Budapest, Hungary.

I know: in the strictest sense Budapest is no longer an unusual destination (even though it is, for reasons I cannot understand, a far less popular East European destination than, say, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Krakow or Prague). But, as with all great cities (and Budapest IS a great city. In fact, it is one of Europe’s most attractive, seductive, interesting and compelling cities, despite its sometimes tragic history), Budapest has lots of places where foreign visitors rarely venture. Below are some photos of the city a little less ordinary which I hope will inspire at least some of you to track down a few of the hidden gems when you next visit Hungary’s most thrilling destination. Sorry I could not resist one or two images conceived in the style of Hungary’s greatest living (but retired, sadly) film-maker, Bela Tarr, but who can resist such imitation when even the capital of his homeland has environments he might wish to include in his frequently bleak but perfectly executed masterpieces?

Note that two of the photos allude to the tragic history of Budapest’s once-large Jewish community, and one alludes to past warfare. You might even argue that two other photos, those of cemeteries, allude to the most obvious consequence of warfare, human casualties. Budapest’s troubled history is inescapable, especially a little off the tracks most often beaten by foreign visitors.

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