The western part of today Budapest, Buda, was the capital of Hungary, mainly before the Ottoman conquest in the middle age. The city, which is about one third of Budapest was revitalized and reshaped by German settlers who gave it a Gothic look. It is still a pleasure to stroll through the narrow cobalt streets of the Castle District, which now houses numerous coffee bars and luxurious hotels. The most important building in Buda is the Buda Castle, which now hosts the Hungarian National Gallery, but Fisherman’s Bastion overwhelms it in picturesque look. Despite the architecture that makes the Bastion look like a fairytale castle, it is actually a new building, finished in 1905. The name of the Fisherman’s Bastion comes from the former fish market that was in place here, and from the activity that was familiar to many dwellers of the neighborhood in the past.

The Fisherman’s Bastion has one of the best views in town, overlooking the Pest across the Danube, with the iconic building of the Hungarian Parliament and St Stephen Cathedral. The view was the main reason for building here a luxurious Marriott hotel. The seven towers of the Fisherman’s Bastion are symbolic, representing the seven Magyar tribes. The style of the building, created by architect Frigyes Schulek, is Neo Gothic and Neo Romanesque. Shulek also created the ceramic tile of Matthias Church, a few meters away and designed the Vottive Church in Szeged.


Two other important monuments can be found in the proximity of the Fisherman’s Bastion: Matthias Church and the statue of Stephen I. The church, dedicated to Virgin Mary, has a history of a thousand years, during which it has seen reconstructions, coronations, including that of the last of the Habsburgs, and a dramatic transformation into a mosque, during the Ottoman conquest. Unlike Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the church returned to its original purpose, with different Gothic ornaments and improvements made by Frigyes Shulek in the end of the 19th century.

Near the church is an equestrian statue of St Stephen I, the first king of Hungary. The Hungarians, who call Stephen Istvan, reveare him as national patron, canonized by the Pope.

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