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Budapest (Hungary)

    There is more to Budapest than fish soup, paprika (辣椒粉)and Zsa Zsa Gabor. With its multifarious (繁杂的)history, incredible architecture and rich cultural heritage, Hungary's capital has the justly deserved sobriquet (绰号)of ‘the Paris of Central Europe', set apart from other Hungarian and European cities by its beauty. The city straddles a gentle curve in the mighty Danube River, the Buda hills rising dramatically on the west bank while the Pest district marks the start of the Great Plain to the east.

  

    The largest Hungarian city by a mile, Budapest is the heart, soul and memory of Hungary, with the Danube coursing through its veins(静脉,血管)。 The city has a complex identity, currently facing something of a crisis with the allure of modern Western luxury in conflict with the simple traditions of its Eastern European roots and penchant (强烈倾向)for all things classical.

    The Castle District on Castle Hill is the premier destination for visitors and contains many of Budapest's most important monuments and museums, not to mention grand views of Pest across the snaking Danube. The walled area consists of two distinct parts: the Old Town where commoners lived in the Middle Ages, and the Royal Palace. Stroll around the medieval streets of the Old Town and and take in the odd museum. A brief tour in one of the horse-drawn hackney cabs(出租马车)is worthwhile for the leg weary. The Old Town is filled with attractively painted houses, decorative churches and the famous Fishermen's Bastion. The latter was built as a viewing platform in 1905, named after the guild(行会)of fishermen responsible for defending this stretch of wall in the Middle Ages. It has commanding views over the city, and is dominated by seven gleaming turrets(角楼,塔楼)(representing the seven Magyar tribes who entered the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century) and a statue of St Stephen on horseback. Immediately south of the Old Town is the Royal Palace.

    The Royal Palace has been burned, bombed, razed, rebuilt and redesigned at least half a dozen times over the past seven centuries. What you see today clinging to the southern end of Castle Hill is an 18th and early 20th-century amalgam(混合物)reconstructed after the last war. It houses, among other things, the impressive National Gallery (which has a huge section devoted to Hungarian art), the National Library and the Budapest History Museum. At the rear of the museum take a relaxing break in the palace gardens. Ferdinand Gate under the conical Mace Tower will bring you to a set of steps. These descend to a historic Turkish cemetery dating from the decisive Independence battle for Buda of 1686. To get to the Royal Palace, take the Sikló, a funicular(登山铁道)built in 1870 from Clark ádám, or for the more energetic, walk up the `Royal Steps' or the wide staircase that goes to the southern end of the Royal Palace.

  

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