the capital of Hungary (93 030 sq km 10.1 million inhabitants) -a
land-locked country lying in the Carpathian Basin - is with about
2 million residents the largest metropolis of East-Central Europe.
is bordered by Slovakia to the north by Ukraine to the northeast
by Romania to the east by Yugoslavia to the south by Croatia and
Slovenia to the southwest by Austria to the west. Hungary is situated
in a basin with mostly lowland-relief while the hills - with altitudes
from 700 to 1000 metres -are situated mainly in the northeast of
the country. Lake Balaton (598 sq km) the largest lake in Central
Europe is located in the western part of Hungary.
its beautiful setting and marvellous panoramic views Budapest is
one of the most attractive European capitals. It was much admired
in the Middle Ages as the following mediaeval saying shows "the
most beautiful towns of Europe are Florence on the lowland Venice
on the water and Buda on the hills." In modern times Budapest's
outstanding qualities were recognised by UNESCO in 1987 when this
agency of the United Nations inscribed Budapest including the banks
of the Danube and the Buda Castle district on the World Heritage
why was the city founded just here? Many geographical factors had
a bearing on this decision.
is located in the heart of the Carpathian Basin on both sides of
the river Danube. The Danube - the longest river in Central and
Western Europe - leaves the hills behind and enters the lowlands
just in the vicinity of Budapest. The hilly Buda was founded on
the right bank and thelow-lying Pest on the left. The Danube was
and is still today an important water-way and this region in the
centre of the Carpathian Basin lies at the cross-roads of trade
routes. Budapest was developed on the border of two different regions
- hills and lowland - along an important - so called - market-line.
In the early Middle Ages the river was forded at the narrowest point
of the Danube where today the Erzsébet-híd (Elisabeth Bridge) stretches
over the water.
useful attributes of the Buda Hills also played a part in the decision
to settle here : - the hills along the riverside: the Vár-hegy (Castle
Hill) theGellért-hegy (Gellért Hill) are of strategic importance
and offer good possibilities for defence - the woods and the rocks
of the hills (e.g. limestone dolomite sandstone clay) supplied building
materials for the houses. There were also abundant supplies of good-quality
water available for the settlers. The gravel layers on both sides
of the Danube are several metres thick and provide substantial reserves
of drinking-water. The section of the river Danube on the territory
of Budapest is 30 km long. Its broadest part (640 m) is to be found
in the north near the souther tip of the Szentendre Island at the
Lánc-híd (Chain Bridge) it is 330 m wide its narrowest reach is
at the foot of Gellért Hill (285 m). The discharge ofthe Danube
at Budapest is 2330 cu.m/sec (compared to the Seine at its mouth:
500 cu.m/sec and to the Rhine at its mouth: 2200 cu.m/sec).
even more important was the role of the springs at the foot of the
hills along a tectonic line. These warm-water and hot-water springs
are a unique feature of Budapest there are about 120 of them situated
within the boundaries of the Hungarian capital many of them having
temperature of these springs in Buda (e.g. Lukács Császár Gellért
baths) is between 25 and 60 ÉC (75 -140 F) while the thermal-water
of the Széchenyi bath from a depths of more than 1000 m not far
from the Hősök tere (Heroes Square) is 73-76 ÉC (167 F).
is not only a "town of baths" but a "town of caves" too. The subterranean
streams of the Buda Hills have formed long caves. Two of them the
Pálvölgy Cave ( total length 7200 m) and the Szemlőhegy Cave (total
length 2200 m) can bee visited by tourists.
relief of the less densely populated Buda is more varied: the 200-500
m high hills are dissected by valleys along tectonic lines. Some
of the more picturesque hills are : the Vár-hegy (Castle Hill) the
site of the mediaeval town of Buda (168 m) the Gellért Hill often
referred to as the "Gibraltar of the Danube" (235 m) the Sas-hegy
(Eagle Hill) which is a conservation area (266 m) and the János-hegy
(John Hill) the highest point of Budapest with the Elizabeth lookout
tower (527 m).
relief of the more densely populated Pest is rather monotonous.
The 110-120 m high lowland was accumulated by the Danube the busy
Nagykörút (Grand Boulevard) was built on land that used to be submerged
under a branch of the Danube. Far from the river in the eastern
part of Pest there is higher ground for example near the eastern
terminus of the Budapest Metro's M2 line at Őrs Vezér Square which
is at about the same height as the Gellért Hill.
also has a kind climate. The region has a typical temperate climate
with an average temperature of 11 ÉC (52 F). The coldest month is
January with an average monthly temperature of -2.5 ÉC (27.5 F)
the average temperature during the warmest month July is 20 ÉC (68
F). The average yearly precipitation is 611 mm the wettest months
are May and June(average monthly precipitation 60-70 mm) the driest
January and February (35-38 mm). There are on average 139 rainy
days in a year and 26 with snow.
are between 2000 and 2300 hours of sunshine each year.
by the Hungarian Geographical Society