Mariann Schiller
Contact hours
2 hours/week
2 credits

Short Description of the Course:
This course concerns the past and present of Budapest, as well as the rough history of art in Hungary.
We shall acquaint ourselves with the history of Budapest since Roman times to the present. We will discuss the changes of the city; the places where people of different origin and social status spent their time. Among others the impact of the massive influx of Jews and their major role in the cultural and economic development of modern Budapest will be presented.  

Aim of the Course:
This course aims to provide insight into the rich heritage of Budapest for students interested in a place where they study.
The main objectives of the course are twofold. First, the course provides students with an overview of the long history of Budapest: the improving city and its people. On the other hand the course helps students feel familiar in the city, grounded in the discourse in the classroom and study tours of the inner city. Origin and structure of Hungarian language is included as well as bits of rich Hungarian literature and literary places in the city.


Detailed Description of the Content:

  1. From ruins of the Romans (Aquincum) to ’ruin pubs’ of today
  2. Brief history of the city and the country from phenomena of contemporary Budapest
  3. The use of past (anthem, way of thinking, national holidays, etc.)
  4. Along the first underground line (under and above the ground)
  5. Jewish Budapest (reminiscences from pre-war time and revival); art nouveau
  6. Literature, arts and Budapest
  7. The Budapest humor; coffee houses – local features
  8. Housing, private homes in socialist era and nowadays
  9. Museums, theatres, cinemas of today and yesterday
  10. Music in Budapest (sights, genres, concert halls – music pubs)
  11. Newspapers, periodicals, homepages of past and present
  12. Living in Budapest in 2014, plans and visions of future
  13. Study tour
  14. Presentations, evaluation 

Way of instruction:
Lectures, discussions, sightseeing tours, visits of museums.

Grading will be based on participation and contributions of class discussions (40%), a mid-term test (20%), and a short presentation at the end of the term (40%).

Textbooks, readings:
Buzinkay, Geza: An Illustrated History of Budapest
Török, András: Budapest: A Critical Guide
Örkény, István: One Minute Stories. (Translated by Judith Sollosy.)
current online resources

Instructors' bio:

Mariann Schiller is a secondary school teacher and teacher trainer in one of the most prestigious grammar schools in Budapest run by L. Eötvös University. Apart from teaching youngsters she is active in mentoring and educating teachers in a teachers’ association and occasionally at university. She is also the editor of several teaching materials. She has been active in developing new ways of teaching Hungarian. For years she was responsible for the national board of the European Youth Parliament. She is a true Budapest dweller: born, brought up, and has been living in downtown in historic buildings.

Students' Review About This Course

"I loved the videos we watched, and learning about the history of Hungary. I loved the tour of the jewish quarter! The museum visit was also very informative and enjoyable! Another one of my favourite classes. I was able to tell my friends some history of wherever we went when they came to visit :) The professor is hilarious !"

"I enjoyed this course a lot and wouldn't change a thing. Prof. Schiller is extremely competent and passionate about the material, even while accepting that students at a tech program like AIT may not have the same passion."

Budapest Studies ended up being one of my favorite classes; it confirmed just how rich Europe’s history is. Professor Schiller’s passion inspired me to truly engage and connect with the incredible capital city we were living in. Learning about the history of the buildings I walked past everyday definitely elevated my study abroad experience. We even got to hear from a former mayor of Budapest! I can’t recommend Budapest Studies enough.

Isabel Hosafros

Isabel Hosafros

United States Naval Academy