funiQ logo

Szentendre

The city is located in the picturesque Danube Bend, 25 km north of the capital. The region is one of the country’s richest in artistic and historical monuments. Its unique, Mediterranean-like atmosphere have inspires many Hungarian painters and writers.

church steeples seen from the Bükkös Stream
Church steeples seen from the Bükkös Stream Photo: funiQ

The present day Szentendre was built by Serbian settlers after the Ottoman army destroyed the old city. The Baroque city and its narrow streets still preserve the city structure from the Middle Ages.

panorama
Panorama Photo: funiQ
  • Bridge Above the Bükkös Stream
    Bridge Above the Bükkös Stream Photo: funiQ
  • the Danube at Szentendre
    The Danube at Szentendre Photo: funiQ
  • Main Square with Plague Cross and Blagovestenska Church
    Main Square with Plague Cross and Blagovestenska Church Photo: funiQ
  • Blagovestenska Church Viewed from an Alley
    Blagovestenska Church Viewed from an Alley Photo: funiQ
  • Dumtsa Jenő Street
    Dumtsa Jenő Street Photo: funiQ
  • Dumtsa Jenő Street
    Dumtsa Jenő Street Photo: funiQ
  • Dunakorzó
    Dunakorzó Photo: funiQ
  • Welcome Statue
    Welcome Statue Photo: funiQ
  • Dunakorzó
    Dunakorzó Photo: funiQ
  • Dunakorzó
    Dunakorzó Photo: funiQ

Recommended tours

Attractions

Open-Air Ethnographic Museum (Skanzen)The first open air ethnographic museums, also called skansens were opened in Swedden around the turn-of-the-century. The Szentendre Skansen exhibits the original buildings and items of 9 Hungarian regions. Between the exhibited folk villages, visitors can also travel with the Skansen Train.

Szentendre Artistst's ColonyIn 1926, 8 painters moved to a house at the edge of Szentendre to be inspired by the city and create art here. Their example was followed by many generations of artists. In 2008, a new gallery was built here allowing the visitors to experience the inspiring atmosphere.

Szentendre Artist's Colony

Belgrade ChurchIn the 18th century, members of the Serbian Orthodox Church could practice their religion freely in the city which only Catholics could do at the time. Their church was built between 1758 and 1764. With 48 meters it has the tallest tower in Szentendre. Inside there is a Rococo style iconostasis.

entrance of the Belgrade Church

Blagovestenska ChurchThe Baroque-Rococo building was constructed in 1752 and since it has became a symbol of the city. The interior is decorated by Rococo columns and a red marble altar. The richly gilded iconostasis (wall of icons) was made by Mihály Zsivkovics in the 1790's.

Plague Cross and the Blagovestenska Church

Pozarevacka ChurchThe Baroque, orthodox church, with a tower of 23 meters, stands at the Southern entrance of Inner Szentendre, on the shore of the Bükkös Stream. Its simple iconostasis is the oldest one in the city, according to legend it was brought here by the settling Serbs in the 17th century.

Pozarevacka Church

Preobrazenska ChurchThe Serbian Orthodox church was built between 1741 and 1746, its steeple is a later addition from 1852. The interior is decorated by Rococo pilasters and a richly ornamented, gilded, green iconostasis.

St. John the Baptist ChurchThe so called Castle Church, built between 1241 and 1283, is the oldest building of Szentendre. It was later rebuilt in Gothic style, then yet again, this time in a Baroque style. The walls are supported by buttresses, and one of them has a sun clock on it from the 1300's, a unique piece of history.

St. John the Baptist Church

Saints Peter and Paul ChurchThe church was originally built for the Serbian Orthodox community in 1791. Covering 528 m2 and with a 32 meters tall tower, it is the largest church in Szentendre. It has been used by the Catholics sincs the 1940's who have decorated the interior according to their own traditions.

interior of the Saints Peter and Paul Church

Saint Andrew's ChurchLocated in Izbég, an area of Szentendre, the Baroque church was originally built for the Serbian Orthodox congregation but it has been used by the Catholics sincs 1948. Its pews were brought from the destroyed Regnum Marianum Church in Budapest.

Reformed ChurchAs other churches in Szentendre, it was originally built by the Serbian Orthodox community in 1746. After their disbanding in 1900, the building was acquired by the Calvinists who completely refurbished it.

Ámos Imre – Anna Margit Memorial MuseumThe museum, located in a Baroque building, showcases the works of two important Hungarian artists of the 20the century.

Barcsay CollectionThe collection showcases the art of Jenő Barcsay, one of the leading figures in Hungarian Constructivism. The artworks were handpicked by the artist himself to best represent his art.

Barcsay Collection

Museum of Folk ArtThe oldest rustic building of the city is also called the bell ringer's house. It was built in 1779 as a school, today it houses a doll exhibition.

Urban Public Transport MuseumWalking through the exhibition, we can learn about the transportation history and infrastructure of Hungarian cities, see and even board 60 renovated vehicles.

History

The city was already an important settlement of the region in the Ancient Roman times, as the Eastern end of the limes, the border defense line of the Roman Empire ran along here. In Szentendre, the Romans built the Ulcisia Castra, a fortress called the Wolf Castle. The fortress was even visited by the emperors, and later a settlement was established around it. The city was not only important as a defense point but richer citizens built villas and farms in the beautiful environment. The presence of the Romans meant the first golden age of Szentendre and their streets and buildings defined even the present day structure of the city. They were living here until the 5th century AD when they had to give up their outposts due to the threat of invaders coming from the East. Today, archaeologists  excavated many graves from this era and even the walls of a villa in the area of the Skanzen.

Soon after their arrival, the conquering Hungarians settled down in the area, and the remains of the Roman outposts were taken by Kurszán and his people. Historic sources first mention the settlement in 1009, when King Stephen I gave the land to the bishopry of Veszprém. At the time, Szentendre was equal to the present day inner city, it already had its own church and a royal courthouse. The names of the city originates from its patron saint, Saint Andrew whose name was used as Endre.

 In the XIII. century Szentendre was an ecclesiastical center. It was an also an important settlement as it lay between the royal cities of Buda and Visegrád.

After the Siege of Buda, the Ottomans almost completely destroyed the city. The medieval Szentendre disappeared nearly without a trace, its only remaining building is the Castle Church which has become a symbol of the city.

old postcards from Szentendre

In the 15th century, escaping from the Ottoman armies, Bulgarians, Dalmatians, Serbians settled in Hungary, some of them in Szentendre. In 1690, another wave of refugees arrived to the ruins of Szentendre. The Serbs build wooden churches and settled around these buildings in groups. In the 17th century the present day churches were build on the spots of the older one. This was the time when the current structure of Szentendre started to develop. As the local Serbian Orthodox community received many privileges from the emperor - amongst them they could practice their religion freely -, and this lead to Szentendre becoming a flourishing town in the 18th century. The economical upsurge happened due to the local wine making, industries and trade.

Szentendre was halted on its way to growth by natural disasters. Floods caused destruction in the city and the vineyards, important to the economy, were ruined by a Phylloxera plague. At the same time the industries couldn't keep up with the rapid developments in Budapest. It was mayor Jenő Dumtsa who stopped the decline by creating new farmlands and planting fruit trees in place of the vineyards. Also, the launch of the train and steamboat lines boosted Szentendre's development. After the revolution of 1848, the population also changed as many Serbs returned to Serbia, and at the same time Slovaks and Germans settled in the Szentendre. By the end of the century, the city had its own press.

old postcards from Szentendre

After World War I, the school system of Szentendre developed, and many congregations had their own schools. In 1926 the artist colony was founded which furthered the cultural fame of the city. After World War II, artists such as Béla Hamvas, László Német lived and created art here, and also Lajos Kassák and István Vas visited the city.

In the 1960's, Szentendre became the county's cultural center officially, and the building of the Skanzen began. Many galleries and museums were opened, historical houses were renovated. This lead to an upsurge in the tourism of Szentendre.