First impressions are always important. This statement is true not only for meeting people, but also for visiting a new city. Many cities I have visited in the past that I have loved (such as Edinburgh) have made long lasting and positive first impressions. To me, first impressions are judged by how the city looks; most importantly its architecture. I have always had an interest in appreciating different architectural styles.
At first glance in areas surrounding Budapest, buildings were gray and unattractive. As I walk around the city, I a mixture of old with modern buildings with vastly different styles. There are Gothic style cathedrals, traditional Turkish baths, Art Nouveau, as well as many others. Around the city, there were also lots of Soviet style apartment complexes.
The Szechenyi Bath is designed in a Neo-Baroque style, which is the dominant style of art in Roman catholic countries. There is structural emphasis on domes, contrast, details, and grandeur. This medicinal bath provided relief for orthopedic illnesses and for post-operative therapy. In addition to this bath, there are many other Turkish baths that have been influenced by Ottoman rule in the 16th century.
Hungarian Parliament Building was inaugurated in 1896, which is the 1000th anniversary of Hungary. It is built in a Neo-Gothic style with a renaissance revival style dome. Neo-Gothic style includes pointed arches and a huge emphasis on verticality.
My first impression of Vienna was that there is a pop of color on the buildings and there are palaces and extravagant buildings everywhere.
During the late 19th century, there was a “Viennese Secession” movement, which marked the transition to more modern architecture. Viennese architect Otto Wagner designed the Majolica House in Art Nouveau style. He emphasized the use of rich colors with floral patterns.
Originally a Baroque style hunting lodge, the Schonbrunn palace was remodeled in the mid-18th century in neoclassical style as a wedding gift for the Holy Roman empress Maria Theresa. Vienna had always been an important imperial seat, especially for the House of Habsburg.
Similar to Vienna, the buildings are very colorful in Prague, but with more intense colors. Furthermore, Prague was also similar to Budapest in the sense that traces of communism could be found.
The Church of our Lady before Tyn, a Gothic style church is located in Old Town Square. The right tower is wider than the left tower, which is said to represent the man (Adam), while the smaller tower is the woman (Eve). However, the actual reason is that because it took so long to finish construction, the original blueprint was lost.
The Jubilee Synagogue was built during a time of fascination with anything oriental. This is a Moorish Revival style that was popular in the mid-19th century.
There is a mixture of colorful Renaissance and Baroque facades.
I originally I only thought of architecture purely on how pretty or unattractive it is. However, now I see architecture as a window into the city’s history. Buildings can tell you about when it was built and what type of cultural influence it had. Different land appropriations during the rise and fall of empires, wars, cultural influences, and trends all contribute to the style.