The River Danube flows right through the heart of Budapest and thus creates a point of reference for visitors who are either on the old cobbled streets on the Buda side, or in the 19th century boulevards on the Pest side. Your interests will decide on which side of the Danube you will spend most of your time. Anyone interested in history will find it difficult to tear oneself away from Buda, where the Palace summit creates an atmosphere of medieval Budapest. Shopaholics will very soon be enticed by the other side of the river where the shops and nightlife compete for everyone’s attention. Budapest is really the fusion of three towns, Buda, Óbuda and Pest. Back in 106 AD, the Romans founded the city of Aquincum in the north-east corner of the Danube. Several changes of population later, at the end of the 9th century, the Magyars arrived. They were descended from a Finnish-Ugrian tribe with roots in Siberia. The Magyar city, with its palace and ring-wall, came to be called Buda, and Aquincum was later called Óbuda. The other side of the river was also settled, in the area which would later be called Pest. Having been invaded by the Turks - and later by the Austrian army - in 1867 Hungary was elevated to an equal partner in the Austro-Hungarian double monarchy. Budapest became one of the most important ports on the Danube and soon also an industrial centre.