District Eight aka Josaphenstadt

After its founding, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, first industrious farmers and pastoralists, particularly German and Slovak settlers had markets in this area, and public places had matching names like “Baromorvos utca” (animal doctor street), “Lóvásár tér” (horse fair square) etc… Then, after a reconciliation with Austria (1867) the economy boosted: the Jew and the musician Gypsy appeared, and everything changed all of a sudden: the vast spaces, the then luxurious avenue (Népszínház utca), the quickly built and populated crooked small streets (again, the speaking names : Nagyfuvaros (big wagoner) street, Bérkocsis and others) got filled with hard-working and happily entertained people. Shops, nightclubs, taverns and workshops have opened, laughter, music could be heard almost every window, and got well along rich and poor, citizen and worker, Gypsy and “gajo”, Jewish and Christian …

This lasted until the end of 1930-s. The war and the years, decades of socialism, a lot has changed: genocides, negligent treatment, premature exchange of inhabitants, staggering poverty and a decaying city it has become – until now. Now, however, something happens: traditions are revived, cafés are opening, new inhabitants (including many Turks, black Africans and Arabs as well) open stores, on the inner-part a bohemian area and student town, further out, outside the Körút (ring road) a new residential area is emerging creating a livable, diverse world. Interactive guided tours make it recognizable to tourists, residents are real local patriots: they create foundations and associations, organise community centers, and festivals. The religious life is alive and well, all religions and denominations have their shares.

We hope that smells and images from the past will also survive the unstoppable progress, and the district will honour an old-new place like the Teleki Square Shtiebl.

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