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City Break to Budapest

City Break to Budapest.Anyone who has been to Budapest will know exactly what makes it one of Europe's best-loved destinations; you're really getting two cities for the price of one. Bisected by the mighty Danube the city has something of a split personality.

On the west side of the river is historic Buda; the ancient heart of the capital. On the east side is industrious Pest; defined by handsome boulevards and the familiar sights and sounds of European commerce.Each side of the Danube has its own temptations: To the west hilly Buda corrals together some of the city's finest monuments with the Roman ruins at Óbuda providing the obvious historical starting point. For a lesson in medieval architecture wander the cat's cradle of narrow streets that surround the picturesque castle district. Keep an eye open for the Fisherman's Bastion; a group of seven towers that symbolise each of the seven Magyar tribes that founded the nation.

On the east bank of the Danube is low-lying Pest; the capital's business and administrative centre and the country's economic powerhouse. Besides the impressive neo-Gothic Parliament building you'll find an impressive collection of department stores, boutiques and markets selling everything from antiquarian books to lace tablecloths. However, it's after dark that Pest really comes into its own; when the myriad of bars and all-night clubs begin to wake up.Budapest is a pedestrian-friendly city and most of the 'sights' can be easily reached on foot. However, if you fancy something different then head for Margaret Island and hire a bringo; the Hungarian interpretation of a tandem bicycle.After an afternoon in the saddle there's no better way to unwind than in one of the city's fabled public baths.

There are more than thirty thermal springs scattered throughout the city, but they don't come any grander than the stunning art nouveau spa in the Gellért Hotel. Admittedly admission is pricey, but the experience is unforgettable. Anyone traveling on a tight budget should head to the Széchenyi Thermal Baths on the Pest side of the river.Budapest is the richest capital in hot water springs in the world. That's why it is often described as a city of baths.

The underground waters and springs of Budapest have very important role in the life of the city. The mineral and medicinal waters contain various minerals. The water temperature varies between 14 °C and 96 °C.

These springs are used both to replenish the waters of medicinal baths and open air pools and also for drinking therapies. These springs come from 600-1000m deep along an 80km long geological break line.These hot waters have been known since the Romans era (2nd - 3rd century), and were often used for threat for rheumatic disease from the 13th century.

Under the Turkish occupation (16th - 17th centuries) a lot of baths were built and were used for essential washing. Evilia Chelebi, a Turkish traveler, mentioned these baths among others. The next growth in Budapest's bath culture is connected to the Hungarian Millennium at the end of 19th century.The Kiraly (King) Bath is one of the most important Turkish buildings of the town.

Arslan Pasha began to build it in 1566 and Pasha Mustapha of Sokol finished it in 1570. The original Turkish baths were covered with one larger and three smaller cupolas. The Fo street wing of the baths was built in classicist style in 1826. The Kiraly Bath has been operating continuously for more than 400 years.The Rudas Bath. The Turkish repaired the first medieval building in 1566 by Mustapha of Sokol, Pasha of Buda.

The octagonal basin of the bath is surrounded by octagonal arcades and topped by hemispherical cupola. In the 19th century a steam bath and a new building was added. This was the first covered swimming pool in Budapest. The oldest Turkish part of the bath is unique in this part of Europe.The Grand Hotel Gellert and the Gellert Bath, a natural mud pit, once occupied the site of the present bath and was well known for its healing properties even in the Middle Ages. Buildings of the hotel and baths date back to the 1910s but have been modernised several times.

The medicinal baths, where a hydro-therapeutical institute operates under medical supervision, adjoins the hotel building. The covered swimming pool and the open-air swimming pool with artificial waves are also popular features of 'the Gellert'.Nowadays the hot waters play an important role in health and tourism as well.For more information please visit: http://www.


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