History of Budapest

The capital`s area has been inhabited for about thousand years.


The area had its first Celtic settlements since the 3rd century B.C. In the first decades B.C., Transdanubia was conquered by the Romans who incorporated the area into their Roman empire under the name of Pannonia. Aquincum, currently Óbuda district, was developed as Pannonia`s capital. After the Roman withdrawal, it was controlled by Huns and later by Eastern Goths, Longobards and Avars; and from the 8th century it was inhabited by Slavs, which were vassals of the Franks.


Hungarians began to appear in the late 9th century by establishing their first settlements in Aquincum and in the island of Csepel. After the Mongol invasion in 1241-42, the Buda Castle was fortified and Aquincum was given the name of Óbuda, (meaning old Buda), in contrast to the reconstructed Buda (meaning new) and Pest emerging on the left side of the bank.


In the 13th century Buda took over the role of Székesfehérvár, as the regal seat, and becoming the country`s leading town. During this period, the castle was enlarged and reshaped and churches were established (Mathias Church and Maria Magdalena Church). Also, under the regiment of King Matthias, the Buda Castle had its golden age and Pest was equaled to Buda after receiving privileges from the king, but Óbuda, which was in possession of the queen, remained less developed.



During the 15th century, the town was enclosed with new ramparts with the rapid increase in population in the outskirts of Pest and in the Castle area. Then, after the defeat at Mohács in 1526 and especially after Buda was captured by the Turks in 1541, the town deteriorated for over 100 years in which hardly anything remained from those times expect for some baths, chapels and bastions, until the year of  1686, when it was finally recaptured.



In the 18th century, large-scale reconstruction works started in Buda and in Pest and soon, the historical inner town was surrounded by fast growing outer districts.


Baroque churches, palaces and dwelling houses existing even in the present, are the legacy of this period. In the late 18th and early 19th century the style of classism gained popularity and dominated Pest-Buda`s architectural character for the century to come. It was until then that Pest-Buda resumed as being the centre of the country`s economic, political and spiritual life.


Then, in 1838, floods caused considerable damage and in 1867, a political stability was created with the Settlement with the Austrian Habsburgs which gave new impetus to the economy and private ownership gained ground. Also, a large scale industrialization began and the shortage of workforce on one hand, and the overpopulated rural areas on the other, resulted in a rush increase in the number of townspeople.



In 1873, the formerly separate but interdependent towns of Buda, Pest and Óbuda were integrated into one administrative unit under the name of Budapest, in which due to the concentration of capital, workforce and Budapest`s pivotal position in the country`s railway system, a prosperity never seen before was brought.  During this period, the big industry was enjoying a boom and most public buildings appeared, but due to the sometimes excessive development of Budapest, provincial towns were left in background.



In 1870, by following the modern concept of town planning, new main roads were designed and a triple ring of boulevards with a system of avenues were formed.


Afterwards, during the Second World War and during the heavy artillery fire in the 1956 Revolution, many buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged but, most of them were reconstructed in the subsequent years.



In 1950, the suburbs were incorporated into the capital to form Great- Budapest.



Later, in the 60`s new construction techniques and technologies gave a fresh impetus to the modernization of Budapest, in which large housing estates were built and metro lines were established.



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