The Majestic City of Buda & Pest: Budapest Once a Part of the Ottoman Empire

By | October 18, 2017

Budapest is a vibrant city with full of life. Many tourist around the world visit Budapest every year. In 896 the city of Budapest was established by the Magyars. Soon from the influence of European culture the Magyars built one of the most majestic city in central Europe. The greatness of their advancement is still visible in their historic houses, castles, roads and bridges. The reputation of their wealth reached far away which attracted invaders like the Mongols. In 1241 the Mongols attacked the city and conducted destruction in industrial scale. They destroyed the influential buildings and statues. When the Mongols left leaving the ashes behind the citizens of Budapest started to rebuild their city again. In the 15th century at the wind of European renaissance; Hungary progressed on science, art, literature in gigantic scale. But their happiness didn’t last longer. In 1526 here comes the Ottoman. Hungary was the doorway to European super power. On the west there was the most powerful royal family the Europeans have ever seen, the Hapsburg dynasty. On the hand, on the east the most powerful super power the Muslim world have ever seen, the Ottoman Empire. As Hungary was sitting between the two most powerful nation in Europe and Asia; so conquering Hungary means it is the starting process of conquering Europe. The Ottoman couldn’t be stopped by the Hungarians. In the battle of Mohacs the Ottoman defeated the Hungarian and took control of their city. The next 150 years was the rule of Ottoman. In 1686 Hungarian royals secretly established a truce with the neighbouring Austrian Hapsburg dynasty to kick out the Ottomans out of Europe. As a consequence Austrians invaded Hungary and defeated the Ottomans.

The city of Buda is situated on the west side of the river Danube whereas the city of Pest is situated on the east side. These two cities are connected with many major bridges. Among those the Chain Bridge is the most prominent ones. Chain Bridge was constructed in 1849 for the purpose of tying up the both sides of the Danube River. Before 1849 there was no physical media to cross the Danube River. Boat was the only way of transportation. In winter when the whole river used to become frozen, people used to cross on foot. The Chain Bridge was constructed by an English Engineer where a similar design was followed from the Marlow Bridge on Thames River. There are four massive lions made of stone on the four corners of the bridge. The design of the lions were similar to the lions in Buckingham palace. Interestingly, these lions were even sculpted in the factory of Britain and later brought into Budapest. Since then Chain bridge has strongly impacted on the economic, political and socio progression. The feature of the Chain Bridge radiates the reputation of Hungarian nationals. After the end of Soviet era Chain Bridge became the symbol of union between the west and the east. In Bangladesh many people may have recognized the bridge. The popular Hindi film “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” was shot on top of the bridge where Salman Khan was running towards Aishwarya Ray.

Right on the east side of Chain Bridge in the city of Pest the gothic looking Hungarian parliament is situated. The design of the bridge was followed from the British Westminster parliament. The parliament house is the biggest and highest man made structure in Hungary. Nearly one hundred thousand labour worked day and night for the next eight years to build this structure. Around ten million bricks, five hundred thousand of valuable stones and forty kilograms of gold were used for the process of construction and beautification.

After discovering the parliament house I am now heading towards the city of Buda by walking through the Chain Bridge. The Buda castle or the Royal Palace is situated on top of the castle hill on the west side of the bridge. In 1870 a small toy train was built in order to ease the life of the worker above the hill. Still the train is in operating condition. Though I climbed the castle hill by foot. The Hungarian rulers used the palace for the purpose of royal activities from the 14th century. In 15th century the Ottomans avoided to destroy the palace and instead used the building as a warehouse for their military equipment and explosives. Most of the valuable artefacts were stolen by the Ottoman king Sultan Suleiman and brought to Istanbul. On the verge of the war between the Austrian and the Ottoman, the Austrian army knew that Turkish soldier keep their military explosives inside the royal palace. So to destroy the supply of the explosives Austrians targeted there canon towards the wall of the royal palace. It was known that when the Austrians invaded Budapest, there was so many of explosives stored in the palace that it took only one canon ball to trigger the explosion of royal palace. When the Turkish Ottoman left the city of Budapest the Austro-Hungarian government took the duty of rebuilding the palace.

During Second World War in the year of 1944 the last German soldiers took shelter on the castle hill. The Soviet started to bomb the city from the east sides of the Danube. They heavily bombarded the castle hill area and destroyed most of the established structures. Among those royal palace couldn’t be saved. During the time of the Soviets it was again repaired. After 1991 when the iron fist of the USSR vanished from the Eastern Europe the independent Hungarian government conducted massive refurbishment work of the palace and brought back it’s historic beauty.

On top of the castle there were also Matthias church and fisherman’s bastion. From here the whole city of Budapest is visible. The visibility of the vast city was tremendous. The Matthias church is around eight hundred years old. On the wall of the church the art describes the last one thousand years of Hungarian’s proud history. Inside the chapel house the statue of Jesus and Mother Mary are located. When Budapest was captured by the Muslim the Christian Hungarians cemented Mother Mary’s statue against the wall of the Matthias church. The next 150 years Turkish Muslims converted the church into mosque without having any knowledge about the secrecy of the Mary’s statue. In 1686 when the Austrian army attacked the city, the frightened Muslim soldiers hide inside the church. Hence when the Austrian blasted a massive explosion near the church the wall fractured and the statue of Mary came out of the wall. They myth says as soon as the Mother Mary came out of the wall she stared at the Muslim soldiers with a fiery eyes. This scared off the Muslim soldiers and they all ran away in fear. This is why Matthias church was the only location where the Austrian captured it without any fight. Fisherman’s bastion is located right beside the church. Though in modern time there is no more fish market but previously there used to be a market here. There are quite a lot beautiful statues were placed. Among them the most influential was a statue of the first king of Hungary St Peter’s.

The castle hill visit was the last stop of my Hungarian journey. I am tired and exhausted now because of the hot weather. It was middle of the year and I knew it will be hot in Hungary. Though I didn’t have any idea how hot will it get but after coming here I realised it was quite hot of around 28 degree Celsius. This heat has made slight tired and moreover after facing all of those unwanted experiences, troubles and hassle I was not really feeling too much optimistic to continue my travel in Hungary. Therefore, I am planning to leave Hungary tomorrow. So bye by Hungary, I will never ever come back again.

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