A Brief History of Castle Hill
The first citizens arrived to Castle Hill in the 13th century after the Mongolian invasion, seeking protection in the hills of Buda. The first royal castle was built around this time. The golden age of Castle Hill was in the 15th century, following the marriage of King Matthias Corvinus and Beatrix of Naples in 1476. Many Italian artists and craftsmen accompanied the new queen, and Buda became an important European city. After the Turkish occupation, Buda was in ruins. A Baroque city was built, and Castle Hill soon became the district of government. During World War II, Buda was bombed to the ground and had to be rebuilt again.
Today, Castle Hill is recognized as a World Heritage Site, and has many must-see attractions, Gothic arches, eighteenth-century Baroque houses and cobblestone streets. Though Castle Hill has changed much since building began in the 13th century, its main streets still follow their medieval paths. Some houses date back to the 14th and 15th centuries, giving us an idea of what the Castle District may have looked like back then. Practically every house has a plaque indicating the century in which it was built, and providing details of its history. A surprising number of the buildings are still private homes, as Castle Hill is also a residential area. Cars have been banned - only people who live and work here are allowed to drive; however, public transportation is available.
Buda Castle Hill is also home to a large interconnected cellar system that consists of natural caves created by thermal waters and man-made passageways. Inhabitants have used the caverns for centuries for storage and shelter. The earliest traces of human life found here are 500,000 years old. Part of the cellar system can be toured at the Buda Castle Labyrinth and at the Hospital in the Rock Museum.
Things to Do and See on Castle Hill
Your best option is to walk along the cobblestone streets and discover Castle Hill at your own pace. Take your time, as there is a lot to see and do, and exploring Castle Hill can take an entire day. If you don’t have much time, visit Trinity Square, Matthias Church (Mátyás templom) and Fishermen’s Bastion (Halászbástya). Various events are held at Castle Hill year round. Our Castle Hill walking tour includes all the major sights, as well as recommended cafés and restaurants to stop for some refreshments. To get an insider's look into historic landmarks and learn about the past while strolling along (and beneath) the cobblestone streets sign up for the Mysteries of Castle District Tour.