April 23, 2015

HUNGARY (Budapest) - Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue (UNESCO WHS)

The history of what will became Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became, in the beginning of the Christian era, the capital of the Roman province Pannonia Inferior. The Huns, Lombards, Avars and Slavs passed through there, and in 829 Pannonia was annexed by the First Bulgarian Empire, which built two military frontier fortresses, Buda and Pest, situated on the two banks of Danube. At the end of the 9th century, the Magyar clan of Árpád arrived in the territory. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-1242.

The re-established town became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács (1526) and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, the city becaming a global one after the 1873 unification of Buda, Pest and Óbuda. It also became the second capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, dissolved in 1918, after the WWI.

Because Budapest offers one of the world's outstanding urban landscapes, and it kept the remains of monuments such as the Roman city of Aquincum and the Gothic castle of Buda, but also because in the19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century was a centre which absorbed, integrated and disseminated progressive European influences of urbanism and of architecture as well as modern technological developments, Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue was designated by UNESCO a World Heritage Site in 1987 (with an extension in 2002).

Budapest has retained the separate structural characteristics of the former cities of Pest, Buda and Óbuda. One example thereof is the Buda Castle Quarter with its medieval and characteristically Baroque style, which are distinct from the extended and uniquely homogeneous architecture of Pest. All this is organized into a unity arising from the varied morphological characteristics of the landscape and the Danube, the two banks of which are linked by a number of bridges.

The symbol of the development of the city as a modern metropolis was the radial Andrássy Avenue, which was included in the property in 2002. From 1872, the Avenue radically transformed the urban structure of Pest, together with the construction of the European continent’s first underground railway beneath it in 1893-1896. The scenic view of the banks of the Danube as part of the historic urban landscape is a unique example of the harmonious interaction between human society and a natural environment.

I presented separately on my blog the following parts of this UNESCO site:
Hungarian Parliament Building
The Fishermen's Bastion 
Heroes' Square
Saint Stephen's Basilica 
Buda Castle

Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue - UNESCO official website
Budapest - Wikipedia

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