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Buda became the royal seat around the turn of the fifteenth century

Budapest History

AD1000 István (Stephen) is crowned as king of Hungary

1222 The ‘Golden Bull’ defines the Hungarian nation, is signed by nobles at Rákos meadow

1241 Devastating Mongol invasion, the capital is moved from Esztergom to Buda

14th century - Angevin kings

1458-1490 King Matthias, prosperous times

1526 Turkish invasion of the land


Árpád, the great Hungarian chief, laid its foundation in the ninth century, but the kingdom and nation of Hungary was born when his great grandson, Stephen ascended to the throne, with a crown sent from Rome by Pope Sylvester II. At this time, the capital was in Esztergom, north of today's Budapest, in the Danube river bend.


The development of the area covered today by Budapest, did not really start until the 12th century. At that time, French, Walloon and German settlers migrated here, worked and traded along the banks of the Danube, under royal protection. After the destructive Mongol invasion of 1241-1242, King Béla ordered new castles and fortresses to be built all around the country, and gradually moved the capital from Esztergom to Buda, where he built the first Royal Palace on what from that time on become known as Castle Hill. It was also he who, in a gold-sealed letter of 1244, conferred privileges on the towns that enabled them to develop agriculture and trade. At this time, three towns existed in the territory. Old Buda (Óbuda) developed around the ancient Roman city of Aquincum, located to the north of Buda. On the Danube's left bank, which was virtually destroyed at the time of the Mongol invasion, Pest was rebuilt - the name probably of Slav origin, it first appeared in written form in 1148 - its inhabitants were mostly merchants and handicraftsmen from foreign lands.


Buda became the royal seat around the turn of the fifteenth century, under the rule of Sigismund of Luxembourg, and the Royal Palace was further expanded, until its zenith was reached under King Matthias (ruled 1458-1490). Pest also prospered at this time, and Matthias raised it to equal rank with Buda. In between the two, Margaret Island was home not only to several monasteries, but also to a castle built by the crusaders.


After the lost battle of Mohács (a town in the southern part of Hungary, by the Danube river) in the year 1526, the Turkish powers conquered a large portion of the country (the middle section from the south, northward to Buda). The first Ottoman - Turk occupation of Buda was only temporary (1526 - 1529) and in 1530 Buda was unsuccessfully besieged by the armies of the Austrian Habsburg Emperor Habsburg Ferdinánd who asserted a right to the western part of the country. In 1541, the Turks permanently occupied the city by ruse, and kept it until 1686. The Turks settled down in the still existing buildings, their major addition, in terms of new buildings, were the public baths (certain parts of Rudas, Király and Császár baths can still be seen today).
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