Buda + Pest = Budapest x 3

Budapest, looking across Danube toward Parliament at dusk. (it.wikipedia.org)

Budapest, looking across Danube from Buda toward Pest. (it.wikipedia.org)

Here are three videos of Budapest, “Gay and Beautiful Budapest” from 1938 of 10:28 minutes in length; the second a Rick Steves travel TV episode from 2004 of 26:08 minutes; and, finally, from 2014, “AMAZING Walking Tour!!!” of the Hungarian capital of 37:15 minutes, with no commentary, just street sounds as the documentarian strolls by, directing his camera with admirable patience, fluidity and, mostly, deft aim.

My wife Victoria has been there. She is the daughter of native parents raised there who fled after the Rising and tragic invasion by the Soviets in 1956. I have never been there, though I am a quarter Hungarian. I recommend viewing all three videos. All three show the city’s enchanting hot baths cloaked in the Baroque. The Steves video boasts an extraordinarily witty segment on the Soviet occupation. A ridiculous Soviet-era building is shown, and described as evidence of the result when design is the job of bureaucrats and not artists. Modern architecture is largely absent, though it’s not clear whether, in the last two films, this does not merely reflect the aversion of the filmmakers. Or maybe the camera lens kept breaking, or something like that.  Anyway, although the politics in Hungary is dicey today, as it surely was in 1938, Budapest is worth it.

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Architecture History, Art and design, Blast from past, Other countries, Urbanism and planning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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