Today was another great day in Budapest! We visited several important landmarks and buildings.
Our first stop was at the Chain Bridge over the Danube. We learned that this was the first bridge that connected the cities of Buda and Pest. Prior to its construction, there was no permanent form of transportation between these cities.
Our next stop was the Shoes on the Danube. These bronze shoes were placed in memory of the people who were executed on the bank of the river. These were Jewish people who had been selected by the fascist police in Hungary during World War II. During this time there was a shortage of everyday things such as food and clothes, this is why before execution they would be asked to remove their shoes. This was a sad reminder of what life was like for these persecuted groups of people.
This is a statue of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Although he never visited Hungary personally, he represents the opposition to communism for the people of Hungary. He was strategically placed across from one of the long standing memorials of the Soviet Union.
This a Soviet Union memorial for fallen soldiers, it features the Red Star at the top. This structure was built in 1946 and recently a statue of Ronald Reagan was built facing it. The Hungarians have an agreement to maintain this monument as long as the Russians maintain certain Hungarian monuments that are in Russia. Although the Hungarians would rather knock it down, this agreement prevents them from doing so. As you can see in the photo the monument’s view is obstructed by many trees and vendors in the area. We were told that this is done as a way to keep their agreement but not recognize the Soviet Memorial.
Lastly this is a view from inside the Hungarian Parliament Building. The building featured marble walls and floors throughout and Slovakian Oak for doors and window sills. This photo was taken directly across from the area where the Crown of Saint Stephen was on display in a sturdy glass casing. During our tour we stopped in this room to see the crown and learned about some of the first kings to ever wear the crown.The entire room was an amazing sight but we were not allowed to take pictures. The crown was constantly being monitored by two armed guards.
We have all really enjoyed getting to learn more about this country and their culture!