Monday, July 5, 2010

Full House for the Carolina International Chorale at St. Michael's Church in Budapest

The Carolina International Chorale concluded its 2010 Incantato Performance Tour to Central Europe on July 2 with a finale highlight concert at St. Michael's Church in the heart of Budapest. The singers & string players from Chapel Hill, NC under the direction of Dr. Sue Klausmeyer were supported by local musicians from the Matyas Templon Orchestra and enchanted the audience with works from Mozart and Vivaldi along with a selection of American spirituals. A full house and lots of applause was the perfect ending for the 11-day journey that started in Prague and went via Cesky Krumlov, the Wachau Valley and Vienna (Austria) to Hungary.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

CIC finale 2010 European Tour Concert takes place at St. Michael's Church in Budapest on July 2 at 6 pm

On Friday, July 2, the musicians from Chapel Hill, NC, are presenting the last tour concert in the heart of Budapest, at the beautiful baroque church of St. Michael.
Here is a short history of the finale concert venue for the Carolina International Chorale & String-Ensemble.
The Church of St Michael was built in the 18th century on the spot of a medieval dominican church destroyed during turkish wars. A temporary chapel was standing here between 1700 and 1716, present church was finished only by 1765. Figure of Virgin Mary adorning its frontal facade is considered to be created by Donner. Statues of Saint Dominic and Saint Thomas Aquinas carved by Joseph Hebenstreit also decorate this facade. The church had a vivid history in the XIXth century: although destroyed by fire and floods, it managed to survive and got restored. The latest restoration started in 1999. The single-naved church was decorated with ceiling frescoes and side paintings in the middle of the 18th century. The main altar, inlaid benches, furniture of the sacristy date back to 1760, they are works of Dominican monks. The main altar shows St. Dominic with Virgin Mary handing a rosary to him. Statues of important religious persons in connection with the Dominican order can be found around the painting. On the left: statue of Pope Pius V. and St. Antoninus, Archbishop of Florence. On the right: St. Augustine and Pope Innocent V. The first organ of the church was built in 1801 by organ builder Joseph Herodek which was entirely rebuilt by company Rieger in 1893. It was again renovated in 1951. Baroque statues depicting King David playing the harp and two angels are shown on the top of the organ.
For more information and a virtual visit, click on the following link

July 2: CIC visits Szentendre

Szentendre is a riverside town in Pest county, Hungary, near the capital city Budapest. It is known for its museums (most notably the Open-Air Ethnographic Museum), galleries, and artists. Due to its picturesque appearance and easy rail and river access, it has become a popular destination for tourists staying in Budapest. There are many facilities including shops and restaurants catering for these visitors. Populated for well over a millennium, under the Romans it was called Ulcisia Castra, meaning "Wolf Castle". Since the 1500s it was considered the center of the Hungarian Serb community. At one point it had as many as eight Serbian Orthodox church buildings and 3 chapels, and only one each Roman-Catholic and Evangelical. It is still the see of the Buda Diocese of the Serb Orthodox Church. Szentendre and the surrounding villages were also inhabited by Bulgarians ever since the Middle Ages. In 1690, the Serbian teacher and hegumen Stevan notes that Szentendre was even called Bolgarija by some. It had a Bulgarian neighbourhood of settlers from Chiprovtsi and a Chiprovtsi church. The names of locals clearly hint at a Bulgarian population. In the 1700s, after liberation from the Turks, Szentendre enjoyed a rebirth with Mediterranean leanings, as Serbian, Croatian, Slovak, German and Greek newcomers moved in and lived alongside the Magyar inhabitants. According to the 1720 data, 88% of the population of the town were South Slavs (mostly Serbs, but also some South Slavic Catholics). The town to this day is characterised by a south European atmosphere with much baroque architecture, churches of various faiths, narrow sidestreets, and cobblestone roads.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Home away from home in Budapest: K+K Hotel Opera

The K+K Hotel Opera Budapest ist a 4 star boutique hotel right in the heart of the Hungarian capital city of Budapest. Aside from its ideal location in the city center in a quiet side street just off the Opera, this beautiful property is Austrian-owned and operated which stands for excellence in service and a wonderful breakfast. The main shopping street Vaci Utca is within easy reach too. The quite spacious guest rooms feature individually adjustable air-conditioning, sound-proof windows, satellite TV with international channels, ISDN direct-dial telephone, safe, mini-bar, coffee & tea making facilities, free high speed Internet access via LAN, electronic door lock plus fully equipped bathrooms with bathtub, hair-dryer and cosmetic mirror. The hotel offers a bistro as well as room service. And last not least, there is a wellness area offering a range of services to help your body and mind to relax, provide energy and well being! Sauna and gym can be used free of charge. Massages are available upon request and incur a fee while fitness with weight and cardio training equipment as well as the sauna and relaxation zone are free of charge. We sure hope you agree that when it comes to the Budapest Hotel, change is for the better.

Welcome to Budapest!

Budapest is the next stop on the CIC itinerary. The travelers arrived in the Hungarian city on Thursday, July 1, at around noon. Here are some interesting facts about the vibrating city:

Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it serves as the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation center and is considered an important hub in Central Europe. In 2009, Budapest had 1,712,210 inhabitants, down from a mid-1980s peak of 2.1 million. The Budapest Commuter Area (or Greater Budapest) is home to 3,271,110 people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits.
Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of right (west)-bank Buda and Óbuda with left (east)-bank Pest.
Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement, was the direct ancestor of Budapest, becoming the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Magyars arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-42. The re-established town became one of the centers of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, development of the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after the 1873 unification. It also became the second capital of Austria-Hungary, a great power that dissolved in 1918. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest of 1945, and the Revolution of 1956.
Regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world's largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building. The collections of the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts are also significant. The city attracts over 20 million visitors a year.