Budapest is the city of the most unique stories; however, even the locals do not know all its hidden secrets. Let’s see which are the most interesting facts you would not have assumed about the beautiful Hungarian capital.
The greatest number of spas
Among the world’s great cities, the biggest number of spas can be found in Budapest. It also bears the title “Capital of spas” since 1937 when it was elected as the perpetual seat of the International Spa Association. The special title could not be given to any other destination, as Budapest is the only major city in the world that has 118 medical sources and wells. Additionally, it is the only capital city worldwide where 5 – still operating – historic thermal baths can be found. With a little exaggeration, we could say that a spa bath can be found in almost every district of the capital where people can let off steam for a while.
The world’s first public park
The world’s first public park is located in Budapest! Today’s City Park dates back to many centuries. Originally, this part of the city was a marshland that was uploaded and planted with trees as a result of Maria Theresa’s order. The first promenades were created at the end of the 18th century, which were surprisingly open to anyone. This was the time when the world’s first public park was established – which is now known as the City Park. Its present form is originated from the period of Millennium celebrations, along with Vajdahunyad Castle, the Art Gallery and the Zoo.
The Hungarian Chicago?
The outer area of Elizabeth City – 7th district of Budapest – was also called ‘Chicago’; that received its nickname between 1896 and 1898 when within the spirit of the monarchical development, a separate part of town was built between Rottenbiller-Damjanich-Dózsa György streets during a period of 2 years. This incredible pace of construction and its parallel arrangement reminded residents of Chicago, which used to be the “super-city” of that age, so people started to use this label more and more frequently.
What should be the name?
One of the essential points of Széchenyi’s urban development program was the unification of Buda, Pest and Óbuda under one name. As bpromantikaja.blog describes, former parliamentarians had long-lasting discussions about the capital city’s name, as “The greatest Hungarian” (Széchenyi) did not like the name ‘Pest’ because it reminded him of the negative meaning of the German word ‘pest’. During the period of the language reform, several versions were mentioned – such as Bájkert, Dunagyöngye, Etelvár, Hunvár and Honderű – but eventually, today’s Budapest was the winner of the battle.
What an exciting underground!
Did you know that the world’s most extensive system of geothermal caves can be found beneath Budapest? We do not even need to go out of the town if we are searching for a cave tour: visiting caves in the Paul valley, Matthias mountain or Szemlőhegy all provide a unique program to everyone and are accessible within a few minutes from the city centre.
The hidden secret of Heroes’ Square
Who would think that Heroes’ Square hides a well beneath the surface?! 140 years ago, in 1877, Vilmos Zsigmond mining engineer found thermal water here; the 74 degrees healing water was more than 800 meters deep under the surface. In 1884, a beautiful building was built over the fountain, designed by Miklós Ybl, but unfortunately, it was demolished during the constructions of the Millennium. Today, only a simple brass plaque indicates the former place of the fountain in the square. To view the destroyed building of Gloriette-well, you can visit the XII. Széchenyi Hill district, where it was relocated and can be visited today as a viewpoint.