It’s been more than five years since I was last in Budapest. A lot has changed since then and if you don’t think too much about politics during such a trip, Budapest continues to be a fascinating destination – also and especially because of its Jewish heritage.
I can’t be accused of being humourless. But I don’t like the carnival in the Rhineland. Too many people, too many drunks, too much vomit on the streets. After not being able to travel during carnival in recent years because of the pandemic – the big events were cancelled anyway – this time I seized the opportunity. From 17 to 21 February I was in Budapest with Anna, who has been living with me since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
What has changed? It seems to me that tourism has increased. You hear a lot of Spanish, Italian and Greek on the streets. Especially for southern Europeans, Budapest seems to have a great attraction. You can also hear a lot of American English. Not all of it is pleasant. Tourism drives up prices in the city centre, sometimes you have to queue for a long time at museums or important cultural monuments, and in some places the streets look like rubbish pits on Sunday mornings. Nevertheless, Budapest is fascinating and remains one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
As far as Jewish heritage is concerned, there are positive things to report. The synagogue on Rumbach Street has been completely restored and is open to visitors again. The term “restored” doesn’t really apply – in large parts the building is a complete reconstruction. At the Jewish cemetery on Salgótarjáni Street, the restoration work has made some progress. At the Jewish cemetery on Kozma Street, large areas have been clear-cut and cleared of overgrown shrubs. That’s good, of course, but now the full extent of the necessary restoration work is also becoming visible.
I don’t want to repeat myself with this blogpost and that would inevitably happen, because many places I visited a second time during the recent trip. So I recommend reading my post from 2018 and leave you to enjoy the beauty of the Jewish places that I have tried to capture on camera with my modest means.
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I have friends with roots in Hungary. Your photos were breathtaking and outstanding in capturing the artistry and magnificence in cemetery statuary and the beautiful synagogues. Thank you as well for the photo of names.