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Royal Palace

Located at the top of Castle Hill in the picturesque Castle District of Buda, the Royal Palace was first inhabited by King Béla in the 13th century who, after the Mongol invasion, turned it into a fortified stronghold against further attack. Over the next 700 years it was the residence of many royal figures. The strategic location of Budapest, situated in the heart of Europe and straddling the Danube, offered whoever controlled the city a defensive position and potential control of the main waterway. This led to repeated invasions, followed by rebuilding in the style of the period. The castle has a mixture of architectural styles, ranging from Gothic to Baroque. Today it is the country's most important cultural centre housing numerous museums and the majority of the buildings are historical monuments. The Budapest History Museum contains an exhibition explaining the history of the city as well as archaeological remains of the palace. Also within the palace complex are the Hungarian National Gallery, the National Library and the Ludwig Museum.

Address: 1 Szent, György tér

Telephone: +36 (0)1 375 7533

Opening times: The Budapest History Museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm (1 March to 31 October) and 10am to 4pm (1 November to 28 February), except on Mondays. The Hungarian National Gallery and the Ludwig Museum are open daily from 10am to 6pm, except on Mondays.

Admission: Budapest History Museum HUF 1,500 (adult), HUF 750 (students/pensioners). Hungarian National Gallery: permanent exhibitions: HUF 1,200 per head, concessions available; temporary exhibitions vary in cost.