On 24 February 2008 I traveled to Budapest, where I had been invited to
give a paper at CEU - Central European University. I was fortunate and
had one day to see the city of Budapest. Above is the famous 'lady with
a palm leaf' - a monument to peace - on Gellert Hill overlooking the
From Castle Hill, I am overlooking the Danube from Buda into Pest. The
bridge below is the 'Chain Bridge.' It is made of interlocking giant
chains. The city has a haze (presumably from pollution) but the day was
unseasonably mild for February - I did not wear a jacket.
A part of the old castle on the hill. The monuments and architecture are
impressive. I visited the Budapest history museum which is housed on the
St. Stephen's church. Just behind me a block or os is CEU (where I gave
my paper). The university is urban and English-speaking.
Inside the church - here is a monument to St. Stephen himself. The
church houses a relic - the entire intact hand of Stephen himself. The
church dominates the central skyline of Pest.
For those who are interested, my paper (delivered at
CEU) concerned the relationship between the mind and ideas in Berkeley's
Budapest is famous for its bath houses and therapeutic mineral springs.
After some urging by others who knew the city, I got up early and 'took
the waters.' This is a picture of entry hall at Gellert Bath. The pools
and spas are gorgeous, set in high arched tiled rooms.
The now once again more or less blue Danube (Dona) River. Once polluted
to an unfortunate brown, clean-up efforts have had a considerable effect
on the river.
The gothic spires of the Hungarian Parliament. The facade has just been
recently redone (you can see the last of the restoration efforts with
the scaffolds on the right) and the building is a brilliant white stone.
The impressive effect is hard to see in the photo.
Heroes Square - a large plaza with statues of old Hungarian heroes (all
pre-communist). Two nice museums flank the square (I did not have time
to see either) and behind the monument is a large park. The park has a
concert area that can also be flooded for ice-skating and water sports.
On the left is a communist built military monument. There used to be a
Hungarian flag present on the spot, but the monument was erected in such
a fashion as to replace or obscure it. The tent on the right is covered
with banners protesting the monument and calling for the Hungarian
national flag to be flown in front of it. Some of the banners had been
defaced, a clear signal of the controversy that the several thousand
Soviet-era monuments cause in Hungary.