Revolutionary street names

March 15, 2013

Every Hungarian knows that almost every village in the country will have a street named after Lajos Kossuth, revolutionary and politician, and another named after Sándor Petőfi, an emblematic hero-poet – both of whom took part in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. But where exactly are these streets?

The interior of Café Pilvax during the Hungarian Reform Era. Colored pen drawing by József Preiszler. Wikimedia Commons

The Revolution started as a meeting of few people at a coffehouse but turned into a full-blown war of independece against the Habsurg rule over the country later on. While the Hungarians lost the war, it had lasting effects on the structure of the Habsburg Empire and resulted in the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, which brought a fairer share of powers within the Empire.

Thus, it is not surprising that key figures are commemorated by naming streets after them. The map of these streets is shown below. The map uses red and green in reference to the colors of the flag of Hungary; you can find a colorblind-friendly version here. Notice that many of these streets are outside of Hungary. This is due to the fact that the Kingdom of Hungary lost most of its territories as a result of the treaties after WWI, but a large number of Hungarian speakers remained in these areas, also keeping their street names.

Streets of Kossuth and Petőfi

The best approach is to use Overpass Turbo to query the data. Originally, I used the GeoFabrik Openstreetmap extracts for this project, but they have removed street names from the free shapefiles since then. Hence this alternative approach. I will not go into details about the query language, See the Overpass API language guide, full documentiation, or examples if you want to learn more. but you can try it yourself by going to the website and pasting the following for the query (or just following this direct link To get the data, click on the “Run” button to actually run the query. It is not run automatically since it is quite heavy both on the server and the browser. ):

out; >;
out skel qt;

From here, you can download the data in various formats and use it under the persmissive ODBL license.

Cover image: House number plate of Kossuth utca 52 in Hejce, Hungary. Photo by the Author, 2012. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Revolutionary street names - March 15, 2013 - András Hann