Castle District

DESTINATIONS hungary budapest castle-district

Most of Buda’s major sights are in the Castle District, also known asVárhegy (Castle Hill), a long, narrow plateau laced with cobblestone streets, clustered with beautifully preserved baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance houses, and crowned by the magnificent Royal Palace. The area is banned to private cars (except for those of neighborhood residents and Hilton hotel guests), but the streets manage to be lined bumper to bumper with shiny new Opels, Suzukis, Mercedes, and (the once ubiquitous and now rare) Trabants all the same—the only visual element to verify you’re not in a fairy tale. As in all of Budapest, thriving urban new has taken up residence in historic old; international corporate offices, diplomatic residences, restaurants, and boutiques occupy many of its landmark buildings. The most striking example, perhaps, is the Hilton Hotel on Hess András tér, which has incorporated remains of Castle Hill’s oldest church (a tower and one wall), built by Dominican friars in the 13th century.

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