Like all cities bisected by a river, Budapest sits astraddle,
one foot in the East, the other in the West; one foot
in the past, the other in the present; looking one
way to life’s pleasures, the other to its struggles.
And, like its name, Budapest also presents two aspects.
Here on its quiet north-south course, the Danube forms
a sharp boundary between east and west Europe, uniting
the two even as it divides Buda from Pest.
Budapest, the city that was formed when these two
towns decided to unite exactly 130 years ago, appears
forever poised between its unifying role and its own
dividedness. Like Central Europe in general, it is
neither east nor west, not quite Europe or Asia but
some place in between. Joining the two worlds, it
tries to stay equidistant from each, not surrendering
to one while resisting the other but nonetheless no
stranger to frequent invasions over the centuries.