city of county status and seat of Vas megye (county), northwestern Hungary. Szombathely is situated on the Gyongyos River, near the frontier with Austria, south-southeast of Vienna and west of Budapest. The city is the successor to the Roman settlement of Savaria (Sabaria), the capital of Pannonia, founded in AD 43 by Claudius I at the intersection of two Roman roads still extant (one of these roads was part of the Amber Route, which connected the Baltic region with Italy). There is in the city a mosaic Roman pavement from the 4th-century Basilica of St. Quirinus, and a Temple of Isis was uncovered in 1957. Following its 5th-century sack by the Huns, Szombathely declined for a long period. In the 18th century, Maria Theresa of Austria made the town the seat of a bishopric. The Episcopal Palace (Puspokvar) and the fine Baroque cathedral were built between 1781 and 1813. Extensive World War II damage to the cathedral was repaired in 1947. Szombathely Gallery houses a rich collection of 20th-century Hungarian art. The city developed as an important agricultural and food-processing centre (wines, fruit, honey) and railway junction. Industries include tanning, textiles, footwear, and the manufacture of electronics, vehicle parts, and agricultural machinery. Pop. (2001) 81,920.
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