BUDAPEST is the capital and the largest city of Hungary, the largest in East-Central Europe and the seventh largest in the European Union. It is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre, sometimes described as the primate city of Hungary. According to 2011 Census, Budapest had 1.74 million inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2.1 million due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3.3 million people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of west-bank Buda and Óbuda with east-bank Pest.
The 525 km2 area of Budapest lies in central Hungary surrounded by settlements of the agglomeration in Pest county. The capital extends 25 and 29 kilometers in the north-south, east-west direction respectively. The Danube enters the city from the north; later it encircles two islands, Óbuda Island and Margaret Island. The third island Csepel Island is the largest of the Budapest Danube islands, however only its northernmost tip is within city limits. The river that separates the two parts of the city is only 230 m (755 ft) wide at its narrowest point in Budapest. Pest lies on the flat terrain of the Great Plain while Buda is rather hilly. Pest's terrain rises with a slight eastward gradient, so the easternmost parts of the city lie at the same altitude as Buda's smallest hills, notably Gellért Hill and Castle Hill. The Buda hills consist mainly of limestone and dolomite, the water created speleothems, the most famous ones being the Pálvölgyi cave and the Szemlőhegyi cave. The hills were formed in the Triassic Era. The highest point of the hills and of Budapest is János hill, at 527 metres (1,729 ft) above sea level. The lowest point is the line of the Danube which is 96 metres (315 ft) above sea level. The forests of Buda hills are environmentally protected.
Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport, formerly called Budapest Ferihegy International Airport, which has 2 passenger terminals: Ferihegy 1, which tends to serve the many discount airlines now flying to and from Budapest, Ferihegy 2/A and Ferihegy 2/B. A third terminal is planned though not yet constructed. The airport is located to the east of the centre in the XVIII. district in Pestszentlőrinc. In March 2011, the Hungarian Government announced that the name of the Airport is to be changed from „Budapest Ferihegy International Airport“ to „Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport“.
Hungarian main-line railways are operated by MÁV. There are three main railway termini in Budapest, Keleti (eastbound), Nyugati (westbound), and Déli (southbound), operating both domestic and international rail services. Budapest is one of the main stops of the Orient Express on its Central and Eastern European route. There is also a suburban rail service in and around Budapest, operated under the name HÉV.
Budapest public transport is provided by BKV, the company operates buses, trolleybuses, trams, suburban railway lines, the metro, a boat service, a cogwheel railway, a funicular, and a chairlift, called Libegő.
Budapest's tram network is extensive, and reliable despite poor track infrastructure and an ageing fleet. Routes 4 and 6 combined form the busiest traditional city tram line in the world, with the world's longest passenger trams (54-metre (177 ft) long Siemens Combino) running at 60 to 90 second intervals at peak time and 3–4 minutes off-peak and usually packed with people.
Day services operate from 4:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. each day. Night traffic (a reduced overnight service) has a reputation for being excellent.
There are three metro lines and a fourth is currently under construction. The Yellow line, built in 1896, is one of the oldest subway lines in the world, following the London Underground built in 1863.
HOW TO GET BETWEEN PRAGUE AND BUDAPEST:
Last update: 2012-06-15 00:00:00