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Around Budapest - Articles

A colorful guidebook uncovers hidden Budapest sights

Photo: Norbert Juhász/We Love Budapest

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 — Petra Berende

From little-known museums to concealed courtyards to forgotten cemeteries, a freshly updated edition of an in-depth Budapest guide provides local knowledge about out-of-sight locales citywide. In addition to writing about major metropolises like Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and Prague, urban explorer Duncan J. D. Smith embarked on a journey through all of Budapest’s districts to discover the city’s uncharted attractions. With extensive historical explanations and clearly marked maps, this book is a handy guide to anyone who wants to learn about the Hungarian capital from an often-unseen perspective.

Venturing through all of Budapest’s 23 districts, British travel writer Duncan J. D. Smith recorded his sometimes-bizarre experiences to create Only In Budapest, a colorful guidebook featuring unexplored urban locales to lead readers beyond the city’s usual tourist destinations, while also providing insightful background about major monuments. This newly updated version is a great companion for traversing the Hungarian capital, as the author unveils legends of several sights – for example, the huge metal statue of the Turul Bird perched atop the Buda Castle beside the Royal Palace (a symbolic representation of an animal from the ancient Magyar myths), which people often pass by but hardly notice. Smith also paints vivid pictures of Budapest’s turbulent times during World War II, while introducing unique local traditions, like the finely carved wooden grave markers in Budapest’s Farkasréti Cemetery.

Photo: Norbert Juhász/We Love Budapest

Navigating the reader through town from the Buda Hills to Pest’s factory-lined industrial districts, the book’s 84 chapters also introduce savory Hungarian delicacies and great places to try them, from classic restaurants to the city’s oldest coffeehouse and beyond. Additionally, urban explorers can get a glimpse into modern Budapest’s architectural styles, flourishing Turkish Baths, underworld caverns, eccentric nightlife, and the city’s ever-evolving ruin-pub culture. Meanwhile, those interested in appealing oddities will find eccentric museums showcasing everything from stockings to butterflies to mummies. Above all, addresses and directions for how to reach every attraction are also included for every sight.

Two detailed maps are also prominent features within the book cover, one depicting the layout of Budapest’s central zone with numbered markers for each monument, while the other illustrates all of the city’s districts.

Only In Budapest is a good pick for people with a keen desire to get to know Hungary’s capital beyond its obvious attractions, uncovering the city’s tucked-away scenes while providing comprehensive historical insight. The book is available for purchase at several online stores, including the Amazon webshops, and in Budapest at Bestsellers and the English sections of Alexandra and Libri bookshops.

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