There are several museums in Budapest that are worth visiting and the Hungarian National Museum located near the Inner City district is certainly one of them. With three floors of exhibits, the museum focuses on the history of Hungary, which includes many different interesting periods of time. For many reasons, Hungarians are both proud of their history as well as embarrassed by certain aspects of it as well. The building, with its murals and decorative dome, is as impressive as the exhibits that it houses.
We visited the museum on a rainy afternoon, making it a perfect way to get out of the rain while enjoying a trip through time as we walked through each of the floors. Hungary has a rich history and was one of the most powerful and influential countries in all of Europe for many centuries. The museum embraces that history with many displays of the royal families, battles, invasions, and more. There are a variety of paintings, statues, as well as historical garments and furniture located throughout the Hungarian National Museum.
We talked to several local Hungarians during our time in Budapest and their commentary regarding the history of the 20th century were all pretty much the same. It was a time of poor choices and a period of decline and occupation until the late 1900’s when the country regained its independence. The museum does not shy away from that part of its history, but instead has displays depicting each phase of that era. It starts Hungary’s involvement in WWI, which resulted in the country being divided into small Nation-States that left Hungary itself a much smaller country than its previous size. Then in WWII, Hungary once again sides with Germany in attempt to regain its former glory, only to end up being occupied by Germany towards the end of the war. Even the liberation of Hungary by the Soviet Union turned into another occupation and a dark period in the country’s history.
Eventually the country regained its independence and is now once again a proud country, albeit still much smaller than it was during the previous centuries. The Hungarian National Museum is definitely quite interesting and worth at least a couple of hours to see.
Yesterday was another rainy day, but we definitely made the most of it. First we went to the Parliament Building, then saw the monument called “The Shoes on the Danube” (which we’ll explain later), the Saint Stephen’s Basilica, a wine tasting, and then the Hungarian National Museum before heading to dinner. It was exhausting, but completely satisfying. It seems like the weather is turning better, so we are definitely looking forward to drying out over the next couple of days. There are still so many things to see, but until then, here are a few photos of our day.
Located outside of Chennai, the DakshinaChitra is a living museum that depicts life, art, culture, and architecture of Southern India, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. DakshinaChitra features 18 authentic historical houses that were deconstructed from their original region and then reconstructed by artisans from the region on the grounds of the museum. Each of the houses features exhibits that represent the region’s art and daily life. Although we visited during an off time, the museum features typical artisans and performers from the various regions that you can interact with, thus making it a living museum.
DakshinaChitra actually means picture of the south, which is what the living museum is meant to represent. There are opportunities to participate in making crafts and folk performances happen at different times. Regardless of the interactive activities, just wandering the trails and going inside of each of the houses is a wonderful experience. Each of the regions is unique in their own ways and that can be seen by the varied architecture, arts, and crafts that can be found in the different houses. The museum opened in 1996 and has continued to grow ever since.
We spent a couple of hours walking the grounds, visiting the various houses, and admiring the displays. In many ways it was overwhelming, like many of our experiences in Chennai, but we were definitely glad that we took the time to go there. If you visit Chennai, we would highly recommend taking the time to go to DakshinaChitra and learn about all of the regions of Southern India.