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Nov 18, 2020

147 years since the formation of Budapest

The capital city of Hungary turned 147 years old on November 17, after a merger occurred in three neighboring cities in 1873.

 

November 17 marks 147 years of the formation of Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. Although Hungary formed over 1,000 years ago the capital wasn’t always called Budapest.

The unification of cities in what is now Budapest was regulated by a law in 1872 that merged the “free royal capitals” of Buda and Pest, as well as the market town of Ó-Buda and Margaret Island into one legislature under the name Buda-Pest capital.

The need to unite these cities was raised decades earlier by István Széchenyi, the “greatest Hungarian” who suggested the unification of Pest and Buda.

He is the first one to have used the term Budapest in one of his works, Világ, which means world, in 1831. He noted that the cities would unite even though they did not look at each other with the best eyes.

In 1845, The Budapest Tunnel Company, which was founded for the construction of the Buda Castle Tunnel helped organizations in Pest and Buda to accept and define themselves as Budapest.

Széchenyi played a significant role in the Buda Castle Tunnel along with the building of the first permanent stone bridge. In 1849 the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, its official name, was inaugurated and was integral in bringing the two cities together.

Prime Minister Bertalan Szemere decreed the establishment of Budapest in 1849 but it was invalidated by the opposing regime in 1850.

After the Compromise of 1867, the issue of changing the capital city name arose again. The government’s goal was clear, create an independent capital by European standards.

The name became Buda-Pest despite the fact that nearly five times as many people lived in Pest as compared to Buda. The one-year process of the unification of the cities ended on November 17, 1873 with the formation and first general meeting of the Buda-Pest City Council.

The merger created a city fit to be the dual capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the unification of Buda and Pest, the work of István Kiss and Antal Szabados was erected on Gellert Hill. The four and a half meter statues represent the Prince of Buda and the Princess of Pest. Their outfits are engraved with a crown, crest and writings, which refer to the first 100 years of the unification.