Does the Hungarian government plan to move the capital of the country from Budapest to Debrecen? – this was the question asked in an article. It becomes a question every once and a while, whether it is good to have Budapest as the capital of the country. Therefore, the idea is not unusual, furthermore, for hundreds of years, Hungary’s capital was not Budapest.

According to, Gergely Gulyás confirmed that during the constitution-writing process in 2010 and 2011 it was a real question whether to reconsider Budapest as the capital of Hungary. Here is a short video why most people think Budapest should remain the capital of the country:

However, for centuries, Budapest was not the capital of the country. After the Hungarian tribes conquered the Carpathian basin, their leader, Árpád chose Óbuda to be the centre of his reign. However, around 907, he died, and after that, the power centre moved to where the tribal leaders and later Christian kings lived since they were the biggest landowners of the country. In the Middle-Ages, the Esztergom-Székesfehérvár-Buda triangle can be regarded as

the power centre of the Kingdom of Hungary, the so-called “Medium Regni.”

Esztergom was the spiritual centre with the Hungarian archbishop living there, Székesfehérvár served as the seat of the monarch where kings and queens were crowned while they spent the Lent in Óbuda and Buda. Béla III (1172-1196), for example, welcomed Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I (1155-1190) in Óbuda and Csepel Island.

Béla IV (1235-1270) decided to move the capital to Buda, and even the Mongol invasion (1241-1242) could not prevent him from doing so. After the Árpád-dynasty died out, Charles I (Anjou-dynasty, 1301-1342) moved the capital to Temesvár (today Romania) and after that to Visegrád. Visegrád remained the centre during Louis I of Hungary (1342-1382), but the king of Poland and Hungary started construction projects in Buda, as well.

During the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund (1387-1437) and Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490), Buda was in its heyday and

became one of Europe’s Renaissance centres.

However, in 1526, the Kingdom of Hungary lost against the Ottoman Empire and some years later, Suleiman occupied Buda (1541). Hence, the capital of the country moved to Pozsony (Bratislava) and remained there for more than 300 years. However, this did not mean that the Habsburg kings (and emperors) lived there, so being a capital meant that, for example, the diets were held in the city.

During the reform era, leaders of the opposition demanded many times that Buda should become the capital of Hungary again but the Habsburgs did not support that. Therefore, it is not surprising that after the revolution of March 15, 1848, Buda regained its leading role and, together with Pest, they became the seat of the new Hungarian government. However, when Habsburg forces occupied them,

the capital became Debrecen

where, for example, the National Assembly accepted the Hungarian Declaration of Independence in 1849. The city grew twice as big, and most of the locals did not like that they became the seat of the new Hungarian Republic since the many new residents generated a skyrocketing rise in the prices.

After the defeat of the fight for independence, Hungary became a province of the Habsburg Empire. In 1867, they compromise the leaders of Hungary and the Habsburgs signed the Compromise which made the country equal part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The unified Budapest (1873) quickly became one of the most beautiful metropolises of Europe.

After 1918, there was no question that Budapest will be the capital of Hungary and that changed only in 1944-1945 when the new Republic of Hungary chose Debrecen to be the temporary capital of the country since Budapest was under German occupation until February 1945.

Since then, Budapest has been the capital of Hungary, and many Hungarians hope that it will not change in the future. 


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