This is the story of my four days in the capital of Hungary in spring 2012 to discover the two facets of Budapest. Buda, the old town perched on its promontory and Pest the modern city sitting just below.
To the north of the Royal Castle, perched on the same ridge, the narrow streets of the Old Walled City stand out from the rest of the capital.
To get there, just take the funicular at the down station just in from of the Chain Bridge.
Although most houses date from the 18th century, the atmosphere remained medieval.
Fishermen's Bastion (Halászbástya) is only 100 years old, and is a favorite lookout. In medieval times, the fish market was nearby and the bastion was built to commemorate the fishermen who protected this part of the city.
Matthias Church (Matyas Templom) is the other Hungarian fetish church. It became a mosque under the Turks, was rebuilt at the end of the 19th century and witnessed the coronation of Francis Joseph.
It is one of the oldest buildings in Buda.
In the Parliament district you can also find other emblematic places such as the Chain Bridge, the shoes of the Danube or the monument of Imre Nagy in the Place des Martyrs.
The Parliament building, a magnificent example of Neo-Gothic architecture, is just over 100 years old. It's the third largest Parliament building in the world, and is also home to the Hungarian Crown Jewels.
The building was clearly inspired by Westminster in London.
Located in Pest, between Roosevelt tér and Kossuth tér, the Shoes of the Danube memorial commemorates the victims of the Holocaust. 60 pairs of iron shoes form a row along the river in memory of the people shot into the Danube during World War II.
St. Stephen's Basilica (Szent István Bazilika) is one of the most beautiful religious buildings in Budapest. Built in the years following the devastating flood of 1838, it was erected on the site of the hill where the inhabitants of Pest had taken refuge, thus saving a hundred lives.
At nightfall, the Danube adorns itself with its clothes of light and makes glitter its most beautiful jewels
Passage connecting several inner courtyards, Gozsdu Udvar is a pleasant and unlikely place to discover in the Jewish quarter.
Budapest isn't called the 'City of Baths' for nothing.
At the same time Meeting place, playground or cure: the baths are a bit all at once. They are part of everyday life, the Budapesters go there to recharge, discuss or even play.
The Gellért Baths are some of the most beautiful and elegant baths in Budapest. Its columned, Roman-style swimming pool may look familiar, as it is the most photographed spa of Hungary.
Located in City Park, the Széchenyi Baths are Budapest's largest medicinal bath and also one of Europe's largest public baths.
Gustave Eiffel is known for his Eiffel tower in Paris. What is said less is that this Frenchman has built many other constructions in some countries of europe, equally remarkable, like the covered market of Budapest.
This spectacular building is a good source of Hungarian products. You can also make it a pit-stop for a quick bite of traditional Hungarian food when touring the city. Shop with the locals for sausages, meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables and pastries. Fancy bottles of Tokaji, a variety of paprika and handicrafts are also available.
It was the former headquarters of the communist political police transformed into a museum that traces the history of the successive dictatorships undergone by the country.