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Posts tagged ‘architecture’

How to (Legally) Bring Home a Piece of a UNESCO Site

Recently I wrote about the incredible Matthias Church in Budapest which along with Castle Hill has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Given the astounding decorations inside the church, I was definitely going to pick up something from their gift shop.  I thought maybe some note cards or a bag or a book, but I found something way better.  Half-hidden on a shelf at knee level was the most random but also the most incredible “souvenir” I have ever encountered in all my travels.  You better believe I bought one which is how I managed (legally) to bring home a piece of the church itself.

Budapest, Matthias Church tile roof

The Matthias Church from the exterior (Photo: adapted from Wikipedia)

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Including Local Celebrations in Your Travels

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are discussing Festivals!  Take a look at all the great stories at the bottom of the page.

Hungarian Day decorations by children

Hand-made items by children decorate the 1849 Hungarian Army memorial.  The soldiers honored with this monument died during the 1849 Revolution which is celebrated on Hungarian National Day on March 15.

I’ve seen some amazing places in my travels and have always had excellent timing.  I’ve met the right person and ended up getting a private castle tour or been in the right place and got swept up in religious procession.  Somehow recently I just happened to be in town during a national holiday or religious celebration.  But unlike Carnival in Rio, Venice or New Orleans which are internationally know parties, the festivals I found were mainly for the locals.  Seeing how a community celebrates with their own customs, foods, and crafts makes for an incredible cultural experience.  It has convinced me that if you really want genuine travel, then you have to include local celebrations in your travel plans.

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Exuberant Hungarian: The Art of Matthias Church, Budapest

Art Historians are very good about categorizing art.  Everything gets organized into bucket of a particular period or movement, but throughout Hungary, I just found the usual labels to be lacking.  While Magyar art and design of the late 19th century draws from several sources, the result is so much more than simple Historicism repeating old designs.  They created something unique and truly amazing.  It just really resonated with me and so I had to give this style its own name: Exuberant Hungarian.  I absolute fell for the Matthias Church in Budapest, with its wild but totally coherent decorative scheme.  Take a look and tell me if you’ve ever seen anything like this before, and whether or not you think the “Exuberant Hungarian” moniker fits.

Arts & Crafts lamb door

An incredible mix of color and pattern at the Matthias Church, Budapest.

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Hidden Budapest – The Abandoned Párizsi Udvar

One of the thrills of travel is that wide-eyed gasp that inevitably follows after stumbling across something spectacular.  I’ve felt this in the past walking into cathedrals, gazing down into valleys, or taking in the beautiful commotion of a market.  Quite unexpectedly, I experienced this pure amazement while in Budapest.  After stepping curiously through a dark doorway, I discovered the haunting elegance of an abandoned, century old shopping gallery, known as Párizsi Udvar.  Exploring this unbelievable ghost was as close to time-traveling as it gets.

Párizsi Udvar long corridor

A view down the abandoned Parisi Udvar (or Párizsi Udvar) shopping gallery

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Back from Hungary

I’ve been quiet for a little while because I’ve been in Hungary!  The trip was filled with amazing food, beautiful architecture, and some of the most wonderful late 19th century art I’ve ever seen – like the elaborate Crypt of the Cathedral in Pécs below.  Looking forward to sharing more soon!

Pecs Hungary cathedral crypt

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