cuisine. Considerable numbers of Saxons Armenians Italians Jews and Serbs settled in the Hungarian basin and in Transylvania also contributing with different new dishes. Elements of ancient Turkish cuisine were adopted during the Ottoman era in the form of sweets (for example different nougats like white nougat called törökméz) quince (birsalma) Turkish delight Turkish coffee or rice dishes like pilaf meat and vegetable dishes like the eggplant used in eggplant salads and appetizers stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage called töltött káposzta. Hungarian cuisine was influenced by Austrian cuisine under the Austro-Hungarian Empire dishes and methods of food preparation have often been borrowed from Austrian cuisine and vice versa.

Budapest restaurants reflect diversity with menus carrying traditional regional cuisine fusions of various culinary influences or innovating in the leading edge of new techniques. Budapest' food shops also have a solid reputation for supplying quality specialised culinary products and supplies reputations that are often built up over generations. These include many shops such as Café Gerbeaud one of the greatest and most traditional coffeehouses in Europe or the Gundel restaurant and gastro shop in the City Park.
Foodies can also find the highest quality foods served in several Michelin-starred restaurants like Onyx Costes Borkonyha or Tanti.

In fiction

The 1906 novel The Paul Street Boys the 1937 novel Journey by Moonlight the 1957 book The Bridge at Andau the 1975 novel Fateless the 1977 novel The End of a Family Story the 1986 book Between the Woods and the Water the 1992 novel Under the Frog the 1987 novel The Door the 2002 novel Prague the 2003 book Budapeste the 2004 novel Ballad of the Whisky Robber the 2005 novels Parallel Stories and The Historian the 2012 novel Budapest Noir are set amongst others partly or entirely in Budapest. Some of the better known feature films set in Budapest are Kontroll The District! Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod Sunshine An American Rhapsody As You Desire Me The Good Fairy Hanna's War The Journey Ladies in Love Music Box The Shop Around the Corner Zoo in Budapest Underworld Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Spy. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) is a Wes Anderson film. It was filmed in Germany and set in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka which is in the alpine mountains of Hungary.

See also


Budapest is a significant economic hub classified as an Beta + world city in the study by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network and it is the second fastest-developing urban economy in Europe as GDP per capita in the city increased by 2.4 per cent and employment by 4.7 per cent compared to the previous year in 2014.
On national level Budapest is the primate city of Hungary regarding business and economy accounting for 39% of the national income the city has a gross metropolitan product more than $100 billion in 2015 making it one of the largest regional economy in the European Union.
According to the Eurostat GDP per capita in purchasing power parity is 147% of the EU average in Budapest which means €37 632 ($42 770) per capita.
Budapest is also among the Top100 GDP performing cities in the world measured by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The city was named as the 52nd most important business centre in the world in the Worldwide Centres of Commerce Index ahead of Beijing São Paulo or Shenzhen and ranking 3rd (out of 65 cities) on MasterCard Emerging Markets Index.
The city is 48th on the UBS The most expensive and richest cities in the world list standing before cities such as Prague Shanghai Kuala Lumpur or Buenos Aires.
In a global city competitiveness ranking by EIU Budapest stands before Tel Aviv Lisbon Moscow and Johannesburg among others.

The city is a major centre for banking and finance real estate retailing trade transportation tourism new media as well as traditional media advertising legal services accountancy insurance fashion and the arts in Hungary and regionally. Budapest is home not only to almost all national institutions and government agencies but also to many domestic and international companies in 2014 there are
companies registered in the city. Most of these entities are headquartered in the Budapest's Central Business District in the District V and District XIII. The retail market of the city (and the country) is also concentrated in the downtown among others through the two largest shopping centre in Central and Eastern Europe the 186 000 sqm WestEnd City Center and the 180 000 sqm Arena Plaza.

Budapest has notable innovation capabilities as a technology and start-up hub. Many start-ups are headquartered and begin their business in the city some of the best known examples are Prezi LogMeIn or NNG. Budapest is the highest ranked Central and Eastern European city on Innovation Cities' Top 100 index. A good indicator of the city's potential for innovation and research also is that the European Institute of Innovation and Technology chose Budapest for its headquarters along with the UN which Regional Representation for Central Europe office is in the city responsible for UN operations in seven countries.
Moreover the global aspect of the city's research activity is shown through the establishment of the European Chinese Research Institute in the city. Other important sectors include also as natural science research information technology and medical research non-profit institutions and universities. The leading business schools and universities in Budapest the Budapest Business School the CEU Business School and Corvinus University of Budapest offers a whole range of courses in economics finance and management in English French German and Hungarian. The unemployment rate is far the lowest in Budapest within Hungary it was 2.7% besides the many thousands of employed foreign citizens.

Budapest is among the 25 most visited cities in the world the city welcoming more than 4.4 million international visitors each year therefore the traditional and the congress tourism industry also deserve a mention it contributes greatly to the city's economy. The capital being home to many convention centre and thousands of restaurants bars coffee houses and party places besides the full assortment of hotels. In restaurant offerings can be found the highest quality Michelin-starred restaurants like Onyx Costes Tanti or Borkonyha. The city ranked as the most liveable city in Central and Eastern Europe on EIU's quality of life index in 2010.

Finance and corporate location

Budapest Stock Exchange key institution of the publicly offered securities in Hungary and Central and Eastern Europe is situated in Budapest's CBD at Liberty Square. BSE also trades other securities such as government bonds and derivatives such as stock options. Large Hungarian multinational corporations headquartered in Budapest are listed on BSE for instance the Fortune Global 500 firm MOL Group the OTP Bank FHB Bank Gedeon Richter Plc. Magyar Telekom CIG Pannonia Zwack Unicum and more.
Nowadays nearly all branches of industry can be found in Budapest there is no particularly special industry in the city's economy but the financial centre role of the city is strong nearly 40 major banks are presented in the city also those like Bank of China KDB Bank and Hanwha Bank which is unique in the region.

Also support the financial industry of Budapest the firms of international banks and financial service providers such as Citigroup Morgan Stanley GE Capital Deutsche Bank Sberbank ING Group Allianz KBC Group UniCredit and MSCI among others. Another particularly strong industry in the capital city is biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry these are also traditionally strong in Budapest through domestic companies as Egis Gedeon Richter Chinoin and through international biotechnology corporations like Pfizer Teva Novartis Sanofi who are also has R&D and production division here. Further high-tech industries such as software development engineering notable as well the Nokia Ericcson Bosch Microsoft IBM employs thousands of engineers in research and development in the city. Game design also highly represented through headquarters of domestic Digital Reality Black Hole and studio of Crytek or Gameloft. Beyond the above there are regional headquarters of global firms such as Alcoa General Motors GE Exxon Mobil British Petrol British Telecom Flextronics Panasonic Corp Huawei Knorr-Bremse Liberty Global Tata Consultancy Aegon WizzAir TriGránit MVM Group Graphisoft there is a base for Nissan CEE Volvo Saab Ford including but not limited to.


Budapest compared to Hungary and EU

Budapest Hungary European Union
Total Population 1 763 913 9 937 628 507 890 191
Population change 2004 to 2014 +2.7% −1.6% +2.2%
Population density 3 314 /km2 107 /km2 116 /km2
GDP per capita PPP 52 770 $ 33 408 $ 33 084 $
Bachelor's Degree or higher 34.1% 19.0% 27.1%
Foreign born 7.3% 1.7% 6.3%

Historical population
1784 57 100—    
1850 206 339+261.4%
1870 302 086+46.4%
1880 402 706+33.3%
1890 560 079+39.1%
1900 861 434+53.8%
1910 1 110 453+28.9%
1920 1 232 026+10.9%
1930 1 442 869+17.1%
1941 1 712 791+18.7%
1949 1 590 316−7.2%
1960 1 804 606+13.5%
1970 1 945 083+7.8%
Tags: Budapest

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