One of Hungary's oldest and most historical cities, in medieval times Székesfehérvár was a coronation and burial place of the Hungarian kings. It is the cultural and economic centre of Fejér County.
Reaching back to the Hungarian Settlement, the history of the city is preserved in the town centre heritage buildings. Székesfehérvár was the encampment of the tribe of the ruling Chief Árpád and Prince Géza subsequently made the settlement his reigning seat.
Built in 1018 during the reign of King St Stephen I, the Basilica dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady housed the regalia and the country's archives. A national memorial site in the present day, the remains of the basilica tell of those times gone by. Although Buda, Esztergom and Visegrád also competed for the status of capital city from the 14th century onward, coronations and royal burials were held here until the mid 16th century. 32 Hungarian kings were crowned within the city walls.
The expanding Ottoman Empire occupied the ancient city of Alba from 1543 and shaped it to its own image, translating its name to Istolni Belgrade. During the 150 years of Turkish occupation life became oriental inside the city walls. The 500 year old cultural heritage almost completely disintegrated in the Turkish times leaving only a medieval lapidarium and some Latin chronicles to tell its history.
At the end of the 18th century the city became an episcopal seat on the orders of Queen Maria Theresa, thus converting it into one of the centres of Roman Catholicism. The Jesuit order founded a school and a pharmacy here. The present aspect of the historic town centre was achieved during those times.
Built on medieval foundations, the houses of the Baroque centre were preserved as heritage sites, but new housing estates have also been built. The city and its surroundings were the most dynamically growing regions of Hungary in the 1990's.