is a heart-stealer; it will lure you back again and again to sample its rich wines,
lounge in its thermal spas, gaze at its birdlife and make one more attempt to
master its hermetic language. It has all the luxury of western Europe with a Magyar
twist and at half the cost.
Hungarian art and architecture is laced with Romanesque,
Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau influences. The country has one of the finest
folk traditions in Europe, producing excellent examples of embroidery, pottery,
ceiling and wall painting, and objects carved from wood or bone. Its musical contributions
are just as rich, and range from the rhapsodies of Franz Liszt and the operas
of Ferenc Erkel to Gypsy and folk music. Literature has been shaped by the monumental
events of the nation's history, which have given rise to swashbuckling odes, stirring
poems of independence, gritty tales of realism, and strident polemic. Soccer is
far and away the favourite spectator sport, while chess is also popular.
and largest city - Budapest - graceful city, has a lively arts, cafe and
music scene, and is host to a range of cultural and sporting festivals.
the countryside you'll find majestic plains, resort-lined lakes, Baroque towns,
horse markets and rustic villages.
Official language - hungarian,
but German is popular too.
Currency - forint.
Hungary was part of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed
during World War I. The country fell under Communist rule following World War
II. In 1956, a revolt and announced withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact were met with
a massive military intervention by Moscow. Under the leadership of Janos KADAR
in 1968, Hungary began liberalizing its economy, introducing so-called "Goulash
Communism." Hungary held its first multiparty elections in 1990 and initiated
a free market economy. It joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
is a kidney-shaped country lying in the centre of Europe; it shares borders with
seven neighbours: Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia & Montenegro,
Croatia and Slovenia. There are three basic topographies: the low-lying regions
of the Great Plain in the east, centre and southeast, and the Little Plain in
the northwest; the northern mountain ranges, which include Hungary's highest peak
(the 1015m/3330ft-high Kekesteto); and the hilly regions of Transdanubia in the
west and south-west. The biggest rivers are the Danube and the Tisza, which divide
the country into thirds, and the Drava, which forms the southwestern border with
Croatia. The country has over 1000 lakes - the largest, Balaton, is strewn with
- 10.1 million (89.9% Hungarian, 4% Roma, 2.6% German, 0.8% Slovak, 0.7% Romanian)
- 68% Roman Catholic, 21% Reformed (Calvinist) Protestant, 6% Evangelical (Lutheran),
city known as Budapest actually consists of three cities: Obuda,
the oldest section, with Celtic and Roman ruins on the Buda side of the Danube;
Buda in the gently rolling hills on the western bank, famous for its historic
Castle Hill and beautiful residential area; and bustling Pest with its shopping,
government and commercial districts on the flat plain of the east bank. United
in 1873, Budapest is renowned as the location of one of the most beautiful World
Budapest can say of itself that it has Europe's largest Parliament, largest functioning
synagogue and the continent's first underground railway.
visitor will find side by side the remains of fortresses and buildings from Roman
times, still operating Turkish baths, Gothic and Baroque buildings, and the incredibly
rich Art Nouveau architectural heritage.
only is Budapest the worthy holder of the title "Queen of the Danube",
but in fact there is no other capital city in the world with almost 100 thermal
springs and 12 medicinal baths within its boundaries, where 19 million gallons
of thermal water rise to the surface each day.
spectacular development, Budapest has preserved its old charm and magic. It is
a city where the pleasing harmony of different architectural styles and superb
structures, the cafes, baths, the food and culture, combined with legendary hospitality
blend into an unforgettable experience for visitors.
lovers of culture, the only problem is choice. 237 monuments, 223 museums and
galleries, 35 theatres, 90 cinemas, 2 opera houses, 12 concert halls and nearly
200 places of amusement offer a wide variety of things to do. Travel agencies
organize walks and sight-seeing tours by coach and boat, tailored to your requirements
every day of the year.
have to dig a little to unearth the wonders of Hungarian cuisine.
The natural abundance of fruits and vegetables should make eating here a delight,
but unfortunately this is often not the case. Generally, basic dishes consist
of fatty meat (pork is generally preferred) or overcooked fish, some sort of starch,
and a teensy-weensy garnish of pickles. National staples include porkolt (stew,
and what everyone calls 'goulash' abroad); gulyas (a thickish beef soup); and
halaszle (spicy fish soup cooked with paprika). If you keep your eyes open for
jokai bableves (bean soup), hideg gyumolcsleves (cold fruit soup made from sour
cherry) or palacsinta (stuffed crepes) your tastebuds will thank you for it. Decent
wine isn't difficult to find (but you'll have to look hard for the very good stuff),
while the beer is good, and the brandy (palinka) vee-ee-ry strong.
treatment available in Hungary is adequate at best, but hospital facilities
and nursing support are not comparable to those in the United States. Physicians
are generally well trained, but there is a lack of adequate emergency services.
A language barrier can exist as well, if one does not speak Hungarian. Doctors
and hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Electricity (voltage) - 220 V, 50 Hz, plug
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