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SWMBO gushes about yet more UNESCO World Heritage:

Tram, budapest

Tram, budapest

Allée on the banks of the Danube

Allée on the banks of the Danube

One of many Art Nouveau buildings, Budapest

One of many Art Nouveau buildings, Budapest

Most of downtown Budapest is a World Heritage Site and it is easy to see why.  The view of the banks of the Danube and the Buda Castle area were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1987 honouring beauty and an 800 year history.

In 2002, the designation was expanded to include Andrassy Avenue, a 2 1/2 kilometre main street that runs from close to the Danube to the beautiful City Park.  Also included were the area surrounding Andrassy, Heroes Square adjacent to City Park and the Millenium Underground.

Subway entrance

Subway entrance

budapest metro entrance

Our station - Bajza Utca

Our station – Bajza Utca

The Millenium Underground is Line M1 of the Budapest subway.  It is the oldest underground railway in continental Europe and it is a beauty.  I love all different types of buildings and cities but I have a particular soft spot for Art Nouveau, often known by other names like Jugendstil and Secession.  It is a happy fact for me that Budapest’s golden age was the turn of the 19th century – the heyday of Art Nouveau.  Within 25 years, the population of the city tripled and the number of buildings doubled.  The expanded UNESCO designation is due to the fact that “it is a representative example of late 19th century social development and civil urban planning.”

World Heritage transportation

World Heritage transportation

It’s easy to understand why when you see this beautiful  underground system

It’s easy to understand why when you see this beautiful underground system

I could wander for hours, looking at individual buildings in general and architectural details in particular.  I love to stop and appreciate door knobs, railings, gargoyles, window frames, door bells and so on and so forth.  It makes for slow walking but what’s the rush, after all.

A thing of beauty - subway railing

A thing of beauty – subway railing

In Budapest, when you have had enough of all that walking and gawking, you don’t have to offend your eyeballs with hideous public transportation.  You simply head downstairs and get reinvigorated by the sweetest metro you ever did see.  It has been transporting passengers since 1896.  Believe me, they still use it.

Caricature artist creating our portrait

Caricature artist creating our portrait

History can be delicious - Gerbeaud

History can be delicious – Gerbeaud

budapest gerbeaud2

In case you’re wondering how to foster an appreciation for late 19th century social development and civil urban planning in a gaggle of kids ranging in age from 4-14, here is my advice.  First, don’t overdo it.  Second, don’t lecture too much – nobody wants to be droned at.  Third, break it up with something completely different (we stopped to have a family caricature portrait drawn).  Fourth, bring history alive by making it relevant (we enjoyed a decadent chocolate cake from the iconic and historic Gerbeaud café).  I’d love to hear how you make history come alive for your family!

Metro passengers

Metro passengers, Budapest