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Budapest, Hungary
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    (November 17, 1873- )
    Formed by the merger of Buda (on the west bank of the Danube) with Pest (on the east bank)
    Origins date to the founding of Aquincum by the Romans (106 AD)
    Capital and largest city of Hungary
    Population: 1.7 million
    It was largely destroyed by invading Mongols (1241-42).
    It was largely destroyed again during the siege and battle in which the Hapburgs captured the city from the Ottoman Turks (1686).
    Pest was completely inundated by floods (1838).
    During World War II, retreating Germans blew up all the bridges; the last one was not rebuilt until 1965.
    The Communist government gutted several of the city's castles as symbols of the old regime.
    During the Renaissance, its Bibliotheca Corviniana was second in size only to the Vatican Library.
    It is home to the largest synagogue in Europe.
    The banks of the Danube, Buda Castle, Andrassy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millenium Underground Railway were named UNESCO World Heritage Sites (1987-2002).
    It was described in the New York Times as 'one of the continent’s liveliest, prettiest and most animated capitals.' (2006)
    It made Forbes' list of Europe's 10 most idyllic places to live (2008).

Credit: C. Fishel

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