Budapest Stories and Tips

Breathe Mediterranean Air

1. Szentendre, a small town constructed right on one bank of the Danube, can be reached easily by frequent HEV suburban train from Batthyany ter in Buda in about 30 minutes. The narrow winding streets, alleys, small squares, Orthodox churches, Baroque houses, interesting museums, and small shops have all contributed in making the town an attraction for visitors. Every summer, the atmosphere in Szentendre becomes similar to that within a medieval Sicilian village or a small town in Crete. Though more oriented towards tourism, the town is nonetheless calm and relaxing.

2. The HEV train station in Szentendre is a bit out of town in Dunakanyar korut. From here, walk through the subway and then along the whole lengths of Kossuth Lajos utca and Dumtsa Jeno utca. From the north end of the latter, you can see Szentendre's atmospheric main square Fo ter ahead of you. The wrought iron Plague Cross in the middle of the square decorated with small icons is the symbol of the town.

3. Nowhere in Hungary will you find a town similar to Szentendre, where dozens of art galleries and museums meet you on every street and at every corner. Since days gone by, Hungarian artists flocked to Szentendre to experience the tranquillity and beauty of the Danube Bend. At Vastagh Gyorgy utca 1, the Margit Kovacs Museum containing the artistic works of a Hungarian is of a special mention. The Ferenczy Museum at Fo ter 6 has a wonderful exhibition of handmade tapestries while the Amos Anna Museum at Bogdanyi utca 12 contains a unique exhibition of 20th-century paintings, the work of Anna Amos and her husband. Don't miss the small marzipan shop-museum near the Tourist Information Office in Dumtsa Jeno utca. Many items inside the shop-museum are for sale and all are edible.

4. Szentendre's city centre boasts five churches. The first one that comes your way is the Pozarevacka church at Kossuth Lajos utca 1, a Serbian Orthodox church with a beautiful iconostasis worth seeing. The simple Catholic church of St.Peter and St.Paul at Peter Pal utca 6 has nothing worthy of note. From Fo ter, walk towards the corner between Bogdanyi utca and Gorog utca. Here you can see the Baroque Blagovestenska Church, an Orthodox edifice with a wonderful iconostasis and magnificent interior works of art. The church on Castle Hill on Templom ter is the parish church of St.John, a Gothic building which was rebuilt several times over the centuries. From Castle Hill, look north to see the red tower of Belgrade Cathedral some distance away. The Serbian ecclesiastical museum housed in a building nearby contains icons, church vestments, precious objects, and numerous unusual portraits, all worth viewing for their artistic value.

5. Besides museums and churches, there are many small shops from where you can buy souvenirs to take back home. Ceramics, engravings, old prints, embroidery and more can be found inside shops along pedestrianised Bogdanyi utca, a real shoppers' paradise. For Russian icons, stroll along Duna Korzo right in front of the river. If you are lucky, you can even come across an original icon, for which, of course, you have to pay dearly.

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