The last three pictures I showed here were quite old, from Ireland in 1968. This is more recent, from Hungary in 1969.
This is Sopron, near the Austrian border. In those days a pretty but rather rundown city. It looks considerably nicer now, which you can see from this photo of the same place from Wikipedia.
Inthe summer of 1969 I had spent several weeks in Italy. In northern Italy I met a Swedish friend with a car and we travelled home through Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and West Germany. We were denied visas to go through Czechoslovakia because we were students, and students were of course known trouble-makers and we made our application on the anniversary of the Warzaw pact's invasion of Czechoslovakia. Not a very good timing.
It was with some apprehension we crossed through the "Iron Curtain" into the "Eastern bloc", but we had a good time in Hungary, staying with the parents and friends of a Hungarian friend of mine living in Sweden.
The few photos I took in Budapest are too bad to be shown here, but I will show two or three pictures from the ancient city of Sopron, very close to the Austrian border, only 70 km from Vienna. We thought at the time that it was a very pretty place. Looking at my pictures now I am amazed to see it so run down, which we didn't really notice then.
The history of Sopron goes back to Roman times, when it was called Scarbantia. From around the 12th century it was known as an important Hungarian town. In more recent times it suffered bombings during WWII. In 1989 this was where the Hungarian authorities first opened the border to let East German refugees cross into Austria, which paved the way for the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Today the restored medieval and Renaissance buildings make Sopron an important tourist destination. According to Wikipedia the city also boasts of hundreds of good and cheap dental clinics which are supposed to attract patients from all over the world.
I have scanned this from an Agfacolor CT18 slide.
Critiques | Translate
saxo042 (37910) 2012-03-29 12:14
This is not only a good picture, it is a very interesting documentary inside the iron curtain. The buildings look very good and I would believe that they have been restored considerably now. It is indeed interesting to see the present photo from this square.
annjackman (21901) 2012-03-29 12:34
A fascinating note and the scan gives us some historical perspective as well. The deterioating facades and the deserted street represents the time in Hungary very well.
Very well researched.
Kind Regards, Ann
dta (80314) 2012-03-29 12:51
Hello Gert ,
Keep on posting your oldies ... I love them ! The first thing I've done when I've opened this one , ist to see more recent views from this place , from TE members . Not exactly the same POV , but we can see that the square is beautifuly paved , now ; And It seems that the facades have been renovated , too .
like the persence of the man (even not sharp) , and of the Renault 4L , the first car I've driven .
patdeph (35748) 2012-03-29 12:54
an excellent scan, and a very interesting picture showing the old and picturesque town, that have maybe been restored today.The note is excellent too.Excellent!
Budapestman (82620) 2012-03-29 15:26
what a surprise.... this is a splendid photo from the old Sopron (one of my favourite city in Hungary). The composition is very attractive, superb lights and colours. Great shot, Tfs! Have a nice weekend! Kellemes hétvégét kívánok!
tyro (26138) 2012-03-29 16:44
A very interesting note and an excellent link to a much more recent photograph from this same viewpoint: it is indeed wonderful to be able to compare your picture from 1969 with that one as there has obviously been an incredible improvement in this city following Hungary's escape from Communism.
Another well scanned Agfa CT18 slide with good composition. The street looks bare and the houses in a poor state with only one forlorn fellow crossing the street. Perhaps the only redeeming features are the fine small tree and the trough full of bright red flowers.
emka (102742) 2012-03-29 23:41
You were there first time behind the iron curtain, in that time i have still to wait some years to come outside it. Have you also visited Poland that time? I was in Hungary also, when it could be> mahybe '65. schocking that the houses was so run down. I also haven't noticed it (in other places). Amazing how all this has changed. even to go to Hungary was possible for me but so complicated, every time limited amount of money, travel documents,...And now I can go tomorrow everywhere when I want(maybe it is why I travel so much ?)
Good document. Only one car there, hehe
Nicou (146928) 2012-03-30 0:34
Très belle compo e tiamge de cette place, sueprbe compo quel rendu dans les tons avec le personnages, fantastique.
bravo et amitié
siamesa (28123) 2012-03-30 1:21
Bom dia Gert
I love your photos that bring the history of the countries.Very important for people . They are excellent documentaries. Congratulations.
Sergiom (84603) 2012-03-30 6:08
Cette photo ne date pas d'hier. On constate les progès de la photographie depuis ce temps ou la couleur ne faisait qu'apparaitre.
wolf38 (31296) 2012-03-30 7:06
Hello Gert. Change of location. It continues in Hungary. The architecture is very impressive. Columns, fountains, sculptures - everything here is worth seeing in a special way. Overall, a good documentary shot. Instructive text. Rgds, Wolfgang.
TopGeo (38216) 2012-03-30 10:59
Hello Gert! The photo is not food to spoil! It has the history and something to say. I have an important and interesting note!Best regards
macjake (70519) 2012-03-31 5:42
you do an amazing job showing us these time-warp photos.
its simple awe inspiring to see the Today scene, compared to this one.
what a difference!!!!
the building here certainly look much more run-down and less cared for.
excellent post for TE and story too.
archimatica (20648) 2012-03-31 7:16
This is also a very interesting documentary inside the iron curtain. Your photos are always a great journalistic and aesthetic importance.
Sonata11 (33969) 2012-03-31 7:49
Magnifcent and impressively executed and presented old picture fro your archive - great colors, sharpness, clarity, execlent POV and depth of field.Beautiful architecture of old time. Great scan. Congrats. Thanks for sharing. Love it.
All the best and have a nice WE,
Ps. I still have a problem with TE site.
bukitgolfb301 (43668) 2012-03-31 14:09
Hello my dear Gert
Sorry for my usual late reaction, as so busy weekday.
This is another wonderful documentry shot from your endless precious stocks.
Great well considered framework and so tasteful color presentation is marvelous. Thanks for your sharinig with best shot and have a nice weekend!
Takero from Tokyo, where "SAKURA" should open flower, but not yet this year.
agjika (3177) 2012-03-31 14:46
Great shot from the communist world. It is terribly run down and I find you note regarding this very interesting. Sometimes we think it is fine largely because we do not know better or because we are used to it but this is not the case here.
Photographically this a great image the composition is great and one can clearly see how run down it is. Maybe if the boy was not there it would look more dramatic.
Thanks for sharing
dkmurphys (62147) 2012-04-01 13:07
Lovely documant from those old times. I lived in the communist regime so I understand this reality. Well taken!
jhm (156632) 2012-04-03 4:23
Thank you very much for your interesting note.
Excellent for a scanned picture with pleasant colors and very well subject.
Wonderful composition, sharpness and clarity are lovely.
Very well done, TFS.
abmdsudi (56388) 2012-04-05 6:41
Great capture - another of your old image taking us back to a bygone era. I like it immensely and It is interesting that you have managed to retain a lot of detail and colour in the more shadowed areas so well. Very nice architecture, I find myself really drawn to all of the different tones of light golden brown to darker browns in the image from the sky toning to the tree, .very nicely done bearing in mind ths is was taken some 4 decades ago. And that boy must be a grandfather now! Gert you must be a poud owner of this valueable shot. TFS
kato (11630) 2012-04-05 16:31
You're capturing well this Hungarian old townscape by a good composition and rich tone, so it's interesting and impressive to see medieval architecture and statue at right side. And, a man walking the street draws out additional good effect. You took this photo well under difficult times of cool war.
Have a nice day!
Glint (6171) 2012-04-06 1:24
this is interesting and to me has the feel of the Cuban about it. Same sort of genteel decay. I think I prefer this to the new look as seen on wikipedia.
Very well composed with the figure and the tree very well placed at the thirds line.
Kielia (24077) 2012-04-06 9:06
what a wonderful document! This is really another gem that was hidden in your wardrobe. You have chosen a very well working POV on these fascinating buildings - there are so many fascinating details to discover. I also enjoyed reading your informative note. TFS!
notrap (6167) 2012-04-08 8:52
what a difference in colors and general in quality when I compare this CT 18 scan with your Kodachrome scans, which are not so much younger. ( I think especially of your Afghanistan-pics of 1973).
But nevertheless it is a good documentary photo and therefor a perfect contribution to TE.
I have been 1971 the first time in Hungary, but too young and too silly to take good photos. For me it was much more interesting, that everything was ridiculous cheap if you paid with D-Mark. We were pupils then with small pocket-money, but in the restaurants we could afford great quantities of wine, at home we had to get along with a small glass of Coca-Cola the whole evening. That led to some unpleasant scenes.....
eldancer1 (36343) 2012-04-09 13:23
A very nice capture of what was Hungary, and I hope the people are much better now also. I like the architecture, they look very durable. Good details and wonderful colors. Well done, tfs.
Angshu (56760) 2012-04-10 2:33
The city has undergone a total facelift as I see from your WS. Its the same place as your picture but what a total transformation! From your picture it looks like the place has been recently bombed...the decay is that much evident. Excellent quality of scan & a great note!
Waylim (25502) 2012-04-17 18:27
always a pleasure to see images like this, we can learn from the past, it is more special in my opinion. things will never be the same, but hopefully for the better. Love the film texture. Classic iamge from yesteryears.
batalay (39581) 2012-04-25 5:49
This photo is a virtual time capsule! Your scan of the original Kodachrome slide is so good, that it could easily have been the product of a modern digital camera. Except, the streets are mostly empty with only one car is visible.
At Princeton I had a friend/mentor/champion in a Hungarian-American physicist. He was the 1963 Nobel Laureate, and around 1969 he told me about meeting a Hungarian physicist at an international meeting. He told himself, "He is a very good physicist, they would not have let him out of the county... if they were not holding his wife." Then he saw the man's wife, and he thought, "They must have defected." When he asked them, directly, "How did you leave?" The admitted to him, that they had a new baby, who had to stay behind." The world has changed so very much, but then that was 43 years ago.
Warm regards, and thank you for the excellent photo and note.
faubry (35447) 2012-05-22 2:33
My God, it was si sad, si durty, sad life of these people from these places, i have known Romania and Hungaria just in 1990..
superb and strong photo, historic
Tigerlily (3379) 2012-07-07 2:01
Thank you so much for the link.. I'm very glad to see the place 43 years ago.. I couldn't believe it..How amazing!Good work, looks like the old postcard, I really love it.
Yes, I'd heard about the cheap dental clinics, before I went, but I didn't see the signs in the street. Maybe one has to know the address and the words..:-D
ourania (48864) 2012-11-22 11:23
this is a most interesting picture. The man crossing the street seems to have turned abruptly, surprised to see you taking a picture there. Depth and perspective are great and place us next to you into this fascinating scenery where vivid colours and elegant architecture are contrasted by extremely decayed textures. The man, the tree and the red flowers stand out and vivify this captivating scenery. A love the light and colours, the perspective of the curving road and the mysterious shadows. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely evening,
Miguel82 (27648) 2013-09-08 13:24
A picture from 1969 and so good quality you save a value archive Gert, many changes in the architecture can be observed looking your photo, an old renault 4 in the bg (brand new model car for that period
GyurMaster (5764) 2016-04-04 11:05
Its nice to see my country through the eyes/lens of a foreigner, not to mention that this image shows a face of Sopron I have never known before. I only familiar with the face you showed from Wikipedia.
Dis you know that Sopron is called Civitas Fidelissima, since they voted for Hungary after WW I? They could have been the part of Austria, but they decided to stay. In the first case you might have captured very different photos.