Budapest – Of Heores and Castles

We found ourselves at the Heroes’ Square in Budapest. Standing before us was a statue of the archangel Gabriel. At the base of the column was a group of seven mounted figures representing the Magyar chieftains who led the Hungarian people into the Carpathian basin. In the front of the magnificent seven was the famous Árpád considered the founder of the Hungarian nation.

I didn’t know that the Hungarians may have migrated from their original homeland near the Ural mountains in Asia and settled in various places in eastern Europe. Their language may have been inherited from the Finno-Ugric peoples which is related to the spoken languages of the Finnish and Estonian. Well according to history books the famous Árpád with his people galloped into the  Carpathian basin around 896 and founded the nation. The monument was built as a celebration of the millennium in 1896.

The seven fanciful figures at the base represent the seven Magyar tribal chieftains (whose names were Árpád, Elod, Ond, Kond, Tas, Huba, and Tétény) that came to the area in the ninth century.  They all looked brave and appeared real heroes to me.

Near to the monument is the Vajdahunyad Castle, a castle that was built between 1896 and 1908. It is a copy in part of a castle in Transylvania, Romania, that is also called Vajdahunyad. The castle displays a mix of different architectural styles: Romanic, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Originally it was made from cardboard and wood for the millennial exhibition in 1896 but it became so popular that it was rebuilt from stone and brick. In the court-yard, we found a group of students gathering together on the grass. They reminded me of my college days when my fellow classmates and I used to sit on the grass, discussing world matters as if the whole world was controlled by us.

The statue of Anonymus, also displayed in the Castle court, was a chronicler in the 12th century. He wrote the first history books on the ancient Hungarians, mostly based on legends. He was the unknown author of The Deeds of the Hungarians, a record of early Hungarian history. He described himself as Anonymi Bele Regis Notarii (‘the anonymous notary of king Bela’), but is generally cited as Anonymus.  In my simple mind, I thought Anonymus is still alive. . . . . . I have seen lots of his articles and letters of complains!

We then went up to the Castle Hill. The Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesques style situated on the Buda bank of the Danube, on the Castle hill. It was designed and built between 1895 and 1902. The Bastion takes its name from the guild of fishermen that was responsible for defending this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages. It is a viewing terrace, with many stairs and walking paths.

From the towers and the terrace a panoramic view exists of Danube, Pest to the east and Heroes’ Square at the far end of Andrássy út. We took a good rest on this terrace.

Gazing at the Danube and the beautiful Pest side, we were happy that we were given another interesting and sunny day in Budapest.