Phil & Mary Ann Stevens'
2011 Eastern Europe Tour

Part 2 - Page 1

After seeing parts of Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, and Slovakia, we'll continue our tour on a sunny day in Budapest, Hungary.

Flanked by the Palace of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art and situated at the entrance to the City Park, Budapest's Heroes' Square stands in honor and memory of the great leaders in Hungary's history.

The centerpiece of the square is the Millennium Monument, built in 1896 to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest. The column stands 118 feet tall and is topped with a statue of the Archangel Gabriel, symbol of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Magyars (Hungarians) in particular lay claim to Hunnic heritage. Although Magyar tribes only began to settle in the geographical area of present-day Hungary in the very end of the 9th century, some 450 years after the dissolution of the Hunnic tribal confederation,

The national anthem of Hungary describes the Hungarians as "blood of Bendegz'", Attila The Hun's father.

Around the base of the monument are a number of equestrian statues honoring the seven chieftains of the Hungarian tribes who settled their people in the area now known as Hungary.

In the front is rpd, considered the founder of the Hungarian nation. Behind him are the chieftains Elod, Ond, Kond, Tas, Huba, and Thtm. Little survives in the historical record about these individuals and both their costumes and their horses are considered to be more fanciful than historically accurate.

The church is named for Saint Stephen I of Hungary, the first King of Hungary (c. 9751038), whose right hand is housed in the reliquary. This is the most important church building in Hungary, one of the most significant tourist attractions and the third highest building in Hungary.

It was completed in 1905 after 54 years of construction. Much of this delay can be attributed to the collapse of the dome in 1868 which required demolition of the completed works and rebuilding from the ground up.

Above this beautiful altar hangs a painting showing Saint Stephen offering Hungary to Mary. Thus, establishing Hungary as a Catholic Nation.

Across the Danube, via the Chain Bridge, (The first permanent bridge across the Danube in Budapest, opened in 1849) from Pest (the flat side) lies Buda (the bumpy side) stands Castle Hill. On one end of the Hill is the Budapest Castle. On the other end is the Matthias Church.

The oldest part of the present-day Castle was built in the 14th century by Prince Stephen, Duke of Slavonia. In the last 500+ years it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. It's amazing that such a structure could even exist after these many centuries.

Located in the heart of the Castle District, Matthias Church was built in the 13th century and was Budapest's first parish church. However, the original church structure changed many times as it was constantly being renovated and refashioned in the popular architectural style of each era. Throughout the centuries, the church has remained a preferred site for celebratory events, such as royal weddings and coronations.

Below Mattias Church sits the Fisherman's Bastion. It was designed and built between 1895 and 1902. The Bastion takes its name from the guild of fishermen that was responsible for defending this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages. It is a super place to view Pest.

Here is the view from the Bastions with St. Stephens Cathedral in the center.

One of Hungary's noted exports is the Herend Porcelain. This type of "china" has been manufactured in Herend, Poland since 1826 and was a favorite of the royals and wealthy. A little shop in the Castle District was selling it.

The top picture is the "Great Hall Mrket" in Pest across the Chain Bridge from Buda. Several of us had lunch there. Pork and cabbage - what else?

The next picture shows the "Gypsies who serenaded us at lunch. The next picture shows the food stalls: Mainly meats, cheeses, fruits, and veggies.

The bottom picture shows our favorite snack: A Tr Rudi made by Pttys. (Or maybe a Pttys made by Tr Rudi?)

Tr is a basically a soft, white unaged cheese (like cottage cheese) which is extremely popular in Hungary, and Tr Rudi is a bar of that cheese but with an outer coating of chocolate wrapped in the very recognizable white and red polka dots wrapping. As a snack it is quite healthy, as the chocolate coating is quite thin, and the Tr cheese has a low fat content (apparently about the same as yogurt) and no salt added.

I almost bought this apron - for the recipe. I photo'd it instead. I did, however, buy some sweet and hot Hungarian Paprika. Guyash anyone?

We'll continue exploring Budapest on Page 2.

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