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Jewish Budapest from a PM

I don't mind PMs but its better if you just post. There are a lot of good opinions out there and you are missing out on their input. With that said, the question was:

That was an interesting looking place (synagogue?) to donate the Hungarian Currency to.
Since you seem to know Budapest, can I assume that the Holocaust Memorial will be open Christmas week? It seems they would be, since they aren't celebrating Christmas.

Are there any other Jewish historical sights I should see? I saw that one of the walking tours goes by several synagogues and we won't have a car, so I am interested in other sights we can walk to. We are staying a couple of blocks from the Hungarian National Museum.

Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Posted by
10893 posts

That was an interesting looking place (synagogue?) to donate the
Hungarian Currency to. Interesting history.

After WWII the shul was boarded up. It remained boarded up until the Russians withdrew. Upon opening the space they found everything sort of rotten, but intact. They have been working on restoring it over the years. During the war there were many Jewish children that were given to Christian families for safe keeping. These kids grew up as Christians. Many still live in the same neighborhood. Among the missions of the shul has been to find the surviving children and bring them home. Interesting to meet an elderly man that didn’t know he was a Jew until 20 years ago. Good people.

Since you seem to know Budapest, can I assume that the Holocaust
Memorial will be open Christmas week? It seems they would be, since
they aren't celebrating Christmas.

I guess you have a point. I suggest you contact them and confirm: http://www.hdke.hu/en/contacts

Are there any other Jewish historical sights I should see?

The Shoes on the Danube comes to mind. The House of Terror. The Rumbach utca Synagogue is good as is the Dohany utca synagogue (aka Great Synagogue). Then there are the Stolpersteine (stumbling stones): https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?oe=UTF8&ll=47.502707,19.069347&t=m&source=embed&ie=UTF8&msa=0&spn=0.055664,0.109863&z=13&hl=en&mid=z1PJp-HQ_qTY.kijp6a3KBut0

I saw that one of the walking tours goes by several synagogues and we
won't have a car, so I am interested in other sights we can walk to.

You don’t need a car in Budapest. Its more trouble than its worth. The city has a great public transportation system. Especially the Trams!!!

You can see most of the old quarter on your own with a decent guide book and a map. Its an interesting neighborhood for the jewish heritage and because of all the good restaurants and bars in the area. These guys have tours and the paid tour of the Dohnay utca synagogue is a good investment: http://www.greatsynagogue.hu/jewishquartertours.html#stand This was an excellent tour a few years ago: http://www.beyondbudapest.hu/english/tour_juice.html You will see places where few tourists go.

We are staying a couple of blocks from the Hungarian National Museum.

Hopefully north of the Museum.

Posted by
13930 posts

Friends of mine were in Budapest for a long weekend over Christmas about 4-5 years ago. They found to their dismay that everything closed quite early on the 24th and reopened on the 27th. They managed to buy some groceries on the 24th and found a cafe or 2 that were open over the holiday. Mostly they just walked around.

From the official website: The Holocaust Memorial Center is a national institution established by the Government As such, I would expect it to be closed for the Christmas holidays, so it's a good idea to check with them directly. In fact, it's been my experience that "Jewish" sites in Europe (and the U.S. too) usually close for major Christian holidays.

Posted by
10893 posts

I've spent a number of Christmas' in Bpest, and like most of Europe all but about half of the restaurants close by 3pm on Christmas eve. Most everything is open by noon on the 26th and everything is open on the 27th. But Christmas week begins Sunday the 20th this year so you should have a good chance to do what you want on the 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and part of the 24th.

Posted by
22 posts

Spent a month in Budapest over the holidays 2013-14 visiting Hungarian friends. Had a great little apt. with small kitchen and knowing that most everything closes up, purchased plenty of groceries for a simple holiday dinner and treats. Back to noemal 12/26-27. Due to foresight of our dear friends who ordered tickets ahead, we attended a spectacular performance of La Boheme on Christmas evening at the grand Opera House. Everyone was decked our in holiday finery and a lovely decorated tree was in the lobby. We had arranged for a taxi pre and post performance so no problems with transportation. The public systems are great but wouldn't count on that on a cold Christmas night! It was a memorable time there!

Spent a VERY HOT week there in June, attended a symphony concert and a government sponsored Folk Music/Dance Company performance. Also with friends paid a guide for an "insider's" backstreet tour of the old synagogues, small specialty artisan shops, cafes, kosher restaurants, etc. in the old ghetto area.. Quite interesting, but one could most likely do the same thing by wandering the backstreets!

Posted by
10893 posts

The kitchen can be a good idea. We always stay in an apartment that offers that option, but most all of the best restaurants in town are open Christmas Eve, Christmas night and New Year's Eve as well. So we get lazy and eat out. There is just so much good food to choose from and the Hungarians are fun to party with. I made a list a few years back if anyone wants it send me PM. There is also a hotel that in past years has delivered a Christmas Goose Feast to any address in town. Google when it gets a little closer. Cant remember if it was the IC or the Le Meridian.