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(bo͞o`dəpĕst'), 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), a campus of 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.


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 HungaryHungary,
Hung. Magyarország, republic (2015 est. pop. 9,784,000), 35,919 sq mi (93,030 sq km), central Europe. Hungary borders on Slovakia in the north, on Ukraine in the northeast, on Romania in the east, on Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia in the south, and on
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the capital and political, economic, and cultural center of the Hungarian People’s Republic. It occupies a key central geographical position in the country, lying on both banks of the Danube at the point where the river emerges from the mountains onto the Central Danubian Depression. The climate is temperate continental. The average January temperature ranges between 0° and −3°C, with the absolute minimum as low as −30°C; the July temperature is 21° to 22°C, with the absolute maximum about 37°C. Budapest is the largest city of the European socialist countries outside of the USSR. Area, 525 sq km; population, about 2 million (1970; about 200,000 in 1850, 861,000 in 1900, 1,712,000 in 1961).

Administration. Budapest is the administrative center of the megye (district) of Pest; it constitutes an independent administrative unit. The city is under republic jurisdiction. The governmental body is the city council, elected by the deputies of the district councils for a period of four years. The council’s executive body is the executive committee, which is elected by the city council. Budapest is divided into urban districts, in which district councils elected by the population for a period of four years are the governmental bodies. Each district council elects an executive committee.

History. Budapest consists of three historically formed sections—Pest, Buda, and Óbuda—which were merged into a single city in January 1872. There was a Celtic settlement on the site of Buda and Óbuda (which, like Pest, were first mentioned in 1148) in antiquity; later, the Roman settlement of Aquincum stood there (during the first to fourth centuries). About the time of the appearance of the Hungarians (c. 895), there were Slavic settlements (until the tenth century) on the territory of Pest. Pest was a sizable commercial center from the 11th through 13th centuries. In 1241, Buda, Óbuda, and Pest were ravaged by the Mongol Tatar conquerors. In 1242, Buda became the capital and in 1350 the permanent residence of the Hungarian kings. Buda, Óbuda, and Pest were under the domination of the Turks from 1541 to 1686, and from the beginning of the 18th century they were under Hapsburg rule. The population of Buda and Pest played an important role in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49.

After the formation of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1867 on the basis of an agreement between the Hapsburg dynasty and the magnates of Hungary, Budapest became the capital of Hungary. Budapest was the center of the revolutionary workers’ movement beginning in the late 19th century. It was the capital of the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919. In March 1944 it was occupied by fascist German troops. The Soviet Army liberated the city on Feb. 13, 1945. Budapest was ravaged extensively during World War II and, to some extent, during the counterrevolutionary rebellion of 1956. By 1960 it had been completely restored. In 1949, Csepel, Újpest, Kispest, Budafok, and other suburbs were included in Budapest.

Economy. Budapest is one of the largest European transportation junctions by virtue of its aggregate of rail (ten radial lines), automobile (eight highways), water, and air (Ferihegy airport) communications. It is the most important base for the country’s socialist industrialization. Approximately 600,000 workers and 1,700 enterprises are concentrated there. From 1950 to 1965 the absolute number of industrial workers increased, although the capital’s extremely large share in the country’s industry was constantly decreasing (55 percent of all workers in 1950, 45 percent in 1960, 41 percent in 1965, and about 40 percent in 1969). Along with the highly skilled, primarily new branches of industry that predominate in Budapest (electrical engineering, instrument making, fine and intermediate machine-building, fine chemistry, ready-made clothing, and printing), the so-called old branches (the food industry, ferrous metallurgy, fundamental chemistry, and the textile industry) are also well developed. Budapest has a particularly large share of machine building (almost 60 percent of all the country’s workers in this branch, over 80 percent of the workers in instrument making, and over 70 percent of the workers in electrical engineering and electronics) and the textile and chemical industries (about 60 percent of the total number of workers in these branches). The city’s metal industry, which provides about one-half of its total industrial output, is dominated by transportation machine building (the Ganz-Mavag combine, which produces diesel trains, ships, Ikarus buses, trucks, and motorcycles) and electrical engineering, both low-current (particularly telephone and telegraph equipment, tubes, and electrovacuum devices produced in the Egyesült-Izzo plant) and high-current (transformers, generators, motors, and so on). Fast growth in instrument making is typical; the machine-tool industry has expanded greatly. About 17 percent of the industrial workers of Budapest are employed in the textile (primarily cotton) and garment industries. The composition of the food industry is extremely diverse (milling, meat canning, and fruit canning); it employs 7 percent of the total number of workers. Pharmaceuticals, rubber articles, acids, mineral fertilizers, and so on are produced. Construction of lines of the east-west subway has been completed (1970).


Architecture and city planning. The Danube divides Budapest into two parts. The part of the capital situated on the right bank of the Danube is the hilly Buda section. The highest point in the city, János Hill (529 m), as well as Castle Hill and Gellért Hill, are located there. The Liberation Monument that crowns Gellért Hill (height 36 m; 1947, sculptor Z. Kisfaludi Stróbl) dominates the capital’s skyline.

The left-bank part of Budapest is the flat Pest section. Within the city limits, the waters of the Danube flow around several islands: in the north, Szentendre Island; farther south, a group of small islands including Margaret Island (with a park, hotel, and swimming pool), a favorite recreation spot for city dwellers; and, in the extreme south, Csepel Island.

The banks of the Danube are linked by eight bridges (including the Chain Bridge, 1839-49, engineers W. T. and A. Clark, sculptor J. Marsalko; and the Erzsébet Bridge, 1897-1903, destroyed during 1944-45, restored 1955-65, architect P. Savoly). Buda, with its narrow streets, retains the features of a medieval city; the layout of the later Pest section is based on three semicircles of streets that are intersected by radial main thoroughfares. The architectural monuments of Buda include remains of the Roman settlement of Aquincum (first to fourth centuries, now a museum), the walls and towers of a fortress built during the 13th to 17th centuries, Gothic residences (14th century) and the Church of the Virgin (Matthias; 13th to 15th centuries), the royal palace (13th to 18th centuries; destroyed during World War II, restored in 1967), the Church of St. Anna (1740-62, architects K. Hamon and M. Nepauer, baroque), and the mausoleum of Gül Baba and several Turkish baths (16th century). The monuments of Pest include the National Museum (1837-47, architect M. Pollack, in the classic style), the Opera Theater (1875-84, architect M. Ybl), and the Parliament (1884-1904, architect I. Steindl, neo-Gothic). There are numerous memorials, including the Hungarian Millennium (1894-1929, sculptor G. Zala). Gallery-type residential buildings are characteristic of the mass construction of Budapest of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since 1945 there has been reconstruction work in the city, as well as construction of residential and public buildings (the People’s Stadium, 1948-53, architect K. David; Hotel Budapest, 1968, architect D. Szrog; Hotel Intercontinental, 1970, architect J. Finta, and others).

Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. Budapest is the site of Loránd Eötvös University, polytechnical, medical, economics, and other institutes; the Franz Liszt National Hungarian Musical Academy; the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (founded 1825); the House of Technology; and a number of scientific research institutes. Libraries include the F. Széchenyi State Library (founded 1802), the E. Szabo Municipal Library (1904), the university library (1635), and the academic library (1826); among the city’s museums are the National Museum (founded 1802), the National Gallery (1957), the National Museum of Natural History (1802), and the Museum of Fine Arts (1896). Theaters include the Hungarian Opera Theater, the Hungarian National Theater (dramatic), and the Operetta Theater.


Tsapenko, M. P. Budapesht. Moscow, 1958.
Gellért, D. Budapesht. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from Hungarian.)
Vengriia 67. Budapest, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of Hungary, on the River Danube: formed in 1873 from the towns of Buda and Pest. Traditionally Buda, the old Magyar capital, was the administrative and Pest the trade centre: suffered severely in the Russian siege of 1945 and in the unsuccessful revolt against the Communist regime (1956). Pop.: 1 719 342 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005