Pesth (Pest), or more correctly Budapest, because since 1873 it has been united with Buda (Ger. Ofen) into one municipality, is the capital of Hungary, and next after Vienna the second city of the Austrian-Hungarian empire. It stands on the Danube, Buda on the right bank and Pesth on the left, 173 miles by rail SSE. of Vienna. The two towns are connected by three bridges, a chain bridge (designed by Clark Brothers of England in 1842-49), 1280 feet long, uniting the busiest quarters of the two; another, built in 1872-75, a little higher up (1555 feet long); and a railway bridge. Pesth is essentially a modern place, the growth principally of the 19th century; it has many fine streets and squares, the magnificent quays (3 miles long) beside the Danube being the favourite promenades. The buildings include the Jewish synagogue; the parish church (1500) and the new Leopold basilica (1851-68); the national museum (1850), with valuable picture-galleries and a library of 400,000 volumes and 63,000 MSS.; the academy of sciences (1862); the university (1635), established first at Tyrnau, then at Buda in 1777, and lastly at Pesth in 1873, with 316 lecturers and about 5000 students, equipped with laboratories, etc, and a library of 250,000 volumes; the parliament house, the old town-house, the redoubt (1859-65), the customhouse (1870-74), barracks, the military academy (1872), the slaughter-house (1870-72), etc. Whilst Pesth stands on a plain, Buda straggles over steep hills. It is a much older town, its central features being the castle on the citadel (1749-71), with the chapel of St Sigismund, in which are preserved the regalia of Hungary and the hand of St Stephen; the church of the Ascension and that of St John (13th century); the palaces of the premier and Archduke Joseph; the monumental tomb of Gul Babas (1543-48), a Turkish saint; and the lunatic asylum (1860-68).
Both towns are exceptionally well provided with baths, which are supplied both by the Danube and by natural springs of mineral waters. Some of these last - Hunyadi Janos, Rakoczy, etc. - are exported. The artesian well (1868-79) in the public garden of Pesth yields, at a depth of 3182 feet, water of a temperature of 165° F. The water-works of Pesth were planned and built by the English engineer Lindley in 1868. There is in Pesth a polytechnic (in Buda, 1846-72), with faculties of chemistry, architecture, and engineering. There are two beautiful public gardens, one in Pesth, the other on Margaret Island in the Danube, just above the town. The squares and streets of both Pesth and Buda are adorned with many monuments, among them the Honved Memorial (1893). The manufacture of machinery and agricultural implements, wagons, ships, small-arms, spirits, tobacco, beer, gold and silver wares, cutlery, starch, glass, etc, the grinding of corn, washing of wool, and printing are all prosecuted on the large scale. But the commerce is even more important: immense quantities of corn are brought into the town, and exported further either as corn or flour; wool, wine and spirits, seeds, hemp, tobacco, plums, honey and wax, bacon, hides, feathers, timber, coal, and manufactured wares are the principal articles of the extensive trade. Vast numbers of swine are fattened and killed in huge yards just outside Pesth. Pop. of Budapest (1813) 36,153; (1857) 116,683; (1900) 716,476. The Romans had a military colony on the site of Buda. In the 13th c. there existed here a flourishing German town, Old Buda, destroyed by the Mongols in 1241; but it soon recovered, and Buda was regarded as the capital down to its capture by the Turks in 1527. From 1541 to 1686 the Turks held Buda, though it was often besieged. Pesth meanwhile was reduced to a heap of ruins.