Mihály Munkácsy

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One of Hungary’s most famous painters is Mihály Munkácsy (1844-1900). With a style both lavish and romantic, many here consider his works the apogee of Hungarian painting. Before moving to Budapest, I knew nothing about this painter. Now, he’s one of my favorites. Recently, I was at Budapest’s National Gallery admiring his work titled The Artist’s Studio. In the center, a painter, probably Munkácsy, and a woman study a large canvas. But what drew my eye was what lay behind it. Continue reading

A Remarkable Find Right Here in Budapest!

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I’ve always been a good “finder.” When I was about 7 or 8, my mom would sometimes misplace her car keys then offer me a quarter if I could find them. Realizing that I could make some easy money, I started hiding her keys then “discovering” them. Unfortunately, Mom caught on pretty fast and stopped paying. But that was all right. I started hiding her lipstick instead and was back in business. Continue reading

Budapest Trivia: The Bridge That Never Was

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If Buda and Pest were pieces of fabric, its bridges would be giant iron stitches that hold the two pieces together. Like London and Paris, San Francisco and Florence, Budapest is famous for its bridges. When visiting the capital, one of the first things you learn is the names of the big four: Margit Bridge, Erzsébet, Szabadság (Liberty) and the Lánchíd (or Chain Bridge). But had a man named János Ruppenthal gotten his way, there’d be five on that list. Continue reading

Budapest’s National Gallop!

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When I was a kid, I will never forget sitting in front of the TV, watching Charlton Heston’s chariot tear around the track in Ben Hur. I wished I could have been there. Well, now I can!  The mighty Chariot Race is only one of the adrenaline-pumping events to take place at Budapest’s annual National Gallop, a rather new Hungarian invention. On September 19, Heroes’ Square will be transformed into a spectacular racetrack covered with over 6,000 square meters of sand. Young jockeys, modern day Hussars on horseback, will race à la Charlton Heston in front of grandstands of cheering crowds, competing for the 21.5-million-forint cash prize, a glittering sword, and national glory.  Continue reading