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See Budapest (band) for the British melancholic post-grunge band.

Budapest (pronounced BOO-dah-pesht, X-SAMPA: /budapESt/), the capital city of Hungary and the country's principal political, industrial, commercial and transportation centre, has more than 1.8 million inhabitants, down from a mid-1980s peak of 2.07m. It became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with the amalgamation in 1873 of right-bank Buda and Óbuda with Pest on the left (east) bank.



Budapest's recorded history begins with the Roman town of Aquincum , founded around 89 AD on the site of an earlier Celtic settlement near what was to become Óbuda, and from 106 until the end of the 4th century the capital of the province of lower Pannonia. Today's Pest became the site of Contra Aquincum (or Trans Aquincum).

The area was occupied around the year 900 by the Magyars, the ancestors of today's ethnic Hungarians, who a century later founded the kingdom of Hungary. Already a place of some significance, Pest recovered rapidly from its destruction by Mongol invaders in 1241, but it was Buda, the seat of a royal castle since 1247, which in 1361 became the capital of Hungary.

Széchenyi Chain-bridge
Széchenyi Chain-bridge

The Ottoman Turks' conquest of most of Hungary in the 16th century interrupted the cities' growth: Pest fell to the invaders from the south in 1526 and Buda 15 years later. While Buda remained the seat of a Turkish governor, Pest was largely derelict by the time of their recapture in 1686 by Austria's Habsburg rulers, since 1526 kings of Hungary despite their loss of most of the country.

It was Pest, from 1723 the seat of the administrative apparatus for the kingdom, which enjoyed the fastest growth rate in the 18th and 19th century and contributed the overwhelming majority of the cities' combined growth in the 19th. By 1800 larger than Buda and Óbuda combined, Pest's population grew twentyfold in the following century to 600,000, while that of Buda and Óbuda quintupled.

The fusion of the three districts under a single administration, first enacted by the Hungarian revolutionary government in 1849 but revoked on the subsequent restoration of Habsburg authority, was finally effected by the autonomous Hungarian royal government established under the Austro-Hungarian "Compromise" of 1867 (see Austria-Hungary). The total population in the area of the unified capital grew nearly sevenfold in 1840-1900 to 730,000.

View of Pest with the Parliament and the Danube
View of Pest with the Parliament and the Danube

During the 20th century most population growth occurred in the suburbs, with Újpest more than doubling in 1890-1910 and Kispest more than quintupling in 1900-1920, as much of the country's industry came to be concentrated in the city. The country's human losses during World War I and the subsequent loss of more than half of the former kingdom's territory (1920) dealt only a temporary blow, leaving Budapest as the capital of a smaller but now sovereign state. By 1930 the city proper contained a million inhabitants, with a further 400,000 in the suburbs.

Around a third of Budapest's 200,000 Jewish inhabitants died through Nazi genocide during the World War II German occupation in 1944. Damaged severely during the Soviet siege of the following winter, the city recovered in the 1950s and 1960s, becoming to some extent a showcase for the more pragmatic policies pursued by the country's communist government (1947-1989) from the 1960s. Since the 1980s the capital has shared with the country as a whole in increased emigration coupled with natural population decrease.

Demographic history

Population Graph

1800: 54,200 inhabitants
1830: 102,700
1850: 178,000
1880: 370,800
1900: 733,400
1925: 957,800
1990: 2,016,100
2003: 1,719,342

Districts of Budapest

  • Tabán , Vár - District I
  • Rózsadomb, Pasarét - District II
  • Óbuda - District III
  • Újpest - District IV
  • Belváros, Lipótváros - District V
  • Terézváros - District VI
  • Erzsébetváros - District VII
  • Józsefváros - District VIII
  • Ferencváros - District IX
  • Kőbánya - District X
  • Újbuda - District XI (Kelenvölgy , Kelenföld , Lágymányos , Albertfalva , Gellérthegy , Sashegy , Gazdagrét , Őrmező )
  • Hegyvidék - District XII
  • Újlipótváros , Angyalföld - District XIII
  • Zugló - District XIV (Alsórákos , Herminamező , Istvánmező , Kiszugló , Nagyzugló , Rákosfalva , Törökőr , Városliget )
  • Rákospalota, Pestújhely, Újpalota - District XV
  • Mátyásföld , Sashalom , Cinkota - District XVI
  • Rákosmente - District XVII (Rákoskeresztúr, Rákoscsaba, Rákosliget, Rákoshegy , Rákoskert )
  • Pestszentlőrinc - District XVIII
  • Kispest - District XIX
  • Pesterzsébet - District XX
  • Csepel - District XXI
  • Budatétény , Nagytétény , Budafok - District XXII
  • Soroksár - District XXIII



Ferihegy Airport, which has 3 different passenger terminals: Ferihegy 1, Ferihegy 2/A and Ferihegy 2/B. The airport is located to the east of the center in the XVIII. district in Pestszentlorinc .


Budapest is the most important Hungarian road terminus; all the major highways end there. It is also the major railway terminus.


The river Danube flows through Budapest on its way to the Black Sea. The river is easily navigable and so Budapest has historically been a major commercial port (at Csepel ).


The Budapest Subway system is the second oldest subway in the world (after London). The original subway line is now the M1 or Yellow line. It was fully restored to its original condition, for a historical ride. Two other lines, the M2 (red) and M3 (blue) were built later and serve other portions of the city.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has multimedia related to Budapest .

  • Budapest panoramas in 360 degree
  • Budapest pages
  • Information about Budapest (in English)
  • Worldguide by (in English)
  • Budapest portal (in Hungarian)
  • Budapest Districts
  • Budapest travel guide at Wikitravel
  • Budapest Transport Plc. public transport in Budapest (also in English)
  • Budapest metro

Counties in Hungary Flag of the European Union
Counties: Bács-Kiskun | Baranya | Békés | Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén | Csongrád | Fejér | Győr-Moson-Sopron | Hajdú-Bihar | Heves | Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok | Komárom-Esztergom | Nógrád | Pest | Somogy | Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg | Tolna | Vas | Veszprém | Zala
Capital: (usually treated as the 20th county) Budapest
Urban counties: Békéscsaba | Debrecen | Dunaújváros | Eger | Győr | Hódmezővásárhely | Kaposvár | Kecskemét | Miskolc | Nagykanizsa | Nyíregyháza | Pécs | Sopron | Szeged | Székesfehérvár | Szolnok | Szombathely | Tatabánya | Veszprém | Zalaegerszeg
See also: List of historic counties of Hungary

Last updated: 02-07-2005 00:18:27
Last updated: 03-13-2005 10:35:26