Hungary: the republic between East and West

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Main facts:

  • Capital city: Budapest

  • Language(s): Hungarian

  • Currency: Hungarian Forint, HUF

  • Population: 9,809,000

  • Timezone: UTC+1

  • Main religion: Catholicism (55%)

  • Standard of living (subjectively): medium

  • Information will be updated

Top 10 interesting places and activities:

Approximate costs (person/day):

~€ 15-40

~€ 0,5-2

~€ 5-10

~€ 5-10

Sights map of Hungary

Travel around Hungary

The Kingdom of Hungary was proclaimed at the beginning of the 11th century AD, when the ruler of the local peoples, Stephen the First, announced the creation of a single state. The most beautiful Basilica of Hungary in Budapest is called by his name. The state retained its independence throughout the vast number of wars that swept through its territory over the next several centuries: the Mongol invasion, the war with the Ottoman Turks, German Austrians and Russian troops.

From the middle of the 15th century, the hereditary Duke from the House of Habsburg began to rule the state, as a result Hungary fell under the protectorate of Austria. However, the invasion of Ottoman Turks under the leadership of the great commander Suleiman the Magnificent (during which Constantinople was taken and the Byzantine Empire was destroyed) led to endless wars between the Austrians and Turkish troops, which invariably took place on Hungarian lands. The local peasants were partly pleased with the Turks, since their own authorities imposed excessive taxes on them; many even adopted Turkish traditions, language and the Muslim faith. The Austro-Turkish Wars were fought with varying success over several centuries, which did not allow the Hungarian people to flourish. It is important to understand: Hungary has never considered itself a full-fledged part of the Austrian empire (such as Germany), therefore, at the slightest opportunity, it sought to secede from it and become independent. This is partly due to fundamentally different national traditions, language barriers and fundamental values ​​of the Hungarian people. Over the next centuries, Hungary first achieved partial independence from Austria (when Austria-Hungary was formed), and after the First World War gained final freedom. Since November 1918, Hungary has been chronicling its first independent state.

The country's further history describes the controversial policy of the authorities: first it was decided to build a socialist state (at the same time an alliance with the Soviet Union was concluded), but then a partial monarchy was restored, and in 1938 Hungary entered into an alliance with Hitler, thanks to which it received several part of neighboring countries. Fighting on the side of Nazi Germany in World War II, the Hungarians were among the most brutal and devoted warriors. But they were betrayed by Hitler in 1944, when German troops occupied Hungary and organized the genocide of the Jewish population, which led to enormous human losses. The liberation of Hungary by the USSR troops led to the establishment of the pro-Soviet regime in the country, which repeatedly received uprisings of the nationalist-minded local population. The long-awaited peace in these lands and the return to the country's democratization policy came only with the weakening of the power of the Soviet Union in 1989, when the new leadership announced the restoration of an independent Hungarian republic. Since the beginning of the 21st century, Hungary has entered a period of development, marked by major economic and political reforms, as well as a direction towards European integration. Today, Hungary is a member of the European Union, the Schengen Agreement and actively participates in the political life of Europe and the Balkans.

However, Hungary can not be called a full-fledged European country. The point is not that they are a bit poorer, or that human rights are worse here, just the local population is of a different constitution. They value their national interests above all European, their independence and self-consciousness above common unity, and cultural traditions above modern trends. This becomes the object of attacks by various European organizations, which stand up for tolerance towards everything and freedom for any manifestation of human nature. The Hungarian government (and the people themselves) can hardly agree with this, as a result, they are exposed in Europe as "antagonists of human rights and freedoms." But my opinion is somewhat different: modern-day Hungary is one of the most consistent and strong in its convictions European countries, where international and geopolitical interests never became the basis for infringing national ones. Perhaps there are harassment on ethnic, religious and other foundations, but during a visit to the country you will not encounter anything like that. On the contrary, you will see a very special folk culture whose history dates back from the depths of ages. Despite the constant wars on the Hungarian lands and alternate control from the Austrians and the Turks, the Hungarians managed to retain their unique identity, for which millions of tourists come here every year.

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The most beautiful and largest city in the country is the capital city of Budapest. Once, two separate cities, Buda and Pest, on both sides of the Danube are today united into a single metropolis, where about 2 million people live. It is impressive from the first moments and is filled with many incredible sights. Monumental fortresses and castles, baths with thermal springs, hilly relief and wide Danube - only a small fraction of its beauty. First of all, in Budapest you should walk along the embankment, visit the Buda Castle and the building of the Hungarian Parliament. These places look beautiful at any time of day: at dawn, during the day, at sunset ... and at night they are illuminated with golden light, creating an incredible feeling of magic. In Budapest, you should definitely go into the Zoo: there is not only a lot of open enclosures where you can be on hand with animals, but also a huge number of aviaries that can not be avoided in half a day. Walking along the central Andrassy Avenue, you will inevitably get to Heroes Square, where the monument to the 1000th anniversary of Hungary rises. Nearby is the ancient Vajdahunyad Castle and the famous Széchenyi Bath. The best things about the history and culture of Hungary will tell the National Museum, National Gallery and the House of Terror. Budapest is a magnificent monumental city that you can enjoy all the time.

Budapest is a real gem among all of Europe. Already for this city it is worth to come to original Hungary and plunge headlong into the national flavor. By the way, if suddenly the local massive architecture with baroque inserts seems familiar to you, do not think long - most of this beauty was built by Austrian and invited Italian architects. It is thanks to them that Hungary owes the majority of its beautiful cathedrals, palaces and castles. But if you want to feel the country for real, if you want to fill the sights with deep meaning, and also to learn about the great past and natural landscapes, it is worth going outside the capital. Near Budapest there are several interesting places in the country: the royal palace in Gödöllё, the vibrant city of Szentendre, the real fortress in Visegrád, as well as one of Europe’s largest basilicas, the Basilica of St. Adalbert in Esztergom. You can see these miracles literally in one day, and therefore you should not lose sight of them at all.

A little further from Budapest is the largest lake in Central Europe - Balaton Lake, which is also the largest resort in Hungary. Thousands of tourists from all over Europe come here to swim in azure water, walk along well-groomed embankments and cross the lake on yachts and ferries. In the center of the lake one of the most beautiful villages in the country Tihany is located. On a high hill in its center stands the Benedictine monastery, and the village itself consists of traditional rural houses and paved pavements, on which it is so nice to walk. No less beautiful, but even more interesting landscapes can be seen in the ancient village of Hollókő, which is decorated with the Hungarian folk motifs and is literally theatrical scenery. It is definitely worth a visit!

In addition to old villages and a large lake, there are many more interesting places in Hungary. For example, you can arrange a tour of the ancient cities of the country: Gyor, Sopron, Pesc, Szeged, Debrecen - each of them leaves the most pleasant impression of its historic center, as well as towering Catholic cathedrals of unique forms and gigantic sizes. But if you suddenly want to relax in nature or take a bath in the thermal springs, then it's time to go to Lake Heviz, to the mountain resort of Lillafured, cave bath in Miskolc-Tapolca or to the homeland of the famous Tokay wines - the Tokaj wine region.

Hungary is filled with beautiful sights and interesting places. Here you can find a quiet nature, ancient history, magnificent palaces and castles, as well as a special national flavor that distinguishes Hungary from other European countries. Welcome to the republic between East and West - colorful and unique Hungary!

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