Buda Castle hosts various festivals throughout the year, including an international wine festival, a beer festival and a folk art festival — time your visit accordingly!
Hungarians citizens moved to Castle Hill in the 13th century, seeking protection from the Mongolian invasion; the first royal castle was built around this time by Béla IV. Castle Hill really flourished in the 15th century, after the marriage of King Matthias Corvinus and Beatrix of Naples led to an influx of Italian artists and craftsmen and Buda became an influential European city. Its fortunes have been up and down since: the Turkish occupation and World War II both led to huge damage. Today it has been restored to its former glory, and is now recognised as a World Heritage Site.
The hill itself is a kilometre-long limestone plateau that towers over the Danube, offering a breathtaking panorama of the river and the Pest side of the city on the opposite bank. Below it there is a 28 kilometre-long web of caves formed by man-made passageways and thermal springs like those that fuel the city’s famous baths. Castle Hill has two main parts: the Old Town and the Royal Palace. Spread about it are many over Budapest’s most important medieval monuments and museums, including Trinity Square, Matthias Church and Fishermen’s Bastion.
The most picturesque ways to reach it are either by walking across Széchenyi Chain Bridge and taking the Sikló, a railway built in 1870 that ascends steeply from Clark Ádám tér to Szent György tér near the Royal Palace, or by walking up the Royal Steps leading northwest off Clark Ádám tér. Although people still live here, cars are banned from the area: taxis, buses and those who work or live there have permission to go up.
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