Sopron

 

Sopron, one of the richest tourist centres in historic monuments, was built on the remains of the former Roman town, Scarbantia. It lies on the Austrian-Hungarian border between Lake Fertő and the Sopron Hills with the Ikva creek passing through it. The composition of the population has been mixed since the beginnings: the proportion of Hungarians and Germans, who settled here, was almost the same. This mixed population established a wealthy town with a flourishing culture by the end of the Middle Ages, which was open towards the ideas of humanism and the Reformation. In the course of history Sopron was the scene of several important events, such as diets and coronations. In 1676 there was an outbreak of fire in the inner town, which led to large scale reconstructions: the late Renaissance and early Baroque facades identifying the townscape today, the scenic inner courtyards with their loggias were built then, and the Fire Watch Tower, the symbol of the town acquired its present form at that time.

According to the peace treaty of Trianon following World War I, the western parts of the country with their German inhabitants including Sopron and its neighbourhood were annexed to Austria. As a result of the protests of the population there was a plebiscite on 14-16 December 1921, to decide which country Sopron and its surroundings would belong to. Because the people of Sopron decided for Hungary, the town was given the name “the most faithful city” (Civitas fidelissima).

On 19th August 1989 the Pan-European Picnic was held in the vicinity of Sopron, when a symbolic border crossing was opened between Sopronkőhida and St. Margarethen in Burgenland towards Austria, signalling the end of an era.

In 1990 Sopron became a town of county rank. Its favourable geographical location, historical and natural values, curative climate, cure and recreation possibilities, richness in historic buildings and monuments, vivid cultural life, scientific, business and international connections, excellent catering and good wines have deservedly made it one of the most significant tourist centres of the country.