The History of Buda Castle after 1686

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The Citizens of Buda

Alexander Glässer: View of Buda, middle of the 18th centuryThere were almost no civilians in Buda after its liberation from Turkish occupation, apart from a few Serb families from Viziváros, who returned to their houses and vineyards after the siege. In order for the town to revive a large-scale settlement of people was required. According to the Royal Military Council "it would be best to settle Germans and Catholics in the upper town [that is the Castle], and a mixture of Hungarians and Raczs (that is Serbs) in the lower town [Víziváros].

New settlers came at once to the town and its environs from both other parts of Hungary and abroad. The wealthier chose Buda - and not Pest - as their place to live. The advantages of the old capital were that it was well protected and it became the seat of the chamber administration. The reconstruction of the castle provided jobs for craftsmen, and after a relatively short period of time the famous vineyards offered a secure living for the new settlers. Based on a study of their names it can be ascertained that the majority of the settlers were Germans from the Austrian provinces, the German empire and the western counties of Hungary. Many people came to Buda and Pest from Vienna and Lower-Austria.

Peasants working in the wine-yard - detail of Schoffer's veduta representing Pest

In the first third of the 18th century the number of residents in the castle was stagnating, (the whole population of Buda was some 13,000-16,000, and it was considered the biggest Hungarian town). In the 19th century sources mention 5,000 residents, and this number did not increase at a later date either, since it was impossible to expand within the confines of the town walls.

Johann Christian Leopold: View of Buda and Pest, middle of the 18th century

In regard to the professions of the residents the most urban part of Buda was the castle and Viziváros. In the 18th century the most numerous group was that of the craftsmen, although their number decreased significantly during the century. The ratio of the people working in the catering industry was also relatively high, but in the course of the century the tradesmen left the part of the town where business was poor. From the 1780s, however, after the government authorities had moved to Buda, the number of aristocrats, officials and intellectuals increased considerably.

The population of Buda was composed of citizens, individuals under urban protection (so- called protected citizens) and residents without rights. Admission to citizenship had to be requested from the city council. If the council decided that the applicant enjoyed the required level of wealth and income - that is he owned an estate or he was a craftsman in a guild - the applicant could then take the citizens' oath after paying the so-called citizen fee. Since only Catholics were accepted as citizens, the numerous orthodox Serbs living in the suburbs could only become protected citizens, even if they were wealthy. The majority of the population consisted of residents with no civil rights.

Binder: Pest and Buda in the chart of guild of the brewers in Pest, second half of the 18th century

During the 19th century the ethnic composition of the town changed significantly - owing to the fast expansion of Buda and Pest. At the beginning of the century two thirds of the residents of Pest were probably German, and in Buda this ratio was even higher. According to the first official ethnic statistics in 1851 69 % of the residents of Buda considered themselves as being German. In the castle with their 42 % ratio they became a minority, the main reason for this being the settlement of Hungarian officials working in the local government offices.