Óbuda, history around us

Óbuda, which has favourable geographic conditions, has been a populated area since prehistory. The territory between the Buda mountains and the Danube has been attracting settlers for long centuries. In the first century, it became part of the Roman empire as the centre of lower Pannonia. With the foundation of its seat, Aquincum the settlement started to develop into a town, which reached its peak during the procuratorship of Hadrianus, who was elected emperor exactly 1900 years ago. The baths fed by abundant hot springs have played an important role in the life of the town by the Danube since antiquity. Only in the territory of Aquincum (the original name of the settlement means ”abundant water” ), so far, the remains of 23 buildings with a similar profile have been discovered, but smaller and larger baths providing cure and relaxation were constructed in later centuries as well. The 48-room bath on 15,000 square metres in the one-time legion camp was considered to be one of the biggest establishments north of Rome. Óbuda has played a role since the early Middle Ages as the headquarters of princes, kings and queens; while as a captiular provostry, it was home to high-ranking ecclesiastic institutions. Its importance is demonstrated by the fact that the second university in the country was founded here in 1395. During the Turkish occupation, the town was nearly empty, yet destruction also laid the foundations of a new, fruitful period. After the reconquest from the Turks, Óbuda became a manor property, and during the reign of the Zichy family the town started to develop rapidly. The settling of a primarily German-speaking and Jewish population contributed significantly to the industrial and agricultural development of the town, which resulted in Óbuda becoming a centre of textile manufacturing, viticulture and wine trading by the end of the 19th century. Uniting with Buda and Pest in 1873, it became part of the new capital city, which once and for all connected it to the economic, political and social scene. With its one-storey, simple buildings and winding streets, it had retained its rural quality for a long time, yet the source of its characteristic atmosphere were its numerous inns and pubs. In 1950, the settlements of Békásmegyer and Csillaghegy were annexed to Óbuda, and the former country town became an industrial outer district of Budapest. In the second half of the 20th century the district entered a new phase, the adobe houses were replaced by housing estates, and following the change in the political system, the image of a modern, throbbing settlement proud of its past emerged.