Budapest

The 17th International MitOst Festival will take place from 2nd to 6th of October 2019 in Budapest.

The Soul of Budapest

The city of Budapest is located in the heart of Europe with many major European roads and railways crossing here. This central location makes it easy to visit the city by train or bus.

The capital of Hungary stretches along the Danube on two sides. The two complementary faces of the city are Buda and Pest. With its shops, clubs, theatres, galleries and markets, Pest is the heart of social life. Buda offers a more relaxed atmosphere with beautiful villas and parks as well as many historic buildings. The MitOst Festival will take place in different parts of the city on both sides of the river.

Budapest in all its parts is full of creative interventions of its inhabitants; it is in the production of the diverse alternative art scene, in the ramified corridors of a pub stocked with home-made furniture and recycled objects, or in the concentrated calmness of a literary café and, of course, in the social initiatives of its citizens.

by Réka Orsolya Bogdán, Pro Progressione

Exploring the City

The Classics

Budapest, also called the Queen of the Danube, has many of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites such as the banks of the river Danube, Heroes Square, Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, the Hungarian Parliament, Matthias Church as well as many other places and monuments worth seeing. A visit to these places is recommended, preferably before or after the festival.

The Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the must-see places in the city. It was built in 1902 in Neo-Gothic style, and it is the third largest parliament building in the world. Some of the best views of the Parliament are from the Danube, or from the other side of the river.

St. Stephen's Basilica is one of the tallest buildings in Budapest, and offers a nice view over the city from the dome. The Basilica contains the mummified right hand of the church’s patron, King St. Stephen.

The Hungarian State Opera House is widely viewed as one of the world’s most beautiful opera houses with its facade decorated with statues of muses and opera greats such as Puccini, Mozart, Liszt and Verdi.

Heroes’ Square is the largest and most impressive square of the city. It is surrounded by two important buildings, the Museum of Fine Arts on the left and the Hall of Art on the right.

Fisherman’s Bastion should be on the list of things not to be missed in Budapest. It was built in the beginning of the 20th century and it is named after the Guild of Fishermen, which was responsible for defending that stretch of the city walls during the Middle Ages. The Bastion is crowned with seven towers representing the seven Magyar tribes.

Buda castle is a palace complex of the Hungarian kings and it now houses the Hungarian National Gallery and The Budapest History Museum

Ramshackle Beauty

The Seventh District, also called the Jewish Quarter, and known by its “ruin pubs”, has become a famous and hip area a few years ago. After the deportation of thousands of Jews during the Second World War, this area’s historical wounds seemed to resonate in crumbling buildings and ruins. A decade ago, a group of young people turned abandoned places into living bars by decorating them with everything they had and could find on the streets. Back then, they did not expect the bars to become trendy attractions. However, after Szimpla, one of the first and most popular ruin bars, opened in 2002, many others in the same style appeared shortly after. Chaos, remnants of times past, mismatching and improvised furniture are giving the ruin bars a special and creative charm. Strolling around the Seventh District one will feel the quirky vibe and can enjoy the ramshackle beauty of the different ruin bars.

Some other unique and alternative pubs worth having a drink at are Auróra and Gólya. Auróra is a social enterprise which was created to connect cultural programmes, civic and activist organisations’ work, community building and fun in an open community. The people around Auróra are committed to forming a stable base, where individuals, groups and non-profit organisations can meet, share their ideas and collaborate with each other on new initiatives. Gólya is a community house/pub/café which operates on a cooperative basis in the Seventh District.

Go Green

For MitOst Festival participants who feel like biking to the festival locations and around the city, we recommend the application MOL Bubi. With this application it is possible to rent a bike for a short time starting from one hour, for 24 hours, 72 hours or a week. The first half of an hour is always free of charge. More details can be found here.

There are many nice green areas in the city. The Buda Hills for example offer a variety of adventurous outdoor activities, along with some spectacular views. While there, riding the Children’s Railway, a train service run by children is a peculiar activity to enjoy.

The City Park Városliget located behind Heroes’ Square in the 14th District is an amazing place for walking and relaxing especially in sunny weather. With its many playgrounds it is particularly suitable for families with children. In this park, you will find the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Széchenyi Thermal Bath.

Margaret’s Island is often called the green heart of Budapest. The island got its name after Princess Margit, the daughter of King Béla IV, who rebuilt the country after the Mongol Invasion in the 13th century. The many gardens, sports facilities, diverse and varied buildings, as well as numerous statues create the island’s special charm.

More green areas, parks, and alleys of the city can be found here.

City tours

People who enjoy exploring the city in a group with lot of interesting information can take one of the alternative free city tours or Budapest city free walking tours.

by Réka Orsolya Bogdán, Pro Progressione

Exploring Culture

Culture lovers will definitely enjoy what Hungary’s cultural scene has to offer – both in past and present times. Why not to get ready for the festival trip to Budapest by reading a piece by the Nobel Laureate Imre Kertész, by Sándor Márai or Szilárd Borbély?

MitOst Festival participants who want to follow the footsteps of the Hungarian writers and journalists by exploring cafés where they used to work on their novels and essays, can find some recommendations here.

The movie buffs in the festival community will probably enjoy the movies by Béla Tarr, e.g.  “Satan’s Tango” and “The Turin Horse”. Michael Kurtiz, born as Kertész Kaminer Manó, contributed to the history of cinema with movies such as “The Adventures of Robin Hood”, “Captain Blood” and “Casablanca”. Some of the latest masterpieces of Hungarian cinema that we recommend are “On body and soul”, “Son of Saul” or “Kontroll”, “Lisa the Fox-Fairy”, “Bad Poems”.

Trafó is a good choice for those wanting to get an insight to the Hungarian contemporary artistic life. Trafó House of Contemporary Arts in Budapest is a cornerstone of the international contemporary arts scene, showcasing various genres – theatre, dance, new circus, music and visual arts – in a unique and authentic manner.

Practicalities

Currency

The currency in Hungary is Forint (HUF). It was named after the Italian city of Florence where golden coins were minted. One Euro is around 316 HUF, one Russian Rouble around 4,4 HUF. The current exchange rate can be found here.

Orientation in the city

Most of Budapest's city centre and historic districts are suitable for walking. However, Budapest also has a well-developed public transportation system with four metro lines and an extensive network of trams and buses. Travellers can buy single tickets for 350 HUF (around 1.2 EUR, or 450 HUF if bought from the driver), or a 7 days card which costs 4950 HUF (around 15 EUR). 10 single tickets in a block can be purchased for 3000 HUF (around 9 EUR). A complete list of all tickets and fares can be found here.

Accomodation

Besides the most common ways to book the place to stay, MitOst Festival participants can join and try our MitOst couchsurfing Facebook group.

Language

Hungarian belongs to the Finno-Ugric language group with its closest relatives being Finnish and Estonian. The Hungarian alphabet has 44 letters. Before the Second World War, German was a frequently used second language, while Russian was mandatory in schools and universities during the socialist period. Today, English is the most prevalent second language and it is easy to get by communicating in English, especially with younger people.

For connecting to the locals, some of those expressions for Hungarian everyday life might be useful:

English

Hungarian

 

Hello

Szia

[see-yah]

Good morning

Jó reggelt

[yoh reg-gelt]

Good night

Jó éjszakát

[yoh ey-sa-kat]

Please

Kérem

[key-rem]

Thank you

Köszönöm

[keu-seu-neum]

Your welcome

Szívesen

[see-ve-shen]

Cheers

Egészségedre

[ag-eh-sheg-ad-reh]

Yes/ No

Nem értem/Nem tudom

[nehm eyr-tem/nehm-tu-dome]

I love you

Szeretlek

[seh-ret-lek]

Excuse me

Sajnálom

[shoy-nah-lawm ]

How are you? 

Hogy vagy?

[hodj-vådj]

What's your name?

Hogy hívják?

[hodj-heev-yak]

My name is…

A nevem…

[ah neh-vehm]

Nice to meet you

Örvendek

[Ør-ven-dek]

What time is it?

Mennyi az idő?

[man-yee aw-z id-err]

Enjoy your meal

Jó étvágyat!

[yoh eht-vah-djot]

MitOst Festival Train

We warmly invite you to join us for the night train journey Berlin-Budapest. You can expect joint activities, meeting with MitOst community and all the special and unforeseen moments that only happen on trains. On 1st October we start the journey in the evening from Berlin and wake up in Budapest in the morning. All the information how to book your ticket please find here.