Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Budapest from Philip's Encyclopedia

Capital of Hungary, on the River Danube. It was created in 1873 by uniting the towns of Buda (capital of Hungary since the 14th century) and Pest on the opposite bank. It became one of the two capitals of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918, it was declared capital of an independent Hungary. Budapest was the scene of a popular uprising against the Soviet Union in 1956. The old town contains a remarkable collection of buildings, including Buda Castle, the parliament building, the National Museum, and Roman remains. Industries: iron and steel, chemicals, textiles. Pop. (2005) 1,670,000.


Summary Article: Budapest
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(bō'dӘpĕst´´), city (1990 pop. 2,016,100), capital of Hungary, N central Hungary, on both banks of the Danube. The largest city of Hungary and its industrial, cultural, and transportation center, Budapest has varied manufactures, notably textiles, instruments, and electronics. Budapest has well-developed commercial, transport, and communication services as well. Educational and cultural institutions in the city include Loránd Eötvös Univ. (1635), Central European Univ., the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the National Széchenyi Library, the National Museum, the National Theater, and the State Opera House.

Budapest was formed in 1873 by the union of Buda (Ger. Ofen) and Óbuda (Ger. Alt-Ofen) on the right bank of the Danube River with Pest on the left bank. Buda, situated among a series of hills, was traditionally the center of government buildings, palaces, and villas belonging to the landed gentry. Pest, a flat area, has long been a commercial and industrial center.

History

The area around Budapest may have been settled as early as the Neolithic era. Aquincum, the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia, was near the modern Óbuda, and Pest developed around another Roman town. Both cities were destroyed by Mongols in 1241, but in the 13th cent. King Béla IV built a fortress (Buda) on a hill around there, and in the 14th cent. Emperor Sigismund built a palace for the Hungarian rulers. Buda became the capital of Hungary in 1361, reaching its height as a cultural center under Matthias Corvinus. Pest fell to the Turks in 1526, Buda in 1541.

When Charles V of Lorraine conquered them for the Hapsburgs in 1686, both Buda and Pest were in ruins. They were resettled, Buda with Germans, Pest with Serbs and Hungarians. Buda, a free royal town after 1703, had a renaissance under Maria Theresa, who built a royal palace and in 1777 transferred to Buda the university founded in 1635 by Peter Pazmany at Nagyzombat. The university was later moved (1784) to Pest. In the 19th cent. Pest flourished as an intellectual and commercial center; after the flood of 1838, it was rebuilt on modern lines. Buda became largely a residential sector.

After the union of Buda and Pest in 1873, the united city grew rapidly as one of the two capitals of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The city was by 1917 Hungary's leading commercial center and was already ringed by industrial suburbs. Also a beautiful city, Budapest became famed for its literary, theatrical, and musical life and attracted tourists with its mineral springs, its historic buildings, and its parks. Especially notable is the large municipal park and the showplace of Margaret Island (Hung. Margit Sziget), in the Danube, where St. Margaret, daughter of Béla IV, had lived in a convent.

With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (Oct., 1918), Hungary, under Count Michael Karolyi, was proclaimed an independent republic. Budapest became its capital. When Karolyi resigned (Mar., 1919) the Communists, led by Béla Kun, gained temporary control of the city and established a Soviet republic in Hungary; but his troops were defeated in July, and Budapest was occupied and looted by Romanian forces. In Nov., 1919, Budapest was seized by forces of Admiral Horthy, who in Mar., 1920, was proclaimed regent of Hungary.

Horthy allied Hungary with Germany in World War II until Oct., 1944, and that same month German troops occupied Budapest. After a 14-week siege the city fell (Feb., 1945) to Soviet troops. Almost 70% of Buda was destroyed or heavily damaged, including the royal palace and the Romanesque Coronation Church. When Hungary was proclaimed a republic (Jan., 1946), Budapest became its capital. In 1948 the Hungarian Communists, backed by Soviet troops, seized control of Hungary and proclaimed it (Aug., 1949) a people's republic. Budapest was the center of a popular uprising against the Hungarian Communist regime in Oct.–Nov., 1956 (see Hungary).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

Related Articles


Full text Article Budapest
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

47 33N 19 03E The capital of Hungary, situated in the N of the country on the River Danube. Most of Hungary's industry is sited here and...

Full text Article Budapest
Philip's Encyclopedia

Capital of Hungary, on the River Danube. It was created in 1873 by uniting the towns of Buda (capital of Hungary since the 14th century) and...

Full text Article Budapest
The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Capital of Hungary, industrial city (chemicals, textiles) on the River Danube; population (2001) 1,777,900. Buda, on the right bank of the Danube, be

See more from Credo