What’s happening in Budapest to celebrate the Hungarian capital’s 150th birthday

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Anniversary Celebrations

Commemorating Budapest’s 150th Anniversary: Festivities and New Accommodations

This content was created by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

Among the four capital cities lining the Danube’s banks, there is one that has an unparalleled relationship with the river. Prior to the official merger on November 17, 1873, Budapest’s two halves, Buda and Pest, were distinct entities. Buda, perched on a hill with its castle, faced the flat expanse of Pest across the river. The Széchenyi Chain Bridge, completed in 1849, fundamentally transformed the city’s geography, permanently linking Buda and Pest. This iconic stone and iron bridge, closed for renovations for two years, is set to reopen in the autumn, serving as a meaningful gift to the city on its 150th birthday. Visitors will also be delighted to discover new and captivating hotels.

Highlighted Activities

The locals have already embraced the initial wave of nearly 100 celebratory activities, including open-air film screenings in the historic Széchenyi Baths. The Budapest History Museum introduces a fresh exhibition that delves into the merged identity of the city, while the Pest waterfront has been decluttered to facilitate walking and cycling. The summer season culminates in a celebration at the Római lido in Óbuda, the lesser-known third element of the capital.

As the anniversary date nears, the festivities intensify. September will witness a free concert by the Budapest Festival Orchestra at Heroes’ Square, featuring the debut of a new overture dedicated to the capital. An enticing contribution to the city’s future comes in the form of the ‘Budapest 150 torta’. With its rich café culture, the city has organized a competition to craft a new cake that captures the flavors of 1873. The winner will be unveiled on the grand day, joining the ranks of renowned Hungarian desserts like Esterházy and Dobos tortes.

Staying at a UNESCO Heritage Site

For travelers seeking accommodations, Budapest offers several options, including staying within a UNESCO Heritage site building.

New Hotel Offerings

  1. Verno House: Launched in late 2022, Verno House occupies a prime spot in Pest’s Liberty Square, sharing its surroundings with the Hungarian National Bank and the US Embassy. The 50 rooms, adorned in soothing shades and gentle contours, echo the lush greenery outside, complemented by botanical photo prints on the walls. The Flava restaurant and bar also embrace the flora theme, offering a Mexican-inspired menu.

  2. W Budapest: Guests attending the opera at W Budapest won’t require a taxi ride back home, as the hotel faces the grand State Opera House. Housed in the former Drechsler Palace, which drew inspiration from French châteaux in the 1890s, this 151-room hotel, introduced this summer, is infused with art deco elements.

  3. Dorothea Hotel: Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and scheduled to open later this year on Vörösmarty Square, Dorothea Hotel boasts a five-star rating. Positioned directly across from Gerbeaud, Budapest’s renowned café, the 216-room hotel seamlessly combines design elements from three historical epochs, featuring a top-floor Danube-view restaurant.

This piece was featured in the September 2023 edition of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

To subscribe to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine, click here. (Available in specific countries only).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Anniversary Celebrations

What is the significance of Budapest’s 150th anniversary celebration?

Budapest’s 150th anniversary marks the official unification of Buda and Pest on November 17, 1873, creating the modern city. It’s a celebration of their shared history and vibrant culture.

What are some of the notable events during the celebration?

The festivities include outdoor film screenings, historical exhibitions, and a free concert by the Budapest Festival Orchestra. There’s also a unique competition to create the ‘Budapest 150 torta,’ a cake representing flavors from 1873.

Tell me about the new hotels mentioned in the text.

Verno House, situated in Liberty Square, and W Budapest, facing the State Opera House, are two newly established hotels with distinct themes and luxurious amenities. Additionally, Dorothea Hotel, opening on Vörösmarty Square, offers a blend of historical eras and a Danube-view restaurant.

What can travelers expect from Budapest’s anniversary celebrations?

Travelers can immerse themselves in the city’s rich history and culture through a variety of events, explore renovated landmarks like the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, and experience the charm of newly opened hotels while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of Budapest.

How can I access the complete article from National Geographic Traveller (UK)?

You can read the full article in the September 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine. To subscribe, visit their website. (Availability varies by country)

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