Novi Sad part 3

Vidin, Bulgaria



We took this side road and found the open air market


It was very hot and we had a fairly long walk back to the boat so no one was in shopping mode


The two outer statuettes with their heads turned to profile were holding their hats with one hand; the middle ones held theirs with two hands.


Yet another  woman with “European Red” hair


R R and M were more fascinated with the old battlefield equipment.

clip_image006 clip_image007

The sign was no help; hopefully it didn’t say, “Do Not Touch.”

Randal and Rick were exploring what is a battlefield transportable stove with a very small oven box.

clip_image008 clip_image009

This man came out to measure and write in his notebook, but didn’t speak English.


I think we’re looking down Dunavska Street.

“Dunavska Street is probably the oldest street in Novi Sad. It consists of three parts: from the direction of Zmaj Jovina streets are one-floor houses on the left and right, whose ground floor premises are used for various stores, the second part is the Danube park on one side and command of the garrison, the Museum of Vojvodina and the Historical Museum, on the other side, while in the third part, near the Danube river, is a House of the officers. On the left side of the street are houses in neo-baroque style.”


A lovely, shady city park

“On the other side of the street, opposite the Museum of Vojvodina, there is Dunavski Park (Danube Park), the most beautifully laid out park in Novi Sad. It was built in 1895 on the once swampy land of a Danube inlet. Over an area of 34,000 m2, some 250 different species of flowers and trees have been planted. The central section of the park is occupied by a lake with a small island in the middle called Eržebet (Hungarian Erzsébet) which is dedicated to Austrian Countess Erzsébet Báthory, in whose memory a willow tree was planted there. The swans Isa and Bisa, as well as several ducks, proudly strut around the lake. At the entrance to the park there is the Girl with the Horn of Plenty fountain which is a 1912 work of the first educated Serbian sculptor Đorđe Jovanović. “


See, people still read paper text.


And interesting building just across from the river.


A  Memorial  to Serbs, Jewish and Christian shot and dumped into the frozen Danube and the old Fortress across the Danube.

    “On Jan. 21–23, 1942, a small rebellion near Novi Sad served as a pretext for the so-called "razzia," when total curfew was ordered and Jewish homes were searched and plundered while their occupants were murdered in the streets. On January 23 more than 1,400 Jews were marched to the Danube and lined up in four rows. The ice in the frozen river was broken and throughout the day Jews, including women and children, were shot in the back, disappearing in the waters, which carried corpses down to Belgrade and beyond for weeks. Among the victims were also some 400–500 Serbs. The "razzia" caused an upheaval even in Hungarian circles, and cabled orders arrived from Budapest to stop the massacre on the evening of January 23. Several hundred survivors, half frozen and frightened to death, were released.”

“Translated from Serbian Cyrillic "In Novi Sad on 21st, 22nd, and 23rd in January 1942, The Hungarian Military with helpers killed more than 1,300 innocent woman, children, men and elders. "Eternal honor to the victims of the raid." More than 1,300 names are recorded on the tablets, but more than 4,000 were killed.”


A list of victims’ names and a rebuilt NATO-bombed bridge.

“This is a list of the victims that were recorded. To the left of the star are the Jewish victims and to the left of the cross are the Christian victims. In the background we can see a bridge called "Rainbow" that was built after the NATO bombing in 1999.  The blank tablet represents the victims that were never found. “

Jelena Kon established the Humanitarian Society “Bread Crust” (Kora hleba) and children’s day care and counselling during the severe economic crisis of 1925. In order to collect donations she organised numerous concerts which featured, among others, Bronislaw Huberman and Arthur Rubinstein. During the terrible Hungarian occupation and the infamous raid of 1942, she was arrested as a Jewess, tortured, murdered and thrown into the River Danube. Her place of spiritual stimulation was the Synagogue.   Jelena Kon was  one of the people mentioned in the Serbian language brochure.  I was able to find this info about her on a site dedicated to important Serbian women.


A floating Citron car dealership and the Petrovaradin Fortress on the far bank.


The remains of Franz Joseph Bridge left from WW 2.  The retreating Yugoslavian Army destroyed the bridte, the Germans rebuilt it in 1942 and destroyed in again in 1944 before the liberation of Novi Sad.

Bridges can have almost as much emotional impact as geographical and economic.

Trying to Heal Old Hatred in Ruins on Danube By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.  Published: November 6, 1999 

     “In Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, three more Danube bridges lie in ruins. All were bombed by NATO in the spring to cut Belgrade’s links with its northern provinces. A hastily erected orange pontoon bridge has restored land traffic, but the ruins in the river are causing a crisis, cutting off barge traffic and threatening to flood the lowlands if an ice dam forms on the wreckage this winter.”

“Petrovaradin Fortress, (Across the Danube)  which has long been known as the Gibraltar of the Danube, is perched on the right bank of the Danube river overlooking Novi Sad. It was built between 1692 and 1780 based on the system of fortification construction developed by Sébastian Le Pestre de Vauban’s, later known as the Marquis de Vauban. The fortress was erected during the reigns of the Austrian rulers Leopold I, Joseph I, Charles VI, Maria Theresa and Joseph II From 1702, a post of the Danube Military Frontier was located in the fortress.

The fortress is nestled on a river meander, on top of a promontory of diorite rock, and has a dominant geographical and strategic location in the region because of which many nations have fought for it over the centuries. Here there are traces of human inhabitation dating as far back as the late Stone Age, with the Celts, Romans, Huns, Avars, Byzantines, Hungarians, Serbs and Turks also settling in this area over the years. The Turks were driven out in 1687 by the Austrians who began building the current fortress five years later.

In Latin, petra means cliff, var is Hungarian for city, while in Turkish din means faith. Joining these words creates Petrovaradin which the local people have literally interpreted to mean “city on the rock that is strong as faith.”


A walking/jogging path followed  river.  Next to it was a separate bike trail.  Along the river were beach clubs that charged an entrance fee.  We walked from town all the way back to DoraMac on this path; just about 0 on the other end.


Hello from Charlottesville

The young man in the back of the kayac grew up in Charlottesville where his dad worked for UVA.  His mom was born in Novi Sad, his dad the US.  He was fluent in both languages.  When he saw our flag he wanted to come say hello.


Moving our anchor further to add security.  We don’t normally have to anchor as well as tie up, but it was a small dock so the anchor was necessary.  George was concerned that an evening storm might bring winds so had us move our anchor further out.


George also added another line to the “kids diving platform” which he promised to remove later that night as we were leaving early in the morning with no way to untie our line.  George must have forgotten as the line was still there in the morning.  The security guard and Mary managed to get the job done so it was really not a problem.


Meeting up with old friends

Ernst, whom we’d met our first night in Deggendorf, Germany was now cruising to the Black Sea and would spend the summer in Greece.   His wife Erika we met for the first time.   


Fish for dinner

We’d all ordered fish for dinner.  George caught it, cooked it and served it.  The fish was tasty and the coating perfect.  I asked George where he’d learned to cook.  He smiled and said, “I get one recipe from the mothers of the women I date.”


The marina is a work in progress but just with this gas burner and frying pan George fried up lots of fish.  Apparently Serbian law courts are closed down for July and August other than for  very unavoidable cases, so George has the summer to build his marinas.


That about sums it up!

Yachting Club Novi Sad is the actual name for George’s Place

Novi Sad part 2

Vidin, Bulgaria


Novi Sad 2 The old heart of the city

“The old heart of the Serbian Athens – as Novi Sad was once called because of its significant role in preserving Serbian culture – contains traces of the architectural styles of bygone times and evokes the charm of the past. Styles which can be seen in the architecture of the old heart of the city include, among many others, Classicism, Baroque, Secession and the national style, all of which merge well together, complement one another and tell the unique story of the history and development of Novi Sad over the past centuries. There are also examples of modern architecture in the old heart of the city which blend in well with the overall ambience. Besides a great many secular buildings, there are also monumental examples of religious architecture of the different faiths. The old heart of the city gained its current layout during a period of renovation in the second half of the 19th century following the revolution.

Every building in the old heart of the city is a real treasure. Each has its own story to tell and burden to unload, making it a hard task to include them all, let alone to single out some over others. Therefore not every building will be described in this guide – instead a selection of buildings has been made, with no intention of undermining the significance of those which have not been included.”

Unfortunately the info we got from the tourist office didn’t include a walking tour map so we only saw the buildings in the center.  But it was really hot so that limited the amount of exploring anyone wanted to do.




A sun halo


“The Serbian National Theatre is located on Theatre Square. The current appearance of the theatre dates from 1981 and its featureless flat surfaces are what makes the building stand out. The façade is smooth and finished in white marble. Despite the building’s appearance, the Serbian National Theatre is the oldest professional theatre in Serbia, having been founded in 1861, and assumes a special place on the city’s cultural scene. “


“Your tour of the city should certainly begin at Liberty Square (Trg Slobode). It is the main city square and the venue for all that happens in Novi Sad, from ringing in the New Year to celebrations and concerts, and a great many other important and not-so-important events. It is here that the city administration, money, trade, the church, the cafés and restaurants and the local pigeons lend their rhythm to the city. Liberty Square is framed by beautiful buildings, such as the Magistrate (City Hall), Finance House (the Vojvođanska Bank building), the Roman Catholic Name of Mary Church, Tanurdžić’s Palace and the Vojvodina Hotel to name but a few.”



   “City Hall, the former Magistrate, dominates the square with its elegancy and beauty. The building, which dates from 1895 and is the work of architect György Molnár, is the administrative seat of the Novi Sad municipality. It was built in Neo-Renaissance style, with 16 allegorical figures, the work of Julije Anika, and the city’s coat of arms as decoration. The tall tower with the bell of St Florian, a Catholic saint and protector of the city from fire, is especially striking on City Hall. The bell is also known as Matilda’s Bell, after the philanthropist who presented the bell to the fire-fighters of Novi Sad. “


“A statue of Svetozar Miletić (1826–1901), former mayor of Novi Sad, politician, journalist and lawyer, stands in the middle of the square. The base is made of grey marble, while the 5-metre tall statue, a 1939 work of Ivan Meštrović, is cast in bronze.”

“It was positioned twice to the same place. For the first time 1939th year, during World War II when the occupier had intended to remove the monument, but it was hidden by the citizens. After the liberation at 1944, the monument was returned to its original position.”


“Opposite City Hall stands a parish church, called the Name of Mary Church. It was built in 1895, at the same time as the Magistrate (City Hall) and was designed by the same architect, György Molnár. The church was erected in Neo-Gothic style on the site of an earlier church built in 1742 and is dedicated to the Holy Mother of God.  Inside there is an altar made from carved wood, while the windows are made of Tyrolean stained glass. Despite the inaccuracy of the term (since the seat of the Bačka diocese in located in Subotica), the residents of Novi Sad refer to the church as the Cathedral. The Yard of the Catholic Church (Katolička Porta), with the church parish building – the Plebanija, from 1809 – as well as the Vatican Palace and City Cultural Centre, occupies the space behind the parish church. The Vatican Palace was built in 1930 from plans drawn up by architect Daka Popović. The façade was built in Secession style and has many terraces and balconies like those on residential housing blocks from the pre-First World War period.”


And Roanoke Virginia is debating about  WiFi


“At the beginning of Zmaj Jovina street stands the Bishop’s Palace, the residence of the Serbian Orthodox Bishop of the Eparchy of Bačka. The residence was finished in 1901 according to plans drawn up by architect Vladimir Nikolić, who is also responsible for the contemporary look of many buildings in the centre of Sremski Karlovci.The building’s façade is a mix of several styles among which Serbo-Byzantine Romanticism and Secession are dominant. The façade is also notable for the red brick it is built from, with yellow bricks and beautiful coats of arms of the rich Eparchy of Bačka added for decoration. Besides this, the building also houses a chapel which was painted by Russian painter Andrey Avsenev.”

“At the end of the street, in front of the bishop’s house, since 1984, there is a monument of Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj, the most famous children’s poet, after which street bears its name. The bronze figure is 230 centimeters high and it is placed on the granite pedestal.”




We skipped the McCafe and had iced coffee here.  Not the best we’ve had but okay.  Israeli ice coffee still wins the prize.

“Right by the Bishop’s Residence there is the entrance to Dunavska street. Dunavska street picturesquely depicts both modern life and times gone by in Novi Sad. The overall atmosphere preserved by the street makes it a favourite place of Novi Sad’s residents for strolling, shopping or sitting in cafés and restaurants. “


Randal dropped some euros into their case.


Street art

Cutting the strings of some form of hated control, but I not sure whom or what it’s really aimed at.


Ceramic art.  I really liked the blue bowl with the ragged edges. 


Arches led to passages lined with small shops or cafes.  This was Pasaz 6

This was a pasaz in progress.


clip_image020 clip_image021



Friends at a café.

What’s the opposite of a selfie; because I guess that’s what this is.

Novi Sad Serbia # 1

Vidin, Bulgaria

Здравей  zdraveĭ = hello in Bulgarian 

  Yesterday we checked out from Serbia and checked into Bulgaria.  I must say that Serbia was a lovely country to visit and you should put it on your list of places you’d never have thought of for a vacation.  is the link to follow the route in case you didn’t get that info or lost the link.  Rick updates it pretty frequently when internet is available.

Today we’ll explore the port town of Vidin though it does look a bit like rain just now at 6:18 am here in Bulgaria.  After several long days and some sleepless nights thanks to music blared from restaurants on the Danube ( a favored location for restaurants and night clubs) I was asleep before 9 PM last night.  But we’re all pretty early morning risers.  A huge cruise ship just zoomed by and the giant wake is causing us to rock and roll much more than any other has done.  We’re tied up to a restaurant barge on the river but thankfully no loud music last night; just the sound of the lines moaning because the swift current makes us rock constantly, but gently. 

This email is part 1 of 3 about Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia. is a PBS Frontline timeline. “

Although bombing did not begin until March 24, 1999, NATO’s path to war in Kosovo wound its way through much of the region’s troubled recent history.

The following chronology traces the roots of the war in Kosovo from Slobodan Milosevic’s rise to power in the late 1980s and through the diplomatic gambles and military threats that failed to head off the conflict. It charts the escalation of the air war with Serbia and the steps that finally led to NATO’s victory in early June 1999.”   Novi Sad had three bridges crossing the Danube; all were destroyed in the bombing.  Today they have been rebuilt with a 4th added. 



George’s Yacht Club at the far end on the small inlet off the Danube.   DoraMac is underlined in red.  Again you can see that most boats used on the river are smaller so have less problem finding places to tie up.


George, who is a lawyer by profession, creates small marinas as his hobby.  This one is just in the mid stage of development. 


George ordered dinner for us from a favorite restaurant with traditional Serbian food.

Mashed small sardines with sour cream and lemon wedges and great bread were the snack to hold us until the massive dinner arrived.


George serving dinner

Matzo Ball Soup..or it tasted that way to me.  It would have been enough but was only the beginning.  We had baked chicken and meat and potatoes and carrots and 3 different sauces.  We had enough left over from the soup and bread and sauces to use for days.


Kids were diving off the large concrete structure so Randal threw them some Frisbees to play with. 

We walked into town early the next morning to be back before the mid-afternoon heat. Novi Sad is the second largest city in Serbia.

Novi Sad

“At km 1225 (on the Danube ) this is the principal town of Vojvodina, the granary of former Yugoslavia.  Founded at the end of the 17th century by Serbs fleeing from the Turks, Novi Sad was declared a royal free city in 1748.  A century later the Hungarians virtually razed it to the ground.  In the 19th century the town was a cultural and intellectual focus for the Serbs within the Austro-Hungarian empire when it became known as, yet another, Athens of the North.

     Architecturally Novi Sad offers little of interest, but it does have the Voivodine Museum and an art gallery with an extensive collection of paintings.

     In 1999 the three bridges of Novi Sad were destroyed by NATO bombs; since then they have all been replaces; the last, the Sloboda “Liberty” Bridge was completed in 2005.”

JPM Danube Guide


Serbia had Tito so not Stalin and later Soviet communism.  I’m not sure if that impacted the more recent architecture and if that meant less destruction of older 19th century buildings.  Interesting question.


More “modern” architecture. 


clip_image009 clip_image010

This building reminded me of buildings we saw in Tel Aviv, only a more modern version. 


ET was calling Randal or rather Randel



I love archways and court yards. 


The woman in the tourist office said these apartments were expensive being near the old town area.

Architectural details




Just around the corner is the Synagogue, donated by the Jewish community to Novi Sad to be used as a venue for cultural entertainment but also used as a synagogue for major Jewish holidays or events.

The tourist office had a lovely brochure about the Jewish community with history and photos of places and important people but only Serbian language copies were available. 


“Theatre Square adjoins Jevrejska street with its complex of buildings comprising the Synagogue, the Ballet School and the Jewish Community building, which together serve as a reminder of Novi Sad’s large Jewish community which suffered greatly during the Second World War. The Synagogue, with its imposing structure and sheer size, is amongst the largest synagogues in Central Europe. The Synagogue was built in the shape of a triple-nave basilica with a 13-metre wide and 40-metre high dome. The building was finished in 1909, designed by architect Lipót Baumhorn.  All three buildings – the Synagogue, the Ballet School and the Jewish Community building, were built of yellow brick, while more than 300 m2 of decorative stained glass was incorporated into the Synagogue. In 1991, the Jewish community donated the Synagogue to the city to be used exclusively for musical performances.”


clip_image021 clip_image022

NOVI SAD Ujvidek [Újvidék] (Hungarian); Neusatz (German)

“Located on the banks of the Danube, Novi Sad, the capital of the Vojvodina, was founded in 1694 by the Austrians to protect a key bridge across the Danube from the Turks.   Jewish presence here is first recorded in 1699. By the eve of World War II, more than 4,000 Jews lived in the city. About 1,200 survived and today the city has the second lagest Jewish comunity in Serbia.


11 Jevrejska ulica

The synagogue in Novi Sad was designed by the Budapest architect Lipot Baumhorn (1860-1932), Europe’s most prolific twentieth-century designer of synagogues.  Built between 1906 and 1909, it is part of a complex that includes both private flats and the offices and function rooms of the city’s Jewish community. The eclectic design combines medieval elements with those borrowed from Hungarian folk culture. The three-aisled main sanctuary space is topped by a 130-foot high Renaissance-inspired dome with stained glass in its cupola. Two fanciful towers flank the grandiose entrance façade, which features a large rose window under an arch. In the 1940s Jews from Novi Sad were imprisoned in the synagogue before their deportation to Nazi death camps. The building was also used as a storehouse for furniture and other possessions left behind by the city’s Jews. The synagogue underwent renovation in the early 1990s and is currently used for concerts and performances as well as for the celebration of major Jewish holidays.

Article on Novi Sad Synagogue on Bet Hatfutsot web site Museum of the Diaspora”

Jewish cemetery

Novi Sad’s large Jewish cemetery dates back to 1717; the 19th- and early20th-century monuments in the cemetery are comparable to those in Hungary.  There is a Ceremonial Hall, built in 1905. Next to it stands a Holocaust memorial.  This video was produced in 2009 — it mentions plans to create a museum at the cemetery, but this has not materialized.

Holocaust memorial on Danube

A monument to civilian victims of  World War II stands on the Danube riverbank. The monument particularly commemorates the 1,246 citizens of Novi Sad – men, women, and children – who were murdered by the combined Hungarian gendarmerie and army on January 23, 1942. This was one of a series of executions of Jews, Serbs and Roma in the Vojvodina district, annexed by Hungary as a result of its capitulation to Nazi Germany.  Most of those murdered were thrown into the Danube, whose ice had been broken by  gunfire.

Budapest Misc

Porecka Reka

Anchoring for the night.

   This is the final Budapest email.  Now I can begin to research Belgrade for the emails I’ll send.  In between I’ve have two emails about Novi Sad, Serbia, our stop just before Belgrade.


Margaret Island

Budapest’s Margaret Island was originally known as Rabbits Island.  (Lots of rabbits and hunting of rabbits)  In the Middle Ages, it was home to a number of religious cloisters, the remains of which can still be seen today. At the time it was only accessible by boat.

     By the beginning of the 1800s, when it was known as Palatinus, this 2.5 kilometer-long (1.4 mile) island was embraced by members of the royal family, who built a summer residence here and took it upon themselves to turn it into an ornate garden. The island opened to the public in 1869 and soon became a health resort attracting visitors taking advantage of its therapeutic springs.

     Today, the five-hundred-meter-wide (550 yard) island covers about 92 hectares (227 acres) and is linked to the mainland by two bridges: the Margaret Bridge to the south and the Árpád Bridge in the north. The island is popular for its recreational attractions but there are also several historical sights on Margitsziget.


Peddle vehicles can be rented by all ages. These young girls had driven themselves into a rut and Randal had to drag it out for them so they could get going again.  Looks like great fun to me!

No, we didn’t rent one….


No free public toilets and restaurants charge unless you’re a customer.

180 HUF (Hungarian Forint) = $.7853 which I thought was way too much until I did the math.  But 300 HUF to use the stinky WC in the restaurant near the St Mathias Church was way too much.

300 HUF = $1.30


Too many zeroes in the paper money

.0043 cents = 1 Hungarian Forint so that 1,000 HUF bill = $4.30   Randal carried a calculator which made things lots easier when figuring the bill.  Currency different by ½ or 1/3rd  or ¼ is lots easier for me than this was for some reason.


Margaret Island statue

Who is this man?  I found nothing even in Hungarian to give me a clue. I asked a young man on a bike who asked his friend who asked someone else and the answer from the third man was “maybe an author.” Maybe one of my super sleuth library pals can tell me; the armless statue on Margaret Island. 

     The island does have a Promenade of Hungarian Artists.

“Around the chapel runs the Promenade of Hungarian Artists (Művészsétány) with busts of the country’s prominent poets, writers and other artists. The tranquil surroundings with groves, stately trees, flowers are ideal for leisurely walks. János Arany (1817-1882) the great Hungarian poet wrote his most beautiful poems under the mighty trees on Margaret Islands.”


Trains, buses/cars/ bikes/pedestrians each had their own space over the Margit Hid (Bridge)

Margaret Bridge is in two sections, the first connecting the Buda Ring with the southern tip of Margaret Island, and the second providing a link with the Outer Ring. Constructed in 1876, it’s the second oldest bridge over the Danube, and although destroyed during the WWII it was rebuilt in 1948.


Soviet style apartments.  We saw some similarly painted buildings in Komarno though I don’t think they had images on them.


Did these passengers choose their seats by the images painted on the side of the tour bus?


Built at the end of the 19th century, the Central Market Hall (officially called ‘Központi Vásárcsarnok’ in Hungarian) is the largest indoor market in Budapest. Among other things, on the ground floor you’ll find a large selection of sausages, meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. On the second floor, there are food stands and plenty of vendors selling handicrafts, clothing, embroidery, chessboards and other souvenirs. Paprika and Tokaji are also sold here. In the basement, there is a fish market, a small Asian grocery store, a supermarket, and a small drugstore. While focusing on Hungarian products, on International Gastro Days (held on Fridays and Saturdays), the Central Market Hall also features the food and cuisine of a foreign country.

The building also has some architectural significance. The metal roof structure is still the original, and the roof is covered with decorative Zsolnay tiles. There are four other markets like this in Budapest, which were all built in the same style (these are in Klauzál tér, Rákóczi tér, Hold utca and Hunyadi tér). An interesting fact is that all five buildings opened on the same day, on February 15th 1897.

Because of its location and size the market hall on Fővám tér was chosen to be the ‘central’ market hall by the city as opposed to the other markets ranked as ‘district’ markets. When it opened ships sailed right into the building using special docks. The old customs house across from the building is now part of the Corvinus University. Today, the Central Market Hall remains a wonderful food market and a must-see, even if you don’t buy anything. It’s often visited by celebrities and foreign dignitaries.

clip_image011 clip_image012

Fakanal Restaurant  was upstairs in the Market Hall and easier to negotiate than the food vendors in the upstairs walkways.

Some offerings on the menu:

Rich goulash soup – small/big 890 HUF/1250 HUF

Fish soup – on every Thursday – small/big 890 HUF/1250 HUF

Main dish  

Veal stew 2400 HUF

Stuffed cabbage – accord to the season 1700 HUF

Stuffed paprika – accord to the season 1700 HUF

Roasted leg of goose 2400 HUF  is what I had and it was wonderful for about $10

Knuckle of pork 2900 HUF

Giant Vienna scallop 2900 HUF


Home-made strudel 530 HUF

There are lots of ways to eat more cheaply but we were in the Market Hall and hungry so gave this place a try. 


St. Gillert Spa and Swimming Pool

We ducked into the building to get out of the approaching downpour.

“Built in the secessionist style, the St. Gellert Spa and Hotel opened to the public in 1918.  In later years a surf-bath and a bubble bath were added.  Put into service in 1927, the original surf machine, which generates the artificial waves, is still in operation.  ….  Almost the entire range of medical services are available in the spa which has a day-patient hospital and inhalatorium.  Lava stone massage, spa pedicure, chocolate treatment and a so called Cleopatra spa and an herbal spa are also available.”

     Social security-supported medical treatments for eligible persons:

Bathing in medicinal water pools and tubs, mud-packs, sub-aquean traction, bathing in carbonated water, medical massage treatments, underwater jet massage and complex balneological care. 

     Medically recommended for: Degenerative diseases of the joints; certain diseases of the spine;chronic and semi-chronic inflammation of the joints; intervertebral disc diseases; intercoastal neuralgia; aortic stenosis; circulatory diseases;  and in the inhalatorium treatment of asthmatic disorders and chronic bronchitis.  (Once upon a time Randal and I thought bike riding cured all of these things.)

      Most of the baths open today were established by the Turks, examples of which, the Rudas and the Kiraly Baths, are still in operation after 500 years.  At that period in history, our city was called the Mecca of Rheumatics due to the salutary effects of its thermal waters.  ….  Unmatched even on a world scale, the daily delivery of 70 million litres of 21-78 C thermal waters gushing out of the 123 natural hot springs and drilled wells means that Budapest can proudly proclaim itself as the capital city of healing and thermal waters.”  Budapest : The City of Spas booklet

clip_image014 clip_image015


A peek into one of the pools.  Orsi, our walking tour guide, told us that this particular spa was probably the most expensive, but not necessarily the best…  It just depended on what one was looking for in the experience.


Located on the Pest side, it was a tram, train and then long walk to get to the City Park.

“In winter the lake transforms in to the largest artificial ice rink in Europe, opened in 1870.  In summer, there are boats for hire.” Budapest City Walks map

On the right side of the lake were restaurants and the left side

    “The biggest museum of agriculture in Europe can be found in the Castle of Vajdahunyad on the Széchenyi-island in Városliget, Budapest in outstanding building. Its designer Ignác Alpár merged different architectural styles, made use of different elements, details of well-known buildings of historical Hungary. Citizens of Budapest named this group of buildings "Vajdahunyad castle" on the basis of the part of palace to be seen from the lake. The building was erected originally for the Millennial Exhibition, and it has been used to host the museum of agriculture starting in 1897. Entering the main entrance we proceed through the marble arched court up to the first floor via marble staircase. You can cast a glance over the inside of the building while visiting the exhibitions. Beautifully painted walls, enormous crystal chandelliers, carved pillars, stained windows can also be seen.”


Fruit soup 🙂

It tasted like unsweetened strawberries had been frozen and then blended into sherbet consistency.  A scoop of vanilla ice cream and a few squirts of whipped cream were floating on top.  It was great!


“Vajdahunyad Castle was built between I896 and 1908; its various parts illustrate the different styles of Hungarian architecture.  It was designed by Ignác Alpár, and derived its name from the wing facing the lake, which is an imitation of the Castle of Vajdahunyad in Transylvania, the family castle of János Hunyadi, the hero of the Turkish wars, which was built in its present form in the fifteenth century (today Hunedoara, Rumania). A Gothic gate leads to the courtyard. On the opposite side, the outstanding structure among the Gothic group of buildings is the copy of the castle-tower of Segesvár in Transylvania (now Sighisoarã, Rumania). Inside there is a Gothic court- yard with some early Renaissance elements.


To the left are Romanesque buildings; the chapel uses motifs of the famous thirteenth-century Benedictine abbey at Ják in Western Hungary, the most beautiful surviving relic of Romanesque architecture in the country. The chapel is flanked by a pseudo-medieval ambulatory with a corner turret. The buildings facing the lake are imitations of a castle-wall and a feudal castle.



The first “Anonymous.”

Rubbing the pen in his right hand  is supposed to bring luck, but I opted to hold the book instead.  It took forever to get a turn to do that and some else was on the pen side while Randal took this photo.

“The largest façade facing the courtyard was built in Baroque style. Opposite is the statue of Anonymus, his face hidden in his monk’s hood symbolising the fact that the identity of the thirteenth-century chronicler is unknown-even today we do not know much more about him than that he worked at the royal court. His work "Gesta Hungarorum", written in Latin and based on earlier chronicles now lost, contains the Hunnish-Hungarian cycle of legends as well as the history of the Magyar Conquest and of the first kings of the House of Árpád. (The statue is the work of Miklós Ligeti,1903.)


There were a few women standing in certain spots holding this lacework.  Not an easy job at all.  We’ve pretty much stopped collecting anything to bring home. 



Too bad this was just for kids!

The small boy in the blue shirt had just gone flying off too quickly for me to take a photo of him upside down. 

Andrassy Avenue Walk


Each of the 4 corners meeting here had huge buildings and a statue


I can only imagine this conversation….


One way to see Budapest  : we walked or took the trams/buses/trains and the free walking tours.  Free tours aren’t really free, you tip at the end but you get to decide how much the tour was worth. 

clip_image029 clip_image030

Frence Liszt Memorial Museum and Research Center

      “The Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum and Research Centre was opened in September, 1986 in the building of the Old Academy of Music (H-1064 Budapest, Vörösmarty utca 35). This building was used from late 1875 until mid-1907 for music teaching of the Academy of Music: it was the 2nd site of the institution which had been inaugurated in 1875 (the first building on Hal-tér/Fisch-Platz has been demolished; its memory is preserved only by photos of the time). After opening the new palace at Liszt Ferenc tér (12 May 1907), the building in Vörösmarty utca was used by several other institutions (among others a music school, a coffee shop, political and social associations, a foreign trade company), until the Ministry for Culture and Education bought it in 1980 and put it at the disposal of the Academy of Music.

     Liszt, the founding president and professor of the Academy who did not accept any salary for his teaching, got a service aparment in the building of the Old Academy of Music, of which the main front looked on Andrássy út (once called Sugár-út/Radialstrasse) while the entrance was in Vörösmarty utca. This apartment on the 1st floor in which Liszt lived from January 1881 until 1886, the year of his death whenever he stayed in Budapest, is today a memorial museum, furnished by his instruments, furniture, library and memorabilia. The entrance room of the apartment, such as Liszts study-and-bedroom and drawing room is awaiting visitors with a permanent exhibition, while the one-time dining room and the foyer at the ground-floor is used for temporary (thematic) Liszt-exhibitions. In the concert hall near Liszts apartment, the museum arranges Saturday matinée concerts for its visitors.” Liebestraum – Love Dream  Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 – HD – Franz Liszt (the most famous of his works!)

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in popular culture : Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit are some cartoons and films that used Rhapsody No. 2

Wiking Marina Budapest Pad Arpad Danube bridge

From DoraMac you walked up the ramp to land where the office and boat repair buildings were located.  It was a locked area needing a key for exit and entry.  The next complex looked like a derelict movie lot to me.  There was a guard house with a barrier for cars; we just waved to the men each time we left and returned.  The staff were very helpful and we even managed wifi on the boat which earned the staff a famous “Randal pecan pie.”


The ramp down to our dock…which was the only place deep enough and where we could fit.


DoraMac at dusk


Pecan Pie

Vukovar 2

Porecka Reka

Anchoring for the night.

The Porečka reka is a river in eastern Serbia, a 50 km-long right tributary to the Danube in the Đerdap gorge. It originates from two headstreams, the Šaška and the Crnajka rivers, which meet at the village of Miloševa Kula. Wikipedia

   This is the first time we’re anchoring during this river trip.  Usually there’s someplace to tie up, but, apparently the further east we go, the less developed boat services.  So we’ll see.  Amazingly Rick’s super antenna has tracked down some wifi.  Last night in the town of Smederevo we had no wifi.  We were blasted with disco music from evening to dawn to make up for the wifi lack.  As we had to cover 130 kilometers today, 5 am was wake up time and we were off by 5:15.  We had hours of rain and thunder and lightning but then it cleared and tonight is bright and sunny.  Rain is forecasted for the next 7 days; but up until now we’ve had great weather so one really can’t complain. 

   This is Vukovar part 2.  The more I read about the breakup of Yugoslavia and the conflicts that followed the less I think I know.  Rather than pass along incorrect information, I let you read and try to understand yourselves.

Ru  tourist site

“The port of Vukovar serves as a gateway for excursions into Croatia’s fertile rural region west of the Danube.  Visible from the river, the bullet-ridden water tower makes a sad landmark.  The capital of the Srijem region, with its churches, patrician houses and arcaded passages near the baroque castle of the counts of Eltz, was once regarded as a jewel of urban baroque architecture.  In 1991, it fell victim to the civil war in former Yugoslavia.  After Serbian-occupied eastern Slavonia was restored to Croatia in 1998, reconstruction began in earnest.  Restored historical edifices as well as modern buildings now offer hope for a renaissance of the most important  Croatian port town on the Danube.”  JPM Danube Guide

The Breakup of Yugoslavia, 1990–1992 Office of the Historian  explains far better than I could why the battles took place between Croatia and Serbia while both were part of Yugoslavia. 

23 June 2011

Croatia Vukovar war: Overcoming a legacy of war  By Allan Little

Three months of siege and bombardment by Serb forces in 1991 all but reduced the town to rubble – and destroyed a once happy, common life lived by Serbs, Croats and more than 20 other registered national minorities alike.  Today the ethnic groups walk the same streets but they do so separately.


Symbol of the conflict

clip_image002 clip_image003

   “The Vukovar water tower in the eastern Croatian city of Vukovar is one of the most famous symbols  in Croatia of the suffering of the city and the county in the Battle of Vukovar and the Croatian War of Independence, when the water tower and the city itself were largely destroyed by the Serb forces.  Now, for the first time, photographs from inside the tower have been published. Until the war, the top of the tower was home to a restaurant with a view over Vukovar, Dunav and surrounding vineyards. During the Serbian attack on Vukovar, the water tower, which was built-in the 1960′s, was one of the most frequent targets of enemy artillery. It was hit more than 600 times during the siege.

The water tower will not be renovated but will be left in its current state to serve as a reminder of the suffering the city endured.


Croatia on one side of the Danube and Serbia on the other.   You can see the remains of the water tower restaurant in Vukovar taken the morning we left as we continue on down the Danube towards Novi Sad in Serbia.  tells not only about the conflict, but shows photos of the destruction, talks about the massacre and the new rebuilt Vukovar.  It even shows some photos of the public library.  This is obviously from the Croatian point of view.

You can’t help but to think about the bombing of and attack on Vukovar by Serbia because so many buildings bear the scars of the conflict.  Among the rebuilt homes and business are the ruins of buildings, the open spaces where buildings once stood.  We also ruins in Belgrade from the NATO bombing

clip_image005 clip_image006clip_image007






The steeple on the church of Church of Sts. Philip and James was totally destroyed during the bombing.

“…the Franciscan friary with the Church of Sts. Philip and James and the High School. The construction of the friary and the church started on 24 June 1723 and continued throughout the 18th century. Until the devastation caused by the war, which did not spare the rich Franciscan heritage, including the old friary library with its 17000 volumes, the friary with the Church of Sts. Philip and James was the oldest preserved Baroque monument and the oldest building in Vukovar.  The church and the friary are protected cultural monuments. The Vukovar High School was founded in 1891.”


Vukovar High School founded in 1891

“Marko Marulić,  (born August 18, 1450, Split, Dalmatia [now in Croatia]—died January 6, 1524, Split), Croatian moral philosopher and poet whose vernacular verse marked the beginnings of a distinctive Croatian literature.

The scion of a noble family, Marulić studied classical languages and literature and philosophy at Padua [Italy] before returning to his native Split and a life of public service, scholarship, and writing. At age 60 he withdrew to a Franciscan monastery on the island of Šolta, but he returned to Split, disillusioned by the experience, two years later.

Marulić’s didactic moral works were written in Latin and translated into many European languages. They stressed practical Christianity and reflected an appreciation of Stoic thought. His most important vernacular poem was Istoria sfete udovice Judit u versih harvacchi slozena (written 1501 and published in 1521; “The History of the Holy Widow Judith Composed in Croatian Verses”). The first printed Croatian literary work, Judita is an epic in six cantos in which Marulić sought by the example of a Hebrew heroine to encourage his people in their struggles against the Turks. Elevating as it does vernacular Croatian to the status of a literary language and uniting Marulić’s classical and Italian literary education with Croatian poetic traditions, this work proved a springboard for the nascent Croatian literature.”


This building is on the main road not far from the water tower.

“Vukovar nocturne

Vukovar nocturne is a faithful reflection of what was experienced. It is a story of love and courage, strength and pain, human dignity and victory of life. The story of a tragedy of a nation, on victims, heroes, defiance and pride was passed on to Vukovar nocturne which joins all places in town that bear the remembrance of the Homeland war.”


Now a photographer’s studio;  but what is its history and what once stood near it?


The elderly home owner wouldn’t let me take her photo but was happy to have to let me photograph her cats and garden.  They reminded me of my pal Sheila’s first cats Buffy and Lori. 


Sunflowers grew in gardens and empty lots


Our lunch stop during a Saturday afternoon walk.

     The plan was to walk to the park/cemetery and stop for lunch on the way back.  Thomas had recommended this café as it was midway.   But it was really hot by 11:30 so when we got here we just stopped for a cold drink and early lunch.  After lunch Randal and Mary voted to return to town rather than continue on to the cemetery.  It would have been almost 7 miles for the entire walk with little shade on the route so not the best day for a long hike. 


Across from the restaurant was a huge field of sunflowers stretching out of the photo on both sides.  Behind the fields looked to be a development of new homes with more under construction.


We decided to visit the Eltz Castle but by the time we arrived it had closed for the day.  Saturday was an “early closing” day in town.

“The City Museum Vukovar was founded in 1946 and the first permanent exhibition was opened in 1948…. During the Croatian War of Independence in 1991 the complex of the Eltz Castle suffered heavy devastation and continued its activities as the Museum in exile till returning to the devastated Eltz Castle, in which the reconstruction process began in 2005.  The construction works on the complex were finished in November 2011.

Eltz – a real person.

“10 Apr 2006  Jakob Eltz, who died on February 10 aged 84, represented a link between modern Europe and the Habsburg Empire; in the 1990s he played an important part in the establishment of Croatia as an independent democratic state. “  is the obit for Jakob Eltz

Vukovar Town Stork


I first saw stork nests in Turkey and was amazed by them.  This nest was in the town center.  Apparently storks return to the same next year after year.  The story below isn’t about Vukovar, but it is a lovely story about storks in a different Croatian town.

Mar 24, 2014

A local called Stjepan Vokic has promised to keep her safe, and has served as her guardian for the last two decades.  Every year, he would anxiously expect Klepetan’s return, hoping that the bird succeed in avoiding the perils of such a long trip.

Today at 5:00 a.m. Klepetan returned for the twelfth time in a row. The date corresponds with the last year’s arrival. Hungry and tired, but with much love in his eyes, he greeted the welcoming Malena. This love game usually means another round of chicks is to be expected later in the year. With Stjepan’s help, the pair raised over 40 small birds so far.

Croatian storks Rodan and Malena reunited after 8,000 mile winter flight  Tuesday 30 Mar 2010  talks about the 5th year in 2010

Though storks form monogamous pairs for the duration of the breeding season, they do not migrate or over-winter together. If the same pair reforms in successive years it is largely due to their strong attachment to their nest site.

The legend that the European White Stork brings babies is believed to have originated in northern Germany, perhaps because storks arrive on their breeding grounds nine months after midsummer. Northern Europeans of Teutonic ancestry encouraged storks to nest on their homes hoping they would bring fertility and prosperity. This tradition of welcome and protection did not exist in the portions of France where the White Stork disappeared first.

The oldest recorded lifespan in the wild is 25 years, captive individuals may live up to 48 years. Mortality after the second year of life has been estimated at 21%, before 2 years of age it may be 30% or higher.  (Cramp, et al., 1977)

Vukovar, Croatia

Restoran Vodencia

Belgrade, Serbia

добро јутро  dobro jutro = good morning

   We’ve had a really great stay in Belgrade.  The Restoran Vodencia located on the Sava River (just off the Danube) is at the foot of the huge fortress at the end of the town center so a great location.  The weather was perfect.  We went on two really good walking tours so in 5 hours learned lots of basic history of the city and Serbia in general.  Today we’ll continue down the Danube about 50 kilometers before we stop for the night.  Not sure the wifi we’ll find there, but so far Serbia wifi is better than most. 

   This email is part one of our visit two night stay in Croatia. 



At this point in time I know which countries made up Czechoslovakia and which countries made up Yugoslavia.  That’s more than I knew before we started this trip, though I just had to ask Rick if we had visited The Czech Republic.  We had, but just for a minute when we were up in the Bavarian Forest which shares a border between Germany and The Czech Republic.  (We did visit Slovakia.)  Since leaving Budapest we have visited Croatia and Serbia with their sad history.  Where the breakup of Czechoslovakia was called “The Velvet Divorce” being bloodless; the break-up of Yugoslavia was sad and bloody.   April 2013 How Croatia and Serbia buried the hatchet  tells more about the current tensions between the two cultures even within the country of Croatia.

Balkans war: a brief guide….

The former Yugoslavia was a Socialist state created after German occupation in World War II and a bitter civil war. A federation of six republics, it brought together Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims, Albanians, Slovenes and others under a comparatively relaxed communist regime. Tensions between these groups were successfully suppressed under the leadership of President Tito.  tells more

Tito as unifier of Yugoslavia is one of the author’s main themes. The Communist Party came to power in Yugoslavia at the end of World War II after its Partisan army fought not only German, Italian, and other occupiers but also fellow Yugoslavs in rival, often quisling, military units. The Partisans were a multinational group (although Serbs predominated in the first half of the war), as was the Communist Party. They advocated national equality and a federal Yugoslavia in their propaganda. This helped them win the civil war since their opponents were mostly nationalists who had followings only inside their own national groups and whose extremism alienated large segments of the population.

What is the former Yugoslavia ?

    What is meant by the term former Yugoslavia is the territory that was up to 25 June 1991 known as The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). Specifically, the six republics that made up the federation – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia (including the regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina) and Slovenia.

     On 25 June 1991, the declarations of independence of Slovenia and Croatia effectively ended SFRY’s existence. By April 1992, the further declarations of independence by two other republics, Macedonia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, left only Serbia and Montenegro within the Federation.

     These two remaining republics declared the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) on 27 April 1992. In 2003, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was reconstituted and re-named as a State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. This union effectively ended following Montenegro’s formal declaration of independence on 3 June 2006 and Serbia’s on 5 June 2006.   The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is a United Nations court of law dealing with war crimes that took place during the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990’s. The Tribunal was given authority to prosecute persons responsible for specific crimes committed since January 1991 in the territory of what is referred to as the former Yugoslavia.


We checked out of Hungary and Schengen and entered Serbia which is neither part of Schengen or even the EU so technically we could stay here 6 months, same as England.


DoraMac parked at Apatin Marina, our first stop in Serbia.

Lots of small fishing boats filled the marina.  One man came to visit and Randal gave him a tour as they both speak “boat.”


The marina staff were helpful and friendly and there was free wifi as well as dock power and water.

The town was pleasant but we just walked for groceries and a quick, not great pizza.  We set off the next morning down river to Vukovar,  Croatia where Randal wanted to investigate the boat paint options.

Croatia’s declaration of independence in 1991 was followed by four years of war and the best part of a decade of authoritarian nationalism under President Franjo Tudjman.

By early 2003 it had made enough progress in shaking off the legacy of those years to apply for EU membership, becoming the second former Yugoslav republic after Slovenia to do so.  (Joined EU 2013)

A country of striking natural beauty with a stunning Adriatic coastline, Croatia is again very popular as a tourist destination.

Vukovar where we stayed for 2 nights


The orange blob near the cross monument is DoraMac


From DoraMac onto the barge onto the dock onto the finger piece of land and then into town as the red line shows.

We tied up alongside a barge tied to a dock because that’s the only place we would fit.  We were able to get power and water.  Note the white cross to match up with the town map. 


So you climb out of DoraMac and onto the deck of the barge, around the back and then onto the walkway to shore.


Just across from DoraMac to our right (if you are standing on the boat facing the bow.)

After a wonderful dinner our first night (when we finally found the restaurant) and some ice cream from a town vendor for Randal, we walked out to the point where the cross monument is located.


Grilled fish on a medley of roughly mashed potato mixed with swiss chard.  A very garlicy/parlsey oil was served with it.  I went a bit overboard with the oil but it was great. 


Randal had chosen a simple chicken caesar salad so had room for  a small cone from one of the many ice cream vendors in town.


clip_image012 clip_image013

The cross is a sad memorial to the war with Serbia

“A cross near the Danube river, a gift from the Croats from Istria,

with inscription "Forever lives who dies honorably", carved in the Glagolitic script.”


Bullet holes “decorate” the Tourist Office Building on the main street


Mary and I went early Saturday morning and Thomas was really helpful with maps, brochures and suggestions. 

The town center was a mix of new malls, hotels, and banks on the main street built on the Danube saide and the open air market one street back into town. 



Modern well-stocked supermarket


Traditional outdoor market selling this, that, clothes, fruit and veggies


More shops, banks and hotels


Not sure what this building is but the reflections at night were lovely and the library is just behind to the left.


Public Library had a cute area for kids downstairs and the adult section up, but no photos and we only stopped for a minute. 

Lots of outdoor café seating




Randal’s favorite ice cream place.  Very popular shade of red hair you see everywhere in Europe.

Budapest Jewish Quarter

Novi Sad Marina

Здраво  zdravo = hello in Serbian as we’re back in Serbia having spent the past 2 nights on the southwest bank of the Danube in Vukovar, Croatia.  Very sad history in both Vukovar and Novi Sad during the 90s when the Serbs bombed the Croatians and the UN bombed the Serbs.  It would take many hours to begin to understand the histories of these two countries.  I’m sure your local library has books if you want to pursue it.  Now in the heat of summer everyone just wants to fish, swim and eat ice cream… on both sides of the river.

This email tells about our tour of the Jewish Quarter in Budapest.  Rick and Mary had visited the synagogue when they were here a few years ago so just Randal and I did the tour.  Very interesting but the “Basic tour” was a bit too rushed.   As well as researching what we did see, I’ve gone off on tangents (yet again)  making this a quite lengthy email.  Sorry.


“Budapest has the largest Jewish community in Central Europe with an active religious, artistic and historical Jewish heritage. Through the centuries the Hungarian and Jewish history has been intertwined. Hungarian Jews have always been and still are a significant part of the country’s economic, cultural, and political life.”  Hungarian Koncert brochure

clip_image001 clip_image002

Ticket booth for walking tour information. 

Something in my history makes me not the least surprised how that sign is written.  Seinfeld could probably have a field day with it.

Waiting for the tour to being : Our snack to hold us over until a late lunch after the tour.  So much sugar it set my teeth on edge. There was chocolate on the sides and bottom making it taste like a combination of a Snickers bar and baklavah so you can imagine!  Randal and I shared it and each of us had a “large coffee” that was rather miniscule in my opinion. 



Dohany Street Great Synagogue with visitors from around the world.

“Among Budapest’s trendy bistros, cafes and bars stands the world’s second largest synagogue.

Like the Lower East Side of Manhattan or the East End of London, urban gentrification has had its way with Budapest’s District VII, transforming the once run-down area into a neighborhood of pricey coffees and young artists whose signature works appear to be their hair.

Yet despite the neighborhood’s profound changes, one rare constant has remained: the 154-year-old Dohány Street Synagogue.

The magnificent temple is the biggest in Europe and has touched the lives of figures as seemingly disparate as Estée Lauder, the cosmetics queen; Theodor Herzl, the father of the Zionist project that culminated in the State of Israel; and Tony Curtis, the Hollywood star.

Dohány Street is located just east of the river Danube in the heart of Budapest. Appropriately, given the synagogue’s oriental style, the word Dohány, which means “tobacco,” made its way to the Hungarian capital from Arabic by way of Turkish.

At the time the synagogue was built in 1859, the street was in the main Jewish area of Pest. Then there may have been as many as 45,000 Jews in the city. There was certainly sufficient demand for the synagogue to accommodate almost 3,000 worshippers—1,492 men in its main section and 1,472 women in the elevated galleries.

Designed by the Viennese architect Ludwig Förster, the synagogue is over 75 meters long and more than 25 meters wide. Believing that there was no indigenous European Jewish architectural heritage, Förster looked to Arab architecture for inspiration. He primarily employed a Moorish revivalist style, of which the shul is considered a fine example, while he also incorporated Byzantine, Romantic, and Gothic elements.

Perhaps the synagogue’s most distinctive feature is its onion-shaped domes with gilded ornament. They contribute greatly to the building’s oriental, Moorish look. Förster used similar domes on his design of the Leopoldstädter Tempel in Vienna, which was completed the year before the Dohány Street shul. The feature was subsequently copied on many other synagogues across Europe, including the much-visited Spanish Synagogue in Prague.

In 1860, a year after the shul opened to the public, Theodor Herzl was born in an adjoining apartment building. Although (or perhaps because) he spent his early days next to the temple, Herzl has little interest in religion and considered himself atheist.

Despite his atheism, Herzl became convinced that Jewish assimilation was doomed to failure while covering the Dreyfus trial as a journalist and also noting the anti-Semitic populism of the mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger. His response was to launch formal political Zionism in 1897, and 51 years later the Jewish state was born. A plaque at the synagogue in Hungarian, English and Hebrew marks Herzl’s birthplace and his family’s former home became a Jewish Museum incorporated into the main Dohány Street Synagogue complex in 1930.

History weighs heavily at the synagogue complex, which includes other commemorations of events that affected the shul and its community. A sculpture of a weeping willow tree represents the suffering Hungarian Jews endured at this site during World War Two; each leaf on every branch bears the name of a survivor’s relative murdered in the Holocaust.

Of course the Shoah was the most seismic event in the history of the shul and its congregants. German troops invaded Hungary in March 1944 and the Nazi occupation of Hungary had immediate, devastating results.

In April and May, Jews in the Hungarian provinces were ghettoized. Between May 15 and July 8, 437,402 Hungarian Jews outside of Budapest were sent to concentration camps, primarily Auschwitz. Nowhere was the pace of the destruction of Jewry as quick as in Hungary.

Jews in Budapest faced severe antisemitism and Hungarian authorities ordered them into over 2,000 designated buildings marked with Stars of David scattered throughout the city in June 1944. But for a short time they were insulated from ghettoization and systematic deportations afflicting other Hungarian Jews.

Nevertheless, Adolph Eichmann designated the synagogue as a concentration point from which to send thousands of Budapest’s Jews to their extermination. Many died from hunger, cold or disease before they even left the grounds of the synagogue. A small cemetery was built in a garden inside the grounds of the shul to bury some of those who perished during the time of the ghetto. More 2,000 are buried there.

In October 1944, when it appeared that the war was almost over, with Germany close to defeat and Hungary about to proclaim peace with allies, the Arrow Cross, a pro-Nazi Hungarian fascist party, staged a coup d’état.

The Arrow Cross forced the Jews of Budapest into a ghetto around the Dohány Street Synagogue in November 1944. Deportations started almost immediately after the establishment of the ghetto. In less than three months of existence, over half of the ghetto’s inhabitants were sent to concentration camps.

The Hungarian fascists perpetrated a bloodbath in Budapest itself. Between December 1944 and the end of January 1945, they took as many as 20,000 Jews from the ghetto, shot them along the banks of the Danube, and threw their bodies into the river. To save bullets, the Arrow Cross only shot every other Jew; the others they threw in alive.

From German occupation in March 1944 to Hungary’s liberation in January 1945, the Jewish population of Budapest was reduced from approximately 200,000 to 100,000. Yet compared to other European towns and cities, the community had got off lightly.

While the sculpture of a weeping willow serves as a somber reminder of these events, the tree’s branches form an upside down menorah to symbolize hope and Jewish continuity.

And alongside the upsetting, the synagogue complex houses a memorial to more uplifting stories: those who helped to ensure Jewish life in Hungary by saving Jews from the Nazis and their Hungarian cronies.

In a cobble stone courtyard, stone tablets honor righteous gentiles in a similar, albeit smaller, fashion to at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The first and best-known name on the list is Raoul Wallenberg. A Swedish diplomat, Wallenberg saved the lives of thousands of Jews in Budapest by providing them with fake passports or shelter at hospitals under the protection of the Red Cross.

Wallenberg and other diplomats from neutral countries saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews. He is one of the more than 600 Hungarians registered as righteous gentiles at Yad Vashem.

The synagogue was damaged in air strikes during the liberation of Budapest but after the war it became once more a major congregation point for surviving Hungarian Jews. But following the fall of Nazi Germany, Soviet troops occupied Hungary and the country gradually became a communist satellite state of the Soviet Union in which religion was repressed. As the years went by the once-magnificent Dohány Street Synagogue fell into disrepair.

As communism fell, interest in the synagogue rose. Private donors paid to restore it to its former glories. They included Estée Lauder and Tony Curtis, who were both born to Hungarian Jewish parents in New York City, and Curtis’ daughter Jamie Lee Curtis. But this was not the first time the shul had attracted stars: the major Hungarian composer Franz Liszt played its 5,000 pipe organ back in the 19th century.

In the 1990s, thanks to the beneficence of those moved by its beauty and history, the Dohány Street Synagogue was reconstructed according to its original designs. It now looks identical to when it was first built.

Today as before, the temple serves as the religious center of the Budapest Jewish community, which is one of Europe’s largest. In 2010, the demographer Sergio Della Pergola estimated that there was a core Jewish population of 48,600 in Hungary, the vast majority of which lives in the capital. The synagogue has 28 Torah scrolls—all of which survived World War Two, when two priests hid them in a Catholic seminary—and it is packed on high holy days. As well as housing the Jewish Museum, the shul is also a cultural center, with concerts taking place throughout the year.

Now locals and tourists from around the world can once again enjoy the synagogue’s internal frescoes, its beautiful, ornate stained glass windows, and its bold, yellow and red Moorish exterior. The shul is not only the second largest in the world; it is one of its most glorious.

Perhaps it is fitting that the synagogue is known throughout the world because, in a way, the State of Israel was born by the Dohány Street Synagogue. At least Theodor Herzl, the man credited with its founding, certainly was, and the shul’s influence has traveled far beyond the boundaries of Budapest’s District VII.

In fact, if Budapest is too much of a schlep and New York City is closer to home, you can see the impact of the Dohány Street Synagogue at East 55th Street and Lexington Avenue. There you’ll find New York’s Central Synagogue, which is a near-exact copy of the Dohány Street temple; a replica of East-Central Europe in Midtown East. All that’s missing is the trendy bistros, cafes and bars.



Mix a “world weary” Brooklyn Jew now living most of the time in Israel and you get our guide.  Only time I saw him show any emotion was an exchange he and I had about the Red Sox and Yankees.  He did make a funny comment that half of us were on the tour because if we hadn’t gone we would get home and hear,” You were in Budapest and you DIDN’T GO TO THE SYNAGOAGU!!!!”   I have to say, that’s part of the reason I was there.  However, both of our Budapest walking tour guides mentioned the Jewish quarter and the Dohany Street Great Synagogue, making it a tourist destination for everyone. 

Our guide also said that most people think the synagogue looks more like a church and I think I’m in that group.  The synagogue was built in the style of the time to fit in.  And it needed to be huge to accommodate all of the congregants.  Now they use loud speakers when the thousands of people come for Yom Kippur and want to hear the Kol Nidre chanted.  Also, the congregation was Neolog which is a sort of Conservativism but definitely not Orthodox and not Reform either.  It seems a form of Judiasm peculiar to Europe. 

We were  also told that I Nazi flag was placed atop the building by Eichman (who used the synagogue as an office) so as not to be bombed by the Germans.  The flag was left up so when the Russians arrive, the building would be bombed by the Allies. Thankfully something added atop the building..can’t remember exactly… saved the synagogue from distruction




What are these mid-synagogue pulpits for?  Our guide explained that they are atypical for synagogues but because one comes to hear as well as participate, these were needed so readers could be heard throughtout the building, downstairs and up in the two-level balcony. If I remember correctly we were told that men and women sat together except on high holidays…but don’t quote me.  

Randal wanted a photo of the ceiling supporting the lower balcony as future reference for our someday house. 


Past members killed during the Holocaust are remembered by name plates.

clip_image011 clip_image012

clip_image013 clip_image014

Somewhere there is an organ, but I didn’t see any pipes. 

The building to the left of the synagogue is the Herzl’s home, now a museum.

The buildings and the courtyards of the Synagogue include the Jewish Museum, the Heroes’ Temple, the Jewish Cemetery and the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park.

Jewish Museum – The Jewish Museum was constructed on the site where Theodor Herzl’s house once stood. The Museum is adjacent to the Great Synagogue, and it features Jewish traditions, costumes, as well a detailed history of Hungarian Jews, including information about the Holocaust.


Jewish Cemetery – The cemetery is located in the backyard of the Heroes’ Temple. There are over 2,000 people buried here who died in the Jewish ghetto during the winter of 1944-45.

Raul Wallenberg Memorial Park – The Raul Wallenberg Memorial Park, home to the Holocaust Memorial, is located in the backyard of the Great Synagogue. The Holocaust Memorial, also known as the Emanuel Tree, is a weeping willow tree (by Imre Varga) with the names of Hungarian Jews killed during the Holocaust inscribed on each leaf. The memorial was sponsored by the Emanuel Foundation of New York. The foundation was created in 1987 by Tony Curtis in honor of his father, Emanuel Schwartz, who emigrated to New York from Mátészalka in Hungary.

clip_image016 clip_image017


Heroes’ Temple – The Heroes’ Temple was added to the Great synagogue in 1931, and it serves as a memorial to Hungarian Jews who gave their lives during World War I.

Also part of the memorial are four red marble plates, commemorating 240 non-Jewish Hungarians who saved Jews during the Holocaust. One of the most heroic figures of the Holocaust in Hungary was Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who prepared Protective Passports under the authority of the Swedish Embassy, saving the lives of thousands of Jews.


“Wallenberg saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis by issuing them with Swedish papers during 1944-45, only to then disappear in Soviet custody after the war.”


Our guide was very sweet, but her microphone didn’t work well and half of the group couldn’t hear.  Plus she had to talk fast to get most of the group back to the synagogue for the 1:30 tour. 

Rumbach Street Synagogue, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Leslie Howard, and Raoul Wallenberg….

     “The synagogue was designed by the most renown Viennese architect of the late 19th-early 20th century, Otto Wagner, the creator of architectural modernism. It was built between 1868 and 1872. The building is the most stunning example of arabesque synagogues around the world, with probably the nicest inner space amongst the synagogues of Budapest. The earlier, smaller temples of Budapest’s Jewry were situated in the court of the Orczy-House, a conglomerate of many buildings on the corner of Király utca and Károly körút. The building was rented to the Jews by the Orczy barons before 1840, when royal cities prohibited their settlement. After 1840 the parliament permitted Jews to acquire real estate and the Jews in Budapest soon intended to erect a Synagogue on a separate piece of land (…)

Prayers were held in the Rumbach Street Synagogue until 1959. At the end of the 80’s, a construction company bought the property and decided to completely restore it, then to sell the building. This restoration was carried out only to some degree, however; the street façade and the structure of the synagogue were refurbished and the cover of the inner walls was redone. In 1992 the company went bankrupt and in exchange for its liabilities, the building was handed over to the Hungarian Privatization and State Holding Company (ÁPV), from where it was returned to the Budapest Jewish Community.”

The name Orczy rang a bell to me.  In junior high I read the book The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy.  My copy had an image of a pimpernel so I was allowed to read it.  My friend Bruce’s copy had sort of a bodice ripper cover :  back in 1962ish this was risque so he was told he couldn’t read it.  I can’t remember the exact outcome, but I remember totally enjoying the book.  I recently tried to watch some Youtube shows of Anthony Andrews as The Pimpernel but it was too awful.

“Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála “Emmuska” Orczy de Orczi was born in Hungary in 1865.  Her family moved to England when she was 15.  She later married Englishman Montague MacLean Barstow.  Baroness Orczy is best known for her book, The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

In 1934 the book was made into a movie starring Leslie Howard.  Howard then produced, directed and was the lead actor in an updated Pimpernel movie in 1941 called Pimpernel Smith.

Pimpernel Smith :  Having saved a good many heads from the French revolutionary guillotine in the film of a few years back, the Scarlet Pimpernel is back in a new disguise. "Mister V" is what he calls himself in the new arrival at the Rivoli, and this time he is a crotchety, vacant-minded archaeologist smuggling deserving souls out of the reach of the Nazi terror. Out of his adventures amid the gutterals and brown shirts, Leslie Howard as producer, director and leading player has created an uneven but decidedly exciting melodrama. Perhaps Mister V’s exploits sometimes have a familiar ring, No matter, "Mister V" is still a pulse-quickening variation on a dangerous theme. Singapore may fall, but the British can still make melodramas to chill the veins.

And all of this is connected to Raoul Wallenberg.

“And it was a British wartime propaganda film, Pimpernel Smith, which gave Mrs Lagergren her first inkling that Raoul would do something special.  The film takes the action of the Scarlet Pimpernel into pre-war Nazi Germany, telling the story of Horatio Smith, a British archaeologist trying to save inmates of concentration camps.

“They couldn’t show it openly in Stockholm, because it was anti-German. So they had a special cinema where we could see it, specially invited, at the British embassy. This was in 1942. And afterwards Raoul said: that is something I would like to do.  ..”


clip_image022 clip_image023

The ark doors to the left of the photo showing how the synagogue once looked.


Words to definitely live by; for anyone of any religion.

The building was open because to set up for a concert, or take down from a concert… so we could go inside.


Stumbling stones are embedded in Bucharest also  first stones were laid in 2007

Carl Lutz memorial in the Jewish Quarter.  The American Embassy also has a memorial.

clip_image026 clip_image027

I knew about Raoul Wallenberg but not about Carl Lutz

“Whoever saves a life is considered as if he has saved an entire world.”  Talmudic saying.


During the war, Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz (1895-1975) helped save tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest from persecution and deportation. Located on the area of the former Budapest ghetto is a monument dedicated to his memory.

“Neutral Switzerland represented the interests of citizens from several states which had since 1941 been at war with Hungary, including Great Britain and the United States. From the beginning of 1942 on, Carl Lutz led a special department for the protection of these citizens as vice-consul at the Swiss embassy in Budapest. Deliberately exceeding his authority, Lutz issued tens of thousands of Jews protective letters, which were to shield them from deportation and persecution.

Moreover, he was involved in helping Jews emigrate to Palestine, which was at the time under British mandate. Lutz closely worked together with the Zionist »Jewish Agency for Palestine«, led by Moshe (Miklós) Krausz. This organisation was responsible for distributing emigration papers for Palestine.

When the German Wehrmacht invaded Hungary on March 19, 1944, Lutz placed the »Jewish Agency« under the protection of the Swiss embassy. The Agency moved into the »Glass House« in Vadász Street 29. Lutz and his helpers did all they could in order to issue as many so-called protective letters and protective passports as they could. Carl Lutz took advantage of the fact that the Hungarian government had – due to pressure from abroad – agreed to allow 8,000 children and youths to emigrate to Palestine, and that these had been in possession of Swiss documents before the German invasion. Lutz and Krausz interpreted the decree to mean that not only individuals holding these documents but their entire families would be allowed to emigrate, thereby placing tens of thousands of people under their protection.

After the establishment of the Budapest ghetto in the winter of 1944, Lutz established numerous »safe houses« under Swiss protection and tried to arrange the best possible conditions for the Jews who sought refuge there.

About 119,000 Jews were liberated in Budapest when the Soviet army took the city. It is neither known nor possible to determine how many were saved due to the efforts made by Carl Lutz. Several sources speak of up to 62,000 lives saved.

For a long time after World War II, the deeds of Carl Lutz were forgotten. His reception in Switzerland was more than cool; he was accused of having exceeded his authority as a diplomat. In 1965, Yad Vashem awarded him the medal of the »Righteous Among the Nations«.

The monument by sculptor Tamás Szabó was set up in 1991 in direct vicinity of one of the former entrances to the Budapest ghetto. “


Another memorial plaque in another part of Budapest outside the Jewish Quarter

clip_image031 clip_image032

The still functioning Kazinczy Street orthodox synagogue

     “In 1997, the Jewish community of Miskolc numbered some 250 aged survivors of the Holocaust. According Mr. Birnbaum, then the shammas of the Kazinczy Utca synagogue, about 24 people came to services each Shabbat. These congregants were far too poor to see to the upkeep of the synagogue, which was sadly neglected and in disrepair.

    Even so, one could see that in its heyday, the synagogue must have been glorious. When a visitor remarked upon the beauty of the chapel, the elderly shammas replied, "It was beautiful when it was full." Few words could memorialize more exquisitely and succinctly the thousands of Miskolc martyrs of the Holocaust”

“The most significant cultural sight is the Kazinczy Street Orthodox Synagogue, located around the middle of the street at No. 29-31.  The synagogue is attended by Budapest’s orthodox Jewish community.  The neo-renaissance building was finished in 1912 according to the design of the Löffler brothers.  The traceries, hand-painted by Miksa Róth stained glass artist are beautiful ornamental elements of the Kazinczy synagogue. discusses the brothers and their architecture.  This is a really good website about Budapest architecture in general.

Gozsdu Court


clip_image034 clip_image035

We visited the area on our walking tour and then returned Sunday for the market.

“one family torn apart by war is too many” are the words written on the enlarged photo.

Gozsdu Bazaar (GOUBA) is a weekly Sunday market held at the beautifully restored Gozsdu Courtyard, once the core of Budapest’s Jewish quarter. More than 100 vendors sell one-of-a-kind jewelry, clothes, accessories, antiques, home décor and more. It’s a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs while being entertained by street performers and musicians.

Gozsdu Courtyard connects Király utca and Dob utca and GOUBA can be accessed from both entrances at Király utca 13 and Dob utca 16.

Opening hours:

GOUBA is held every Sunday from April to mid October. It’s open 10 am to 7 pm. Entrance is free.

The beautifully restored Gozsdu Courtyard, once the core of Budapest’s Jewish quarter, is popular with locals. Packed with restaurants, pubs and bars, the place comes alive every evening. Gozsdu Courtyard (Gozsdu Udvar) was a row of buildings with a series of inner courtyards connecting Király utca and Dob utca, with apartments on the top floors, and small shops and workshops on the ground floor. Recent renovations converted the old passageway into a modern residential and entertainment complex with some great restaurants and pubs. In addition, there’s GOzsdU BAzaar (GOUBA), a popular, open-air Sunday market held here from March to October. tells more about Emanuil Gojdu and Győző Czigler, the architect who designed the complex.  Neither man was Jewish but the area is located in what became and still is considered the Jewish quarter. 

clip_image036 clip_image037

“Located right next to the Gozsdu udvar and Carl Lutz Memorial, Spinoza Haz isa project reviving the cultural live of the Jewish quarter as it was before WWII. Spinoza Has is a complex of a fantastic restaurant –Café Spinoza, a theatre & toruist apartments.  Every night there is live virtuous bar-piano music, every Friday Klezmer show, great food, great atmosphere all day long.”

Baruch Spinoza

  “Finally, to turn to one of Spinoza’s most important and influential opinions, he denies that the Hebrew Bible is of divine origin. ….. If it is at all a “pious” and “divine” document, it is not because of its origin or the words on the page, but only because its narrative is especially morally edifying and effective in inspiring readers to acts of justice and charity—to practicing the “true religion.” is a lengthy by interesting explanation of Spinoza’s philosphy and how his expulsion from the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam can be explained by the history of that community.


Ruin bars are all the rage in Budapest and have been around for 10 years since the founding of Szimpla Kert, the mecca of all ruin bars. These bars are built in Budapest’s old District VII neighborhood (the old Jewish quarter) in the ruins (hence the name) of abandoned buildings, stores, or lots. This neighborhood was left to decay after World War II so it was a perfect place to develop an underground bar scene. (Not so underground anymore though.)  Each of these ruin bars has its own personality, but they all follow a few basic principles: find an old abandoned place, rent it out (maybe?), set up a bar, fill it with flea market furniture, have a few artists come in to leave their mark on the walls and ceiling, add in some weird antiques, serve alcohol, and watch people flock in. Since all these bars are in abandoned buildings, they open, close, and move frequently depending on whether the neighbors find out, the patrons get too loud, or an investor comes and buys the property to renovate it. This gives the whole concept an edge of excitement as you never know when these places will come and go.

When you are in these bars, you feel like you are drinking at your local thrift store. None of the furniture matches. It’s all old. It’s eclectic. It feels like they just ransacked your grandmother’s house. The ceilings are all designed differently. For example, Instant has a room where the furniture is on the ceiling and Fogashaz has bikes hanging from its ceiling. The places haven’t been repaired or fixed up. There are still holes in the walls and pipes can be seen everywhere.

clip_image039 clip_image040

“Medieval Jewish Prayer House (Középkori Zsidó Imaház) built in 1364 on Castle Hill. A small medieval Sephardic synagogue functioning until 1686, right next to the former Great Synagogue in Buda.”

The Seventh District: A Cultural Journey through Budapest’s Jewish Quarter

Budapest’s seventh district, Erzsébetváros, is one of the most culturally and historically rich parts of the city, and is home to the ancient Jewish quarter. Rosie Higham-Stainton explores this district, which offers a fascinating insight into the history of Hungary and its Jewish community.

Standing outside the Rumbach synagogue in Budapest’s Seventh District, still partly boarded up following the atrocities of World War II, I can hear the jazz sounds of a double bass drifting from the entrance. Inside the dimly lit space, the rows of seats are empty and the band on stage in the distance is in full ‘practice’ swing. It is not Klezmer music and there are no Yiddish or Hebrew lyrics; it is perhaps instead a sound born from the coming together of cultures that is a noticeable feature of Pest’s Seventh District and the surrounding area.

Still referred to today as the ‘ghetto’, the heritage of the Seventh District rests heavily with the Jewish community. However, it is also emerging as an area with a thriving creative scene and a new influx of shabby, arty drinking holes known as ‘ruin bars’. There are restaurants catering for tourists and locals alike, as well as a host of glitzy home interiors shops. This is the Seventh District today — drawing from both its cultural heritage and its thriving contemporary culture in an eclectic mix that could attract comparisons with London’s once Jewish, and now creative and highly diverse, East End.

Not far away is the most conspicuous and famed Jewish tourist attraction in Pest: the Dohány Utca Synagogue. This commanding structure, once the largest synagogue in Europe, was renovated and cleaned up after the Second World War with financial support from Jewish organisations and Hollywood actor/director Tony Curtis, whose own ancestry is one of Hungarian Jewry. It is a vast site containing not only the synagogue itself but also a Jewish museum and memorial garden to commemorate those lost during World War II. Queues of tourists line the streets for guided tours whilst policeman guard the perimeter fence day and night.

In reality, few Jews still live in the Seventh District, however slipping away from the shiny Dohány synagogue you will still find the smaller synagogues and food shops that are a vital element of the community’s day-to-day life. The real Jewish amenities of this area are not always obvious — kosher restaurants sit behind tinted windows on dusty side streets and unfussy cake shops go on producing their prize treats without too much ceremony – but they are there, huddled in between the different elements of what is a constantly evolving part of Pest.

In Michael Jacobs’ invaluable Budapest – A Cultural Guide the author writes, ‘the assimilation of Hungarian culture by non-Hungarians was a remarkable feature of Budapest’s late nineteenth century development, and particularly evident in the case of Hungary’s ever-increasing Jewish community’.  He goes on to say ‘the Jewish community came to include not only a high proportion of Budapest’s most prominent bankers and industrialists (notably the creators of the city’s all-important textile and milling industries) but also, by 1910, two-fifths of the city’s lawyers, three-fifths of its doctors, and two fifths of its journalists; by then, Jews accounted for a quarter of the city’s population and had earned the place the nickname ‘Judapest’.  This large Jewish element undoubtedly added a necessary cosmopolitan element to a city which had become increasingly xenophobic’. As Jacobs notes, the Jewish quarter was a thriving space of commerce, religion and culture, and it remains so to this day in varying forms.

Any Jewish ‘pilgrimage’ to the Seventh District and beyond is an interesting culinary and architectural adventure. From Moorish elements, such as the ochre colours and bulbous towers of the commonly known Rumbach synagogue, designed by the celebrated Viennese architect Otto Wagner to the very private Venetian styled Orthodox synagogue, places of worship represent Jewish tradition together with an age-old assimilation and embrace of other cultures.

The modest and unflashy Jewish food suppliers and restaurants are worth investigating for the wonderful delicacies specific to Ashkenazi Jews. The Jewish cake shop Frohlich Cukraszda on Dob Utca is one of the oldest and is famed for its offerings, in particular cakes and pastries containing the traditional filling of sweet ground poppy-seed paste. In more recent years a competitor has appeared nearby on Wesselenyi Utca. Noe Cukraszda, run by an entrepreneurial Jewish-Hungarian woman and her husband, it offers wonderful tiered cakes or flodni (Hungarian Jewish cake) with gooey nuts and poppy-seeds. Rachel, the owner, has established herself as a cake-maker extraordinaire, appearing on cookery shows and running mobile cake stalls at both local markets and the grand central market, simultaneously demonstrating her very 21st century approach and people’s flourishing interest in Jewish cuisine and culture.

For the brave (and appropriately attired!), there is Hanna’s restaurant within the walls of the orthodox synagogue, where goose soup and other traditional cuisine is available to tourists at a slightly elevated price. However, hidden away down side streets you will find the real thing – from the traditional, white linen table cloth atmosphere of the Kispipa Etterem to the plastic chairs and counter service of Zamatka Kifozde; pickled cabbage and cucumber, chicken noodle broths and cholent are all worth trying.

In what could be seen as a sign of the times, a Yiddish-Italian restaurant is soon to open in the beautiful Gozsdu Udvar, or Seven Courtyards. The notion of kosher pizza and other crossover dishes, perhaps targeted at tourists, may leave you with a sense of bemusement; however, it not only implies a thriving Jewish culture, but also an adapting and imaginative one. The curiosities of Jewish Pest are not clean cut or stalwart; they are steeped in both tradition and the ongoing cultural change of this fascinating city.

By Rosie Higham-Stainton

The Culture Trip

The Culture Trip showcases the best of art, culture and travel for every country in the world. Have a look at our Hungary or Europe sections to find out more or become involved.  discussion of organs in synagogues.  Organs in synagogues is not agreed upon by all branches of the religion.

Andrew Salamon

  In 1939, Budapest, Hungary was a beautiful and lively metropolis, gracing

the banks of the Danube River. Six years later, the city lay in shambles, and 460 000 Jews had been killed.  This is the remarkable story of one Jewish boy who survived those years…

The world-famed festival of European magnitude has made its first and most important goal to introduce Jewish culture to the widest circle of audience possible, and to highlight the importance of peaceful cultural coexistence with the diversity of programs.

It must be noted that an event-series belonging to a minority must emphasize tolerance just as much as it emphasizes taking on a cultural role.

The force that culture represents in bringing people together is of vast importance, as the media mostly mentions war and problems regarding Jews andIsrael. Yet, such a festival shows a different facade of the people, common to all mankind.

Every nation has it magnificent artists, regardless of being Christian, Jewish or Muslim. Every religion safeguards its own book and God and fears all others who are different. A decade and a half ago this festival was brought to life to begin a dialogue and go against exclusion, to break out of the frames we put others in.

Our multi-art event-series introducing Jewish culture and many other traditions of other nations has outgrown itself and is by now the biggest Jewish cultural festival ofEurope.

The Jewish Summer Festival ofBudapestis generally known to be a non-religious, but a cultural event series.

Budapest Intro

Vykovar, Croatia

Dobra Večer  = good evening in Croatian

     One side of the river is Serbia, the other Croatia.  All of it at one time was Yugoslavia.  More than that I can’t begin to explain.  We came to check on some boat paint.  From Vukovar we’ll return to Serbia and will soon stop in Belgrade. 

Budapest Email # 1

“We can’t return we can only look behind From where we came….” Joni Mitchell sang those words about life in general but they do seem to capture how I feel about our travel along the rivers.  By the time we arrive in Turkey I’ll certainly know lots more about Europe than I did before this trip. 

     One needs to visit Budapest more than one time and/or for more than 4½ days.  We saw lots, missed lots.  Budapest makes it on several “most beautiful cities” lists.  I certainly thought Jerusalem was beautiful, especially watching the sun rise over the old city.  And Florence also would be on my list.  Budapest in the early evening with the sun beginning to set certainly was lovely.

“Straddling the Danube River, with the Buda Hills to the west and the Great Plain to the east, Budapest is a gem of a city.  Budapest’s beauty is not all God-given; man has played a role in shaping this pretty face too. Architecturally, Budapest is a treasure, with enough baroque, neoclassical, Eclectic and art nouveau (Secessionist) buildings to satisfy anyone’s appetite. Overall, though, Budapest has a fin-de-siècle feel to it, for it was then, during the capital’s ‘golden age’, that most of what you see today was built. Nearly every building has some interesting or unusual detail, from art nouveau glazed tiles and neoclassical bas-reliefs to bullet holes and shrapnel scorings left over from WWII and the 1956 Uprising that still cry out in silent fury.”

Randal and I did three walking tours covering most of Hungary’s history as well as Budapest’s Jewish history; and all in 6 hours!

Classic walks with a lot of sights and stories on both sides of the river. Our tours in English are held every single day, throughout the WHOLE YEAR!



Departure: 10:30 every day – Duration: ~2.5 hours

Meeting point: in Deák tér – in the middle of the square, under the clock, at the grey satue (at M1-M2-M3 metro exit) –

Itinerary: Danube Promenade – Szechenyi Square – Chain Bridge – Clark Adam Square – Royal Palace (outside) – President’s Palace – Castle Quarter – Matthias Church (outside) & breathtaking panoramic views of the Danube and it bridges

Cost: no fixed price – BASED ON TIPS

Dora was our guide.

Our tip: If you like this tour, you can continue with the ESSENTIAL PEST TOUR!


Departure: 14:30 every day – Duration: ~1.5 hours

Meeting point: in Deák tér – in the middle of the square, under the clock, at the grey satue (at M1-M2-M3 metro exit)

Itinerary: Elisabeth Square – Saint Stephen’s Basilica (outside) – Liberty Square – Soviet monument – Imre Nagy Statue – Parliament (outside) & sites of the Communist dictatorship and the 1956 revolution

Cost: no fixed price – BASED ON TIPS

Orshe was our guide.

Attention! Our sign and leaflets are RED, NOT BLUE!!!!  is the website of the tour company. 

The STANDARD Jewish quarter tour

   This tour is recommended for visitors who wish to get acquainted with the Budapest Jewish quarter, but are short of time. The Dohany street great synagogue is a must see among the top ten sights of Budapest. The tour continues then with a walk in the Jewish district. The walk includes the Goldmark Hall, the Jewish Community Center, the Gozsdu Courtyard, the Carl Lutz memorial, the Mikvah, the old-new Király street bustling again with commercial life and a great number of fascinating old buildings. Experience the unique, special atmosphere of this multicultural district of Budapest. While walking among the ruined and modern buildings you learn the story of the Hungarian Jewry, the Budapest ghetto and the Hungarian holocaust. This is a stroll along narrow streets best explored with the help of a professional guide expert in Jewish history.

The tour includes:

– professional guidance

– entrance to the Dohany synagogue

– entrance to the Jewish museum

– visit of the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park with the Weeping Willow Tree holocaust memorial

– entrance to the new permanent exhibition: Gate of the Jewish District

– a walk in the Jewish district of Budapest

Duration: 2 hours

Departure: 10:30 every day from the Dohany street synagogue (No tour on Saturdays and holidays)

Price: 6500 Forints/adult, 5200 Forints/student so not free like the other tours

One reason donations are asked for rather than charging of fees, no taxes collected from donations.  No record keeping or anything.  Our guide Dora warned us St. Stephens “required” donations so you have to pay or they are not very happy with you and let you know.  Someone has to pay for the upkeep of these places so fees seem okay with me if they’re reasonable.  But mostly we just walked around and looked at the city which is basically free.

This email is just an intro.  I’ll write more about my favorite sites in the next few emails.


Built between 1884 to 1904 to symbolize Hungary’s austomy with the Austro-Hungarian empire, the neo-Gothic building is based partially on the British Parliament.  It’s the largest building in the country.  The building is 268 meters long with 691 rooms.  The capola rises 96 meters.  The architect was Imre Steindl.   Info from the City Walks Budapest map. 




The Chain Bridge linking Buda and Pest



Fishermen’s Bastion










Hello from Serbia

Marina Apatin

Hi All,

   Just a quick email. 

As an introduction to Serbia, Apatin is a good hostess.  Nice big friendly clean marina with great wifi.  A cute town with a pretty good grocery store.  And a lovely small walkable town center.

Our final two big cities will be Belgrade here in Serbia and Bucharest, the capital of Romania.   If anyone has been and has some “off the beaten track” suggestions let me know. 

We’re soon off down the river to a place called Vukovar where there is a marina that might be deep enough and might have room.  Now way to know until we get there.  The “no way to know until we get there” way of travel is …. Well, I always want to “book a room before we get there” so this is quite different.  So far it has pretty much worked out and if we have to tie up in the middle of nowhere, we have enough canned goods for a good amount of time so being stuck for a day won’t be a problem.  And it’s not like we don’t know where we’ll be sleeping as we take our beds with us. 

It will take time to write up Budapest but I did get some lovely photos.  I never thought about a city being beautiful, but Budapest really is.


Apatin Marina and Town


Serbian Border Patrol which was quick and painless.  You can see we’re now flying the Serbian courtesy flag.

An oldish geezer helped us tie up for “10 Euro” and a beer.  The border guards officially collected 70 Euro for a cruising permit to enter Serbia.  Somebody has to pay to maintain the waterways so I think our having to pay for a cruising permit is fair.


Marina Apatin

Mostly a marina for small fishing boats…

clip_image003 clip_image004

A fisherman working on his boat.


An evening shot of the marina office and apartments complex.  The statue is topped with a cross so if you know nothing about a country, you vaguely know the religion.  Cross, Crescent, Star…all tell the instant story.


The town promenade.

In a small café R R and M had beer but I ordered lemonade.  I tried every which way to get some ice because the water wasn’t at all cold and it was a hot day.  I asked for ice which in German is Ice cream so then I drew a picture.  But no ice.

We stayed in town for dinner and had pizza.  We ordered two large sardine pizza for RR and M and a veggie pizza for me.  We got 1 large sardine pizza and the rest veggie.  When you don’t speak the language you just never know.

Komarno Jewish history

Marina Apatin

Здраво  or  zdravo = hello

   We have officially checked out of Hungary and Schengen and are now in Apatin Serbia.  We’ll probably be here for one or two nights and then keep moving along.  Last night was our final night and we spent it in Mohacs, Hungary. 

   This email returns us to Komarno, Slovakia.  After that I’ll begin a multi post on Budapest.  I seem to be learning European history in spite of myself.  All so confusing.  And a good deal of it sad.  But as Tina Turner sang,  “If you come down to the River   Bet you’re gonna find some people who live  You don’t have to worry ’cause you have no money  People on the river are happy to give….”  Those words from Proud Mary popped into my head as I thought about the people we’ve met along the way.  Obviously one does have to have money…marinas cost money….but everyone is always really helpful, warm and welcoming.  Happy to have some Americans come visit.




In commemoration of the oldest synagogue in Kpmarno which was located in this building from 1827 to 1863.  The Jewish Community of Komarno  2011


Located in what is being developed as the “Courtyard of Europe” complex the former Orthodox synagogue now houses a souvenir shop as well as a non-Jewish old age home.

Menhaz : “a unique monument comprising the former Jewish old age home and its restored synagogue.”

clip_image005 clip_image006


“The Jewish community of Komarno today uses the building of the former Jewish old age home, built in 1896.  The compounds refurbished synagogue is a simple hall with original furnishings and impressive neo-Gothic decoration.  A Holocaust memorial with a Yizkor book listing the names of the Komarno victims is on the northern wall of the sanctuary.  In addition there are two memorial plaques, mounted by the municipality, on the façade.  Slovak Jewish Heritage Route brochure that I received at the town tourist office. 

There was a second plaque on the façade but it was in Slovakian and Hebrew.  The blue and white plaque tells that the building had been the old age home.


The synagogue wasn’t open the day we were in Komarno, but the building, which houses a bakery, was opened so we went inside and looked at the photo boards.  This one showed photos of a Klezmer band, but one photo was a reunion of Auschwitz survivors or families connected with victims. 

clip_image011 clip_image012

Cakes were cooling in the hallway.  We bought some pastries to enjoy and as a thank you for letting us wander around.  I didn’t have any ( sugar is bad for cholesterol )  but Mary said they were quite good.


Standing outside the bakery entrance


Around the block from the Synagogue was this building with a sign that read..” 1863 – 1944  This building was the home of the Komarno Neolog Synagogue.”  The plaque was placed there in 2010 by The Jewish Community of Komarno

clip_image016clip_image017 clip_image018


“Limestone sculpture depicting several people under a heavy burden.  The monument is both a memorial to the Hungarians executed during the public administration in southern Slovakia in 1945-48 and the deportations under the administration of the Communists after 1948” •Péter Gáspár (1951), Slovak sculptor.

The dates intrigued me as it’s after the war as well as during the war.  But I can’t find any information about the sculpture other than what I posted. 

More then a double trouble- Komarno community in Slovakia

Ian Shulman/ Austria

February 15, 2012 | 8:04 am

Tamas Paszternak

      I was aware from the very beginning that my first stop in Slovakia is not going to amaze me by its architectural or landscape beauty. However, I knew beforehand that it is going to be something special due to certain fascinating geographical, national and linguistic reasons. If only I’d have remembered the main factor, which can make any god forsaken place special. The human factor.

     The town of Komarno was a must see. It lies on the magnificent Danube, which is a natural border between Slovakia and Hungary. In addition to that, the town is equally (around 100km) away from the capitals of both states – Bratislava and Budapest. But despite of the great location, which turned Komarno into an important military and trade port some centuries ago, the city’s 35,000 population is rapidly declining. 40 of those people are members of local Jewish community. It may seem to be a miserable particle of the famous community which the city hosted before the WWII, but would you think that it almost doubled during the last 15 years?

     Tamas Paszternak, the leader of Komarno’s community, knows how hard it is to attract new people to a small town in one of the poorest regions of one of the poorest European countries. Even trying to retain the current residents is already a challenge – Tamas himself lives in Budapest. Is a good old word ‘duty’ able to describe the strange force which makes Tamas put all his efforts on sustaining and developing this community? He started with a simple rule – at least one event per month needs to be organized in a former community building, which the community managed to reclaim from the state in the 1990s. Be it a major Jewish holiday, a klezmer concert, an art exhibition or a lecture – one event per month is just like a pulse of the community, a monthly confirmation of its existence. The signal was received and accepted. Today the Jewish center on Eötvösova street attracts dozens of people, many of which come from outside of the community – simply because this organization became probably the most vibrant place of the town.

     But Paszternak goes further. Newly restored synagogue, the only monthly Jewish community magazine in Slovakia with 400 printed and numerous e-mailed copies, different activities for all age groups, assistance in roots search – this is only a part of what the community has achieved now. However, not everything goes that smooth. While the involvement of non-Jewish population is high, a certain degree of hostility is still there, claims Tamas. Thus, while some high schools invite him to teach about the history of Jews in Komarno, universities are not willing to have any Jewish-related input to their history course programs. Paszternak’s attempts to prevent a Hungarian Neo-Nazi band from performing in the town was unsuccessful too. But it seems that for this person there is no aim which is too high, there are only aims which he has to reach.

     “Being a Hungarian-speaking Jew in Slovakia is not even a double trouble” – smiles Tamas. I remembered these words while walking the empty streets of Komarno’s cozy old town towards the station, hoping deep inside that the freezing wind is the only reason why I hardly met a person in this town. The oddly-yellow building of the town hall, arty-crafty newly-built Europa square with its pretentiously pan-European buildings, the ruins of medieval Komarno fortress, which used to host Soviet barracks, dull docklands, beautiful Danube, and this wind, which can spoil the impression of any city. Is this ‘triple trouble’, is this ruin actually the force which made this man dedicate all his life to the tough mission of revival, which results can only be visible locally, since 100 km is way too far and numbers of 35,000 and 40 are way to small? Is this actually a revival? And will this revival go on?