while researching Budapest, i came across several articles (from some hoity–toity sources) about the resurgence of Józsefváros, or the eighth district. what was once a place full of drugs and prostitution, i learned, has been cleaned up and secured with the help of CCTV. bohos are replacing hobos (i want to say i’ve been planning that phrase all day, but it just came to me right now) and certain parts have become hotspots for art and student life. for me, this juxtaposition of decay (you know how much i love decay) and culture was too much to ignore, so i spent this morning wandering around and exploring.
you definitely get the impression, especially in the less glamorous parts away from the western side that abuts District 5 (where you will find fancy hotels and cafes in restored grand buildings), that they aren’t used to tourists stopping to take pictures of random shit. i never felt unsafe or targeted, though, even in Szigony Lakótelep, a decaying communist housing estate. there is a population of Asian immigrants in the area, so i think they were at least used to seeing people who look somewhat like me.
there was this amazing fenced-off building at Horváth Mihály tér 17 that i couldn’t stop drooling over. you have to street view it to get the full picture (pun semi-intended). i don’t know why it was closed off, but it made it that much more alluring.
i expanded on the map used in the Condé Nast article with some locations mentioned in the NYT one and added the communist apartment blocks, and used it to guide my exploration — you may find it useful as well (not sure if it’s my computer or what, but it doesn’t seem to load correctly in IE — you have been warned). it looks pretty spread out on the map, but the district is relatively compact and easily walkable.
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