Sanctus Andreas

The medieval Szentendre

Hungarians conquered Szentendre and its outskirts in the 9th century. Kurszan, one of Árpád the conqueror’s chiefs, occupied it. His army and people used the Roman watchtower they found as a fortress. Their settlement was situated north of this fortress, on today’s area of Orbán Cross. According to excavations they buried the dead here already in the 10th century.

Three generations later Taksony became prince and designated Szentendre as a summer resort for his general Apor. This fact is known from a charter kept in the Vall Chapter Archives of Veszprém. According to this charter the state organizer king István donated a Visegrád county village to the episcopacy of Veszprém. The village lies beside the Danube – says the charter – on the right side of this, the mouth of Aporig (pronounce: Apor – ügy) river can be found. “Ügy” meant water in old Hungarian language. Historians unanimously claim that the water of Apor is today’s Bükkös creek and that the unnamed village is Szentendre. So the first charter mentioning Szentendre is from the time of the foundation of the State, and provides only a circumscription with a reference to Bükkös creek. Therefore the Bükkös creek is not only a natural formation for the people of Szentendre, but also the most important data of the history of the town.

Unfortunately, Szentendre has very few relics remaining from the Middle Ages. Therefore, every record and each piece of carved stone is precious for posterity.

In the 12th century Szentendre is already a charter – issuing seat. Its Latin name (Sanctus Andreas) appears in the will of Fulco, Episcopal scrivener, written in 1146. The will was confirmed by a charter of II. Géza in the same year. Szentendre – like Óbuda and Visegrád – was a resort of the wandering Court at first. They had fortified manor houses and churches, around which fairs were held on Sundays. The resort of Szentendre probably stood in the place of the present Town Hall. The name of the town was given after the patron saint (St. Andrew) of the church standing on the hill above the manor house.

The later medieval settlement developed around the former manor house and church, along the Roman roads: roughly on the territory of today’s downtown. Excavations made in the downtown have opened up the ruins of several medieval buildings; even the townwall has been found.

In the 12th century SZ was an archdeaconry residence, the Church centre of Pilis County. Its role and significance was determined by its geographical situation: it is located between Esztergom, Visegrád and Buda. The later charters from the 14,15,16th centuries mention: the custom – free treaty between Esztergom and Buda, their vine and ploughlands, the mills on the banks of the Bükkös creek, and houses of nobles.

After the conquest of Buda (1541) Szentendre fell into Turkish hands. Under the 150 years long Turkish rule the town was almost laid waste. It was liberated in 1684, but for a few more years it served as a march – place for the Christian armies besieging Buda.

The victorious battle of Szentendre (1684) led by Charles of Lorraine is commemorated by a plaque on the wall of a Károly utca building.

The temple of the Church Hill endured the Turkish rule also with great damages. In 1710 – twenty – six years after the liberation – it was rebuilt. It gained its present Baroque form in that time. Recently it was restored again in 1987 – 89 with a unique social collaboration among the people after the World War II. The Roman Catholic Parish Church is today’s most significant historical building, the heart and symbol of the town. It’s square serves as a place for summer performances, it is a natural lookout from where the picture of on 18th century town, built by the Serbs, is seen.