Hungary is a landlocked country located in central Europe, bordered by Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. The area that is now Hungary has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and the Roman Empire extended its control there from 9 BC – 430 AD. After the collapse of Rome's power, various Germanic peoples like the Visigoths and Lombards controlled portions of the territory until the 8th century. In the 9th century the Magyar tribes arrived from the east and established the Kingdom of Hungary in 1000 AD under King Stephen I. Over subsequent centuries Hungary was invaded by Mongols, Ottoman Turks and the Austrian Habsburgs.
Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1867-1918 before becoming an independent republic. Hungary sided with Germany in World Wars I and II, and came under Soviet dominance as a communist state after 1945. The 1956 uprising against communist rule was crushed by Soviet forces. Hungary transitioned to democracy in 1989-90 and joined the European Union in 2004. It has developed a high-income market economy, with key sectors like manufacturing, services and agriculture. Hungary's rich cultural heritage includes everything from lavish baroque architecture to renowned composers like Liszt. Lake Balaton is a leading tourist attraction. The official language is Hungarian and the capital and largest city is Budapest. Hungary has a population of 9.7 million inhabitants.
Listed below are the top facts about Hungary.
- Hungary is an old country. Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe. Hungary was founded in 895.
- Education in Hungary. Hungary spends up to 5 % of its GDP to facilitate education. This has led the literacy rate in the country to reach 99%. The state has more than 77 higher education institutions that include ten universities and nine technical institutions.
- Hungary's Flag. Although Hungary’s flag has carried the same three colors since 1848, the current version of the flag was officially adopted on 12th October 1957 after the abortive revolution of 1956. The colors resemble those found in Hungary’s coat of arms. The white symbolizes Hungary’s rivers, green the mountains and red resembles the bloodshed during the many battles in Hungary.
- Hungary's Borders. Hungary is one of Central Europe's landlocked countries. It is bordered to the north by Slovakia, northeast by Ukraine, southeast by Romania, Serbia and Croatia, southwest by Slovenia and to the west by Austria.
- Hungary in the Roman Empire. During the Roman Empire, approximately 40% of Hungary was part of a region known as Pannonia. Pannonia included portions of Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, as well.
- 1. Hungary is an old country
- 2. Education in Hungary
- 3. Hungary's Flag
- 4. Hungary's Borders
- 5. Hungary in the Roman Empire
- 6. Hungarian Olympic Success
- 7. University of Pecs
- 8. Hungarian Parliament Building
- 9. The Name “Hungary”
- 10. Naming Children in Hungary
- 11. Budapest's Thermal Springs
- 12. Hungary's National Day
- 13. Communist Rule in Hungary
- 14. Hungarians Outside Hungary
- 15. Hungarian Grand Prix
- 16. Use of Last Names
- 17. Hyperinflation and the Pengo
- 18. Hungarian Nobel Prize Winners
- 19. Wine Production in Hungary
- 20. Invention of the Coach
- 21. Hungary and NATO
- 22. Tuberculosis in Hungary
- 23. The Legend of the Generals
- 24. Love for Paprika
- 25. Soccer in Hungary
- 26. Foie Gras in Hungary
- 27. Budapest, the Capital
- 28. Coffee in Hungary
- 29. Goulash, the National Dish
- 30. McDonald's in Hungary
- 31. George Soros and Philanthropy
- 32. Hungary and Classical Music
- 33. Religion in Hungary
- 34. Hungary's Historical Extent
- 35. Education in Hungary
- 36. Cultural Events in Hungary
- 37. Puszta Horse Show
- 38. Lake Balaton
- 39. Budapest Metro
- 40. Thermal Springs in Hungary
- 41. Hungary's Wine Culture
- 42. Transition to Democracy
- 43. Hungarian Inventions
- 44. Germany as a Trade Partner
- 45. Harry Houdini's Birthplace
- 46. Invention of the Rubik's Cube
- 47. Discovery of Vitamin C
- 48. Franz Liszt, the Pianist
- 49. Invention of the Ballpoint Pen
- 50. Buda and Pest
- 51. John von Neumann
- 52. Hungarian Aquatic Athletes
- 53. Johnny Weissmuller
- 54. Pálinka, Hungarian Fruit Brandy
- 55. Judit Polgar, Chess Champion
- 56. Significance of 96
- 57. Dohany Street Synagogue
- 58. Hungarian Influence in Hollywood
- 59. Hungarian Language
- 60. Statue of Anonymous
- 61. Hungarian Currency
- 62. Water Abundance in Hungary
- 63. Guinness World Record for Chalk Drawing
- 64. Aladár Gerevich, Fencing Legend
- 65. St. Stephen’s Crown
- 66. King Stephen (Istvan)
- 67. Two Words for Red
- 68. Geothermal Cave System
- 69. Ferenc Puskás, Soccer Star
- 70. Mangalica – Hungarian Pig Breed
- 71. Bela Lugosi, Dracula Actor
- 72. Memento Park
- 73. George Soros, Wealthy Esperanto Speaker
- 74. Treaty of Trianon
- 75. Creator of Volkswagen Beetle
- 76. Religion in Hungary
- 77. Hungary's Economic Development
- What are the best things to do in Hungary?
1. Hungary is an old country
Hungary, one of the oldest countries in Europe, was founded in 895, earlier than many other European nations. Hungary has over 1,100 years of history, culture has a rich past going back to the Middle Ages. The Magyar tribes first settled the region in the 9th century and established the Kingdom of Hungary in 1000 under King Stephen I. Over the centuries, Hungary has been invaded and ruled by various groups including the Mongols, Ottoman Turks and the Habsburg Empire. Despite foreign domination, Hungarians have maintained their unique culture, language and identity through the ages.
2. Education in Hungary
Hungary spends up to 5 % of its GDP to facilitate education. This has led the literacy rate in the country to reach 99%. The state has more than 77 higher education institutions that include ten universities and nine technical institutions. Primary and secondary schooling is compulsory and standards are high, with Hungary scoring well on international assessments like PISA. The country has a long scholastic tradition and the University of Pécs, founded in 1367, is one of the oldest universities in Europe. Budapest is now a major student hub with prestigious institutions like Eötvös Loránd University.
3. Hungary's Flag
The colors and symbols of the Hungarian flag carry deep meaning and connection to the nation's history. The flag has featured the same red, white and green horizontal tricolor pattern since 1848, the current official design was adopted in 1957. This was after the failed Hungarian Revolution against communist rule in 1956. The flag's colors are inspired by the coat of arms of Hungary dating back centuries. The red stripe represents strength and the blood spilled by Hungarian heroes. White symbolizes faithfulness and the nation's rivers. And green stands for hope and the countryside. Together the lively colors evoke the Hungarian landscape and national character. They remind citizens of patriots who died fighting for freedom over generations. The flag flying high represents Hungary's independence, pride and spirit of defiance in the face of past oppression. For Hungarians, the flag is a powerful national symbol that embodies their land, their values and their tumultuous but resilient past.
4. Hungary's Borders
Hungary is situated in central Europe and has the unique status of being a landlocked country entirely surrounded by other nations. Slovakia lies to Hungary's north, with a border stretching 627 km. Ukraine borders Hungary to the northeast, while Romania shares Hungary's eastern border. To the south, Hungary has borders with Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. And finally, Austria provides Hungary's western border. Hungary covers an area of about 93,000 square km, similar in size to the US state of Indiana. Despite being landlocked, Hungary has access to global trade along major rivers like the Danube. The country has complex relationships with its many neighbors, due to mixed populations and ethnicities straddling the borders. Hungary's history has often been shaped by migration, invasion and clashes along these borders. But in recent decades, Hungary's geographic position at the crossroads of Europe has proven strategically and economically beneficial as a member of the European Union and NATO.
5. Hungary in the Roman Empire
Around 40% of what is now modern Hungary was part of the ancient Roman Empire's Pannonia province from the 1st to 5th century AD. Pannonia included parts of several countries along the Danube basin including Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. The Romans built aqueducts, baths, amphitheaters and roads, leaving behind an extensive architectural legacy. Pannonia was an important trading hub and agricultural center renowned for its wine, wheat and livestock production. Soldiers from the area made up a significant portion of the Roman military. Christianity arrived and began spreading in Pannonia in the 4th century AD. When the Western Roman Empire collapsed around 476 AD, the Ostrogoths and then other Germanic tribes invaded the region. But Roman towns survived and Pannonia continued under the Eastern or Byzantine Empire for several more centuries. This long Roman presence significantly influenced early Hungarian culture, language, religion and urban development. Ruins of Roman settlements can still be found across western Hungary today.
6. Hungarian Olympic Success
Hungarians pride themselves on winning gold medals every time they have participated in the Olympic Games. Considering the population size, they are ranked second just behind Finland in the number of golds won.
7. University of Pecs
Hungary’s oldest university is the University of Pecs and was founded in 1367.
8. Hungarian Parliament Building
The Hungarian parliament building is ranked the third world’s largest parliament building and is the tallest building in the city of Budapest. The impressive Hungarian parliament building is also one of the oldest legislative buildings in Western Europe and Eastern Europe.
9. The Name “Hungary”
The name Hungary is the English version of the Medieval Latin word “Hungaria”. The name of Hungaria comes from the Uralic steppe people – (H)ungari, Ungri and Ugri – who conquered the land in the 9th and 10 centuries. However, Hungarians generally refer to themselves as Magyar, rather than Hungarian.
10. Naming Children in Hungary
Another of the most interesting facts about Hungary is that you can only name your child in Hungary after there is approval from the government. You can pick a name from the extensive list provided. However, if your favorite name is not on the list, you need to fill in an approval form with the Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
11. Budapest's Thermal Springs
You probably didn't know, the Hungarian capital, Budapest, has the most significant number of thermal springs in the world. On a daily basis, 70 million liters of thermal water come up to the surface of the earth into the Budapest thermal springs. Can you imagine how much water 70 million liters is?!
12. Hungary's National Day
Hungary’s national day is August 20 and is St. Stephen’s Day. National day is a holiday, which commemorates when Hungary was founded.
13. Communist Rule in Hungary
After the Second World War, communist rule was dominant in Hungary, the same as the rest of Eastern Europe. In the late 1980s, the cumulative debt owed by Hungary was $18 billion and was the highest debt owed per capita across Europe.
14. Hungarians Outside Hungary
Did you know that about 2.5 million native Hungarian people do not live in Hungary? Rather, they live in Romania and other countries in western Europe as well as in North America.
15. Hungarian Grand Prix
The Hungarian Grand Prix of 1986 was the first formula one race to happen behind the iron curtain.
16. Use of Last Names
Next interesting fact about Hungary: most people in Hungary use their last name when they are writing or when introducing themselves to the public. Using the last name is common practice.
17. Hyperinflation and the Pengo
Although massive hyperinflation precipitated the need for the “One Quintillion Pengo” note at one time in Hungary, the Pengo note was replaced by the Forint in July of 1946. The Pengo was demonetized and no longer legal currency. It was only in public circulation for 20 days in 1946, but it did hold the reputation for the highest denomination of any banknote at the time.
18. Hungarian Nobel Prize Winners
13 Hungarians had won Nobel Prizes by 2007, which is a lot.
19. Wine Production in Hungary
There has been an extensive production of wine in Hungary since the 5th century A.D. King Karoly made the Tokaj wine region to be a national wine area, making it the first world’s official wine region. France’s Bordeaux region followed suit after nearly 120 years.
20. Invention of the Coach
The wheeled multi-passenger vehicle was invented in Hungary in 1500 and the word ‘coach’ was derived from the Hungarian town Kocs names.
21. Hungary and NATO
One of the political facts about Hungary: it remains the only country that held a referendum to determine whether to join NATO or not. It joined in 1999.
22. Tuberculosis in Hungary
At a point during the 20th century, tuberculosis rates were so high – particularly in Hungary during World Wars I and II, that the disease was sometimes referred to as “Morbus Hungaricus”. The disease killed between forty and fifty thousand people in Hungary.
23. The Legend of the Generals
A legend says that when 13 generals from Hungary were killed during the 1848 revolution, Austrians clinked their glasses of beer after each killing. Therefore, in memory of the generals who were executed, Hungarians haven't clinked their glasses for around a long time. They do again now.
24. Love for Paprika
One of the most fun interesting facts about Hungary is that Hungarians love Paprika so much, it is their National Spice. There are eight grades of Hungarian paprika, ranging from mild to sweet to spicy hot. The love of Paprika is so great, there are actually two museums dedicated to the wonderful spice.
25. Soccer in Hungary
Soccer remains the most popular game in Hungary and Hungarians still remember the 1953 match of the century where Hungary won over England at Wembley Stadium, England.
26. Foie Gras in Hungary
Hungary is one of only five countries that continue to produce foie gras (fatty goose or duck liver) – along with Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain and France. Foie gras is a very controversial food because of the way it is made and production is banned in many countries around the world.
27. Budapest, the Capital
Budapest is the capital of Hungary and the largest city, by far. Over 1.7 million people live in Budapest – roughly one-fifth of the total population of Hungary (9.7 million).
28. Coffee in Hungary
Next up on this list of interesting facts about Hungary: coffee is considered the national drink of Hungary. Called fekete (which means ‘strong black coffee’), it is generally either consumed “neat” (with no additives) or with lots of cream and sweetener.
29. Goulash, the National Dish
The national dish for Hungary is gulyas (goulash). Cooked with peppers, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, diced beef and paprika, traditional goulash is a thick soup or stew. It dates back to the 9th century when it was eaten by shepherds from the Magyar tribes.
30. McDonald's in Hungary
Another fact you probably didn't know about Hungary! McDonald's was the first foreign restaurant offering fast food services in Hungary.
31. George Soros and Philanthropy
George Soros, the financier, was born in Hungary and is ranked on the philanthropist’s list.
32. Hungary and Classical Music
Hungary enjoys the tradition of classical music with famous musicians such as Bela Bartok, Frank Liszt and Zoltan Kodaly.
33. Religion in Hungary
Around 37 percent of Hungarians are Roman Catholic. Other faiths present in Hungary include several Protestant Christian denominations, Greek Orthodox and Jewish. And roughly 18 percent of the population identifies as Atheist or Agnostic.
34. Hungary's Historical Extent
As one of the oldest countries in Europe, Hungary was one of the largest of the European countries and was more extensive than France around 1000 CE. It later became among the two “eagle heads” of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
35. Education in Hungary
Interesting fact number 35: it takes eight years for a person to complete basic education in Hungary, which is divided into two four years stages.
36. Cultural Events in Hungary
As well as National Day, Hungary hosts numerous cultural events such as the Sziget Festival or Budapest Spring Festival. Sziget Festival is a yearly Hungarian festival for ‘island’ that happens in August and is one of the largest cultural and musical festivals in Europe. Budapest Festival is one of Hungary’s oldest festivals and happens in March every year attracting artists from all over the world.
37. Puszta Horse Show
The Great Hungarian Plain is populated by a number of large ranches and at the Puszta Horse Show near Kalocsa, you can see Magyar cowboys show off their skills.
38. Lake Balaton
The largest lake in Central Europe – Lake Balaton – is located in Hungary, around 50 miles southwest of Budapest. The largest lake has an area of 231 square miles, is 9 miles wide at its widest point and continues for 48 miles through the Bakony Mountains.
39. Budapest Metro
Another of the facts for you history buffs: Hungary’s Budapest Metro remains the oldest underground electrified railway system in Europe and the third oldest underground railway globally.
40. Thermal Springs in Hungary
The number of thermal springs in Hungary is mind-blowing! There are over 1300 spas with springs and over 123 of them are in Budapest. That's the highest amount of springs in the world. The spas are well-known for their thermal water, curative and relaxing properties, as well as stunning Greek, Roman and Turkish architecture.
41. Hungary's Wine Culture
The next interesting fact: Hungary is a wine country with 22 recognizable wine regions and eight varieties of grape. The history of wine in this area extends back to the ancient Magyar tribes over a thousand years ago.
42. Transition to Democracy
After many long years of communist rule, Hungary became a democratic republic in October 1989.
43. Hungarian Inventions
Next on our list of interesting facts about Hungary: did you know the primary computer programming language, the telephone exchange and the electric motor were invented in Hungary?
44. Germany as a Trade Partner
Germany is the largest export partner in Hungary.
45. Harry Houdini's Birthplace
Harry Houdini, the famous world's escape artist, was born in Budapest in Hungary.
46. Invention of the Rubik's Cube
You know the fun puzzle the Rubik's cube? Well, a Hungarian named Erno Rubik invented the Rubik’s cube in 1974.
47. Discovery of Vitamin C
The person who discovered Vitamin C, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, was born In Budapest, Hungary in 1893.
48. Franz Liszt, the Pianist
Hungary's pianist Franz Liszt was a celebrated pianist. He was a famous and impactful composer, a piano tutor and conductor.
49. Invention of the Ballpoint Pen
You probably didn't know that the ballpoint pen was invented by a Hungarian named Laszlo Biro.
50. Buda and Pest
The beautiful city of Budapest is made up of two parts which are separated by the Danube river. The areas – known as Buda and Pest, are connected by a series of bridges. The beautiful Hungarian Parliament building is on the Pest side of the river.
51. John von Neumann
Hungarian mathematician John von Neumann was a pioneer in the realms of quantum mechanics, modern computer design and game theory as it is applied to economics. He was brought in by J. Robert Oppenheimer as a principal member of the Manhattan Project during World War Two. He was a key part of the team which developed the first atomic weapons during the war.
52. Hungarian Aquatic Athletes
Hungarians have a well-earned reputation as Olympic-level aquatic athletes. Beginning with the first games of the modern era in 1896, 18-year-old Alfred Hajos won two golds. Swimmer Laszlo Cseh took home three silver medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
53. Johnny Weissmuller
Johnny Weissmuller, an athlete and actor, was born in Freidorf, a German settlement in the Kingdom of Hungary (which became a part of Romania in 1920). Mr. Weissmuller was most famous for his role as Tarzan in 12 films spanning from 1932 to 1948. But in the 1920’s, he won five Olympic gold medals as a freestyle swimmer.
Pálinka, a Hungarian fruit brandy, has been around for more than 500 years. This alcoholic beverage is not simply for imbibing. Many Magyars still consider it to be a great remedy for ailments ranging from headaches to menstrual pains.
55. Judit Polgar, Chess Champion
Judit Polgar, from Hungary, is the world’s best female chess champion. In 1991, at the age of 15, she became the youngest International Chess Grandmaster. She has been considered “inactive” since 2015.
56. Significance of 96
The number 96 is important to the Hungarian people. Arpad was crowned the first king of the Magyar people in 896 which marked the beginning of Hungary. The Budapest metro was also built-in 1896 during the anniversary of the country’s millennial. It is illegal in Budapest for buildings to exceed 96 meters. Lastly, the national anthem should not exceed 96 seconds if sung at the required tempo.
57. Dohany Street Synagogue
The Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary, is known as the largest synagogue in Europe and the second-largest in the world. The house of worship has a seating capacity of 3,000 people, standing room for 2000 more and is one of the top 10 popular sights to see in Budapest. One of the facts to remember if you are planning a trip to Hungary!
58. Hungarian Influence in Hollywood
Prominent Hungarians have played a big role in shaping Hollywood. Adolf Zukor – the founder of Paramount Pictures, William Fox – the founder of Fox Film Corporation and Fox West Coast Theaters and film director Michael Curtiz all hailed from Hungary.
59. Hungarian Language
The Hungarian language is a Finno-Ugrian language and is considered one of the 20 hardest languages to learn. The Hungarian language is not related to any other European language and particularly hard for English-speaking people to pick up.
60. Statue of Anonymous
Our next interesting fact: in City Park in Budapest, there is a statue of a hooded figure known as Anonymous. The statue, representing an anonymous writer who wrote a history of the early Magyars, sits across from Vajdahunyad Castle, holding a pen in his hand. Tourists and natives like to stroke the pen for writing inspiration.
61. Hungarian Currency
Money issued in Hungary is based on the decimal systems. The currency is called forint, whereas notes come in denominations of F. 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000.
62. Water Abundance in Hungary
Although Hungary is a landlocked country, water is plentiful. Hungary is home to one large section of the Danube River and it also boasts over 1000 lakes, including the popular Lake Balaton.
63. Guinness World Record for Chalk Drawing
In September 2009, 5391 people participated in achieving the Guinness World Record for the most people simultaneously drawing with chalk. This was done in order to raise environmental awareness.
64. Aladár Gerevich, Fencing Legend
Aladár Gerevich, the Hungarian fencer, is known as the greatest swordsman that ever lived. He won six consecutive gold medals from 1932-1960.
65. St. Stephen’s Crown
Hungary’s national symbol – St. Stephen’s Crown – was taken out of the country in May of 1945 for protection during World War II. It was stored in Knox, Kentucky for 30 years until President Jimmy Carter returned it to the Hungarian people in 1978.
66. King Stephen (Istvan)
King Stephen (Istvan) is likely to be the most referenced Hungarian. He welded Magyars to a state and later introduced Christianity.
67. Two Words for Red
One of the facts to remember! There are two words for red in the Hungarian language. Vörös is used when referring to animated objects (for example: a red dog) and piros is used when describing inanimate objects (for example: a red ball).
68. Geothermal Cave System
Hungary is the home to the most extensive geothermal cave system in the world which is located underneath Budapest.
69. Ferenc Puskás, Soccer Star
A list of interesting facts about Hungary would not be complete without mentioning Ferenc Puskás, a Hungarian soccer star. He still holds the world record on goals scored in a world cup final. He has scored more than Brazil's legendary Pelé.
70. Mangalica – Hungarian Pig Breed
Another weird but interesting fact about Hungary – the Mangalica (also known as Mangalitsa) is a unique Hungarian pig breed that resembles a sheep. It was brought about after crossbreeding between Hungarian breeds from Szalonta and Bakony wild boar from Europe and Serbian Šumadija breeds. These furry pigs are known for their exceptionally delicious meat.
71. Bela Lugosi, Dracula Actor
Bela Lugosi, the actor famous for playing Dracula in 1931, was native to Hungary. He was offered the role of Frankenstein, as well, but turned it down. The role of Frankenstein ultimately went to Boris Karloff.
72. Memento Park
In the spring of 1993, Memento Park opened in Budapest. This 20-acre park holds forty-two pieces of sculpture from the former Communist regime. The park has become a favorite tourist destination.
73. George Soros, Wealthy Esperanto Speaker
George Soros, a Hungarian-American investor, is likely among the wealthiest Esperanto speakers in the world.
74. Treaty of Trianon
The Treaty of Trianon, signed on 4th June 1920, was a peace treaty between the Allies and the Kingdom of Hungary. It was the formal end of World War I for Hungary and meant Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory.
75. Creator of Volkswagen Beetle
A Hungarian engineer, Béla Barényi, created the first Volkswagen Beetle in 1938.
76. Religion in Hungary
The most common religion in Hungary is Catholicism, with 54% of the population identifying as Catholic.
77. Hungary's Economic Development
Hungary is one of the most developed countries in the old Soviet block, with a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of $181.8 (€172.29, £149.53) billions as of 2021.
What are the most historical facts about Hungary?
Listed below are the most historical facts about Hungary.
- Hungary's Long History as One of Europe's Oldest Countries. Hungary was founded in 895 and is one of the oldest countries in Europe. Arpad was crowned the first king of the Magyar people. This marked the beginning of Hungary as a nation. Hungary, for over a millennium, has developed a distinct culture and national identity. Key events in Hungary's early history include joining the Habsburg Monarchy in the 16th century, being partitioned after World War I, falling under Nazi occupation during World War II and later coming under Soviet communist control during the Cold War era. Hungary played a pivotal role in European history over the centuries.
- Pannonia's Significance as Part of the Roman Empire. During the Roman Empire, a large portion of Hungary was part of the Pannonia region. The text mentions that about 40% of Hungary was part of Pannonia during the Roman Empire. Pannonia was a province of the Roman Empire located in what is now western Hungary as well as parts of Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. It existed from the start of the 1st century AD until the demise of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. Pannonia played an important role as part of the Roman frontier defense system along the Danube River. It was a multiethnic melting pot consisting of native Illyrians, Celts, Romans, Sarmatians, Quadi, Marcomanni and other Germanic tribes. Pannonia's strategic location and resources made it an important Roman province.
- Hungary's Parliament Building as a Historic Legislative Site. The Hungarian parliament building is one of the oldest legislative buildings in Europe. The impressive Hungarian parliament building is the third largest parliament building in the world. It is also one of the oldest legislative buildings in both Western and Eastern Europe. The grand neo-Gothic structure was built between 1885-1904 on the banks of the Danube River in Budapest. It has nearly 700 rooms, with the main dome reaching 96 meters high. The building's architecture and history reflect Hungary's national identity. It survived World War II and communism. Today it is one of Budapest's most popular tourist attractions and a symbol of Hungarian democracy.
- Communist Era Shaped Modern Hungarian History. Hungary was under communist rule for over 4 decades after World War II. The facts state that after World War II, Hungary came under communist rule like the rest of Eastern Europe. This totalitarian Soviet-backed regime lasted from 1948 until the transition to democracy in 1989. During this period, Hungary was part of the Eastern Bloc under single-party rule. The Communist Party controlled the government and suppressed political opposition and dissent. The private sector was eliminated in favor of centralized state planning. In 1956, Hungarians revolted against the repression but were brutally suppressed by Soviet forces. Hungary remained under communism until free elections in 1990. This extended period under Soviet domination shaped Hungary's modern history.
- The Controversial World War I Treaty of Trianon. The Treaty of Trianon in 1920 resulted in Hungary losing two-thirds of its territory. The Treaty of Trianon formally ended World War I for Hungary. However, its terms were punitive – Hungary lost a full two-thirds of its pre-war territory to surrounding countries. This included land given to Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia and Austria. Hungary also lost access to the sea. The severe terms fueled irredentist and nationalist sentiments in Hungary between the World Wars. To this day, the Trianon Treaty remains controversial, with many viewing it as unjust. Nonetheless, it defined Hungary's borders for decades.
- Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and located in Hungary. Lake Balaton, measuring 598 square kilometers (231 square miles) in area, is the biggest lake in Central Europe. It is located in western Hungary, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Budapest. The scenic freshwater lake is a major recreation destination for Hungarians and foreign tourists alike. It is nicknamed the “Hungarian Sea” since it is relatively large for an inland European lake. The area around Lake Balaton has been settled since prehistoric times and has many historic monuments. It is also Hungary's main wine-producing region. The lake is an integral part of Hungarian geography, history and culture.
- Buda and Pest are Twin Towns that Became Budapest. Buda and Pest were separate towns on opposite sides of the Danube before unifying to form Budapest. The city of Budapest consists of two parts – Buda and Pest – that were independent towns divided by the Danube River. Buda was the older settlement located on the hilly west bank. Pest developed as a commercial center on the flat plains of the river's east bank. In 1873, the two towns merged to create Budapest, which was officially declared Hungary's capital in 1896. Today, Budapest is Hungary's primate city and houses the nation's government, economy and culture. But the names Buda and Pest still reflect the historic duality of Hungary's capital.
How did Hungary got it's name?
The name Hungary traces its origins to the Magyars, a group of tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin in the late 9th century. According to one theory, the name derives from the Turkic tribal name Onogur, meaning ‘ten tribes'. Over time, Onogur may have evolved into ‘Hungar' or ‘Ungar'. The Magyars referred to themselves as ‘Magyar' and their country as ‘Magyarország' meaning ‘Land of Magyars'.
When the Magyars arrived in Europe, their powerful state became known as the Principality of Hungary. In 1000 AD, King Stephen I transformed the principality into the Christian Kingdom of Hungary. He was later canonized as the founder of the Hungarian state. Under his rule, the country adopted Christianity, implemented reforms and established ties with Western Europe.
In the centuries that followed, Hungary emerged as a major power in Central Europe, reaching its peak in the 15th century under King Matthias Corvinus. This golden age saw advancements in arts, music and culture. However, defeat to the Ottomans at the Battle of Mohács in 1526 led to the partition of Hungary into three parts. Gradually, Hungary came under Habsburg rule as part of the Austrian Empire.
Hungary has been referred to by several names from Turkic origins to the Latin name for the Magyars. But the modern English name ‘Hungary' likely derives from the Byzantine Greek ‘Oungroi' and old Bulgarian ‘Onoguria' referring to the Magyar tribes and the territory they inhabited.
What language do people speak in Hungary?
The predominant language spoken in Hungary is Hungarian, a Uralic language unrelated to most other European languages. Hungarian is the official language of Hungary and the first language of over 13 million people worldwide. Within Hungary, 99.6% of the population speaks Hungarian as their mother tongue according to the 2011 census. Hungarian belongs to the Ugric branch of the Uralic language family, which also includes the closely related Mansi and Khanty languages. Linguists believe proto-Hungarian originated amongst Uralic-speaking Magyars inhabiting the forested Ural mountain region. Over time, the Magyar tribes migrated across the steppes to the Carpathian Basin in Europe. Despite borrowed vocabulary, Hungarian has maintained its unique Uralic roots. The written form of the Hungarian language first appeared during the 10th century AD using old Hungarian runic script. Hungary later adopted the Latin alphabet. Minority languages spoken in Hungary include German, Romani, Romanian, Croatian, Slovak, Serbian and Slovene.
What is the symbol of Hungary?
The most important national symbol of Hungary is the Holy Crown of Hungary. According to legend, the crown was a gift from Pope Sylvester II to King Stephen I, Hungary's first Christian king, at his coronation in 1000 AD. Made of gold and set with precious gems, the crown has been used in the coronation of subsequent kings for centuries. Currently housed in Hungary's Parliament building, the Holy Crown remains a key symbol of Hungarian nationhood and independence. Other key symbols include the red-white-green Hungarian tricolor flag, which has been in use in some form since the 1848 revolution and the Hungarian coat of arms depicting the crowned Hungarian coat of arms supported by angels over the country's territory. The Hungarian Turul, a mythological falcon, also appears widely in Hungarian iconography.
Why should someone choose Hungary for vacation?
There are many reasons why Hungary makes for a great vacation destination. Budapest is one of Europe's most beautiful and culturally-rich capital cities. Budapest has stunning architecture, historic sites like Buda Castle, restaurants and nightlife and attractions like thermal baths. Lake Balaton offers a seaside-like getaway in Central Europe with swimming, boating, hiking, wine regions and charming villages and resort towns along its shore.
Hungary has an abundance of warm mineral springs and bathing is an integral part of the culture. The thermal spas and bathhouses provide relaxation and purported health benefits. There are many medieval towns and villages like Hollokő and Szentendre that give a taste of old-world Hungary and offer quaint accommodations. The countryside is full of history with castles, palaces, churches and Baroque architecture waiting to be explored.
Hungarian cuisine and wines are top-notch. Foodies should try goulash, paprika-spiced dishes, Tokaji wines and artisanal products. The nation's long history from Roman times through the Austro-Hungarian empire gives many cultural sites and museums to visit. Nature lovers can hike in scenic spots like the Bükk National Park or take in the sweeping plains of the Puszta. Hungary provides good value for budget-conscious travelers compared to Western European destinations. The transportation network of trains, buses and boats makes it easy for visitors to get around.
When is the best time to visit Hungary?
Hungary has a continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. The weather varies across the country, but in Budapest the coldest month is January with average temperatures around -1°C (30°F). The warmest months are July and August when average highs reach 28-29°C (82-84°F) in the capital. June is typically the rainiest month in Budapest with approximately 60 mm (2.36 inches) of rainfall.
The best time to visit Hungary for pleasant weather is spring and early fall. In April, May, September and October, average high temperatures range from 15-22°C (59-72°F) in Budapest, providing comfortable conditions for sightseeing and outdoor activities. There is some rain during the shoulder seasons, but fewer tourists visit at this time compared to the busy summer months.
If you want to experience Hungary's famous music festivals, visit in the summer. The Sziget Festival in August draws huge crowds to Budapest with its diverse music lineup. Many wine festivals also happen in the Hungarian countryside over the summer during grape harvest season. However, summer days can be very hot in Budapest, sometimes exceeding 30°C (86°F).
In December, Budapest transforms for the Christmas markets where you can find handicrafts, ornaments and hearty Hungarian dishes like goulash. Temperatures are cold in winter, with January and February averaging highs of only 3-4°C (37-39°F) in the capital. But the markets and thermal spas are still enjoyable.
While every season has highlights, spring and early fall offer mild weather and fewer tourists for sightseeing Budapest and Hungary's beautiful countryside. Summer brings hot temperatures but lively city life and festivals. Whenever you visit, Hungary provides unique experiences year-round.
What are the best things to do in Hungary?
Listed below is the best things to do in Hungary.
- Take a thermal bath in Budapest. Budapest is known for its thermal springs and bathhouses, some of which date back to the 16th century Ottoman era. Popular baths include the historic Szechenyi, Gellert and Rudas baths.
- Tour the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest. The impressive Neo-Gothic parliament building on the Danube river is one of Budapest's top attractions. Visitors can see the ornate interiors on a guided tour.
- Visit Buda Castle in Budapest. Sitting atop Castle Hill on the Buda side of the city, the historic castle complex dates back 700+ years and offers panoramic views over the Danube.
- Explore Lake Balaton. Known as the “Hungarian Sea”, Balaton is Central Europe's largest lake and a popular summertime destination for swimming, boating, hiking and wine tasting.
- Go wine tasting at Tokaj. Tokaj is Hungary's most famous wine region, known historically for its sweet Tokaji aszú wines. Visitors can tour the wineries and sample vintages.
- Relax at a countryside spa. Hungary has hundreds of thermal spas and baths throughout the country where visitors can soak in the mineral-rich waters reputed to have therapeutic benefits.
What is the best Hungarian food to try as a visitor?
Find below is the best Hungarian food to try as a visitor.
- Goulash (Gulyás). Goulash is a hearty meat and vegetable stew made with beef, potatoes, tomatoes, onions and paprika. Goulash is a quintessential Hungarian food that all visitors should try in Hungary.
- Chicken Paprikash (Csirke Paprikás) – Chicken Paprikash is chicken simmered in a paprika-infused creamy sauce. Often served with dumplings.
- Hortobagyi Palacsinta. Hortobagyi Palacsinta is savory crepes filled with minced meat (usually veal or chicken) and served with sour cream and paprika sauce.
- Kurtos Kalacs (Chimney Cake). Kurtos Kalacs is a Hungarian street food made from sweet yeast dough baked on a spit over an open fire and coated with sugar and spices like cinnamon.
What are the best Christmas markets in Hungary?
Listed below are 3 of the best Christmas markets in Hungary.
- Budapest Christmas Market. Budapest Christmas Market is dating back to 1998 and spans Vorosmarty Square in front of St. Stephen's Basilica. The market hosts over 150 vendors, who offer traditional Hungarian food, mulled wine, arts and crafts. Don't miss the gingerbread museum on site.
- Christmas Fair at the Basilica. Christmas Fair at the Basilica is located in front of the Basilica in Székesfehérvár. This market has been around since 1996. People can wander the stalls browsing handicrafts and sampling chimney cake by the glowing fire.
- Advent Feast at the Royal Palace. Advent Feast at the Royal Palace is based at Buda Castle in Budapest and did celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2022. Take in the festive atmosphere while admiring the palace's architecture and stopping to listen to choral music performances. The palace provides a regal backdrop.
What are the most popular cities in Hungary?
Find below the most popular cities in Hungary.
- Budapest. Budapest, the capital and largest city of Hungary, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with its elegant boulevards, striking buildings, thermal baths and vibrant nightlife. Budapest has been inhabited since ancient times and became a city in 1873 with the unification of Buda, Pest and Óbuda.
- Debrecen. Debrecen, Hungary's second largest city, is an important cultural, commercial and educational center in eastern Hungary. Debrecen has been settled since the 9th century and became a city in the 16th century. It is home to the Great Church, Hungary's largest Protestant church.
- Szeged. Szeged, located in southern Hungary, is the country's third largest city and an important university town. Szeged has existed since the 2nd century AD and became a free royal town in the 15th century. The city is renowned for its wide boulevards, statues, churches and the Szeged National Theatre.
- Miskolc. Miskolc in northeastern Hungary is one of the country's oldest cities, first inhabited in the Palaeolithic era. Miskolc became an important economic center during the industrialization of Hungary in the 20th century. Key attractions include the Cave Bath thermal spa and the Castle of Diósgyőr.
- Pécs. Pécs, located in southern Hungary close to the border with Croatia, was founded by Romans in the 2nd century AD. Pécs has a historic city center with Turkish and medieval architecture, was named the European Capital of Culture in 2010 and is home to the oldest university in Hungary.
Who are the most famous Hungarian people?
Find below he most famous Hungarian people.
- Ferenc Liszt. Ferenc Liszt is a composer considered one of the greatest pianists of all time. Liszt was an influential composer and teacher during the Romantic era. He helped establish the symphonic poem form and made innovations in piano technique and harmony.
- Harry Houdini. Harry Houdini is an illusionist born Erik Weisz in Budapest. Houdini was one of the most famous magicians and escape artists of the early 20th century. He pioneered many stage illusions still performed today.
- Joseph Pulitzer. Joseph Pulitzer is a publisher who emigrated from Hungary to the United States and made a fortune in journalism. His New York World newspaper pioneered an aggressive reporting style. The Pulitzer Prize for journalism, literature and music was established through a grant in his will.
- Béla Bartók. Béla Bartók is a composer and ethnomusicologist in the early 1900s. Along with Zoltán Kodály, he collected and preserved traditional Hungarian folk music and incorporated folk elements into his own innovative compositions.
- Ernő Rubik. Ernő Rubik is an inventor and the creator of Rubik's Cube in 1974. Rubik designed one of the world's best selling and most iconic puzzles. Over 350 million cubes have been sold globally.
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