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Szombathely History, Hungary

Szombathely is the administrative seat of the county of Vas in Hungary. The city’s name came from two Hungarian words: szombat meaning “Saturday”, and hely meaning “place.” This is because the markets during the medieval period were only open every Saturday. Get to know more about this Hungarian City through Szombathely History.

Szombathely History – Roman Period

The oldest city in Hungary, Szombathely’s foundation dates back to 45 AD and named Colonia Claudia Savariensum. It was the center of the Roman Empire’s Pannonia province. During that time, the city already had a royal residence, an amphitheater, and a public bath.

Between 441 and 445 AD, the Huns attacked the city and Attila’s armies colonized the area. Following this incident, the city suffered from an earthquake, which destroyed most of the area.

Szombathely History – 6th Century to the Middle Ages

There were people who still lived in Szombathely even though the city experienced some problems. The walls of the city were rebuilt, and the stones from the destroyed Roman buildings were used to create new ones. The Romans went back to Italy while tribes like the Longobards and Goths moved to Szombathely.

The Avars, Slavic tribes, Franks and Moravians also occupied the city during the early centuries before the Hungarians came. When the Mongols invaded the country between 1241 and 1242, Szombathely was destroyed. Soon after, it was reconstructed and in 1407, the city was accorded the free royal town rank.

Szombathely History – 17th and 18th Centuries

The Ottomans attacked the city twice, once in 1664 and next in 1683. Both attacks were unsuccessful since the city walls protected it from the invaders. The city once again became peaceful.

However, in the 18th century, Prince Rakoczi went to war against the Habsburgs. During this time, Szombathely rallied behind the prince and in the course of the revolution, Habsburg occupied the city twice.

Over 2,000 people died in 1710 because of a plague that swept the city. As if this was not enough, the city was annihilated by fire on May 3, 1716. Szombathely was able to kick back these misfortunes and progress. Bishop Janos Szily ordered the construction of many buildings in the city. With this, the city prospered again.

Szombathely History – 19th and 20th Centuries

The Napoleon‘s armies invaded and occupied Szombathely in 1809. Again, in 1817, the city suffered from fire and a cholera epidemic, which killed many residents. At the latter half of the century, Szombathely became a railway connection.

A remarkable part of Szombathely History came after the Treaty of Trianon was signed. This was a time when Austria was given many of Hungary’s western regions. As a result, Szombathely was no longer the capital of Western Hungary. This did not stop the city from prospering, nor did the two World Wars cease its progress. Many schools were established in Szombathely, and the most modern hospital was constructed. After World War II, industrialization in the city persisted. A lot of factories, buildings, and leisure sites were built.

If this travel guide is not enough to learn about Hungary and its neighboring countries in Europe, more information are available through Graz History and Zagreb History.

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