Sopron is situated on the Hungarian-Austrian border, on the northwestern part of the country. The town is a major tourist centre. The region offers a nice variety of landscapes, from flatland to rolling hills, leading toward the Alps. In addition to Lake Balaton in close proximity, other lakes dot the area as well. The town enjoys a sub-alpine climate, with temperate weather during the winter, and not too hot summer days.
Local excavations attest that the area was populated as early as the 13th century B.C., and the first forts were built in between the 6th and the 4th century B.C. During the reign of Tiberius, roman legions entered the region, and soon settled in the area of today's town centre, building the forum and surrounding mansions. The settlement included an Amphitheatre, a cemetery, and potter shops as well. Important roads, such as a N-S line, and the E-W Arrabona-Vindobona (Gyor-Vienna) crossed here. The Romans brought their culture, and established a primarily residential town for merchants and retired veterans. Walls were built to protect the citizens. The first Hungarian king erected a border fort: Sopron, in what used to be Scarabantia during the Roman era. The settlement enjoyed special privileges for centuries, receiving the rank of a "free royal town", and keeping part of their due tribute for the purpose of maintaining its walls. At the time of the Reformation, most residents followed Martin Luther. The next century brought great disasters with the Turkish invasion and a substantial fire. Hard times were followed by an upswing in the 18th century, with its industrialization. In 1919, the Sait-Germain peace pact gave away a substantial part of Western Hungary to Austria, but two years later, local referendum brought Sopron back to Hungarian territory. With this, the town received the title "Civitas Fidelissima" (the most loyal town) anew - it already proved its loyalty earlier in history. During the Second World War, three bombings devastated the area, and residents of German origin were deported in the decades to follow. During the Communist era, the town in the border zone could be visited with special permission only, and harassments were all too common. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, shopping trips brought a great number of transit guests. Today, the town draws visitors with its warm hospitality, nice historical atmosphere, original vine culture, and outstanding conference facilities.
Sopron deserves the "town of museums" title, as its precious collections reflect a long-span local history, a rich cultural heritage, as well as lively art milieu. The Fire Tower serves as the emblem of the town, its lower parts were built on wall ruins from the Roman era. The watchmen carried out an essentially important service, and at the same time proved to possess talent in music, as they were in charge of entertainment during local festivities. The Storno House on the main square is not only one of the prettiest buildings in town, but thanks to the art relic search activities of its former owner, visitors may admire a unique antique collection on its second floor. The first floor hosts a local history exhibition. The Fabricius House stands on the same square, built on ruins of a Roman bath. The building hosts three exhibitions: the basement includes stone relics from the Roman era, two floors in the rear section include archaeological collections from the Celtic, the Roman, and the Early Hungarian era, presenting their culture, as well as the history of Sopron becoming a town; while two floors in front section display furniture and household items from the 17th and the 18th century. The main square also includes a church building of exceptional beauty: the Kecske (goat) Church, built in Gothic style. Uj (new) Street hides a unique Synagogue, built by resident Jews in the 14th century.
The town has a number of sport centrums, halls and fields; bowling-, squash-, and tennis courts. The local beer factory organizes tours with beer tasting. The town has two independent theatres, and the local cultural centre organizes a great variety of concerts, art festivals, and exhibitions.