Introduction to Hungary
Jo napot kivanok! That’s hello in Magyar (Hungarian), Hungary’s official language, and welcome to the spa capital of Europe and birthplace of the creators of the Rubik’s cube and ballpoint pen.
Hungary is a landlocked country within Central Europe and borders Slovakia to the north, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Romania and Ukraine to the east, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. With a population of nearly 10 million, Hungary has a similar size and population to Portugal. It is flat in the east, hilly in the west and divided by the Danube River. It also features hundreds of small lakes and thermal springs. Budapest is Hungary’s vibrant capital, epicentre and party hub.
Hungary was founded in 896, which predates the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and makes it one of the oldest countries in Europe. It was once part of the Celtic world as well as the Roman Empire. Hungary became a communist country in the late 1940s, but its people unsuccessfully revolted against the government and the Soviet regime in the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. It wasn’t until 1989 that the Communist party opened the country’s struggling economy and one year later the first multiparty election in 51 years was held. Hungary joined the European Union in 2004.
Hungarian gastronomic delights include meat dishes furnished with paprika and wine from the Tokaji region. Along with the country’s thermal spring culture and spa-driven tourism, Hungary also boasts a history rich with classical and folk music as well as a brood of inventors. Composers like Zoltán Kodály and Franz Liszt and the inventors of the Rubik's cube (Erno Rubik), the krypton electric bulb (Imre Bródy) and the theory of the hydrogen bomb (Edward Teller) were all born here.