A little history


On the site of today's Inner City Parish Church, in the so-called "Barbarians' land" , a strong watchtower was erected in AD. 294 by the Romans; this they called Contra-Aquincum. At the time of the Magyar Conquest, around 900, the tower was used for defense and around it was built a town which, however, was completely destroyed by the Mongol invasion of 1241.

The new town was built on the Castle Hill in Buda, and Pest remained a kind of suburb, though owing to the Diets being held in the Field of Rákos, in the outskirts of the town, and to the national fairs held in Pest, traffic and commercial life remained busy. In the late fifteenth century Pest was surrounded by walls the site of which is revealed by the remains of some buildings originally built against them: some stones of the walls and of the town gates can still be seen.

In 1541 Pest was captured by the Turks, together with Buda, and its social and economic life declined during the 150 years of occupation. After its liberation, in the early eighteenth century, it received independent city rights and its development was greatly furthered by the rebirth of commerce.

In 1785 the Hungarian University of Nagyszombat (now Trnava, Czechoslovakia) moved to Pest and thanks to this the city became in the next decade the centre of the country's intellectual life However, in 1838 the great Danube flood swept away almost all the old houses. Once reconstructed, the town began to develop by leaps and bounds, leaving Buda far behind. At the turn of the century, when the old Elizabeth Bridge was built, the new buildings along the main roads gave Pest a characteristic eclectic character.