Welcome to the Budapest Book Capital website

For nearly a century and a half, Budapest has been one of Europe's major cultural centres, home to generations of writers and poets pulled together intellectually. But the history of books and book printing in Hungary is even richer: in 2022 we celebrate the 550th anniversary of the first printing house established in Buda, where in 1473, the year following its foundation, Buda Chronicle (a popular chronicle treating the early Hungarian history) was published. Over the past half-millennium, a multitude of books have been published in our capital, and not only in Hungarian as publishers from the neighbouring countries also had their first books printed here, which created a vibrant, multicultural atmosphere that has survived over the centuries to this day. In our city, books must have a future as well as a past. In our city, books must have a future as well as a past.

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Our Messages

Books are freedom

Freedom, responsibility and solidarity – the pandemic has changed human relations and social dynamics, the flow of information and the ways of communication. For the book industry, the pandemic represented a new challenge and a new opportunity.

Books are bridges

Interpersonal, intertemporal and interspatial encounters and connections of people, ideas and cultures.

Books are action

Climate, environment and community protection. Thinking and reading raise responsibility for the environment, for the well-being of physical and mental environment. Books can raise awareness of social problems and democratic deficit, thus reading opens pathways to a more liveable world and to more empathetic societies.

Katalin Bogyay

Ambassador, President of the 36th Session of the UNESCO General Conference, 15th Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations
in New York

“Language is the cornerstone of our civilisation, the most important medium of expressing and passing on cultural heritage. Linguistic diversity is a shining example of the cultural variance that makes humanity so rich and beautiful. If we don't take urgent measures, half of the more than 6,000 languages spoken today are estimated to soon disappear, and humanity is set to lose not only cultural wealth but also ancient knowledge encoded in languages. Books are a most efficient tool of protecting language and communicating thoughts. 
Books and writing have always been a dominant force in the life of Budapest. Speaking of the fertile power of our culture in and to the world is uplifting and empowering. Either reaching to the past or looking to the future, we can share a rich heritage, and books, writing, the protection of language, and the role of writers and creative thoughts will receive particular emphasis in the post-COVID world." Katalin Bogyay

Iván Fischer

Music Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra

Let 's scroll!
We spent a few years squeezing their gadgets. It didn't work. Scrolling is getting more and more boring, and it’s becoming more and more transparent that we’re just advertising targets. That was enough, let's move on. Back to the books, the sages, the poets whose reading enchants you, flies you to another world, frees you from everyday worries, gives you answers and enriches you. Get rid of it too! The book doesn’t store, it doesn’t analyze your data, reading isn’t interrupted by advertising, Don’t charge your phone next to your bed anymore, rather put a book on your bedside table. You will sleep better." Iván Fischer

Judit Polgár

International Chess Grandmaster

"For me, books are an eternal companion. As a child, books were my friend and my teacher – and they still are, if anything, our relationship has become even closer. Probably because I also write. Books. As an adult, I now share my knowledge and experiences because I know what powers a true story, an inspirational thought or a few encouraging words hold. I have lived through it and now want to communicate the feeling of flow I felt and still feel when I play chess or when I read." Judit Polgár