1. Budapest is hot
Literally, since Budapest has more thermal springs than any other capital city in the world. An amazing 70 million liters of thermal water rises to the surface daily. The hot springs have given birth to dozens of medicinal baths and to a bathing culture dating back to Roman times.
2. Budapest is home to the third largest Parliament building in the world
The Parliament Building covers an area of 18,000 sq meters (193,750 sq feet), it has 691 rooms, 20 kilometers (12,5 miles) of stairs and it is 96 meters (315 feet) high. There are 90 statues on the façade and 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of 23-carat gold was used to decorate the interior. Building begun in 1885 and the Neo-Gothic palace was completed in 1902.
3. Budapest has the oldest subway-line in mainland Europe
After London, Budapest has the oldest underground train system in Europe. The line opened in 1896 in the year when Hungary celebrated its 1000th anniversary, hence the name Millennium Underground. It’s still in use as subway M1 and it connects the city center with City Park.
4. Budapest is home to the second largest synagogue in the world
And to the largest synagogue in Europe. The Dohány Street Synagogue can accommodate 3,000 worshipers, it is 44 meters (144 feet) high and it covers an area of 2000 sq meters (21,528 sq feet). The synagogue was built between 1854 and 1859 in Neo-Moorish style.
5. Budapest is big on art and culture
There are more than 40 theaters and over 100 museums and galleries in the city. Many concerts, festivals and events are held year-round, not to mention performances at the famous Opera House, which is considered to be among the best opera houses in the world.
6. The Budapest Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world
The Budapest Zoo opened its doors in 1865 and in addition to the animals it features a number of noteworthy Art Nouveau buildings and structures, like the Elephant House, the Palm House and the main entrance.
7. The northernmost holy place of Islam is in Budapest
It’s the burial place of a Turkish dervish, named Gül Baba, who came to Hungary during the Turkish invasion in the 16th century. He was honored as a holy man and after he died in 1541 his tomb in Buda became an Islamic sacred place and a site of pilgrimage. The chapel, built between 1543 and 1548, is one of the few remaining Turkish buildings in Budapest. Other noteworthy buildings include the Király and Rudas Turkish baths.
8. Budapest is home to one of the largest music festivals in the world
Around 400,000 people from all over the world flock to the Sziget Festival every August. The week-long celebration of music is named after the Shipyard Island (Hajógyári sziget) where the festival is held.
9. Budapest is the biggest city in Hungary
20% of Hungary’s population lives in Budapest. So, every 5th person in Hungary is a ‘Budapester’.
10. Budapest was not always the capital of Hungary
Until the 13th century Esztergom, the birth and coronation place of St. Stephen the first king of Hungary, was the capital of Hungary. After the Mongolian invasion in 1241-1242 King Béla IV moved the Royal Seat to Buda, seeking protection. Today’s Budapest was formed in 1873 through the joining of three cities: Buda, Pest and Óbuda (Old Buda).