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The UNESCO World Heritage sites in Budapest include all the important historic and cultural monuments that make the Hungarian capital one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

With a little bit of historical background these outstanding buildings and vistas tell you how Budapest evolved from a small village into a vibrant metropolis.

The first World Heritage Sites in Budapest

In 1987 Unesco decided to include the Castle District and the Danube embankment in their World Heritage programme . The main reason they did so is that Budapest incorporates many historic and cultural sights that depict important periods from the story of the city.

Castle District

In the Castle District you'll find several-centuries of Budapest history condensed.

Numerous sieges, wars and natural disasters destroyed much of the original Castle Quarter, but still its beauty and charm will enchant you. Although reconstruction works managed to preserve remains of the earliest monuments, mainly Baroque buildings dominate the districts today.

The Royal Palace plays an important role not only in Budapest's but in the country's cultural life. The palace's medieval part houses the Budapest Historical Museum. The National Gallery, the National Szechenyi Library and the Ludwig Museum with contemporary exhibitions are also there.

In the heart of the Castle District, on Holy Trinity Square (Szentharomsag ter), stands the capital's most famous temple, Matthias Church. The more than 700-year old church witnessed many coronations and royal weddings. Its Gothic tower together with the turreted Fishermen's Bastion (Halaszbastya) in the background are among the best known landmarks of Budapest. The Castle District well deserves to be part of the Unesco's World Heritage sites.

Let me tell you two more things I love about this historic quarter of Budapest:

Walking on its cobbled, romantic streets in an early spring morning (before the tourists arrive) and the breathtaking panorama of the Danube; with the bridges and Pest embankment, with the dominating Parliament building facing me.

If not for its World Heritage status than for the two above benefits you must not miss visiting the Castle District in Buda.

Danube Embankment

You can descend from Castle Hill by the cogwheel railway (entrance at Fishermen's Bastion), and you'll arrive at Clark Adam Square.

The whole Danube embankment from the Gellert Hill to the Rudas Baths forms a harmonic integrity including the Danube Bridges and the opposite Pest side with the imposing Budapest Parliament and other outstanding architectural masterpieces.

The first permanent connection between Buda and Pest, the Chain Bridge (Szechenyi Lanchid) spans the Danube between Clark Adam Square and Roosevelt Square. The white and graceful Elizabeth Bridge (Erzsebet hid) and the Liberty Bridge (Szabadsag hid) provide additional links, making the two city parts a whole entity.

Near the Pest end of the Chain Bridge you can admire two architectural gems:

Four Seasons Gresham Palace - Budapest, Hungary.
The Neo-Renaissance Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Gresham Palace; where the Four Seasons Hotel provides for your luxury accommodation.

Behind the Parliament buildings stand Budapest's largest church, St. Stephen's Basilica.

More Budapest World Heritage Sites added in 2002

Andrassy Avenue and its Environs

Andrassy Avenue and its environs are the most beautiful parts of Budapest. The elegant mansions and villas along its sides display architectural styles from the second half of the 19th century.

The avenue received its name after Count Gyula Andrassy, Hungary's prime minister between 1867-1971, who cared about Budapest and did much to develop it into a true metropolis.

Numerous important cultural and historic buildings stand along the road, like the Budapest Opera House or the Millennium Monument.

On Heroes' Square, two great museums can be found on its sides: The Museum of Fine Arts and the Hall of Art (Mucsarnok).

Continental Europe's first underground line (M1 or yellow metro line) runs underneath the wide avenue, connecting the bustling downtown Budapest with the City Park behind Heroes' Square.

The park is a place for entertainment and relaxation with the Amusement Park, Budapest Zoo and Botanical Gardens and the Szecheny Baths.

The lake entices you to rowing in summer or ice skating in winter.

When you visit the capital of Hungary, it's a good idea to start your Budapest sightseeing with visiting its World heritage sites.

By Erzsebet Dobos.

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