There are many starting point when you try to explore Budapest culture. One of them is looking at a famous composer. Although composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was an ardent Hungarian patriot, he spent most of his life in Paris, Weimar and Rome and didn’t speak Hungarian very well. However, in 1875, he was invited to help found a music academy in Budapest and was appointed as its president at the age of 64. For the following 11 winters and springs until his death, Liszt lived in a residence at the academy, which now serves as a museum devoted to the composer. A “Liszt Trail” can also be taken through the streets of Budapest and, in deference to the legendary composer, the recently opened 49-room Aria Hotel Budapest has named one of its suites after him. The hotel belongs to a small and exclusive boutique hotel chain named Henry Kallan’s Library Hotel Collection and it’s housed in a former late 19th century Neo-Classical style bank building not far from St. Stephen’s Basilica and the opera. The whole concept of the hotel centers around the theme of music. The establishment has its own music director, a music library is available for guests with iPads, and a music garden has paths set up with tiles that look like piano keys (this motif is also present in the guest rooms). The rooftop “High Note Skybar” offers cocktails and a 360 degree panoramic view of the city, with Maria Callas singing Mozart in the background.
A good starting point for exploring Budapest culture is the Varosliget area where you can visit the house Franz Liszt lived in.