Pesterzsébet: Uncover Budapest’s Serene 20th District with a Rich Cultural Tapestry
Pesterzsébet, situated in the southeastern part of Budapest, is the 20th district known for its peaceful atmosphere and vibrant local culture. Often bypassed by mainstream tourism, this district offers a tranquil respite featuring cultural landmarks, parks, and local markets.
Pesterzsébet is a hidden gem in Budapest, with a rich local history and cultural attractions. Whether you are a nature enthusiast or a culture vulture, this quaint district promises a different yet unforgettable Budapest experience.
Nestled in the southern part of Budapest, Pesterzsébet is a district that offers a unique blend of suburban tranquility and urban convenience. It shares its borders with several other districts, making it a strategic location for exploring different parts of the city. To the northwest, it is flanked by the IX. the district along Határ út during the XIX. district lies to the north-east, separated by the M5 motorway (Nagykőrösi út). Soroksár, the XXIII. district defines its southern boundary, and to the west, it is bordered by the Ráckevei (or Soroksári), the Danube, beyond which lies Csepel, the XXI. district. The Gubacsi Bridge is a vital link, connecting Pesterzsébet to Csepel Island.
Tranquil Yet Connected:
One of the district’s most appealing features is its relatively quiet traffic, making it an oasis of calm within the bustling capital. Most high-traffic roads skirt the district’s periphery, such as Soroksári út to the west and the M5 motorway access road to the east, ensuring that the heart of Pesterzsébet remains peaceful. The district offers excellent public transport options for those looking to venture further. The H6 HÉV and the Budapest-Kunszentmiklós-Tass-Kelebia railway lines provide quick and convenient rail access from the south, featuring stops near the city center.
Pesterzsébet is characterized by its flat terrain, bordered by the Danube River. This makes it a good spot for biking, walking, and experiencing the peaceful side of Budapest.
Key landmarks to visit include:
- Pesterzsébet Bath: Renowned for its thermal water and medicinal properties.
- St. Francis of Assisi Church: A striking example of Romanesque Revival architecture.
A Unique Spa Experience
Located adjacent to the Csepel gateway, Pesterzsébet boasts a salt and iodine hot-water spa and beach bath that is unparalleled in Hungary. With one well drawing thermal water at 43°C from a depth of 644 meters and another well offering salt-iodine water at 15°C from 112 meters deep, the spa promises a unique wellness experience. After being closed for economic reasons, the spa underwent a comprehensive renovation and reopened its doors partially in December 2018 and fully in July 2019.
A Haven for Water Sports
Just south of the spa, along the waterfront, you’ll find a row of boathouses that serve as the epicenter of local water sports. Home to several sports clubs, this area is a hub of activity and a must-visit for water sports enthusiasts.
A Journey Through History
The neo-Gothic and eclectic Pesterzsébet Museum is a treasure trove of local history. Housed in the beautifully restored Bocsák Villa, the museum pays homage to Queen Elisabeth, the district’s patron saint, with a memorial stone and a statue of St. Elisabeth.
A Celebration of Local Art
The Imre Gaál Gallery showcases the works of artists from the district and hosts temporary exhibitions, offering a glimpse into the vibrant local art scene. The Rátkai Gallery features a permanent exhibition of works by Rátkay and Imre Gaál, adding another layer of cultural richness to the district.
Why Pesterzsébet Should Be On Your Itinerary
Whether you’re a wellness aficionado looking for a unique spa experience, a sports enthusiast eager to dive into water activities, or a culture vulture interested in local history and art, Pesterzsébet has something for everyone. The district offers a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural enrichment. So why wait? Plan your visit to Pesterzsébet and immerse yourself in this multifaceted gem that promises an unforgettable experience.
The Birth of a Community
In the 1860s, two settlements sprang up in the Gubacs wasteland of Soroksár through parcelisation. Named Erzsébetfalva in honor of Queen Elisabeth and Kossuthfalva after Lajos Kossuth, these settlements gained independence from Soroksár in 1897, merging to form a large village called Erzsébetfalva.
A Rapidly Growing Settlement
The population of this young community skyrocketed, reaching milestones of 15,000 in 1900, 30,000 in 1910, and an impressive 76,000 by 1941. This rapid growth led to Erzsébetfalva being granted town status in 1923. A year later, it was renamed Pesterzsébet, aligning its name with its newfound status.
The Spirit of the Times
In 1932, another name change occurred. The town was renamed Pestszenterzsébet to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the death of St. Elisabeth of the House of Árpád, reflecting the era’s zeitgeist.
The Scars of War
The Second World War left an indelible mark on the town, with four major bombing raids in April and May 1944 causing extensive damage to its infrastructure.
Becoming Part of Budapest
On January 1, 1950, Pestszenterzsébet was incorporated into Budapest, forming the XXth district along with Soroksár. The name Pesterzsébet continued to be used for the district and the neighborhood and is still used today by the district municipality.
The Gubacsi Bridge, a vital link to the 21st district, was opened in 1924. The Gubacsi housing estate, built between 1953 and 1957, is a testament to the social-real style of architecture.
The Helsinki Road built between 1976 and 1980, and the Nagykőrösi út access section of the M5 motorway, completed in 1984, are significant infrastructural developments that have shaped the district.
Housing and Urban Development
Between 1962 and 1987, a housing estate consisting of prefabricated houses was built in the district center. This led to the transformation of Topánka Street and the creation of a pedestrian street on Kossuth Lajos Street, affectionately known as”Kosuti” by locals.” Between 1962 and 1987, a housing estate consisting of prefabricated houses was built in the district center. This led to the transformation of Topánka Street and the creation of a pedestrian street on Kossuth Lajos Street, affectionately known as “Kosuti” by locals.
A New Millennium
After a 1992 referendum, the XXIIIrd district of Budapest was created in 1994, making the XXth district identical to the formerly independent Erzsébetfalva. In 1999, the district’s name reverted to Pesterzsébet, honoring its original namesake, Queen Elizabeth. The early 2000s saw the construction of the Mediterranean residential complex, adding a modern touch to the district.
A District Reimagined
In 2012, the Budapest General Assembly significantly altered the district’s divisions but kept the name Pesterzsébet. This change reflects the district’s rich history and its continuous evolution.
The district boasts several educational institutions, from kindergartens to high schools, making it family-friendly.
Pesterzsébet offers a couple of niche museums:
- Pesterzsébet Local History Museum: Delve into the district’s history with old photos, documents, and artifacts.
The district has a twin-town relationship with Újbuda, another district in Budapest, as well as international cities like
- Frankfurt-Nord-Ost, Germany
- Italy Olgiate Comasco, Italy
- Romania Belin, Romania
- Romania Cristuru Secuiesc, Romania
- Ukraine Alushta, Ukraine
- Poland Nowa Słupia, Poland
Google Maps of Pesterzsébet (District 20)
Pesterzsébet offers a unique blend of serenity and cultural richness, making it an off-the-beaten-path destination worthy of exploration. From taking a dip in the Pesterzsébet Bath to marveling at the architecture of St. Francis of Assisi Church, a variety of experiences await you in this charming district.