Despite Hungary having formed officially more than 1000 years ago, its capital didn’t always bear its current name. Budapest, as we know it today, came to life with the unification of 3 separate cities called Pest, Buda and Óbuda on 17 November in 1873.
Let’s learn a little bit about this beautiful capital with the help of Turul.info.
The first paragraph of the 1872 XXXVI. law unified the city: under the name Buda-Pest, Buda and Pest as free royal capital cities and Ó-Buda as a country town together with the Margaret island were merged to form a new legal authority.
The Greatest Hungarian, count Széchenyi István was the first to use the Budapest name, many years before.
He first wrote down the word Budapest in one of his works called Világ in 1831 but in a way as if it had been coined by an English friend of his. As if we could take a peek into an English gentleman’s letter to a Hungarian lady proposing the changing of the name of the capital, that could sound “as easy and as common as the name Bucharest, and that could bring the unification of two cities opposing each other” at that time. He also says that “the newly formed capital would be a flourishing centre to the country”. He also proposes the relocation of the Parliament to Budapest, to the heart of the country, which was at that time in Pozsony. He also adds that he coined the idea because there was jealousy between Buda and Pest, but it shouldn’t be that way because they should be one single capital and not ”two opposing hearts”.
The name Budapest became more and more accepted, and organisations with their centre in Pest-Buda started to call their location Budapest, too. Széchenyi had quite a big role in this. In 1845 the Budapest Tunnel Association was formed, responsible for the construction of the Buda tunnel, which was linked to his name.
The count had a real decision behind his words. He gave up his home in Vienna to move to Pest and took a huge part in the building of the first permanent stone bridge, the Chain Bridge, inaugurated in 1849, that brought the two cities closer together.
We had to wait years for the unification as on 15 March 1848, during a very important revolution in Hungarian history, the second point on the list of 12 demands still used the name Buda-Pest. Happenings around the revolution didn’t make the unification possible.
The issue was brought up again after the so-called 1869 Austro-Hungarian compromise establishing the Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. For the new Hungarian government, the establishment of an independent capital on a European basis became an obvious objective. For this purpose, the unification was planned carefully.
The new capital didn’t get the name Pestbuda even though almost five times more people lived in Pest than in Buda. The reason for this is Buda giving place to several ministries but mainly that the castle, built in the 18th century, lays on the bank of the Danube in Buda. The unification process lasted an entire year and was concluded with the formation of the Buda-Pest City Council and its first general assembly.
On the 100th anniversary of the unification in 1972, a beautiful statue was inaugurated on the Gellért hill. It is a four and a half metres tall bronze statue of the Prince of Buda and Princess of Pest, wearing a cape with engravings of signs referring to the first 100 years of the unification, like a crown, a crest and writings.
If you have some free time today and don t know what to do, go and visit one of the most beautiful spots of the city with a picturesque view on the 147-year-old Budapest.