The Hungarian language is very different from those of its neighbouring countries which speak Slavic languages. Hungarian is more closely related to Estonian and Finnish which share a common history from when the Huns invaded the region in around 500 CE.
The Kingdom of Hungary existed for 950 years before being absorbed into the Habsburg empire which later became the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918).
World War I was triggered when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife Sophie were shot in Sarajevo by a Bosnian Serb assassin.
Hungary was on the losing side with Germany in both World Wars. After World War I it lost two-thirds of its territory, including its only sea port and most of its population, to other countries.
After World War II the Soviet Union controlled Hungary, but not as strictly as in other Warsaw Pact countries. Hungary’s soft ‘goulash-communism’ lasted until the fall of communism in 1989.
Hungary is better known for its wine than its beer. The wine is of higher quality and is more popular. When in Rome…
Hungary has some of the best food in Central/Eastern Europe. It is famous for paprika (which is also the Hungarian word for pepper, pronounced here as ‘paw-prick-kaw) which infuses most of their food. It is often classified as édes (sweet) or csípős (hot), but there are actually 8 different grades. Hungarian specialties include stews, braised dishes, and soups including the famous gulyás (goulash).
Hungary is very good at water polo, winning gold in the last 3 Olympic games, and also in swimming (they are 4th in the all-time Olympic medal count).
Hungary has hundreds of small lakes and hot springs. There are hot springs all over the capital of Budapest (pronounced ‘Boo-dah-pesht’).
Budapest is a beautiful conglomerate of 2 cities on opposite sides of the Danube river – Buda and Pest. Buda is the hilly and more historic part, and Pest is flat and more modern.