Lake Balaton (Hungarian Balaton German or Plattensee Balaton) is a freshwater lake of Hungary and the largest lake in Central Europe. Its characteristics make it a fishing and tourism of Hungary important. Lake Balaton stretches in a general WSW-ENE along the southern foothills of the mountains Bakony Hungary. 78 km long with a width varying from 1.5 km to 15 km, the lake is fed by thirty small springs and streams. Zala is the largest of its tributaries. Before reaching the lake, it flows through a wetland (south west of the lake), now fitted, called Kis-Balaton (the "Little Balaton"). The outlet of the lake is the channel Sió which joins the Danube. The output rate is controlled by a lock. The south shore, flatter, is lined with several resorts (Siofok example). The north shore is rather reserved for spas, as Balatonfüred. The Kis-Balaton is a bird sanctuary housing various species of herons, egrets and other waterfowl. Many tourists are also attracted to the lake Balaton by the scenic beauty, as well as its reputation as a "romantic lake" 1.Fishing is another local economic activity, 40 species of fish live in the lake (including pike, carp and catfish). One of the local specialties is also a soup of fish paprika1. Lake Balaton was sung by Michel Jonasz (album Change everything). It was also the subject of a piece of DJ Eric Prydz (aka Pryda). There is a beauty contest called Miss Hungary Balaton.Lake Balaton has particularly inspired the Hungarian artist József Egry1 2.In winter, frost turns the water on which to operate tanks ice. In 2004, it hosts the World Championships in ice tank.
The exhibition begins in the Arpad era and features one of the museum’s most valuable exhibits, the crown of Constantine IX Monomachus, decorated with enamel work. Also on display in this section are the funeral decorations of Bela III, Romanesque sacred vessels, weapons and an interesting collection of coins. The period of Angevin rule (see p18 ) coincided with the birth of the Gothic style, which is represented here by some excellent examples of gold work. The next two halls explore the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg (see p24) and the achievements of Janos Hunyadi (see p24). On display here are copies of portraits of King Sigismund by Albrecht Durer and a richly decorated ceremonial saddle. There are also several platinum and gold pieces, illuminated manuscripts and documents. The lifestyle of peasants from this era is illustrated, as well as the history of the royal court. The reign of Matyas Corvinus (see pp24–5) and the Jagie¬¬o dynasty (see p18) marks the decline of the Gothic period and the birth of the Renaissance. Exhibits from this era include a 15th-century glass goblet belonging to King Matyas, late Gothic pews from a church in Bartfa, armour and weapons, as well as a 16th-century dress belonging to Maria Habsburg. Magnificent examples of sculpture, art and artifacts from the 16th and 17th centuries follow. Of interest are items that survived the Turkish occupation (see pp26 –7), especially the everyday objects and weapons. A separate hall is dedicated to the Transylvanian dukedom and the important historical role that it played. Exhibited here are vessels and jewellery elaborately crafted in gold, 17th-century costumes, and original ceramics produced by the people of Haban, who settled there in the early 17th century. This last section of the exhibition ends in 1686, at the time of the liberation of Budapest tours by the Christain armies after the Turkish occupation. In this part of the museum there are also portraits of influential Hungarians from the periobud, and an interesting exhibition of jewellery dating from the 17th century
Budapest has direct rail links with 25 other capital cities. Every day, more than 50 international trains, many of them express services, arrive and depart from the city’s four railway stations. Some trains terminate here, while others enable passengers to join connecting services. Hungarian trains are widely considered to be a very efficient means of getting around, and their reputation is well deserved. Most importantly, they invariably depart and arrive at the right time. Transfer from Budapest to Vienna, the main communication hub for western Europe, depart approximately every three hours. The fastest trains run at top speeds of 140–160 km/h (85–100 mph). The travelling time is an efficient 2 hours 50 minutes. The “Transbalkan” train, which also has car carriages, runs from Keleti pu to Thessaloníki in Greece every day. Detailed information on all domestic and international rail travel running to and from Budapest can be obtained from either Keleti pu or the MÁV (Hungarian Railways) ticket sales office, which is centrally located at No. 35 Andrássy út. It is worth knowing that there are several concessionary fares available. Foreign visitors to Hungary can buy a season ticket that is valid for between seven and ten days and offers unlimited travel throughout the country. There are also a number of Europe-wide passes that allow you to travel cheaply on trains throughout Europe and Hungary. Local trains can be either “slow” (személy) or “speedy” (sebes), but both invariably make frequent stops. A much better option if time is tight is for you to take the fast (gyors) train. There are also modern Intercity trains, which take passengers to Pécs, Miskolc, Debrecen, Szeged, Békéscsaba and all the larger cities in Hungary in around 1–3 hours. Seat reservations, costing a small extra charge, are required on these clean and comfortable trains.
The roayal palace has borne many incarnations during its long life. Even now it is not known exactly where King Béla IV began building his castle, though it is thought to be nearer the site of Mátyás Church (see pp82 –3). The Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg built a Gothic palace on the present site, from which today’s castle began to evolve. In the 18th century, the Habsburgs built their monumental palace Budapest-Vienna. The current form dates from the rebuilding of the 19th-century palace after its destruction in February 1945. During this work, remains of the 15th-century Gothic palace were uncovered. Hungarian archeologists decided to reveal the recovered defensive walls and royal chambers in the reconstruction.
Since unifaction of Budapest-Krakow in 1873, historic artifacts relating to Hungary’s capital have been collected. Many are now on show at the Budapest History Museum (also called the Castle Museum). During the rebuilding that followed the destruction suffered in World War II, chambers dating from the Middle Ages were uncovered in the south wing (wing E) of the Royal Palace. They provide an insight into the character of a much earlier castle within today’s Habsburg reconstruction. These chambers, including a tiny prison cell and a chapel, were recreated in the basement of the palace. They now house an exhibition, the Royal Palace in Medieval Buda, which displays authentic weapons, seals, tiles and other early artifacts. On the ground floor, Budapest-Prague in the Middle Ages illustrates the evolution of the town from its Roman origins to a 13th-century Hungarian settlement. The reconstructed defensive walls, gardens and keep on this level are further attractions. Also on this floor are the Gothic Statues from the Royal Palace, dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. These were uncovered by chance in the major excavations of 1974. On the first floor, Budapest in Modern Times traces the history of the city from 1686 to the present.