Szentendre was home first to the Celts and then the Romans, who built an important border fortress here. The Magyars colonised the region in the 9th century; by the 14th century Szentendre was a prosperous estate under the supervision of Visegrád.
Serbian Orthodox Christians came here from the south in advance of the Turks in the 15th century, but the Turkish occupation of Hungary over the next two centuries brought the town’s peaceful coexistence to an end, and by the end of the 17th century the town was deserted. Though Hungary was soon liberated from the Ottomans, fighting continued in the Balkans and a second wave of Serbs fled to Szentendre. Believing they would return home, but enjoying complete religious freedom under the Habsburgs, Orthodox clans built their own churches and gave the town its unique Balkan feel.
Szentendre’s delightful location began to attract day trippers and painters from Budapest early last century; an artists colony was established here in the 1920s and the town is still known for its art and artists.