Sopron, the former Austrian Ödenburg,
is located a mere 60 km south of Vienna.
"Following the break up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, four western Hungarian counties (Pressburg - Pozsony, Eisenburg - Vas, Ödenburg - Sopron, Moson - Wieselburg) german parts were awarded to Austria in the Treaties of St.Germain (1919) and Trianon (1920). After local unrest, Sopron's status as part of Hungary (along with that of the surrounding eight villages) was decided by a local plebiscite held on December 14, 1921, with 65% voting for Hungary. Since then Sopron has been called Civitas Fidelissima ("The Most Loyal Town", Hungarian: A Hűség Városa), and the anniversary of the plebiscite is a city holiday. The other three (the fourth county Pressburg - Pozsony remain in Czechoslovakia) western parts of the awarded counties today form the Austrian federal state of Burgenland.
Sopron suffered greatly during World War II, as it was bombed several times. The Soviet Red Army occupied the city on March 6, 1945. In August 1989 It was the site of the Pan-European Picnic, a protest by anti-communist activists on the border between Austria and Hungary, which was used by over 200 citizens of East Germany to cross illegally to the west. As the first successful crossing of the border it helped pave the way for the mass flight of East German citizens that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.
During the Socialist era the government unsuccessfully tried to turn Sopron into an industrial city, allowing the city to remain an attractive site for tourists.
Today, Sopron's economy immensely benefits from the European Union. Having been a city close to nowhere, that is, to the Iron Curtain, Sopron now has reestablished full trade relations to nearby Austria. Furthermore, after being suppressed during the Cold War, Sopron's Austrian culture and heritage is now recognized again. As a consequence the city is today officially bilingual, with most street- and traffic-signs written in Hungarian and German."