Coming relatively late compared to Croatians or Poles the first Armenian settlers arrived in Hungary in the 13th century. At least that is what the first records about a settlement named Terra Arminium suggest. Some chronicles also mention Armenians coming to the Carpathian Basin alongside Árpád’s army, but probably only in smaller numbers, Daily News Hungary reported.
The first direct contact between Hungarians and Armenians was when King Andrew II’s crusaders reached Armenia. After the conquest, Andrew II intended to marry his son to the daughter of Armenian king Levon II. The Hungarian king returned to his homeland, bringing a considerable number of Armenian settlers to the area of Esztergom: that was the region where Terra Arminium was founded.
Another wave of Armenian immigrants worth mentioning came to Transylvania between the 11th and 14th centuries — though there are not too many sources about them. They fled to Hungary from the disasters striking their homeland: the Seljuq assault in 1064, the Mongolian raids in 1236 — which reached Hungary as well, only five years later — and an earthquake destroying the city of Ani. The population of the City of 1001 Churches moved to the Caucasian region first, continuing their journey through Crimea and Moldavia, finally ending up in Hungary.
The first time when Armenians were considered full members of the Hungarian society was after 1672 when they received a right to settle and certain privileges from Prince Mihály Apafi.
Concerning their professions, most of the Armenian settlers were mostly craftsmen, e.g. skinners, tanners and merchants. The skills of Armenians on the field of tanning was legendary, and they have dominated almost the entire skin market in Hungary, especially in Transylvania. Thanks to their contribution to building the Hungarian economy and their professionalism in commerce, more than 50 Armenian families received or purchased noble rank by the end of the 19th century. Their society, however, had different customs from the customs of the Hungarian population, as the Armenian communities were partly ruled by the priesthood, who represented not only clerical but also political power.
There are not any organised clerical Armenian communities in Hungary outside the capital. There are four settlements in Transylvania having Armenian Catholic churches, but none of them has a proper clergyman. The Armenian Catholic Church follows the Latin customs, celebrating Christmas and Easter with unique Armenian liturgies.
In Hungary West Armenian is the most widespread, as in many other territories in Europe where Armenian refugees fled through.