Budapest has been called the “Paris of Central Europe” because of its magnificent public buildings and spaces. In the January 2011 issue of Condé Nast Traveller is a 14 page article describing the city as “Europe’s Rising Star.” The city is dramatically bisected by the Danube River into two very different parts (formerly independent cities), hilly Buda on the right bank with ancient winding streets, and the more modern Pest with its broad boulevards on the left bank. The city has a rich history and culture extending over 1,000 years. Architectural features include historic palaces and public buildings, museums and galleries, churches and synagogues, the opera and music halls, imposing bridges and some of the most magnificent public baths in the world. There are many reminders of the history of Budapest as the co-capital (along with Vienna) of the Hapsburg Dual Monarchy, as well as a few more somber reminders about the darker times of domination by Nazis and Communists.
The Eötvös Loránd Faculty of Law, where we have our classes, is located on the Pest side of the river in a historic building just a few steps from the busy pedestrian street Váci Utca, which has many cafes, coffee houses, shops and markets. A few blocks further from the law school is the lively Danube embankment with outdoor restaurants and bars, boat docks and floating night clubs. The central part of Budapest is a delight to walk and public transportation is excellent. While there is much to do in the city itself, many students like to make side trips. The nearby Hungarian countryside has much to offer with spectacular river views, ancient castles and picturesque artist colonies.