Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Budapest Pt. 2

"John, a picture of a McDonald's? Seriously?" Well folks, this isn't just any McDonald's, this is the FIRST McDonald's east of the Iron Curtain. The first to exist in any of the Soviet Union's satellite states during the Cold War. That makes it a historical McDonald's, so take that!

During World War II Hungary allied itself with Germany hoping to keep its independence. Later on in the war Hungary was taken over by its own brand of Nazis, the Arrow Cross regime, who made up for lost time by immediately executing Jews here on the banks of the Danube River. The bodies were then simply pushed into the river. These bronze-cast shoes are a monument to the victims of the Arrow Cross regime, who died on this spot during the war. It lies right between the river and...

Parliament. Hungary's massive Parliament building is bigger than the country needs. It was built in, wait for it... 1896, when Hungary ruled half of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Back then, it made sense for Budapest to have such a massive building to run the far reaches of the empire. Now, its just too darn big, and I believe that the current Parliament only uses one half of the building.

This is the Terror Museum, where you can learn all about the oppressive Arrow Cross and Soviet regimes. Unfortunately, it was closed on the day I walked by, but I think that the building looks pretty cool.

Heroe's Square. Also built in 1896 to show off all of the heroic leaders in Hungarian history. At the time it was made, Hungary was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire still, so to the right there were many Austrian "heroes". Those have all been replaced by Hungarian faces since the end of World War I and the dissolution of the empire.

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