Photos: Fortepan

History in the making in Hungary and all around

90 years of photos to browse

One good way of spending some hours during the coronavirus pandemic is to see the Fortepan website, a copyright-free and community-based photograph archive currently holding 139,633 pictures in total, available for anyone to browse and download in high-resolution format with no charge.

The photographs begin in 1900 and show history unfolding through to 1990. They mainly document Hungary, beginning with as it was in pre-Trianon times, with plenty of excursions to surrounding places such as Venice, Monaco, Milan, Regensburg, London, Rome, Berlin and Poznan, to name only a few. Here are seen landmarks, landscapes, lovers, weddings, sport, agriculture, architecture, aircraft and other forms of transport, holidaymakers, peasants, war and much more.

This absorbing website came into being in 2010 thanks to founders Ákos Szepessy and Miklós Tamási. At first the idea was to show photographs taken randomly in the streets of Budapest. Since then the archive has grown thanks to donations that have been made by families and by both amateur and professional photographers, plus contributions from public collections.

The ever-growing number of images on the website are selected by editors, and the descriptions attached to them are compiled and edited by volunteers, utilising information contributed at the Fortepan Forum. If you think you have worthwhile photographs and negatives to include, contact the team at email

Stary Smokovec in 1925

Fortepan’s collaborators are Ildikó Bozóky, Richárd Gazdik, Károly Négyesi, Pál Négyesi, Tamás Németh, Zsolt Pálinkás, Gábor Péter, Dávid Sándor, Gyula Simon, Miklós Tamási, András Török, János Varga, János F. Varga and László Gál.

Their efforts are supported by Arcanum, Blinken OSA Archivum, Archive of Modern Conflict (Toronto) and Forum Hungaricum Nonprofit Kft. Administrative management is provided by Summa Artium Nonprofit Kft.

Venice in 1900

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