In 1361 Buda became the capital of Hungary (its present name is due to its later merging with the adjacent city of Pest). The city is very rich with monuments from various epochs (including its Ottoman occupation), but the biggest part of old buildings was erected in the nineteenth century. And virtually all of this is still there. This fact makes being in Budapest one of the most breathtaking experiences Europe has to offer: There is just so much splendour there. The proportions of this are indeed incredible. People have described the feeling of seeing Budapest for the first time as virtually dream-like.

The Hungarians were the first to open the Iron Curtain separating East and West in 1989 - and in a way this is typical of their culture.

They are a very freedom-loving and individualistic nation, and this can clearly be seen in the atmosphere of Budapest, which is a lot livelier than in most European metropolises. Here's a detail illustrating this, although of course this is something not everyone in Hungary is especially proud of: Budapest is now the world capital of the porn industry and its annual production of erotic movies is bigger than that of Los Angeles/Hollywood.

Since the introduction of democracy and capitalism to Hungary, this classic city has turned into a cutting-edge modern-day mega-city. There has been so much development that Budapest can now only be described as hyper-modern while at the same time its old-fashioned flair has been retained. The old buildings now form a perfect ensemble with post-modern ones, often built by renowned star architects.

After the fall of communism, Budapest quickly developed its own specific capitalist corporate culture. Businessmen and executives came from all over the world - therefor Budapest has now one of the world's most vibrant expat communities. A further boost to this was given by the country's joining of the EU in 2004. At that time Budapest's real estate sector also had to be further adjusted to international standards. At the moment it gives the impression of fairly healthy stability.

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