Then & Now Tour in Budapest with Turkish Relics
By the sixteenth century, the power of the Ottoman Empire had increased gradually, as did the territory occupied by them in the Balkans. Buda and Pest lived under Turkish rule for nearly 150 years between 1541 and 1686. During this time many mosques, baths and other Turkish buildings were erected in Pest and Buda, and Christian churches' walls were whitewashed to give home to more mosques and djamis. Following the re-taking of Buda from the Turks in 1686, all mosques were destroyed, but today's Budapest still holds a few examples of Turkish architecture, like the Tomb of Gül Baba in Buda and the Király Bath.
Steps of the tour
The tour starts on the bustling Pest side. We take you along the most interesting downtown streets and the nicest promenade of Budapest, Andrássy avenue passing by St. Stephen's Basilica, the Opera House and splendid groups of buildings during the tour.
At the Heroes' Square we stop to take a look to the statues of the most important heroes of Hungarian history. Heroes’ Square is Hungary’s biggest square, complete with historical statues and famous museums.
We will have a look at the impressive House of Parliament, which is Budapest’s most revered building in the government district, also counted as the symbol of the city.
You can have a breathtaking view onto the entire city from the Citadel, a former military fortress, built on the highest point of the city, during the Austro – Hungarian Monarchy.
Proceeding by the Margaret Island we arrive up to the Castle Hill. The fabulous Castle District with the panoramic Danube view are parts of the world heritages. Here we can find the amazing, medieval sights within walking distance. At the Military History Museum we can see cannons from the Turkish era, some of them have specially ornamented handles with the shape of a bird’s head. On the Anjou bastion on the left side of the Museum the Monument of the last Turkish governor can be found with the following epitaph:
„Here fell the last Turkish governor, Pasha and commander of Buda, Abdurrahman Abdi Arnaut on 9 late-summer month of 1686, in his 70th year of age. He was a noble enemy and a hero, may he rest in peace.”
Then we visit the Tomb of Gül Baba and Rosegarden.
The octagonal building, built between 1543 and 1548 was used as burial chapel of the Muslim dervish Gül Baba, („the father of roses”). He died in 1541, following the occupation of Buda.
There were several ideas of his death; some said that he was very old, according to others he got wounded at the fights and he received his death from Allah as the nicest present. His body was laid to rest in the garden of the tomb.
Today the tomb is a well-known place of pilgrimage for Muslims. Its permanent exhibition displays religious items, along with Turkish rugs.
Finally we stop at the beautiful Turkish building of Király bath. The construction of this bath was begun by Arslan, the Pasha of Buda in 1565 and was completed by his successor, Sokoli Mustafa. In the Turkish era, it was called „Rooster Gate Bath”. Built behind the contemporary castle walls so that the bath could be used even during a siege.
BATHING IN „THE CITY OF SPAS”
A peaceful experience: relaxing in one of the capital’s famous historical baths
There is no more rejuvenating way to relax than in a soothing spa. One of the very special things about Budapest is the prevalence of thermal springs, right in the city center. There are 118 springs and boreholes altogether, supplying the lot of amazing spas and baths. In 1934 Budapest was officially ranked as a “City of Spas.” Among its most precious treasures are its sixteenth century Turkish baths, as well as the historical spas Széchenyi, and Gellért.
A trip to Budapest cannot be complete without visiting one of the most famous thermal baths.
The Gellert Bath and Hotel itself was built in the preceding decades and opened its doors in 1918. Outdoor pools were added later on, and today it combines modern technical developments with rich historical heritage. This is Budapest's finest thermal bathing complex, still displaying original art nouveau fittings, colourful mosaics, marble columns and stained glass windows and statues.
- oldest spa hotel in Budapest, old name: “Bath of the Virgins”
- the foot of Gellert Hill was the site of a hospital in the Middle Ages, by the Turkish period there was a bathing place here.
- indoor/outdoor bath
- slightly acid, hydrocarbonated, radioactive water with minerals
- good for bathing, drinking, inhalation cure for rheumatic, articulatory diseases.
Széchenyi Bath is one of the largest bathing complexes in Europe and the premier medicinal bath of Pest. Its thermal springs were discovered in 1879, which are the deepest and hottest (74-75 0C) thermal wells in the capital. The neo-Baroque bath were built in 1913, the swimming pool in 1927. The open-air sections with their pleasantly warm waters are equally popular in winter.
- it was the first thermal bath on the Pest side, at the time, in 1881 was called "Artesian Bath"
- it can be found in the City Park, one of the city’s biggest and most beautiful parks, next to the famous Heroes’ Square
- indoor/outdoor bath
- water is containing calcium, magnesium, hydro-carbonate, also sodium and sulphate, with a significant content in fluoride and metaboric acid
- good for bathing, drinking, degenerative joint diseases, chronic and sub-acute arthritis, orthopedic and post-accident treatments.
This heritage bath is particularly special amongst the Hungarian thermal baths. It dates from the time of the Turkish occupation of Hungary and preserves the bath culture of the early Ottoman Empire in its full splendour. Among the marvellous, old walls of the Király bath you will pleasurably enjoy the calming effect of the water. Due to the beautiful playful lights coming through the 16th century roof structures and cupolas, taking a Turkish bath is an unforgettable historical journey.
- number of thermal baths: 4
- hot spring water with calcium, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate and sulphate, also containing sodium and with a substantial content of fluoride ions
- therapeutic suggestions for degenerative joint diseases, chronic and sub-acute arthritis, discus hernia, spinal deformity, neuralgia, post-accident rehabilitation.
NOTE: mixed day for ladies and gentlemen only Sunday 08:00 a.m.-08:00 p.m.
Rudas is one of the oldest thermal baths in Budapest. Its unique location and ambience make it a must see in Budapest. The main building of the bath was built in the 16th century during the period of the Turkish occupation by two pashas, Ali Mustapha and Sokoli Mustapha; one started the construction and the other finished it. Below the 10 meters diameter dome, sustained by 8 pillars, there is an octagonal pool.
- the bath is located on the foot of the Gellert hill next to the Erzsébet bridge
- since 2006 it is reopened after a large renovation
- the bath received some fame in 1988 when it was used as a location in the 1988 action movie Red Heat, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi
- six steam pools and a swimming pools
- radio-active hot spring water with calcium-magnesium-hydrogen-carbonate also containing sodium and sulphate and with a significant content of fluoride ions
- therapeutic suggestions for degenerative joint diseases, chronic and sub-acute arthritis, discus hernia, neuralgia.
NOTE: mixed day for ladies and gentlemen only Sunday 06:00 a.m.-08:00 p.m.