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.


The cultural field has changed most in this respect over the recent decades. Nowadays, readers seem to prefer binge watching, movie-sharing sites, social media consumption, browsing the Internet for news to books. Books, however, can be taken in hand and flipped through, and might give space for more reflection and might help contemplate the changes of circumstances, book culture, the future of book genres, the new aspects of critical media literacy. This is why Budapest shall become Book Capital in 2023 and we shall turn reading into experience, a community action, thus creating new spaces and interactive forms that focus on books, texts, and shared knowledge. It would be great if everyone could find places in Budapest and beyond, where they can be surrounded by exciting, provocative, and valuable books, where they can have their cultural and community experience of a lifetime. Because through books, through reading, through shared cultural experiences, we can talk about the essence of freedom of thought and knowledge, we can give space to issues related to the environment and climate change, and we can address what we have in common, what binds us readers together. I believe the world shall once again belong to avid readers.

Gergely Karácsony

Mayor of Budapest