Budapest is the capital city of Hungary, the largest city in Central Europe, and the seventh largest in the European Union. The history of Budapest goes back to over one thousand years, when it became the Roman capital of the province Lower Pannonia (under the name Aquincum). The Hungarians arrived to the Carpathian Basin during the 9th century. King Saint Stephen founded the Hungarian state in the year 1 000 AD. During the middle ages, Hungary became one of the centres of Renaissance in the 15th century. Hungary suffered a 150-year rule of the Ottoman (Turkish) empire. But the Turks also left their imprint on the city – they exploited the rich thermal water facilities of the area. (Nowadays Budapest is a city of spas, since the land under our feet abounds in natural springs and wells containing several beneficial minerals.)
A new age of prosperity started after 1873, when Pest, Buda and Óbuda were united into one city under the name Budapest. Nowadays, Budapest has 1,73 million inhabitants. Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site include the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway (second oldest in the world). Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world's largest thermal water cave system, the second largest synagogue and third largest Parliament building. The city attracts about 2.7 million tourists a year, making it the 37th most popular city in the world.