Wednesday 6 June 2018

Budapest IV- The Synagogue and Market Hall - day 15

On Thursday 12th April we started our day by going past a Gluten Free bakery we had found the night before when walking to the restaurant for dinner - Free Bakery at Dob u.28 in the Jewish district, and bought some croissants for Thomas' mom and myself.
Once again I was surprised to find such a shop in Budapest. They sold bread, pies, cakes, sandwiches, croissants and soups.

After breakfast at a nearby cafe, I went in search of a chemist as I had woken up with a very itchy throat. I asked for Betadine throat spray and Strepsil lozenges, but the pharmacist said they didn't sell Betadine spray in Hungary, but she could give me something similar.
The rest of the day I sprayed my throat and sucked a lozenge every couple of hours as directed, but didn't feel any relief, and later in the day I started to cough as well!

Our next stop was the Dohány Street Synagogue or Great Synagogue, just around the corner from our accommodation.
It is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world with a capacity to sit almost 3 thousand people. 
At the gates we had to go through a security check, then pay an entry fee and the men were given a paper kippah to cover their heads before going inside.
The synagogue was built between 1854 and 1959. It suffered some damage during the war but restoration only started in 1991 and lasted until 1998, financed by the State and private donations, with Hungarian Jewish American Estée Lauder contributing US$5 million.

Two different memorials in the Synagogue courtyard

In the rear courtyard - Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial park - there is a huge monument - the holocaust memorial -  looking like a weeping willow whose leaves bear the names of Jewish victims, made by sculptor Imre Varga.
We had first seen it all lit up on our first night through the fence when we walked past the Synagogue, and it was beautiful.

Holocaust Memorial - during the day and at night time
From the Synagogue, we walked to the Great Market Hall at Vámház krt. 1-3 on the Pest side of the Liberty Bridge.
With an area of 10 thousand square metres, the neogothic building with 3 floors was inaugurated in 1897. During WW II the building was completely damaged and was closed for many years. During the 1990's it underwent restoration and is now one of the most visited tourist attractions in Budapest.

Beautiful roof tiles and central window

The ground floor was a colourful show of fresh produce, candies, spices, pastries, meat and fish stalls and on the top floor is where you find the eateries, clothing and souvenir stalls.

We first went around the produce area where many stalls sold the famous Hungarian paprika. Then we went upstairs and looked around the food stalls, ordered our food and sat down to eat lunch. I can't remember what I chose, but most of us chose chicken. 
I found the owners of the stall a bit abrupt and grumpy but I guess they have to deal with so many foreigners who can't speak English and have to repeat themselves hundreds of times every day...
After lunch we walked around the souvenir stalls and I bought a couple of fridge magnets.
I also bought a small backpack to be able to carry my laptop on the return flight.
I wanted to put my carry-on suitcase inside my big suitcase as I had unloaded a lot of stuff in Portugal and it was quite empty. 

In the market hall there was a funny exhibition of "Food porn" photos. I must have been hiding under a rock because I had never heard of this expression!
Anyway this was all about "miniature people" with food being used as building materials, a ski slope, a pool, etc. Quite well done I must say and very funny.

Before leaving we bought a couple of Hungarian sweet pastries for dessert, which we enjoyed later in the day. We really loved our visit to the market. 

After leaving the market we crossed the Liberty bridge on to the Buda side so we could climb Gellért Hill and visit the Statue of Liberty, but that will be a story for the next post.
Liberty Bridge
This panoramic photo at the Liberty bridge was taken by my daughter on her iphone, and shows both sides of the Danube River - the buildings leading to the Parliament on the right and Gellert Hill on the left. My husband and I can be seen on the left.


  1. The synagogue is particularly magnificent, and the memorial is appropriately poignant.

    1. It certainly was a beautiful Synagogue. Thanks William.

  2. Thank you very much for sharing these! The synagogue and memorial are important and carry much meaning.

    1. They are certainly important to remind the world of the atrocities of the wars. Thanks Cloudia.

  3. The synagogue is spectacular, so many incredible details. Budapest looks like a fabulous place to visit. You seem to have consumed many pastries on this trip Sami, I thoroughly approve 😀 Fantastic two last shots, the panorama showing the Danube..brilliant!

    1. Yes, it is beautiful Grace. I tried my best not to eat too many pastries, but I had to try some at least, lol.
      The panoramic photo looks good.

  4. The memorial fountain is very beautiful. So much we did not see.

    1. Thanks Andrew. When I first saw it illuminated at night I thought it was the most beautiful fountain.

  5. Ah, gluten free. What a great place. Some of our restaurants should definitely take note of places like this!

    I've never heard of having to pay to visit a synagogue, but I guess it's because I've never been to one. This one is a beauty, though.

    I was even more impressed with the holocaust memorial. It is a moving sculpture. There seems to be many memorials to the holocaust victims in Budapest.

    I enjoyed all the photos of the Great Market Hall. It was both colorful and impressive. I was most impressed with all the items you could buy there.

    I LOVED the food porn. It's a big thing in the states, and several artists make big bucks selling large canvases.

    I also LOVE the photo your daughter took of the bridge. It is fabulous and puts the two cities in perspective.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. I also found Gluten free foods in the Portuguese restaurants, but in Budapest they had "just Gluten free" restaurants and bakeries which I thought was amazing!
      The fee, which was expensive 4000hf, the equivalent of USD14,90/ 12,50Euro, but it could be because the Jewish Museum is attached to the Synagogue, so you're paying to visit the Museum too. We also had to pay a "donation" to enter the Catholic Basilica. It is strange, as nowhere else have I paid to go into a church, but I suppose the upkeep of those monuments must be huge too so they use this to help.
      I had no idea about the "food porn" but I'll be on the lookout for it from now on.

  6. Cool pictures especially the synagogue

  7. I've never been a synagogue and it on my bucket list to visit one.
    Coffee is on

    1. Thanks Dora, I think I had visited one or two before, but this one was fabulous!

  8. Repito o que já comentei - está mesmo a pedir uma visita.

  9. That "The best..."- sign sure made me laugh :-)
    A sore throat, not so much!
    Wow 3000 people?! Impressive building, though, the glass-wall especially!
    The Memorial is very beautiful, too.

    You really saw fantastic things there, the Market Hall indeed is Great!
    The "food porn" is funny :-)
    Aww, a great trip, glad there is more to come!

    1. Both the Synagogue and the Market were beautiful buildings.
      Glad you enjoyed the bakery sign. Thanks Iris.

  10. Excelentes e belas fotografias, bom trabalho, gostei Budapeste é uma cidade muito bonita e cheia de história.
    Um abraço e continuação de boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

    1. Obrigada Francisco, sim é uma cidade bonita. Boa semana.

  11. The synagogue photos and memorials are especially beautiful. I so gravitate toward them. I'm not sure which I found most moving -- the glass piece or the fountain. These are beautiful photos, Sami. I'm enjoying this trip with you.

    1. Thank you Jeanie, they were both beautiful, although I think the fountain was just so well made.

  12. Amazingly beautiful photos but that gluten free sign at the bakery! If I ever saw that, it would make m e cry with happiness. My husband has celiac disease and for 35 years we have struggled to find good food while traveling!

    1. You would have been in the right country Kay with lot's of choices. I'm gluten intolerant, but my son in law's Mom is celiac and she worries a lot about eating out.

  13. Dearest Sami,
    What a very in-depth photographic journey into the Hungarian history. Showing their pastry sweets and also the bitter memories of the Holocaust. Of course, being there for the Congress in 1984, still behind the Iron Curtain at that time, did not give us much time for exploring like you did. With our later tour we did get to visit the Jewish section also but again, not on our watch but as a group. Never in my life will I forget our evening trip to the Great Market Hall in 1984. We saw old Hungarian women, trying to sell a bunch of parsley for $ 0,05 and shelled and halved walnuts. I could picture this entire family affair of evenings shelling and halving them under a bare light bulb. There was such poverty at that time!
    After WWII the Dutch took in hundreds of children that suffered from famine and one of them was our tour guide in the 90s, who was still able to speak Dutch. It was so emotional to hear him THANK our nation for having saved their lives. Very touching and you never forget and it made us feel guilty comparing the overload of needless things in the USA or in The Netherlands in 1984 and later. Their pensions are so very low, elderly still suffer and especially those without children... Maybe one reason they kept their Forint as to not further enlarge that gap!
    Thanks for your always very informative rapportage and excellent photos.

    1. Thanks Mariette. I had no idea the Dutch had taken in children after the war, but was very nice and I'm sure gave them a much better future.
      I can imagine the poverty during Communist times, it's very sad.
      I think they have yet to adopt the Euro, which was meant to have been done a few years ago due to the country not complying with some of the European Union requirements when it comes to inflation and others.
      I actually thought the country had progressed a lot since the fall of Communism in 1989: commerce was thriving, the streets were full of tourists, people spoke English... so a lot has changed, which is good.

    2. Eventually those children did go back to their parents! Only for bringing them back to good health and strength but they attended school. So glad to learn from you that they are doing well. It was very sad in 1984 and in the 90s still not easy.💗

  14. The synagogue is really quite spectacular.

    All the best Jan


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