- 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.
Hungarian Parliament Building beside the Danube River
- 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.
Castle Hill in Buda