Debate 2 Your Favorite Place in Central Europe

What place in Central Europe  you have visited made on you the biggest impression, or what place  you like mostly  to visit, considering culture and history? Explain your choice.


41 replies

  1. In my life I have visited some countries from Central Europe. It was a long time ago but I was in Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia , Germany and Switzerland. It is difficult to choose one place to recommend. Every country is unique and has different political, cultural and economic climate. I’ve decided to choose Warsaw, as the most interesting places in Central Europe. Warsaw is the capital of Poland, where there are the most important Polish state offices. Warsaw is also the center of cultural and social life. Characteristic thing for Warsaw is that we can meet here people from every polish city. After Polish accession to European Union the capital is the place where there are more and more foreign students and tourists. Warsaw is still developing and changing. It is not the same city as 20 years ago. In recent years the local authorities have spent a lot of money to make city more friendly to people. Warsaw has very long and tragic history. The city was completely destroyed during the Second World War. It is the reason why we don’t have many monuments in polish capital now. But Warsaw absolutely have interesting and important places such as Palace of Culture and Science, Royal Castle, Old Town, many museums ( National Museum, Warsaw Uprising Museum, Museum of Polish Jews and many other). Visitors can also see the biggest Polish river- Wisla or spend time on watching football matches. Warsaw has two modern stadiums – National and Legia. In my opinion Warsaw is really interesting alternative for other places from Central Europe. Poland shows that both country and society have ambitious and potential in the recent years. On the other hand in Polish capital we can find very interesting places, connected with history, culture and Polish society development.

  2. Before telling a story about my favorite place in Central Europe, I would like to share, the first reflection ,which came to me after reading the topic of this debate. Particularly caught my attention this fragment „place mostly you like to visit, considering the culture and history”. I must admit that Central Europe has never been for me especially attractive tourist destination, so predicting most visited place for me is a little tricky. For historical and cultural experience I was looking mainly in Western Europe. But I realized that it is unacceptable ignorance, unfortunately, typical for many Poles.

    Whereas, central europe deserves no such underestimation. I’m so far persuaded to that after visiting Budapest. The places I saw there last autumn completely surprised me. Every single part of the town has it own history, and leave unforgettable memories in tourist mind. Gellertt Mointain, Houses of Parliaments, Island of St.Margaret are really unique and I recommend visiting those places to all my friends .

    In my opinion it is the highest time to appreciate the countries of central Europe, their tradition and history and of course add those countries to our “must see” list.

  3. Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    Music is one of Vienna’s legacies. Musical prodigies including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg have worked there.
    Art and culture had a long tradition in Vienna, including theatre, opera, classical music and fine arts. The Burgtheater is considered one of the best theatres in the German-speaking world alongside its branch, the Akademietheater. The Volkstheater Wien and the Theater in der Josefstadt also enjoy good reputations. There is also a multitude of smaller theatres, in many cases devoted to less mainstream forms of the performing arts, such as modern, experimental plays or cabaret. Vienna is also home to a number of opera houses, including the Theater an der Wien, the Staatsoper and the Volksoper, the latter being devoted to the typical Viennese operetta. Classical concerts are performed at world famous venues such as the Wiener Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra..known across the world for the annual widely broadcast „New Year’s Day Concert”, also the Wiener Konzerthaus. Many concert venues offer concerts aimed at tourists, featuring popular highlights of Viennese music (particularly the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss the father and Johann Strauss the son).

  4. Thinking about my favorite place in Central Europe, makes me ashamed, because of not being in such many countries in this region of Europe. Considering the traditional classification of Central Europe, I was in 3 foreign countries from this region. Slovakia didn`t give any remarkable impression, maybe because of the proximity of the Slovakian border with my hometown. Sometimes simplicity of being close with different culture habituates that far, that person cannot be amazed by any facts, just because those issues seems to be certain. Of course, the more different the culture, the more interesting it appears. I have a dilemma between Germany and Hungary. Both of those countries have long history, beautiful architecture in main cities, but it is hard to compare Budapest to Berlin or Potsdam. In my classification slightly wins Germany. I am not considering the historical issue in case of long-lasting friendship between Poland and Hungary or Germany; in this case answer would be certain. I am considering the beauty of these countries by the measure of culture which contains architecture and art. Beethoven, Wagner, Bach and Händel wins in my own classification on classic compositors with Bartók and Liszt. I have to admit that, regards to modern music, I am not a fan, neither one nor the other side. I am complete layman in Hungarian music and the main trend of German music – techno and its variations – it is outside the area of my interest. The thing which convinces me the most to Germany is the specific type of culture, is not only art, music, fashion, it is also lifestyle. Especially Berlin is mecca of individualities, mixture of cultures, with diversity of human attitudes that do not fit in any stereotype. Almost 5 thousands of Art Galleries in one city – this is the argument which would make me want to stay in this city for a long time.

  5. The answer to this question came to my mind straightaway. Berlin has always been my top central European city. Reasons for my fondness of this city are simple but… simple enough to justify it. My personal impression made by Berlin and its rich history account for my choice.

    I visited Berlin four times and still don’t have enough of it. When in Berlin my heart leaps because of vibrant and vivid atmosphere. Although, life seems to be hasty like in every capital city, one (at least I) can’t feel constant competition and stress there. However, this view would probably change from city dweller’s perspective. The relaxed atmosphere of Berlin has its source in big amount of international students. Artist, their galleries and alternative venues give the city not so German – boring & plain as one could expect image.

    As I already said my appreciation for the city is tightly connected with its image. I simply love the combination of old and modern. I think that there is no more beautiful view like the one from Reichstag and the building itself. In 1933 the building almost completely burnt down. It turned into what it is today due to renovating works carried out from 1991 to 1999. Today, after prior registration on the website everyone can visit marvellous roof terrace and dome (made of glass!).

    Berlin is unique because the spirit of history is still there. It is nicely shown in Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. On the surface it seems like Berliners are one community now and aim to create it but I wish that during my next visit to Berlin I would have chance to find out about their identity from people who used to live on different sides of Berlin Wall.

  6. I think that ma favourite place i Central Europe is Prague.

    Prague is capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the North-West of the country on the Vltawa river. Main attractions of this city are: Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the Lennon Wall.

    I was on trip in Praque several years ago and I think that is the most beautiful city that I have ever seen.

    In Prague we have wide range of public and private schools, for example Charles University.

    In this city we can see the National Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Alfons Mucha Museum, the National Library, the National Gallery.

    When you decide to go on trip to this town you should know that climate in this place is oceanic. So, the winters are cold. nights can be quite cool even in summer.

    Maybe now several words about cuisine. Prague hosts the Czech Beer Festival. It is the biggest beer festival in Czech Republic. What’s more, this city is full of restaurants, pubs and bars with good Czech beer.

    What I like the most in Prague and what I can suggest to try when you came here is visiting Prague Castle and trying Czech food.

  7. I haven’t actually seen any other country of the Middle Europe than Poland and Czech Republic. But I would really like to see two cities: Berlin and Budapest.
    The first one is interesting for me due to history, architecture and culture. The most important for me is to see the Berlin Wall. It’s a big part of the new history. It seems to be fascinating how one wall (actually capital of one of the strongest countries) could divide not only one city to two zones, but also society of city, country and Europe. We know that it was a symbol of the Cold War, but it played a key role in a history of Europe. And the second is the Brandenburg Gate. It is interesting not only because of the history, but also because it is really monumental building with beautiful quadriga. What is more about Germany, I’ve heard that people there are nice and polite. We’ve always had some kind of prejudice against people from Germany after the Second World War. I would like to see by myself how German people really are.
    Regarding to Budapest I have heard that it is beautiful city on its structure and architecture. I would like to see the Parliament Building with the Danube River and the Chain Bridge. On pictures it seems to be beautiful. 
    In general I think that we don’t have to looking for beautiful and rich places abroad (saying ‘rich’ I mean cultural and historical aspect). As said one of students below Bieszczady is one of the most beautiful places in Central Europe. Podkarpacie as a region has big history – I mean Operation Vistula. There are also many cultural and linguistic differences in comparing to general Polish language.
    I love also my home region – Suwalszczyzna. It is interesting too because of connection with Lithuania. On this region are mixed Polish, Lithuanian, Russian and Jewish traditions. We have a lot of linguistic loanword from Russian. Furthermore, landscapes are amazing. As opposed to general meaning that it is only flat terrain, there are many hills, rivers and lakes which make the landscape incredible.

  8. One of the nicest, most precious place to me In central Europe is Dalmatia. I know – it is very popular holiday place for Poles, but I’m not talking about sitting on beaches (which aren’t really so great there) sunbathing and just staying on one place. Seaside of Croatia is for me most interesting was driving road-tripping, sleeping every time in different little place, checking out beautiful villages, ancient Venetian cities, castles, national parks. Also, Croatia is great place to start visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. Lovely bays, snowy mountains leaning on peaceful shore, hospitable people (especially in Bosnia!) and reasonable prices. Croatia is just on the verge of being part of European Union, so it might be last moment to see it before it will be flooded by westerners. You don’t need passport go there and I recommend spring or early autumn – this way there will be less tourists. Even in early may, gorgeous Dubrovnik is really crowded – its very interesting city, beautiful, old republic with rich history of democracy persevering against all odds and mighty neighbors.

  9. As I have stayed in Poland for almost two years time. I have a lot of nice memory here. I have known quite a lot nice friends here, and visited a lot of cities. Like Warszawa, Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot, Elk, Sulalki, Bialystok, Szczecin, Poznan, Wroclaw, Lodz and so on.
    The reason for me to interest in Poland is that its history is quite attractive. It was one of the strongest countries of the Europe. Its map changed frequently. It has disappeared of the Europe for 123 years. But no matter how cruel the situation was, even the Polish were forced not to speak Polish in the daily life, they still pass this language down to the new generations. And 123 years later, Poland built up again.
    The Second reason is for the people. Generally speaking, the Polish people who I made are quite nice. They are curious about my culture and country. They invited me to their family and the party. I spent quite nice time with their family in the city and also in the villages. We made snow man, we celebrated the Christmas Eve. Even every single holiday.
    There are still quite a lot nice tourist place in Poland. Either close to the sea or connect to another countries.
    Also even the Polish gramma is one of my biggest headache, I always make mistakes. However this language is quite attractive in some way. I am used to hearing it everyday, even I could not catch all of them.
    Wish Poland would develop faster, then wish see it full of happiness and prosperity.

  10. I was in many places in Europe. Each place is special and beautiful and every country of this part of Europe has it’s own history, culture and traditions. But if I should choose one of them. I will choose Germany.
    I was there many times with family, friends or with a school trip and each time it was different and also very interesting. Germany is a huge country and actually we can find there all culture from the hole world.What I most like in Germany is cleanliness. The streets are not dirty and people are very aware of a ecology.

    When we are driving from Szczecin to Berlin already abroad Poland, you can see a big difference. Even though the roads are old. They are in better shape than in Poland.

    My favourite city is of course Berlin. Berlin has beautiful architecture and many interesitnig museums. More than 25 percent of Berlin’s population has a non-German ethnic background making the city a home for people from more than 195 different countries.

    Berlin is many cities in big one. In Mitte cool hipsters sit in stylish coffee shops or Starbucks, blogging their thoughts to the world. In Prenzlauer Berg, young mothers are brunching in cafes chatting about the latest trends in organic cooking and feeding lactose-free milk to their offspring. Prenzlauer Berg is crowded with young families or ever-young singles working in cool agencies

    I also know very good german language. And I really don’t know why so many people can
    t hear it.
    I am having really cool memories from Germany. And I hope U will come there and also like this country.

  11. To be honest, my favorite city is Krakow. Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland, with evidence showing settlements there since 20,000 BC. Legend has it that it was built on the cave of a dragon whom the mythical King Krak had slain. However, the first official mention of the name was in 966 by a Jewish merchant from Spain, who described it as an important center of trade in Slavonic Europe.
    My undergraduate teacher told me. The 16th century was Krakow’s golden age. Under the influence of the joint Polish-Lithuanian Jagiellon dynasty, Krakow became a center of science and the arts. In 1569, Poland was officially united with Lithuania and as a result government activity started to move to Warsaw. King Zygmunt III officially moved the capital in 1609.
    Travelers who come to Krakow often visit Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Not many know that in Krakow there also was a Nazi concentration camp located in Podgórze district. Here, you can feeling the brutality of World War II that year. And came to realize the hardships of life. This is a city full of historic atmosphere. I would recommend my friends to travel there.

  12. I have been in Italy, Greece or even in Kosovo but in all of those places I haven’t felt so good as in during my trip to Lwow and Eastern Borderlands. During my trip couple years ago I had a chance to visit this region and it’s beautiful places. Ukraine is maybe fusty and backward but the views recompensate everything. Strange comparison – while crossing the borderline between two countries you can literally feel the difference in living. I don’t know how it is today (for sure there were changes before Euro 2012) but I remember very clearly for example that the quality of roads was miserable.

    I went to Lwow at first. The last tens of kilometers you travel using the old route that once upon a time linked Lwow with the rest of Małopolska. When you are in the city centre you can feel the unique atmosphere, the walls of the buildings are pervaded with history of Poland and Ukraine. What was very surprising for me is that the city is very similar to Krakow in my opinion, although it’s more beautiful. Tenement houses, churches are bigger, roads wider and prices lower. Still, there are a lot of Poles and their presence is visible in the city. Polish names of squares, buildings take a serious part in making the new image of the location. When you go to the Polish Eagles Cementery you can see what the Soviets were trying to do with the soul of the city. It’s strange scene – next to old polish and ukrainian graves we have a socrealistic tombstones with enourmous sickles and hammers. The sign of unsuccessfull creation of modern soviet society. Also, I had a chance to visit the Great Theater, city hall and couple of churches. All of those places left good memories.

    Afterwards I traveled more to the east – I visited Tarnopol, Zbrucz, Kamieniec Podolski, Chocim and Holy Trinity’s Shafts. I love those locations. Tarnopol is the old magnate residence of Tarnowski’s family. There are several palaces in different places in the city, unfortunately it is one of the poorest regions and there is not enough money to care for them. Whole east Galicja is covered with magnate’s palaces and small castles. The symbol of past lord of these lands. Next I went to Zbrucz, Kamieniec and Chocim, which all are the old polish fortresses. All of them took major part in defending these region in XVII century. Mostly renovated and surrounded with a good care are perfect places to visit.

    During my trip I started to understand why old people talk with passion about these places. They are purely magical thanks to the harsh and raw history which is „packed” with stunning, ukrainian landscape.

    To sum it up – when you go to the Eastern Borderlands and you have a slight knowledge of their interesting history your trip will be great. This is a special kind of culture that was in develop from houndreds of years – it’s a real pleasure to discover all it’s unique flavors.

  13. In my life I had the opportunity to visit a lot of beautiful, famous and mysterious place in Central Europe. I saw capitals and smaller towns. Vienna, Prague, Budapest they’re all made a big impression on myself. There are many places I would recommend and it’s impossible to choose one place. One of polish poet: Stanisław Jachowicz in his poem entitled „village” wrote: “Cudze chwalicie, swego nie znacie, sami nie wiecie, co posiadacie”.

    This functions in the English language maybe as: the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. And that is true, often we don’t appreciate what we have. That’s why I decided to describe a place that has taken a place in my heart: Polish historical region: Śląsk. It shames me to admit, but the first time that I went there was one month ago. I was there on a scientific tour for students of history. We were completely delighted by the wealth of architecture and culture that is there. We have seen wonderful examples of Romanesque architecture, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist and finally splendor of Baroqu. We were visited the abbeys, churches, we saw a beautiful medieval wall paintings, impressive defensive structures, palaces and castles. Śląsk borders and national affiliation have changed over time. It has historically been an ethnically diverse region.

    We enriched our tour in conversations with people who live there, who best understand the specific of this region. By the historical storms we can see here a variety of traditions, culture and art and that’s what creates a unique atmosphere of this places.

  14. It is for me incredibly hard to choose only one place in central Europe that I like because even in Poland I have several favourite spots; however, my first connotation with amazing place in central Europe was Prague – maybe because it is literally ”central”. However, not only central location makes Prague a special and unique place. For me Prague may successfully compete with Paris, Vienna or Budapest – but I am not belittling the beauty of these three amazing places. Prague has many great assets such as closeness to Poland, relatively low prices, delicious food and beer and extremely friendly and sociable people. The atmosphere of Prague is impossible to describe. The view of Hradčany and shining Vltava from Charles Bridge at sunset is absolutely extraordinary. On the other hand 30 statues that decorate the bridge have something extremely mystical at sunrise. They look like the silent watchmen of the city. The old town is for me like real maze, but I don’t mind it because you can walk across these little streets full of colourful Bochemian glass and pubs for hours. What I like about Prague is also the fact that at every step the old and the new smoothly blend together. And by the new and the old I mean architecture, general atmosphere and numerous attractions offered by the city, e.g. theatres and galleries. You may spend hours on Hradčany and the Old Town and then go to Wenceslas Square, which is the centre of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague, and this change of climate does not irritate you. On the contrary, the New Town seems to be an integral part of the city, which suit even the needs of tourists. When talking about Prague I have to write a few words about Josefov, which is the area of former Jewish ghetto. You can see plenty of interesting monuments there, e.g. High Synagogue, Old Jewish Cemetery or Franz Kafka’s birthplace. The place is completely surrounded by the Old Town, but still it has its own character. To sum up, I do not see any flaws of this place and I am absolutely captivated by its atmosphere. I really hope that Czechs will overcome current flood and that water will not destroy this treasure of Central Europe.

  15. My friend told me about interesting situation, that happened to him one day, during the way back home from work. He was sitting in the bus and reading the newspaper. After some time he realised that he could hear languages from all around the world: Chinese, English, Russian, Turkish and German. When his mobile phone rang, he started talking with family from Poland, of course in Polish. Where this ”international bus” was? In Vienna – beautiful multicultural city. Of course, in the Europe we can find foreigners in almost every capital. But there are some places, where this phenomenon is really huge. In my opinion, the capital of Austria is one of the most colorful place in the Central Europe.

    As I mentioned about my friend living in Austria, I had an opportunity to visit this country three times. Every time my trip was different. At first, I brought a long list with places that I wanted to see. I stayed in Vienna for two weeks, so I found sixty places! I remember that my friend was shocked with it, because he usually shows his family only the tourist attractions. During the second and third visit, I focused on places, where I could see only… Austrian people. Thanks to it, I felt the atmosphere of that incredible capital.

    What impressed me most was Schonbrunn Palace and Prater Park. The first one is a symbol of past – summer residence of Habsburg monarchs. It is one of the places, where you can feel the power of history. Prater, with huge funfair, is like modernity – big, fast, crowded and loud.

    In the end, I will tell you that multicultural places are important to me for few reasons. We can see people who are from different cultures and have to deal with each other. This cooperation is a lesson of tolerance and source of knowledge about cultures, but also about politics and mentality.

    • I’ve been to almost all countries of Central Europe as a foreigner, including Czech, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Switzerland, of course Poland. But from my point of view, I will say Austria as well, especially a beautiful town named Hallstatt.

      Actually I only stay four days in Austria, including two days I was in this little town, because the cold weather many place I wanna go are closed, but I still can experience a different culture being in such a State.

      First of all, I have to say that Austria is not enthusiastic as Polish people. Every time when I lost my bearings in Warsaw, often have people ask me „how can I help you?” but in Austria unless you ask, even no passers-by will ask about you if you lose.

      Austria has his different culture, Perhaps historical preservation is better, Austria have many medieval buildings (not like Warsaw relatively modern building), I visited the State Opera House and the City Hall when I in Vienna , and style is significantly different in Warsaw.
      And I think Austrian public transportation is very convenient, with different light rail, subway, bus and ferryboat.
      Finally, I want say that small town– Hallstatt, I have been the Hallstatt in winter. Although the whole town was wrapped in fog, but the color of the town still vivid. Very quiet, still it seemed to be. If I have the change to go there in the spring and summer time, Imagination should look more colorful and vibrant.
      The end, I would like to say cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian Empire probably more suited to Chinese people, if I have the opportunity to go to Austria again, I will continue my culinary journey

  16. Before all else, I need to confess that I’ve managed to see very little of what I wish to visit in Central Europe, although it has been my priority for some years, already. Therefore I guess there would be many places I will want to recommend as soon as I will explore them.
    For the time being, I will write some lines about my favourite city – which is Budapest – „the pearl of Danube” (as it is called) or „Central Europe in a nutshell” (as I use to think of it). I have first seen it in 2000 and returned as many times as possible, ever since. From the very beginning, it offered me the feeling of familiarity, of „ya, that’s it”, even when I only knew four-five words in Hungarian and had no friends, that far. I come from Temesvar, which lost most of its traditional population, together with habits, clothing code, music, equilibrium and the stony rules of social relations. Immediately when I first arrived in Budapest I recovered that lost paradise of my childhood-Temesvar. Later on, I have also had the change to study there and turn it into „my city”.
    So, my city emerged from the union of three older ones in 1873, namely of Obuda, Buda and Pest. First of them replaced Aquincum, the residence of Roman emperor Hadrian, while he was first, the governor of Pannonia province. It was located west from the Danube, while across the river started the Barbarians’ territories. During the Empire of Charles the Great/ Charlemagne, Danube was still the Eastern border of „Europe” and remained like that few more centuries. The Hungarian King Bela IV decided to settle his capital in Buda and started both the building of the Castle and the enlargement of the fortress. It was around 1300. But the most important age for this – already – medieval city was the reign of Matthias Corvinus, (1458-1490). The Royal Palace and the surroundings had been largely extended, consolidated and became icons of a glorious Renaissance king. It was not only the long chain of military victories to make his case, but also his interest in culture, architecture and spirituality. His impressive library is now hosted in the Royal Palace – Budavar, as part of the National Szechenyi Library. A big statue of the king together with his hunting dogs protects one of the inner walls in a courtyard. In front of the palace there is an impressive equestrian statue of Eugene of Savoya, the one who freed both Budapest and my hometown, Temesvar from the Turks, in 1686. Very close to the Palace there is the Coronation Church, called, of course, St. Matthias Church. Here was celebrated his wedding with Beatrice of Aragon, back in 1476. In front of the church, looking to the Danube, there is the white stone-built Fishermen Bastion, with exciting sightseeing places but also with the statue of the first Christian king of the Hungarians, Steven/ Istvan (998-1038), in its centre.
    Many decades ago, UNESCO World Heritage List included The Castle District, with the Church and Bastion, as well as, on the Pest side, Szent Istvan Bazilika (hosting king Istvan’s right hand mummified), the central part of Danube’s bank/ promenade, the famous Andrassy avenue (called after Count Andrassy, Hungary’s prime minister after the Dualism, the one who initiated the construction of that site), as well as the Place of Heroes (Hösök Ter) at the entrance to the city’s park and Sz. Laszlo Church, in the Xth District. Alongside the avenue, we may find the Opera House, the Music Academy Ferenc Liszt, impressive houses built at the end of the 19th century, to compete to the largest avenues in Vienna and Paris of that time. There is a mixture of styles, from Baroque and neo-classicism to Art Nouveau, meant to mirror the diversity of this city and of its complex history. One of these buildings houses now the Museum of Terror, bringing in the same place the Nazi times and the communism’s horrors in Hungary, with 1956 as main topic. Under this avenue – which is delightful on summer due to the lines of threes but also in winter time, when all is lighted and shinny – so, under this way there is the “yellow metro”, namely the first metro in Europe. Now is coloured in yellow, but its stations and trains look exactly like the ones who brought the aristocracy from the luxurious hotels in Vörösmarty tér (Square Vörösmarty) or on the bank of Danube, to the Opera or to the concerts offered by Liszt Academy. Or to those who took these persons back to their houses, after the show, after a cake and a coffee taken in the fancy, elegant restaurants or cafés located in privileged places of the avenue. With a little bit of luck, we may recover the music of the concerts – in full rivalry with Vienna ones – or, the bands in the restaurants, playing on evenings, especially Hungarian traditional music.
    However, taking the metro, one will return to Vörösmarty square and from there, will start a cosy walking alongside the Vaci street, a pedestrian, long route for tourists and teenagers, but also a paradise of traditional merchants or of present day fashion shops, haute couture included. It gives the message of well ordered life, with time enough for love, for arts or nice conversation. Together with Andrassy ut, they re-create the atmosphere of Belle Époque, of calm, elegance and aristocracy.
    The building mostly meant to synthesise the new standing of Budapest as twin capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is the Parliament. His is indeed a breathtaking building, both from exterior and from inside. It was called “a cathedral of the nation”, by the political scientist Emilio Gentile (during a Conference held in Budapest, 2008). Constructed and decorated between 1885 and 1904, it is a huge building, hosting symbols and signs of the entire Hungarian history and civilization: statues of the kings, arms of the various regions of that times’ Hungary, historical moments painted, hunting and fishing scenes, large candelabras, and, perhaps, the overwhelming impression is given by the huge and fabulously lighted interior staircase. It was suppose to be an imperial parliament and a synthesis of the entire road of the Hungarian tribes up to this stage. But the sunny days ended with the attack in Sarajevo and the break up of the First World War
    Close to the Parliament there are two important bridges: the Chain one and the Margrit one. The jewel of Budapest’s architecture is the Chain Szechenyi Bridge, called so after Count Istvan Szechenyi who initiated its building in the early 19th century and related to the cables displayed as arcades, suggesting medieval chains. Reconstructed after the Second World War, it is a landmark both for the tourist and for the very spine of the city.
    Margrit bridge has one support on Margrit island, a heaven place of parks, restaurants, terraces, sports arenas and also for a very elegant hotel. The legend says that there had been a Dominican convent in the 13th century, when king Bela brought his daughter here and left her to the nuns. She lived almost all her lifetime here, in the tower built especially for her and where she had been canonized.
    Space is not enough to say as many words as needed about the Jewish community, their influence to the artistic, economic and social life of the city as well as about the largest Synagogue in Europe; nor about the spa- culture and the Roman baths, with thermal water; about the impressive bridges and Danube promenade, nor about the musicians, the writers or the engineers who turned Budapest into an outstanding European capital, worth to be envied if love is not possible, to be discovered and admired in all the other cases. Above all, the city talks about harmony: in mixing architectural styles, in listening all kind of music (from Brahms and Bela Bartok to gypsy music and hard rock), in preparing delicious food, in designing cloths or in preserving a certain tradition in social relations’ style. Harmony, a key issue in Hungarian pronunciation or in music, harmony is here to keep history and people together in the same cherish of the Golden Ages, in their Dreams or even during mass revolts.
    Somebody said, in this debate, that Hungarians are suspicious, cold and reserved. I would reply by saying so: they are nowadays the result of their crazy history. Once they trust you, they are opened, helpful and extremely kind. Welcoming and supporting whatsoever. But they need trust! A very delicious food will come after, with lots of beer but also with incredible tasty wines. Any good music added will yield the feeling of familiarity, nobility and respect above all else.

  17. I’ve never been to Budapest and I would love to explore it. First thing is architecture. Most of the Budapest’s photographs are breathtaking. Second one is history, especially events which had place during the World War II and the Communism. I can’t say exactly what I would like to see but stories I’ve heard, movies and photographs I’ve seen make an impression that you can’t miss seeing this city. There is also one reason more, connected with nowadays political situation. I was always wondering how Nazi rise of power looked like from the perspective of the average German citizen. Considering way of „reforms” in Hungary, I’ve got a felling we are observing very dangerous situation which is mostly ignored. I am wondering what kind of opinion do average citizens have on that what’s happening in their country.

  18. Według mnie najbardzej interesującym miastem w Europie Środkowej jest Praga. Jeżeli chcecie coś się dowiedzieć i zrozumieć Środkową Europę to właśnie to miejsce. Po-pierwsze to jest dzisiaj miasto słowiańskie, nie mówę w sensie archotektury, kultury etc., a mówę o tym, że środkowa część Europy to zwłaszcza obszar słowianszczyzny i z tym ona ma się kojarzyć. Po drugie to historia walki dwóch światów niemieckiego i słowiańskiego i właśnie tutaj uwidzimy to co nazywamy oddziaływanie kultury niemieckiej na Europę Środkową: architektura, plan miasta, duch…
    Położenie miasta też nam dużo co mówi, przecież przez Pragę do całego regionu trafały wszystkie nowości w jakiejkolwiek dziedzinie kultury, architektury, teatru etc. Więc Kraków, Lwów i nie mówię już o Słowacji mieli te same wpływy niemieckie nie z Niemiec bezpośrednie, a tylko prze Pragę. Dlatego uważam, że Parga jest tym miastem i miejsem które powie nam wszystko o Europie Środkowej, mając pod uwagą jej odbieranie żywiołu niemieckiego i przekazywanie na płaszczyźnę słowiańską.

  19. If a foreigner asked me what I’d recommend visiting in central Europe I would certainly say: Berlin. A modern city, which had to be rebuilt after the extensive damage it suffered from World War II. It’s a unique place, which has witnessed a great number of remarkable historic events, a vibrant diverse city. Germany’s capital, inhabited by more than 3,5 mln residents, from over 190 nations, is a true European city. Almost 30% of its inhabitants are immigrants; it’s fascinating to see so many cultures mingled together, so many languages being spoken on the streets. What’s more, it’s hard to be bored there, for its museums, architecture and parks (around one third of the city’s area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes).
    As I love history, it was fascinating to see the remains of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie (the only place where two armies actually met during the Cold War), the War bunkers, Pergamon Museum and many more. I was amazed by The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a monument located in the very center of the city, it’s a 19,000 square meters area covered with 2,711 concrete slabs. The impression the whole construction makes on people when entered, is truly unsettling; the blocks are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a ‘supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason’.
    It is a modern city, consists of many contradictions and extremities, the architecture is very diverse, often one building doesn’t fit at all, but this is the charm of Berlin; with many, breathtaking skyscrapers, huge socrealistic blocks of flats, the streets crowded with omnipresent tourists, a person may feel anonymous and insignificant sometimes. However the present looks Berlin perfectly correspond with its tumultuous history.

  20. There are many places in Central Europe I would recommend. On the whole, I love the nature which we can admire in this part of Europe but I guess it’s not the issue we are supposed to discuss here. If you asked me for one city in Central Europe which in my opinion may symbolise the whole region, impressed me a lot and is worth seeing, it would be Budapest. Why Budapest? Well, firstly you can find there many bulidings similar to those which are in Vienna. The Habsburgian style in omnipresent in the city centre. Common history for this part of the continent (meaning for example the monarchy) is hugely visible. Secondly, it is still possible to reach districts reflecting the Soviet Era. Block of flats, all looking the same way are just examples. In the end, you can find there the biggest synagogue in Europe which shows how big influence had Jewish culture on Central European heritage, traditions and history.

  21. For the sake of challenge, I shall exclude the obvious answer – Warsaw, where I’ve lived for seventeen years – and describe a place that has taken a place in my heart a bit more recently.
    That place is Slovenia. I’ve spent a fair amount of time there over 2010 and 2011 and I must say, I’ve never fallen in love with something so far from my usual preference. I am what they call a city-dweller. I enjoy falling asleep to the combination of rain and passing cars. But there I was, checked in a tiny motel in the tiny, though still the 4th largest in Slovenia, city of Kranj, starting to fall in love with the silent surroundings.
    Whether you’re in Kranj, enjoying a quiet stroll, in Bled, next to the glacial lake, gazing at a 15th century church ( or in Ljubljana, listening to the sounds of a band playing by the stunning Triple Bridge – Slovenia makes you feel welcome.

    Factors, that make me believe that Slovenia is the perfect tourist destination:
    1) The welcoming nature of the Slovenian people. Tremendously so.
    2) Everybody speaks English. Unlike France or Spain, where I have found it really difficult to make contact with the locals, most young Slovenians are stunningly fluent.
    3) You’re not stuck in one country. Supper in the Italian Trieste? No problem. Visiting Croatia for a day? Go ahead, it’s not far away.
    4) Globalization hasn’t wreaked havoc over here. You’re going to see a lot more family restaurants and a lot less fast food joints then in most of Europe.
    There are many more advantages, but there is not enough space to list them all. So I’ll just finish with – looking for a place in Europe that will take your breath away? Try Slovenia.

  22. Central Europe can’t be very competitive in comparison with other parts of our continent – especially southern or western ones. However, it can offer a huge diversity of landscapes (maybe not the biggest, best or most beatiful, but charming like Carpathian Mountains, Mazury, Baltic Sea) or interesting historic monuments (I think there is no need to tell that really Big History was happening here).
    Not being a stricte touristic area can be very beneficial, because tourism (besides being a great source of money) means pollution and destruction. That is why Poland, Romania or Hungary are very often a destination for eco – tourists or tourists, who just want to run away fom civilization, crowded cities.
    In my opinion, best places in Central Europe I have visited so far are Bieszczady and Lake Balaton (known as Hungarian Sea). If we take a look at the Europe 200 km from above, Bieszczady are the only one dark stain – everywhere else, there are visible lights and traces of civilization. In Bieszczady you are able to touch directly pure wildness, unspoiled nature. You can walk for days and days not meeting even one living soul down your road (maybe except bears or wolves). This is a perfect place to calm down and forget about reality you have left at home.
    Lake Balaton is much more than just tremendous place for spending two weeks of your summer vacation. You can just lay down, sunbath, swim, feast your eye with surroundings of vineyards and in the evenings enjoy delicious local cuisine. On the southern side of the lake, there are lots of spa and spots, where you can recover and take care of your poor health. The northern part is much more „natural” – there, for sure, you will find peaceful place, where noone will interrupt your quality time.

  23. I haven’t visited many places in Central Europe, so the most interesting to me was one that represented cultures and styles of areas I am yet to see. Although there is quite a few such places, the only one that made positive and lasting impression to me is Toruń. It might be so because this city has seen development of genuine styles (and contributed to it), rather than combine already existing ones into interesting, but artificial mosaic. This medieval city, dating to XIII century, was under control of several local powers (most notably – Teutonic Order, Poland, Prussia) as well as experienced periods of autonomy. Over centuries of its fascinating history, Toruń usually developed well and was a very rich city. Funds along with benevolence of the rulers encouraged cultural and economic growth which attracted thinkers and artists – all of them left mark on the city. Connection of different cultures and ideas is visible even in the very architecture of the city – since XV century it is combined of two self-sufficient settlements of different origins. Hanzeatic tenements, medieval fortifications, temples of different religions – everything within a walking distance and in relatively good shape. A place definitely worth visiting.

  24. Given my extremely limited experience with Central Europe, it is impossible for me to declare that I already have a favourite. So far my experience has been limited to Warsaw and (very briefly) Krakow. However, I can say with certainty that I am intrigued by the city of Prague, and would very much like to visit it. I think it is an important city to visit, as it was an incredibly important cultural and political center in previous times, having played a central role in the Holy Roman Empire, and having also been heavily involved in defining events throughout history, including the Thirty Years War, the Reformation, and of course both World Wars and the Cold War. The sheer abundance and variety of architecture, monuments, museums, and historical sites available to see there make it an absolute must for Central European destinations in my mind.
    I am also intrigued by Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn – my interest in these cities has more to do with the fact that I know extremely little about the countries in which they are located than any knowledge of the cities themselves. Indeed, I think Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are the three Central European countries I know the least about. Aside from their location on the political map, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard them mentioned in any part of my education (an oversight which is unfortunately common to North American educations). The fact that these nations are such a mystery to me makes me inclined to explore their capitals and to attempt to discover them with a ‚fresh perspective’, as it were. That is to say, without any preconceived notions as to what the people or the cities themselves will be like. I think that these days it is rare to be able to travel anyplace without having at least some previous ideas of what one will find, or what the people will be like there, so the opportunity to travel without such expectations is one that should be taken advantage of.

  25. Four years ago I started to travel by hitchhiking, in my opinion it’s the best way to visit other countries. It’s something more than tourism, it’s tasting different ways of living, different cultures and amazing places.

    I’ve visited many countries in Central Europe, but the one most fascinating was Romania, especially Bukovina. It’s charming region on the north of the country. Beauty of the Bukovina lies not in the nature or painted monasteries, but in the wonderful people.

    I remember nice adventure during my journey, I took place 2 years ago. Me and my friend got to Campulung Moldovenesc (small city in the heart of Bukovina) about 11 p.m. It was dark and rainy and we had no possibilities to find a dry place to sleep. When we were trying to find a space to put our tent, one guy on bicycle stopped and persuaded us go with him. He brought us to his huge family. They were rather poor, but really cheerful. We got a traditional dish (grape’s leaves filled with rice) and space to sleep in the chapel (they were members of the Anglican Church minority). The hospitality of those people was amazing. After two days in the mountains we came back to our friends and they treated us like a family! After hours of talking we got lots of hugs, some food and we went to the next place.

    It’s possible that people in other countries are as nice as Romanian. But I was impressed by the atmosphere of sweet Bukovina, especially if I compare my positive feelings with bad stereotypes about Romania. My father, for instance, who remembers Ceauşescu times, found my trip extremely dangerous. He was really surprised when I told him about my nice experiences.

  26. In my travels the only place in Central Europe I’ve visited outside of Poland was Berlin. However, there are other places in Central Europe that I would like to visit, like for instance Lviv (Lwów) in Ukraine. Actually I want to visit Lviv, quite a bit, for two main reasons, firstly because I’ve got a lot of friends from Ukraine and secondly, because of the cities historical connection to Poland. The first thing I would do once I got there, would be visiting all the historically important places and bars. But what would matter to me the most, is to see their point of view on our common history. I’m very interested to see their point of view on our common past. I would most likely ask questions like, “what’s your opinion on poles today?”; “does, our history play any significance today, or is it all in the past?”. I find these questions important, because they could tell me if Polish/Ukrainian relations are as good as everyone thinks here in Poland or there more to it in reality.

  27. I have visited more German than Polish cities, and my favourite one was, and still is, Dresden. It was almost completely destroyed by the allies in 1945, and rebuilt within the next 75 years. It is also impressive that one can’t see any damage done by the flood in 2002, because everything was restored immediately. Dresden is a mixture of Western and Eastern influences-among beautiful baroque buildings, there are some built in a socialist style known from the streets of Warsaw. What is more, Dresden’s history is strongly connected to Poland, for the rulers of Saxony-Augustus the Strong, and Augustus III were also Polish kings. As in many cities, the must-see part is the Old Town. The majority of buildings there are partly black. When I asked my friend who gave me a tour why is it so, she said that these are the parts that survived the bombarding, and they’re left this way to remind of what happened. So what we get are churches, synagogues, castles half old and black, and half new, and shiny. Great examples of it are the Frauenkirche, the Hofkirche, and the Dresden Castle. However, the most impressive thing to see is the Procession of Princes-a mural created on more than 23,000 porcelain tiles going on for over 100 metres, which wasn’t destroyed during the WW II, and looks the exact same way as 150 years ago, when it was created. But the most memorable moment was the sunset at the Elba river, observed from the Augustus Bridge.

  28. I like many places in Central Europe – Budapest for the greatest lunapark I have ever been to or Transilvania for its castles and Dracula stories, but the country which intrigues me most is Estonia. As one of post-communist republics it should be „rising” and similar to Latvia or Lithuania. But then, Estonians claim that they are rather a Scandinavian country and nation than the Baltic one, because of their language which is closely related to the Finnish language. Estonians, as the ethnic group, are a Finnic group. They are rather Vikings than our brothers in Baltic or Slavian heritage. Also in terms of religion Estonians are more similar to the Nordic countries than to us. Also economically Estonia is very slightly connected with Scandinavian countries. Some legal phenomena, like welfare state plus high taxes, are also of the Scandinavian pattern. It is not just historic knowledge – it is also about individual Estonians. I used to know one, and he was angry at me when I mixed him and his country with all the post-communist reality. He did not want to speak Russian with me. And yes, there is the problem of Russian minority in Estonia. Russians are sometimes treated like former enemies there. So is it still Central Europe – meaning tradition and identity? I love also all the Hanzeatic cities, ports and their stories 🙂
    There is the second, or maybe the first place in Central Europe which I love. It is in the center of Central Europe, so in Poland (!). In our country there is a magical region where 3 cultures are STILL mixed and mixing: the Muslim culture, the Orthodox and the Catholic one. I mean Podlasie, where you can still go to “szeptucha” (I won’t translate it, it’s too risky), or visit a Tatar mosque which looks like every traditional house in the vicinity. For me it is the essence of being in center. You have influences of everyone next to you. And the best part – it is only 3 hours from Warsaw. I recommend Kruszyniany, Supraśl, Hajnówka, Orla, and many others. 🙂

  29. I have not visited many places in the Central Europe. A city that has made the biggest impression on me is Berlin – the capital of Germany. Germany is an unusual country: although it is a part of the Central Europe, its political system and culture are more like western countries.
    The history of this city is very interesting and connected with the history of our country. One of the most popular monuments that reminds of the reunification of Germany id Brandenburg Gate. Nowadays Berlin is an industrial and trade center. Many fair, exhibitions and festivals take place there. What is more there are many theatres, cinemas and sport centers there, because Germans attach importance to cultural life. I strongly recommend the museum of Helmut Newton.
    What impressed me the most in this city is order, tidiness and complex communication. People there always smile and are very hospitable. It is great holiday destination.

  30. As far as travelling throughout Central Europe is concerned, I have too little experience to talk about my favourite place in the region. However, If I had a chance to visit a particular place in CE, I would choose Tallinn due to several reasons.

    To begin with, visiting Talinn would give me the opportunity to know better a vital part of Estonian history – from Danish domination to a crucial area of the Livonian Order, from Swedish Influences to Russian ones and finally, the history of the capital of the Estonian Republic (with an Soviet Republic interval). Perhaps all of these twists turns shaped in an diversed way the architecture of Tallin, hence making it interesting to visit.
    Moreover, the other reason to go to Tallin is related with history current ethnic situation. Apart from Estonians, within the capital live Russians who form there a large minority group. There are Ukrainians and Fins too. It would be interesting for me to see how good this multiethnic society functions in Tallin.
    Last, but not least, also I would like to simply talk to people , including questions about their country, do they regard themselves as “from Central Europe” or for instance “Scandinavian”.

    So, to sum up, my reasons for visiting Taliin could be get straight in three “interests”: in history and places of memory, in ethnicity and culture comprehension, as well as in people, especially when it comes to their cultural identity.

  31. Unfortunately, I haven’t traveled a lot in the area of Cetral Europe, but the more I know about it and its beautiful places and cities, the more I really want to see most of the countries, and especially capitals.
    The city that I have been to and that is in Central Europe is Berlin. I have been there few times, but each time I visit it again, I discover something new and special.
    It is a giant city with the population over 3,2 milion people. In Berlin we discover many nationalities, therefore many different cultures and languages.
    Being there for the first time I made a nice sightseeing day with my friends who guided me and showed me the best known monuments, buildings and places. The wall made on me big impression as a „relict” of the past. But the thing I liked (and still like!) the most are tenement houses in Prenzlauer Berg – the disctrict in the Eastern Part of Berlin. The best known representative avenue is die Schönhauser Alle.The houses are really well-kept and create a feeling of tidiness and comfort (although none of the houses has an elevator 🙂 ).
    The second thing I have realized being in Berlin is the combination of several architecture styles one can see. Tenement houses, office blocks built in the 80-ties, old churches and totally modern scycrapers. It makes me think of Warsaw, where we also have such a „mixture” of styles that shows us that this city has a very interesting and complex history.

  32. In my opinion, it is beyond any doubt that the most impressive city of Central Europe is Prague. There are many factors which make it so special. One of them is the possibility to feel almost whole history of this place at the same time. Thanks to its architecture and old monuments, one who walks through the city can immediately imagine what the history of Prague and Czech Republic was in different periods. Near the beautiful medieval buildings (churches, cathedral, town halls, university) there is a lot of places which remind us about more recent events like the Second World War, the communist era, the Prague Spring. Besides that, another factor which, from my point of view, makes Prague so interesting place to visit is the Alfons Mucha Museum. I consider Mucha as the greatest contemporary artist and I think that his works should be classified as masterpiece. Also, I would like to stress that Prague is located in wonderful geographical region (uplands, Veltava River). Because of these reasons I recommend everyone to see this city.

  33. For now, I have visited only few Central European countries. I have been to Slovakia and Czech Republic. However, I am especially impressed by the capital of Czech Republic- Prague. I absolutely love this city.
    Prague is situated in the north-west of the country, so it is really close to Poland. It is an economic, cultural and political centre of Central Europe. When I went there, I had an opportunity to see a lot of famous cultural attractions, such as the amazing Charles Bridge, the beautiful Old Town Square, Prague Castle, etc. What is more, since 1992 the historic part of this city has been in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. I think that the architecture of this city is impeccable and charming.
    For me, as a photojournalism student, Czech Republic has an exceptional meaning. It is because a lot of famous and talented photographers come from here, for example Josef Koudelka, Jan Saudek or Miroslav Tichý. Also there is a well-known school of photography. I am under a big impression of their works that are appreciated all over the world.
    I would definately like to visit Czech Republic again, but also I would love to see Budapest in Hungary, because I think it is a very interesting place in Central Europe either.

  34. The spirit of the Central Europe is well presented in my native city, Lublin, since both elements-East Europe and West Europe are seen. Lublin is called the capital of the east Poland-the biggest and the best robustly growing town on this side of the Vistula. Its rich history and the location along with the multicultural melting point have created its significant values. It was reflected in its various architecture, topography but also influenced on its socio-cultural development. In my view, none of the Polish cities accumulate so many beliefs, styles, cultures, which existed in Lublin. A period of fineness in Lublin fell on the 16 th c. and the first half of the 17 th c. These centuries saw the times of the greatest development of the town. The turning point in Lublin’s history was the Polish and Lithuanian Union of 1385 signed in Lublin. It strongly emphasized the importance of the city at those times. Thanks to the beneficial geographical location Lublin became a place of crossing trade trails. It was situated at the trail that connected two Jagiellonian capitals-Cracov and Vilnius. The town was also situated at the crossing of other significant trade routes, most importantly on the route from Wroclaw and Poznan to Lviv and further to the Black Sea. Due to this fact, one of the historians wrote’’’’ During the Lublin Fairs the East met the West and thus made Lublin an important town and trading centre’’. Besides the ethnic Polish population, Lublin was inhabited by Ruthenians, Jews, Germans, Italians, Frenchmen, Scots, Hungarians and Armenians which had a huge impact on its uniqueness comparing to other cities of Central Europe. The significant role of various ethnic groups is visible not only in their own histories but in their production of different kinds. We are not aware of how many buildings were erected by foreigners. The customs and habits adopted by the natives have been observed up till now without being realised by contemporary citizens of Lublin, though it is clearly seen in cuisine, the way of thinking or the pronunciation. All these factors have created an extraordinary spirit of the town existing especially in the Old Town which is the most enchanting district of Lublin after passing the Krakowska Gate. One steps into a mysterious world full of secret whispers and dim figures. These streets lined by ancient narrow houses give an illusion of experiencing the town in the past centuries.
    The biggest impact belongs to Jewish diaspora, who by creating their own district, caused that Lublin was considered as a Jerusalem of the Polish Kingdom as well as a Jewish Oxford. Their influence on the local economy guaranteed the dynamic progress of the town and it fueled the Lublin’s significance on the European continent. Unfortunately, their contribution to the development of Lublin was stopped during WWII when they were exterminated on the Nazi concentration camp in Majdanek. Another minority- Germans played a vital role, too. They contributed to a rapid industrial development in the 19th -20 thc. and made Lublin one of the most prosperous industrial centres in Poland. Italians shaped the architectonic character of the city by introducing a local style known as the Lublin Renaissance. The most remarkable traces of Ruthenians are murals in the Byzantine-Russian style which makes the Hole Trinity Chapel one of the most valuable monuments in Europe. The UNESCO has declared it on the list of the world cultural heritage. Due to the fact that Lublin was inhabited by various nations every citizen of Lublin possesses foreign roots. In my view, none of the cities of Central Europe had so many various minorities as Lublin and this is what distinguishes and makes Lublin unusual on the background of other cities of Central Europe.

  35. Although I’m only 20, I consider myself a very lucky person, as I already got to visit most of the Central European countries. The question proposed for this discussion was not an easy one for me, because every place I visited had something special about it, and thus choosing one that made the biggest impression on me wasn’t easy.
    Two years ago, I visited Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. It ment a lot to me, as my grandfather was born there. I found the city a fascinating mixture of the Western and Eastern culture, architecture and overall feel, a city in which you can still feel the scent of the eastern borderland tradition, but which is evolving very rapidly and becoming more and more western. A year later, I visited Lviv in Ukraine. Somehow, it reminded me a lot of Vilnius, both because of the arcitecture and the atmosphere. I think that was beacause of a common history of the two cities, both very closly connected to Poland.
    But when it comes to deciding which place I personally found the most fascinating, and which I’m sure I will visit many more times, without hesitation I can say it’s Wrocław, or as some know it, Breaslau. Why? Because it’s a city with the most beautiful old town I have ever seen (personally, I find it even more beautiful than the one in Bratislava and Budapest). Every time I visit this post- german town, I find something that makes me love it even more. There is something about the little bridges, old houses and even the attitude of the people who live there that makes me come back whenever I get the chance.
    Every time I visit I make new friends, both Polish and foreign, as Wrocław is a city very open to students from all over the world. For all the abovementioned reasons, I believe Wrocław is a city definetly worth seeing, and moreover, one that’s worth coming back to!

  36. Since I watched Robert Makłowicz’s TV show I would like to go to Transylvania and visiting cunt Dracula’s castle is only one of reasons why 🙂
    The region which currently belongs to Romania has extremely fascinating history. Through centuries this area was the scene of the numerous wars between Pechengs, Hungarians and Turks. It was also under control of Austria which was in competition with Russia also interested in aggrandizing its position in Balkans. Besides that what you can find here are traces of Dacians and the tribes which travelled across this territory during the great migration between V and IX century.
    Because of continuous clashes this land has an outstanding cultural diversity. Apart from already mentioned Romanians or Hungarians, Transylvania is also a home for the minorities such as the Transylvanian Saxons the Szèkelys. The Saxons were Germans invited there by the Hungarian kings to defend the country from the Szèkleys’ and Kipchaks’ attacks. To stop them the Saxons built a lot of fortified churches and castles. During the XVI century they brought there the Luther’s ideas. Also Szèkelys have left some cultural heritage for instance the unique graves which resemble the beautifully carved, wooden palling. Each element tells about the dead person: his or her sex, age or social status.
    I am very keen on cooking so the Romanian cousin, full of Hungarian, German and Turkish influences is a real challenge. Thinking of the sour soups, many types of goulash and one in a million plum brandy makes me even more eager to take my backpack and hit a road today.

  37. In April 2011, I went to Hungary, to visit Budapest. I didn’t know what to expect as I was aware of the history of this country, just like of the current situation at that time, so basically political problems. But there was another thing: Hungary has become one of the most popular tourist destination in the world, with a capital regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world, called „Little Paris of Central Europe” or „Pearl of Danube” and I was curious how does this city manage to attract so many tourists after years of economic and political problems. I need to admit that I faced a couple of culture shocks.

    First of all, I was totally spellbound by the capital of Hungary. The City divided into two parts: Buda (West bank of the Danube River) and Pest (the East bank) is various from architectural point of view but harmonic at the same time. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The architecture, the music of Hungary, the SPA culture, obviously the literature reflect perfectly the character of this place. I always try to find some connections between country and mentality considering cuisine. Sometimes, it helps to understand history and people. In Hungarian cuisine, original and tasty you can find influences of Austria, Turkey, Transylvania and Germany Cuisines. The communication with people is sometimes difficult, not only because of Hungarian that is one of the most difficult languages but because of people who are reserved and suspicious. Of course, I do not want to generalize but as I talked to some foreigners, mostly people who have lived there for a couple of years and they said that Hungarians simply do not like to hang out with foreigners and still, they treat them as strangers who come from Western Europe, where life is easier than in Hungary.

    My visit enriched in long conversations with people who live there helped me in understanding that Poland is a fast developing country and even if Budapest is far more beautiful than Warsaw, the quality of life in Poland is better and the mentality is closer to our western neighbours than to Hungarians.

  38. Looking through the list of countries that consider to belong to Central Europe Blok, I had some doubts about what to choose: Poland, because I’ve been living here for last 2 years; Hungary, because I was deeply admired by Budapest; Slovenia and its mountains or finally Austria. After summarizing all my reminiscences from different trips I stopped at country, that can be proud of its natural beauty, historical and cultural heritage, high living standard and practically the most long list of composers – Austria, or how they officially call it the Republic of Austria.
    I spent just 2 days in this amazing country, moreover I wasn’t so lucky to visit the Alps. Although 3/4 of the country are mountains I was at that small part, where are valleys and fields, but in a moment caught the difference between this part of Europe and my motherland. I spent 17 years of my life in Belarus and Russia. I was pleasantly surprised, during my “Eurotrip” . First thing I mentioned was the way people live, spend their free time and deal with each other. Austrians like to enjoy the good life. They spend a lot of time eating, drinking and having a good time with friends in a cozy atmosphere, and are therefore very hospitable.
    The culture and architecture or Austria is tremendous! Especially I liked the capital city – Vienna. To describe this city I’d like to choose such adjectives as: elegant, glamorous, courtly. Vienna is widely known as the City of Music, for playing an essential role as a leading European Music Centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century; and „The City of Dreams” because it was home to the world’s first psycho-analyst Sigmund Freud, a neurologist who is well known for being the greatest interpreters of dreams.
    I’d like not to repeat it so much times , but from all other countries of Central Europe, Austria and Vienna had made the biggest impression on me, and I hope I’ll have occasion to visit them one more time.

  39. It’s not so easy to choose a place where I would love to visit in central Europe. Every country of this part of Europe has it’s own history, culture and traditions. But I want to start with Hungary. A country that is located in the Carpathian Basin.I’ve heard that Hungarian language, belongs to the Ugor branch of the Finno-Ugric language family and is very different from European languages. The history and culture of Hungary is very rich that explains a big number of tourists every year. I would love to visit antic cathedrals and most important Hungarian historical architecture because Roman, Gothic, Baroque influenced the Hungarian art and Art Nouveau styles so it would be pleasure to see it. The main destination of my journey will be Budapest- called as Paris of Middle and Eastern Europe, except of it’s gorgeous views, beautiful buildings (The neo-Gothic Parliament, the largest synagogue in Europe, Castle Hill and the Castle District, etc) it has the richest supply of thermal water among the capitals of the world so it’s a good idea for me to visit such kind of place while being in Hungary. Hungarian folk music is popular in central Europe as a very interesting and extraordinary music so I would love to hear it. I think Hungary is worth seeing.


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