This weekend will be dedicated to fine gourmet moments. Every year my favorite outdoor festival is organized at the Millenáris Park, which is a nice, green surrounding in the heart of the city. We were lucky with the weather on Thursday, that was the first day of the event. Charming stands welcome the food-lovers accompanied by the best chefs and outstanding wineries. Hungarian sparkling wine experiences a rise, Sauskaand Kreinbacher are offering their best selections. Bliss, bliss! I’m so happy to meet familiar faces from my beloved Tokaj wine region: Grand Tokaj, Béres, Barta, Holdvölgy, Royal, Tokaj, Sauska, Zsadányi, Tokajicum and Grof Degenfeld wineries are present at the event.
The entrance ticket can be purchased online or on spot. It comes with a tasting glass, a glass of wine at the Grand Tokaj, the Tokajicum and welcome beer, plus some street food bites at the Electrolux stand. This weekend you can taste the best cuisine created for the event by more than 60 bistros, restaurants and confectioneries. Join me for a culinary experience now!
HERE is the list of all kind of food you can taste during the festival. Every year three topics are featured, this time the following ingerients are chosen: paprika, bread and beer. I must admit, that delicious creations and bizarre pairings were born as well, I was curiously tasting the Bori Mami’s menu. My favorite Gyöngyös - based restaurant is well-known for its creativity, professionalism and its amazing staff. Traditions and modernity are both joined in the menu by building a bridge between past and present. The entree goes perfectly with a good glass of champagne, Hungarian lecsó with truffle, pure harmony! The second course is gray cattle with beer, the meat was cooked in a kind of pasta, the spices and flavors are such a perfect match. I was skeptical about the dessert first: noodles with blood and plump might sound strange, but if you think about it, it all has some sweet taste and the creation was just delicious.
Cheers! – Drink selections
You won’t stay thirsty at the festival, there is a wide selection of drinks this weekend. Besides wine and champagne you can enjoy whiskey by Jameson and other short drinks, coffee and Belgien beer. At the stand ofDiVino and Bortársaságtaste a wide variety of premium selections! You might see me snipping a glass of champagne at my favorite Taittinger stand.
Programs and workshops
Check out the upcoming EVENTS! You can enroll into special courses and tastings as well as lunches and dinners dreamed up by the most talented chefs in Hungary. I’m participating in the Ferrari masterclass on Saturday afternoon, tickets are still can be purchased HERE! I can’t wait to taste the best of their sparkling divines! Besides the exclusive workshops, there are great programs going on all day on the gastro stage. Learn about paprika, cocktails, food and cultures, you can deep into different topics related to gastronomy. Kids won’t be left out neither, at the kids' corner children are registered for fun courses, they can make little cakes and get to know the basics of cooking and baking.
All in all it’s a lovely weekend with exceptional programs and tasting. Experience the culinary diversity with me!
The whole Danube Palace turned to be a special scene on Friday: Spanish Fiesta, elegant cavas, exciting wine courses. It was the first time that Vino Castillo - specialized on Spanish wine - organized its grand wine tasting event in Budapest.
Wine courses: World of cava, top selections and food pairing
The program started at noon, the first presentations were dedicated to the fantastic world of cava. This refreshing, bubbly drink is produced in the Penedés area in Catalonia and it represents a light, elegant style with unique character. Eight wineries introduced themselves and we had the chance to taste their sparkling miracles. According to Agusti - the owner of Agusti Troello Mata - you should drink cava for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He is 85 years old, so he probably knows what he is talking about. From the company's selection we tried a standard product from 2011, made from Grand Reserve. Crispy and complex, it was one of my favorite ones.
Let me briefly introduce you another very traditional winery called LIopart, this is the 25th generation in the row, the winemaker himself is 90 years old and he is so passionate about his job. The vineyards are just about 15 kilometers far away from the sea and they are surrounded by the hills. No wonder that in this special climate great selections are born. Some of the grapes are over 70 year-old and the company only uses their own grapes. The cava from 2012 was gold and creamy with a hint of salt due to the sea.
We tasted a limited selection from Rimarts. The owners are the three brothers, their father settled down the company and shortly after making this special cava, he passed away. We tasted his last creation, that's not available on the market anymore. The label is white and empty, but if you have a closer look, you are able to touch the father's name on it. This is how the brothers commemorates their father, heart-rending indeed. It was such an honor to taste his wine from 2007 made from 100% Chardonnay.
The second course was focusing on top selections from white to red types, we could taste the best products of Spain. I got to know a very typical grape called albarino and tasted the wine from Paco&Lola, a very modern, innovative company that spreads the world with their premium wines in 45 countries. Albarino is grape with botanical aroma, I felt a touch of ocean flavor and some minerality in their wine. I'm really into red wine types, so I couldn't wait to taste the best ones from the Rioja region. I must say that all the wines at the course represented a high quality, in many cases they do biodynamic farming, passion and tradition above all. From the red ones my favorite was Bodegas LAN from 2015. I immediately noticed the chocolate and red fruit notes in this special product.
The highlight of the day was the wine and food pairing course. Pata Negra, the Spanish tapas bar prepared the fine bites strictly from the best ingredients: Grape, cheese, salmon paté and ham variations matching the style and flavor of the seven presented wines. It was just a pure bliss. At the end of the day we tasted sherry from Lustau. It's a world-class benchmark from 1896. The dark mahogany colored drink offered vibrant notes of maple syrup, raisin and nuts.
After the wine courses you could enjoy the ultimate Spanish Fiesta downstairs with live music, dance and a lot more wineries from all around Spain. Wine is culture, art and way of life to me. Enjoy the unique Spanish selections by Vino Castillo everyday!
This beautiful island is stretching on the Danube between the Margaret and Árpád bridges and it's very popular among the locals. I personally enjoy my morning jogging with a small yoga section here a few times every week. The 5 km running track is flat and offers a nice view.
Do we know this charming place in depths? I left the well-known paths and this morning I discovered the green oasis of Budapest like never before! Join me for an irregular running routine and explore the island with me! The tram nr 4/6 has its own stop called Margaret island, that's the easiest way to get here. Walk from the Margaret bridge towards the Árpád bridge and you will make a circle. You can also rent bikes and all kind of tandems close to the Centenary Monument, fun way to get around! Enjoy the Danube breeze and the spring flowers!
Quick history - Old ruins
The island used to be three little, separate islands, later on due to the Danube regulations it got merged in the 19th century. In the Middle Ages the place used to be called the island of rabbits and famous kings used it as a hunting reserve. The Hungarian king Béla IV. had a daughter, Margaret, she moved to the island, rejected the royal luxury and settled down the first cloister here, she became a nun. The island is named after her. In the 13th century a Dominican and a Franciscan church were built here, that shows the importance of the island in history. You can still visit the ruins and step back in time. In the shadows of the Dominican remains, where Saint Margaret used to live, you will find her grave.
There is not much left from the original Franciscan church, that was built by King Béla IV as well. In the 19th century this building was in ruins but the Habsburgs decided to rebuild it as a holiday complex. It used to be called the Nádor Guesthouse. It was an extremely popular place among writers and poets in the 19th century.
Nature all around
Apart from a few sport facilities and hotels, there are no more buildings on the island, but you will find some very old, rare trees and a peaceful Japanese Garden close to the Árpad bridge.It's perfect for a romantic walk with its fish pond and rock garden especially during spring time, when everything is blooming. Here you can be in harmony with the nature.
In the middle of the park you will pass by some rare, old trees, these are huge ones. Look at the so called London plane tree, that was planted in 1823 and is called the Ancient sycamore. Close to this special tree another London plane is standing, you will spot its silver colors easily, that's the reason it's name is Silver sycamore.
This is a very nice example of Secession style architecture, the water supply of the island is provided by this tower. An open-air stage has been operated on spot since 2011, every summer you can enjoy concerts, musicals and all kind of performances here, at the maximum 3000 people can watch the show at the same time. Check out the upcoming programs HERE!
Saint Michael's Chapel
Close to the water tower you will find a special chapel hiding. It was originally built in the 12th century, but later on it was totally destroyed during the Ottoman invasion. What we see today is the renovated version from 1930. In the 20th century a storm twisted out a walnut tree and right under that the original bell was found, after this miraculous story excavation works were carried out in the region, when some of the formal monastery was also exposed.
Many people come here to relax in the hidden gardens and it's just so lovely that you are surrounded by the Danube. If you've never visited the place before, get on tram nr 4/6 and discover the secrets of the Margaret island!
Summer time the island shows its different face, I will reveal my favorite open-air bar and the magical fountains in June.
Did you know that our zoo is one of the oldest one in the world with its history of over 150 years? Due to the Hungarian revolution of 1848 the opening of the place got postponed, but finally it opened its gate in the heart of Budapest. Among the first animals there was a giraffe, that was a gift from Queen Elisabeth and Franz Joseph. After the golden age, the zoo experienced its darkest time during the WWII, when it was bombed and most of the buildings were destroyed. The animals were eaten by the starving people during the siege. It took so long till the place was finally restored and reopened again in the '50-s.
Since that it's a popular place in the city. The area is pretty nice, the zoo is surrounded by the City Park and it's very close to the Heroes Square. The historical, yellow metro line takes you directly to the district.
As soon as you arrive, pay attention to the architecture, the details are brilliant examples of Secessionist style. The Elephant House is my absolute favorite one with its oriental features mixed with Indian elements and colorful decorations inside. A truly elegant home for the elephants!
Another emblematic sight is the Owls House, which belongs to the oldest buildings at the premise. It was originally the home of birds and wolfs. Today you can only visit the ruins and it's housing different kind of temporary exhibitions.
Plenty of signs are giving us directions, there are different sections from Africa, Asia, America and Europe. You can visit the whole place within a good 2 hour. Pleasant walk surrounded by nature and animals. Check out the upcoming shows at the entrance, the seal show is pretty amazing!
Let me show you my favorite part of the zoo: this is the Japanese garden, it stretches close to the lake as a peaceful oasis of the park. It presents a rich collection of plants, where you can feel peace and harmony. Each section of the garden is carefully planned, since every element has its own purpose. The basic is respecting the nature. Once a Japanese landscape designer Shiro Nakane said, the goal is: “not to make a new nature but to make a copy of existing, desirable nature.”
What are the main elements of a Japanese garden? Water sustains life and it's also the symbol of life flowing. You will see stones, because water and stones are like Yin and Yang, according to the Japanese they complement each other. I'm not sure what's the reason behind, but this garden is truly unique, check it out and enjoy the atmosphere!
The zoo is very kid-friendly with its playgrounds and animal programs, but it's also a great experience for adults. Check out their upcoming events and concerts! The best part is yet to come, a huge animal and plant park, called Biodom will belong to the zoo, which is under construction right now. According to the plans it will be a modern structure with rare animals and a wide range of programs, an exclusive initiation in whole Europe. I will check it out as soon as it's ready. Enjoy your stay in this lovely city and keep tuned for more programs!
Fisherman's Bastion is a very popular place in Budapest, the location and the view is exceptional. Do you know the story of the place? Did you know that just a few steps away a less well-known cloister is hiding? Join me for today's discovery in my city!
The white bastions over Budapest
Fairytale-like sights on the Castle Hill, the seven bastions like guards are standing with their white towers, symbolizing the seven chieftains, who led the nation into their new home to the Carpathian Basin. The structure was built on the remaining walls of the fortress and it was named after the fishermen's guild, who protected this part in the Middle Ages. There used to be little gate, that served as a direct connection to the Danube and fresh fish arrived through the passage early morning. The fish market was located just two corners away from today's Matthias church. The fortress overlooked the so called Watertown part of the city, that used to be the fishermen's home, who lived close to the Danube. The whole building complex features a rather romantic, old-fashioned mood, even though the modern structure was built at the end of the 19th century.
Right next to the Fishermen's Bastion, we can admire the oldest church of Buda, the Matthias Church. The original house of God served the locals since the 13th century. The coronation of the Hungarian kings used to take place at that very spot. During the Ottoman occupation it was used as the main mosque of Buda. Today it features a breathtaking Neo-Gothic style, the colored roof and the stain glass windows are taking us back to history. Inside a calm and warm atmosphere is settling down the mood. Now let's walk to a hidden beauty, located inside the Hotel Hilton.
Old monastery courtyard inside the hotel
Just a few steps away from the busy crowd of tourists, enter the Hilton complex from the Monarchia Exlusive jewelry shop, make a turn right and you will arrive to the courtyard of a monastery from the 13th century. A chapel used to be here before the cloister was constructed on spot. Basically the Hotel Hilton was built in the 70's on the ruins of a medieval cloister and school. The stone windows and the carved archways like a small museum can be visited for free. From outside you will notice the Saint Nicholas tower immediately, that was restored in a Gothic style.
While entering, you can imagine the original size of the monastery, a school was linked right to the building, even King Matthias supported the college in the 15th century, at that time it had a good reputation all around Europe. During the Turkish period the place was damaged and started to fade. The Baroque time did not bring its shine back neither, the building was renovated, although it was used as a food storage for many years. Due to the Hilton construction, it was possible to preserve some old memories and a small museum part was created here. If you have a few minutes, have a look at it inside! On the corridor a temporary exhibition can be visited, right now you can admire the modern art works by Bubble Arts Projects at this unique site.
Hope you loved this place as much as I do. Let's explore Budapest next week as well!
Spring hasn’t arrived yet. Are you seeking for colors at the end of winter? Go for a walk in Budapest and explore the vibrant firewalls all around the city! Besides bringing colors to the streets, the aim is to restore those walls, that are in bad condition. I’m showing you the most unique pieces, join me for a pleasant early spring walk!
Firewalls in the Jewish Quarter
Honestly I was so lost in the Jewish quarter first, but as soon as you've found the Great Synagogue, you are at the right place to discover unique street art. Just follow the Wesselényi street right behind the Synagogue, both sides you will see street names like Kazinczy, Klauzál, Akácfa, Rumbach Sebestény and Király, the firewall art works can be found around that area. The empty walls would be looking so sad without all the creative, colorful paintings, that make the streets full of life.
Rumbach street is hosting a couple of beautiful paintings, here you will find the Rubik’s cube and Match of the century. Rubik’s cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented by a Hungarian professor, Ernő Rubik. My absolute favorite one is the Sissy painting right in front of the Rumbach Synagogue. The painting is dedicated to the Queen of Hungary, inside you can read the street names of the district.
Match of the century
Art works of the Gozsdu Courtyard
From Király street you can enter the mysterious connections of courtyards, the place is famous for its pubs and bars. At the entrace have a look at the street scene which shows us the Király street in the old times. If you walk through the courtyards right to the end, you can discover another piece of art next to Vicky Barcelona Bar, the Refugee girl was released on the UN National Refugee Day (20th June) and it’s constantly raising attention to their situation.
Akácfa Street – Four stunning firewalls
The easiest way is to get back to Wesselényi street and walk towards Akácfa street. The three colorful swallows are painted by Breakone, the work is the symbol of calmness. A few steps away Lucas Berger from Poland created the art called Chill or rampage, which is very much in harmony with the colors of the neighborhood. The seamstress is a very nice work, which was accomplished in the honor of the tailors. Inside the house there is a tailor operating since 1926. The last one is called the „Canga”, it's the nickname of the bicycle, the work is dedicated to the bicyclists in the city.
Chill or rampage
Wesselényi street - The crystal tree
Follow the Wesselényi street and enjoy the view of the Crystal tree. It was launched by the Polish Institute and the painting is the symbol of Hungarian – Polish friendship. It’s dedicated to the cultural merge of the two nations.
Crystal tree reflections in my sunglasses
A huge gray cattle is grazing in the middle of Budapest. The scene is perfect for the busy city center and it represents a real Hungaricum. I’ve found another row of Hungaricums at a parking spot on the Kertész street.
One of the prettiest art work is the Grocery, it makes the impression, that the whole painting is alive. Stunning colors, which makes the area look much nicer.
Barcsay street art
Walk for about 10 minutes towards the great boulevard, where tram 4/6 is passing by and look for the Barcsay street! Inside the Madách High School at the yard have a look at a huge painting that brings you back in time to the busy boulevard of Budapest.
Art works in the 5th district
Close to Váci street and the Elisabeth Bridge, just around the corner a very colorful painting is setting the mood of the area, this is the Wonder stag, its legend is part of the Hungarian mythology. The second firewall is the result of the Colorful City Festival, you can visit the art work about a Fairy tale at the Sas street. With the help of the Lara application on your phone, you can also watch a short animation by daylight.
Take a tram Nr 4/6 till Oktogon, 5 minutes from there at the Dessewffy street, a beuatiful sihoutte of the woman is raising everyone’s attention, however I’m not sure how long it can be seen, since construction works are carried out just in front of the firewall. The painting is dedicated to a fashion award, where Anett Farkas, Hungarian designer won with her creations. On the lady you can see one of her dresses.
Enjoy the special cityscape and have a look at these outstanding pieces of art, some of them are temporary creations only, and due to the ongoing contruction works in Budapest, you never know how long there pieces can be visited. There are some more paintings in the city, please send me your favorite one and come strolling the streets with me next time!
What a sunny day, spring is in the air, come and walk outside, discover Budapest with me! There are many iconic sights in the city, Heroes Square definitely belongs to those. This is the place, where during WWII the Hungarian soldiers waved goodbye to their families and they were welcomed back here as well. The square was an important historical scene in the past.
It's situated at the end of the Adrássy Avenue and its embraces a beautiful building complex in the City Park. Did you know that in the Middle Ages the area used to be a popular hunting field for the kings and a huge part of it was covered by swamp. The park project was developed only in the 18th century, when finally it belonged to the largest public parks in Europe.
In 1896 the country celebrated the 1000th anniversary, that the first Hungarian tribe settled down in the Carpthian Basin. In the frame of the Millennium Exhibition amazing pieces of art works were open for public in the City Park. The facilities that were built at that time are still important sights today: the Millennium Monument in the middle, the colonnades and the two museums on both sides.
In the middle of the square have a look at monument with Archangel Gabriel on the top, holding the Holy Crown and the double cross in both hands, these are the symbols of statehood and apostolic kingdom. The bronze statues below feature the Hungarian tribe leaders starting with Árpád in the middle, he was the chieftain when occupying the territory.
The two sem-circular colonnades are dedicated to the most important leaders who played a significant role in Hungary's life. Originally the last 5 places were occupied by Habsburg leaders, however they were removed in the Soviet era. The first figure is our king, Saint Stephen who established the Hungarian state and converted the people to Christianity. This step was crucial in our history, without him the Hungarian tribes could have just disappeared in the past. The last statue is dedicated to Lajos Kossuth, a politician from the 19th century, he was playing a big role in the Declaration of Independence, therefore his figure is very much identified with freedom. He was called the "Washington of Hungary" in America, he is the only foreigner who has a statue in the United States Capitol.
King Saint Stephen
The two museums
The square's atmosphere is very much determined by the two eclectic style museums. If you are standing in front of the Millennium Monument, the Exhibition Hall is on your right hand. This place is richly decorated, the tympanum is featuring Saint Stephen, our first king. The Neoclassic-style building is dedicated to temporary exhibitions. On the other side the Museum of Fine Arts is shining in its glory, since it has been renewed and opened just lately. The eclectic architectural style is spiced up with some Greek and Renaissance influence. Inside you can check out a valuable masterpieces and historical collections: prints and drawings, collection of Egyptian Art, old sculptures and so much more.
Museum of Fine Arts
Memorial Stone of Heroes and the bronze plaque
In the middle of the square you will find a grave and a plaque right next to eachother. The memorial stone is not a real grave, nobody is buried there but it commemorates all the Hungarian soldiers who died in the wars. The bronze plaque reminds us the first thermal spring that was found in the area and with a special technique developed by Vilmos Zsigmondy, even today this spring is one of the main sources of the Széchenyi Bath in the City Park.
Thank you for joining me for a walk at a special place, for more Budapest insider stories follow me on Instagram or Facebook!
This time of the year carnival fever spreads the whole world: colorful parades, mysterious masks, endless parties. The famous carnival of Venice dates back to the 12th century even since that it turns the city into a big colorful party. Everybody knows the popular Rio carnival, which draws over two million people to Brazil. Let’s celebrate the end of winter time, come and explore a historical event with me in Budapest! Here come the best moments on the 102th Széchenyi Grand Ball.
Exclusive venue: The Redoute
The Pesti Vigadó is one of the finest pieces of neoclassical architecture in Pest, its original name was the Redoute, it was designed by Frigyes Feszl. Being the most unique place for balls and events in the country, the building originally was built for this purpose, since the Pest public did not have a ballroom at the beginning of the 19th century. When it opened in 1833 it was not just a venue of the nobility, but it was the only concert hall for Pest, many famous composers gave concerts here like Ferenc Liszt, Johann Strauss, Dvořak, Debussy.
The eclectic appearance of the building with a Moorish twist is compensated by some magnificent art nouveau decoration inside: the impressive hall, the wide marble staircase and a spacious richly-decorated theater hall. Decades after the opening, the Vigadó had a busy schedule for balls, the most luxurious event to be hosted here was the one organized by the National Rowing and Sailing Association in 1870, with a rich order of dances, a sailor-suit military band and a goldfish pool in the middle.
The event is dedicated to Count István Széchenyi, he is recognized as the "Greatest Hungarian" even nowadays. His famous initiation was among others the proposal for the first permanent bridge on the Danube, this is today's oldest bridge, the Chainbridge. The first grand ball was organized in 1907 to remember the great reformer and even today it belongs to the fanciest events in the country.
Attending the ball was pretty amazing, it's a very well organized event with quality services, and some old-time feeling. The gala dinner was authentic based on the typical food of that era with Széchenyi's favorite wine, the Tokaj Aszú from the Oremus Winery.
The whole atmosphere brought me back in time, when noble ladies were walking on the stairs straight to the ballroom and they were dancing all night. As for the dress code, black tie was appropriate for the evening, hence long, evening gown for women and tuxedo for men. I chose a simple, black Lauren Ralph Lauren gown and I'm so thankful for the amazing makeup to my dear friend, Makeup Ar/ch/tist by Adrienn Safarcsik.
If you love elegant, traditional events, this is something for you. Entrance ticket can be purchased every year HERE. Hope you enjoyed this little journey in the past, discover with me the best of Hungary every week onYou and Style!
One of my favorite places in Budapest is definitely the Castle district with its historical charm and medieval atmosphere. As a tour guide and traveler, I'm strolling the streets regulary, looking for hidden beauties to capture. Let me show you the Jewish heritage and what's left behind in the old Buda.
The Castle District on the Buda Hill was first established in the 13th century, when King Béla IV. built his residence here. On the very same place where the royal palace is standing today, a fortress was constructed in order to protect the nation. Ever since the city of Buda got established, a considerable Jewish community was immediately playing an important role in the everyday life, since their legal statues was protected by the king and Jews were successful in the coin-minting industry. The first Jewish quarter came to life on the today's Szent György street, near the Royal Palace.
Original Mikveh from the Middle Ages
Every time Jews settle down, they build a mikveh even before building a synagogue. Mikveh is a ritual bath, it's the symbol of purification. There are various reasons when Jews use the establishment, these could be occasions like before getting married or visiting the cemetery. According to the Jewish regulations, the bath needs to be connected to natural springs, which was fulfilled in this case, the Buda hill is rich even in thermal water. While standing at the Palota street nr 1 near an old gate, nobody would guess that just a few steps away what a pure treasure is hiding. After strolling the old cellar, you will get to a small mikveh originating from the 13th century. I was fascinated by the mysterious scene. You can also visit the ritual bath every Monday, check the upcoming tours HERE!
The first synagogue of Buda
A few steps away from the mikveh, right under the Palota street, the ruins of the the first synagogue was found by archeologists in 2005. They discovered the precious stones accidentally when pipeworks were carried out. We are not even able to guess how big the Jewish community could have been at that time, but it's sure that the old Fehérvári gate and its neighborhood was occupied by the Jews. Unfortunately no signs are indicating the layout of the first synagogue, but if you join my tours, I can show you its exact place.
The old Jewish quarter and the entrance to the Mikveh - Palota str.1.
The second Jewish district
The families were forced to leave their homes during King Lajos IV. The houses were bought by the nobility. Finally a new Jewish quarter got established on the today's Táncsics street, where they built their second synagogue in the 15th century. The excavation of this building was carried out by a professional team of archeologists in the 1960s. Since the ruins were found in a private garden of a house, they had to burry them back. Many years ago American Jews tried to get financial resources to make an exhibition on spot, but they faced difficulties due to the lack of property rights.
During the Turkish occupation the Jews were paying taxes to the Turks and they had a good relationship with them. While expelling the Ottomans out of Buda in the 17th century, there were huge battles in the district, finally the Habsburg army killed all the Jews who gathered in the synagogue. Nobody survived and that's the sad end of the Jewish history in the castle district.
The stones and a few old columns of the second synagogue can be still visited in the Prayer House across the street.
The newly opened Prayer House in the heart of Buda
The third so called "little synagogue" was excavated in Buda in the 1960s as well, it was a prayer house. The place features original frescoes from the Middle Ages. You can see the star of David, the other one is a referring to Hanna's Prayer. Due to its specific spelling, they've found out that it must have been originating from the Turkish times, which was the golden age of Jews in the area.
Entrance - Táncsics str 26.
After 400 years the Prayer House was rebuilt and renovated, today it got back its original function. Except from worship time and special holidays, anyone can visit the special historical sight. By the entrance you will see old graves from the Jewish cemetery. In the courtyard have a look at the historical columns that were part of the second synagogue!
Although you can never change history, become part of it by discovering the hidden treasures in the world! The Jewish heritage in Buda definitely needs more attention. I personally feel that there are many more stories buried under the Castle Hill and waiting to be discovered one day. Sources:
Zolnay László: Középkori zsinagógák a Budai várban Kubesch Mária: Welcome to Budapest
1st of February is officially the International Furmint Day. If you are visiting Budapest, keep in mind that this month is all about furmint wine. Restaurants and bars all across the country organize special tastings and dinners. Here I’m reviewing the most precious event, the Furmint February - Grand Tasting in the Vajdahunyad Castle.
Furmint grape – The notable white
Since I’m writing a book on the most important sights, wineries, cultural heritage and gastronomy in the Tokaj region, I spend a lot of time with traveling around and discovering all the beauties of this place. I must say, that the ultimate Tokaj lifestyle hit me and I totally fell in love with it. I learned that furmint is a dominate and incredibly versatile grape in the region, it covers almost two-thirds of the vineyard area. Outside of Tokaj, you will find this signature grape in the Somló area (the smallest wine region in North – West Hungary). I consider furmint as our flagship wine, I’m sure that this type will gain increasing attention in the future.
Every year in February a special grand tasting is organized in the Museum of Agriculture, the place itself is fascinating as well. Vajdahunyad Castle is a complex of different kind of units. The original castle was built in order to present the architectural values of Hungary in the frame of the Millenium Exhibition in the 19th century. Did you know that the building was a temporary construction only made of wood and cardboard? Finally it got so popular that it was rebuilt from durable materials. I love this place, it’s one of the most romantic spots in the city surrounded by a little lake and the City Park. Perfect venue for a fabulous event!
Let's taste furmint!
This is the 10th occasion already that furmint gets the attention of all wine lovers across the country, over 100 wineries were represented mainly from the Tokaj region. They all gathered in the enormous hall and downstairs in two smaller sections. You had the chance to learn about wine, the wine-making process and talk to the wine makers directly. The entrance ticket can be purchased online, it includes the glass, unlimited tasting from 4 pm till 9 pm and some snacks. Foodwise, delicious cheese from Mád and small sandwiches by the Ororszlános Vendéglő could be brought in the main hall, LaBor Bistro from Tokaj served free bites with different ham versions and fresh bread. For those who wanted to take gastronomy to a higher level, oyster and salmon could have been purchased downstairs.
The event is very popular, it’s highly recommended to go there on time, it gets more crowded in the evening. I arrived in the afternoon and I met some fellow winemakers, I already know from the Tokaj region. The impressive place and the smell of wine set the mood already.
It's revolutionary that this whole month is dedicated to one special variety, therefore you can get to know the different vintages from small or even big wineries. You can compare, taste, decide what kind of furmint is your type. I prefer fruity aromas with oaky spice and rich minerals, which is very much showing you the traditional character of the region. My absolute favorite one is the Szepsy Furmint from 2009. It's a unique old wine with honey and apricot aromas. My other favorite winery is Chateau Dereszla, its wine cellar is more than 600 years old and proves to have an excellent climate inside.
If you have passion and interest in wine, here you can learn a lot and taste all kind of furmint wines from the top wineries in Hungary. The best way to understand the wine and the wine-making process is to visit the Tokaj region, enroll for tastings on the vineyard, book a cozy room and be amazed by all the beauties that this UNESCO World Heritage Site could offer to you. It's always a pleasure to be there! A tour guide book, mobile application and e-book version on the region will be ready in spring. Join me for a pleasant Tokaj discovery! I can't wait to show you the neighbourhood through my eyes!