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The "H" in the name of Hungary (and Latin Hungaria) is most likely derived from historical associations with the Huns, who had settled Hungary prior to the Avars. The rest of the word comes from the Latinised form of Byzantine GreekOungroi (Οὔγγροι). The Greek name might be borrowed from Old Bulgarianągrinŭ, in turn borrowed from Oghur-TurkicOnogur ('ten Ogurs'). Onogur was the collective name for the tribes who later joined the Bulgar tribal confederacy that ruled the eastern parts of Hungary after the Avars.
The Hungarian endonym is Magyarország, composed of magyar ('Hungarian') and ország ('country'). The name "Magyar", which refers to the people of the country, more accurately reflects the name of the country in some other languages such as Turkish, Persian and other languages as Magyaristan or Land of Magyars or similar. The word magyar is taken from the name of one of the seven major semi-nomadic Hungarian tribes, magyeri. The first element magy is likely from proto-Ugric *mäńć- 'man, person', also found in the name of the Mansi people (mäńćī, mańśi, måńś). The second element eri, 'man, men, lineage', survives in Hungarian férj 'husband', and is cognate with Marierge 'son', Finnish archaic yrkä 'young man'.
Roman provinces: Illyricum, Macedonia, Dacia, Moesia, Pannonia, Thracia
The Roman Empire conquered the territory between the Alps and the area west of the Danube River from 16 to 15 BC, the Danube being the frontier of the empire. In 14 BC, Pannonia, the western part of the Carpathian Basin, which includes today's west of Hungary, was recognised by emperor Augustus in the Res Gestae Divi Augusti as part of the Roman Empire. The area south-east of Pannonia was organised as the Roman province Moesia in 6 BC. An area east of the river Tisza became the Roman province of Dacia in 106 AD, which included today's east Hungary. It remained under Roman rule until 271. From 235, the Roman Empire went through troubled times, caused by revolts, rivalry and rapid succession of emperors. The Western Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century under the stress of the migration of Germanic tribes and Carpian pressure.
This period brought many invaders into Central Europe, beginning with the Hunnic Empire (c. 370–469). The most powerful ruler of the Hunnic Empire was Attila the Hun (434–453), who later became a central figure in Hungarian mythology. After the disintegration of the Hunnic Empire, the Gepids, an Eastern Germanic tribe, who had been vassalised by the Huns, established their own kingdom in the Carpathian Basin. Other groups which reached the Carpathian Basin during the Migration Period were the Goths, Vandals, Lombards, and Slavs.
In the 560s, the Avars founded the Avar Khaganate, a state that maintained supremacy in the region for more than two centuries. The Franks under Charlemagne defeated the Avars in a series of campaigns during the 790s. Between 804 and 829, the First Bulgarian Empire conquered the lands east of the Danube and took over the rule of the local Slavic tribes and remnants of the Avars. By the mid-9th century, the Balaton Principality, also known as Lower Pannonia, was established west of the Danube as part of the Frankish March of Pannonia.
Initially, the rising Principality of Hungary ("Western Tourkia" in medieval Greek sources) was a state created by a semi-nomadic people. It accomplished an enormous transformation into a Christian realm during the 10th century. This state was well-functioning, and the nation's military power allowed the Hungarians to conduct successful fierce campaigns and raids, from Constantinople to as far as today's Spain. The Hungarians defeated no fewer than three major East Frankish imperial armies between 907 and 910. A defeat at the Battle of Lechfeld in 955 signaled a provisory end to most campaigns on foreign territories, at least towards the west.
The Holy Crown (Szent Korona), one of the key symbols of Hungary
The most powerful and wealthiest king of the Árpád dynasty was Béla III, who disposed of the equivalent of 23 tonnes of silver per year. This exceeded the income of the French king (estimated at 17 tonnes) and was double the receipts of the English Crown.Andrew II issued the Diploma Andreanum which secured the special privileges of the Transylvanian Saxons and is considered the first autonomy law in the world. He led the Fifth Crusade to the Holy Land in 1217, setting up the largest royal army in the history of Crusades. His Golden Bull of 1222 was the first constitution in Continental Europe. The lesser nobles also began to present Andrew with grievances, a practice that evolved into the institution of the parliament (parlamentum publicum).
In 1241–1242, the kingdom received a major blow with the Mongol (Tatar) invasion. Up to half of Hungary's population of 2 million were victims of the invasion. King Béla IV let Cumans and Jassic people into the country, who were fleeing the Mongols. Over the centuries, they were fully assimilated into the Hungarian population. After the Mongols retreated, King Béla ordered the construction of hundreds of stone castles and fortifications, to defend against a possible second Mongol invasion. The Mongols returned to Hungary in 1285, but the newly built stone-castle systems and new tactics (using a higher proportion of heavily armed knights) stopped them. The invading Mongol force was defeated near Pest by the royal army of King Ladislaus IV. As with later invasions, it was repelled handily, the Mongols losing much of their invading force.
The Kingdom of Hungary reached one of its greatest extents during the Árpádian kings, yet royal power was weakened at the end of their rule in 1301. After a destructive period of interregnum (1301–1308), the first Angevin king, Charles I of Hungary – a bilineal descendant of the Árpád dynasty – successfully restored royal power and defeated oligarch rivals, the so-called "little kings". The second Angevin Hungarian king, Louis the Great (1342–1382), led many successful military campaigns from Lithuania to southern Italy (Kingdom of Naples) and was also king of Poland from 1370. After King Louis died without a male heir, the country was stabilised only when Sigismund of Luxembourg (1387–1437) succeeded to the throne, who in 1433 also became Holy Roman Emperor. Sigismund was also (in several ways) a bilineal descendant of the Árpád dynasty.
From a small noble family in Transylvania, John Hunyadi grew to become one of the country's most powerful lords, thanks to his outstanding capabilities as a mercenary commander. He was elected governor, then regent. He was a successful crusader against the Ottoman Turks, one of his greatest victories being the siege of Belgrade in 1456.
The last strong king of medieval Hungary was the Renaissance king Matthias Corvinus (1458–1490), son of John Hunyadi. His election was the first time that a member of the nobility mounted to the Hungarian royal throne without dynastic background. He was a successful military leader and an enlightened patron of the arts and learning. His library, the Bibliotheca Corviniana, was Europe's greatest collection of historical chronicles, philosophic and scientific works in the 15th century, and second only in size to the Vatican Library. Items from the Bibliotheca Corviniana were inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2005. The serfs and common people considered him a just ruler because he protected them from excessive demands and other abuses by the magnates. Under his rule, in 1479, the Hungarian army destroyed the Ottoman and Wallachian troops at the Battle of Breadfield. Abroad he defeated the Polish and German imperial armies of Frederick at Breslau (Wrocław). Matthias' mercenary standing army, the Black Army of Hungary, was an unusually large army for its time, and it conquered Vienna as well as parts of Austria and Bohemia.
King Matthias died without lawful sons, and the Hungarian magnates procured the accession of the Pole Vladislaus II (1490–1516), supposedly because of his weak influence on Hungarian aristocracy. Hungary's international role declined, its political stability was shaken, and social progress was deadlocked. In 1514, the weakened old King Vladislaus II faced a major peasant rebellion led by György Dózsa, which was ruthlessly crushed by the nobles, led by John Zápolya. The resulting degradation of order paved the way for Ottoman pre-eminence. In 1521, the strongest Hungarian fortress in the South, Nándorfehérvár (today's Belgrade, Serbia), fell to the Turks. The early appearance of Protestantism further worsened internal relations in the country.
Painting commemorating the Siege of Eger, a major victory against the Ottomans
After some 150 years of wars with the Hungarians and other states, the Ottomans gained a decisive victory over the Hungarian army at the Battle of Mohács in 1526, where King Louis II died while fleeing. Amid political chaos, the divided Hungarian nobility elected two kings simultaneously, John Zápolya and Ferdinand I of the Habsburg dynasty. With the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, Hungary was divided into three parts and remained so until the end of the 17th century. The north-western part, termed as Royal Hungary, was annexed by the Habsburgs who ruled as kings of Hungary. The eastern part of the kingdom became independent as the Principality of Transylvania, under Ottoman (and later Habsburg) suzerainty. The remaining central area, including the capital Buda, was known as the Pashalik of Buda.
The vast majority of the seventeen and nineteen thousand Ottoman soldiers in service in the Ottoman fortresses in the territory of Hungary were Orthodox and Muslim Balkan Slavs rather than ethnic Turkish people. Orthodox Southern Slavs were also acting as akinjis and other light troops intended for pillaging in the territory of present-day Hungary. In 1686, the Holy League's army, containing over 74,000 men from various nations, reconquered Buda from the Turks. After some more crushing defeats of the Ottomans in the next few years, the entire Kingdom of Hungary was removed from Ottoman rule by 1718. The last raid into Hungary by the Ottoman vassals Tatars from Crimea took place in 1717. The constrained Habsburg Counter-Reformation efforts in the 17th century reconverted the majority of the kingdom to Catholicism. The ethnic composition of Hungary was fundamentally changed as a consequence of the prolonged warfare with the Turks. A large part of the country became devastated, population growth was stunted, and many smaller settlements perished. The Austrian-Habsburg government settled large groups of Serbs and other Slavs in the depopulated south, and settled Germans (called Danube Swabians) in various areas, but Hungarians were not allowed to settle or re-settle in the south of the Carpathian Basin.
Between 1703 and 1711, there was a large-scale war of independence led by Francis II Rákóczi, who after the dethronement of the Habsburgs in 1707 at the Diet of Ónod, took power provisionally as the ruling prince for the wartime period, but refused the Hungarian crown and the title "king". The uprisings lasted for years. The Hungarian Kuruc army, although taking over most of the country, lost the main battle at Trencsén (1708). Three years later, because of the growing desertion, defeatism, and low morale, the Kuruc forces finally surrendered.
During the Napoleonic Wars and afterward, the Hungarian Diet had not convened for decades. In the 1820s, the emperor was forced to convene the Diet, which marked the beginning of a Reform Period (1825–1848, Hungarian: reformkor). Count István Széchenyi, one of the most prominent statesmen of the country, recognised the urgent need for modernisation and his message got through. The Hungarian Parliament was reconvened in 1825 to handle financial needs. A liberal party emerged and focused on providing for the peasantry. Lajos Kossuth—a famous journalist at that time—emerged as a leader of the lower gentry in the Parliament. A remarkable upswing started as the nation concentrated its forces on modernisation even though the Habsburg monarchs obstructed all important liberal laws relating to civil and political rights and economic reforms. Many reformers (Lajos Kossuth, Mihály Táncsics) were imprisoned by the authorities.
On 15 March 1848, mass demonstrations in Pest and Buda enabled Hungarian reformists to push through a list of 12 demands. Under Governor and President Lajos Kossuth and Prime Minister Lajos Batthyány, the House of Habsburg was dethroned. The Habsburg ruler and his advisors skillfully manipulated the Croatian, Serbian and Romanian peasantry, led by priests and officers firmly loyal to the Habsburgs, and induced them to rebel against the Hungarian government, though the Hungarians were supported by the vast majority of the Slovak, German and Rusyn nationalities and by all the Jews of the kingdom, as well as by a large number of Polish, Austrian and Italian volunteers. In July 1849 the Hungarian Parliament proclaimed and enacted the first laws of ethnic and minority rights in the world. Many members of the nationalities gained the coveted highest positions within the Hungarian Army, like General János Damjanich, an ethnic Serb who became a Hungarian national hero through his command of the 3rd Hungarian Army Corps or Józef Bem, who was Polish and also became a national hero in Hungary. The Hungarian forces (Honvédség) defeated Austrian armies. To counter the successes of the Hungarian revolutionary army, Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph I asked for help from the "Gendarme of Europe", Tsar Nicholas I, whose Russian armies invaded Hungary. This made Artúr Görgey surrender in August 1849. The leader of the Austrian army, Julius Jacob von Haynau, became governor of Hungary for a few months and ordered the execution of the 13 Martyrs of Arad, leaders of the Hungarian army, and Prime Minister Batthyány in October 1849. Kossuth escaped into exile. Following the war of 1848–1849, the whole country was in "passive resistance".
Because of external and internal problems, reforms seemed inevitable, and major military defeats of Austria forced the Habsburgs to negotiate the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, by which the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary was formed. This empire had the second largest area in Europe (after the Russian Empire), and it was the third most populous (after Russia and the German Empire). The two realms were governed separately by two parliaments from two capital cities, with a common monarch and common external and military policies. Economically, the empire was a customs union. The old Hungarian Constitution was restored, and Franz Joseph I was crowned as King of Hungary. The era witnessed impressive economic development. The formerly backward Hungarian economy became relatively modern and industrialised by the turn of the 20th century, although agriculture remained dominant until 1890. In 1873, the old capital Buda and Óbuda were officially united with Pest, thus creating the new metropolis of Budapest. Many of the state institutions and the modern administrative system of Hungary were established during this period.
After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Prime Minister István Tisza and his cabinet tried to avoid the outbreak and escalating of a war in Europe, but their diplomatic efforts were unsuccessful. Austria-Hungary drafted 9 million (fighting forces: 7.8 million) soldiers in World War I (over 4 million from the Kingdom of Hungary) on the side of Germany, Bulgaria, and Turkey. The troops raised in the Kingdom of Hungary spent little time defending the actual territory of Hungary, with the exceptions of the Brusilov offensive in June 1916 and a few months later when the Romanian army made an attack into Transylvania,[self-published source?] both of which were repelled. The Central Powers conquered Serbia. Romania declared war. The Central Powers conquered southern Romania and the Romanian capital Bucharest. In 1916 Emperor Joseph died, and the new monarch Charles IV sympathised with the pacifists. With great difficulty, the Central Powers stopped and repelled the attacks of the Russian Empire.
The Eastern Front of the Allied (Entente) Powers completely collapsed. The Austro-Hungarian Empire then withdrew from all defeated countries. On the Italian front, the Austro-Hungarian army made no progress against Italy after January 1918. Despite great success on the Eastern Front, Germany suffered complete defeat on the Western Front. By 1918, the economic situation had deteriorated (strikes in factories were organised by leftist and pacifist movements) and uprisings in the army had become commonplace. In the capital cities, the Austrian and Hungarian leftist liberal movements (the maverick parties) and their leaders supported the separatism of ethnic minorities. Austria-Hungary signed a general armistice in Padua on 3 November 1918. In October 1918, Hungary's union with Austria was dissolved.
With the Treaty of Trianon, Hungary lost 72% of its territory, its sea ports, and 3,425,000 ethnic Hungarians
Majority Hungarian areas (according to the 1910 census) detached from Hungary
Following the First World War, Hungary underwent a period of profound political upheaval, beginning with the Aster Revolution in 1918, which brought the social-democratic Mihály Károlyi to power as prime minister. The Hungarian Royal Honvéd army still had more than 1,400,000 soldiers when Károlyi was installed. Károlyi yielded to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's demand for pacifism by ordering the disarmament of the Hungarian army. This happened under the direction of Béla Linder, minister of war in the Károlyi government. Disarmament of its army meant that Hungary was to remain without a national defence at a time of particular vulnerability. During the rule of Károlyi's pacifist cabinet, Hungary lost control over approximately 75% of its former pre-WW1 territories (325,411 square kilometres (125,642 sq mi)) without a fight and was subject to foreign occupation. The Little Entente, sensing an opportunity, invaded the country from three sides—Romania invaded Transylvania, Czechoslovakia annexed Upper Hungary (today's Slovakia), and a joint Serb-French coalition annexed Vojvodina and other southern regions. In March 1919, communists led by Béla Kun ousted the Károlyi government and proclaimed the Hungarian Soviet Republic (Tanácsköztársaság), followed by a thorough Red Terror campaign. Despite some successes on the Czechoslovak front, Kun's forces were ultimately unable to resist the Romanian invasion; by August 1919, Romanian troops occupied Budapest and ousted Kun.
In November 1919, rightist forces led by former Austro-Hungarian admiral Miklós Horthy entered Budapest; exhausted by the war and its aftermath, the populace accepted Horthy's leadership. In January 1920, parliamentary elections were held, and Horthy was proclaimed regent of the reestablished Kingdom of Hungary, inaugurating the so-called "Horthy era" (Horthy-kor). The new government worked quickly to normalise foreign relations while turning a blind eye to a White Terror that swept through the countryside; extrajudicial killings of suspected communists and Jews lasted well into 1920. On 4 June 1920, the Treaty of Trianon established new borders for Hungary. The country lost 71% of its territory and 66% of its pre-war population, as well as many sources of raw materials and its sole port at Fiume. Though the revision of the treaty quickly rose to the top of the national political agenda, the Horthy government was not willing to resort to military intervention to do so.
The initial years of the Horthy regime were preoccupied with putsch attempts by Charles IV, the Austro-Hungarian pretender; continued suppression of communists; and a migration crisis triggered by the Trianon territorial changes. Though free elections continued, Horthy's personality and those of his personally selected prime ministers dominated the political scene. The government's actions continued to drift right with the passage of antisemitic laws and, because of the continued isolation of the Little Entente, economic and then political gravitation towards Italy and Germany. The Great Depression further exacerbated the situation, and the popularity of fascist politicians increased, such as Gyula Gömbös and Ferenc Szálasi, promising economic and social recovery.
Horthy's nationalist agenda reached its apogee in 1938 and 1940, when the Nazis rewarded Hungary's staunchly pro-Germany foreign policy in the First and Second Vienna Awards, peacefully restoring ethnic-Hungarian-majority areas lost after Trianon. In 1939, Hungary regained further territory from Czechoslovakia through force. Hungary formally joined the Axis powers on 20 November 1940 and in 1941 participated in the invasion of Yugoslavia, gaining some of its former territories in the south.
Hungary formally entered World War II as an Axis power on 26 June 1941, declaring war on the Soviet Union after unidentified planes bombed Kassa, Munkács, and Rahó. Hungarian troops fought on the Eastern Front for two years. Despite early success at the Battle of Uman, the government began seeking a secret peace pact with the Allies after the Second Army suffered catastrophic losses at the River Don in January 1943. Learning of the planned defection, German troops occupied Hungary on 19 March 1944 to guarantee Horthy's compliance. In October, as the Soviet front approached, and the government made further efforts to disengage from the war, German troops ousted Horthy and installed a puppet government under Szálasi's fascist Arrow Cross Party. Szálasi pledged all the country's capabilities in service of the German war machine. By October 1944, the Soviets had reached the river Tisza, and despite some losses, succeeded in encircling and besieging Budapest in December.
After German occupation, Hungary participated in the Holocaust. During the German occupation in May–June 1944, the Arrow Cross and Hungarian police deported nearly 440,000 Jews, mainly to Auschwitz. Nearly all of them were murdered. The Swedish Diplomat Raoul Wallenberg managed to save a considerable number of Hungarian Jews by giving them Swedish passports.Rezső Kasztner, one of the leaders of the Hungarian Aid and Rescue Committee, bribed senior SS officers such as Adolf Eichmann to allow some Jews to escape. The Horthy government's complicity in the Holocaust remains a point of controversy and contention.
The war left Hungary devastated, destroying over 60% of the economy and causing significant loss of life. In addition to the over 600,000 Hungarian Jews killed, as many as 280,000 other Hungarians were raped, murdered and executed or deported for slave labour by Czechoslovaks, Soviet Red Army troops, and Yugoslavs.
On 13 February 1945, Budapest surrendered; by April, German troops left the country under Soviet military occupation. 200,000 Hungarians were expelled from Czechoslovakia in exchange for 70,000 Slovaks living in Hungary. 202,000 ethnic Germans were expelled to Germany, and through the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties, Hungary was again reduced to its immediate post-Trianon borders.
Following the defeat of Nazi Germany, Hungary became a satellite state of the Soviet Union. The Soviet leadership selected Mátyás Rákosi to front the Stalinisation of the country, and Rákosi de facto ruled Hungary from 1949 to 1956. His government's policies of militarisation, industrialisation, collectivisation, and war compensation led to a severe decline in living standards. In imitation of Stalin's KGB, the Rákosi government established a secret political police, the ÁVH, to enforce the regime. In the ensuing purges, approximately 350,000 officials and intellectuals were imprisoned or executed from 1948 to 1956. Many freethinkers, democrats, and Horthy-era dignitaries were secretly arrested and extrajudicially interned in domestic and foreign gulags. Some 600,000 Hungarians were deported to Soviet labour camps, where at least 200,000 died.
After Stalin's death in 1953, the Soviet Union pursued a programme of de-Stalinisation that was inimical to Rákosi, leading to his deposition. The following political cooling saw the ascent of Imre Nagy to the premiership and the growing interest of students and intellectuals in political life. Nagy promised market liberalisation and political openness, while Rákosi opposed both vigorously. Rákosi eventually managed to discredit Nagy and replace him with the more hard-line Ernő Gerő. Hungary joined the Warsaw Pact in May 1955, as societal dissatisfaction with the regime swelled. Following the firing on peaceful demonstrations by Soviet soldiers and secret police, and rallies throughout the country on 23 October 1956, protesters took to the streets in Budapest, initiating the 1956 Revolution. In an effort to quell the chaos, Nagy returned as premier, promised free elections, and took Hungary out of the Warsaw Pact.
The violence nonetheless continued as revolutionary militias sprung up against the Soviet Army and the ÁVH; the roughly 3,000-strong resistance fought Soviet tanks using Molotov cocktails and machine-pistols. Though the preponderance of the Soviets was immense, they suffered heavy losses, and by 30 October 1956, most Soviet troops had withdrawn from Budapest to garrison the countryside. For a time, the Soviet leadership was unsure how to respond but eventually decided to intervene to prevent a destabilisation of the Soviet bloc. On 4 November, reinforcements of more than 150,000 troops and 2,500 tanks entered the country from the Soviet Union. Nearly 20,000 Hungarians were killed resisting the intervention, while an additional 21,600 were imprisoned afterward for political reasons. Some 13,000 were interned and 230 brought to trial and executed. Nagy was secretly tried, found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed by hanging in June 1958. Because borders were briefly opened, nearly a quarter of a million people fled the country by the time the revolution was suppressed.
After a second, briefer period of Soviet military occupation, János Kádár, Nagy's former minister of state, was chosen by the Soviet leadership to head the new government and chair the new ruling Socialist Workers' Party. Kádár quickly normalised the situation. In 1963, the government granted a general amnesty and released the majority of those imprisoned for their active participation in the uprising. Kádár proclaimed a new policy line, according to which the people were no longer compelled to profess loyalty to the party if they tacitly accepted the socialist regime as a fact of life. In many speeches, he described this as, "Those who are not against us are with us." Kádár introduced new planning priorities in the economy, such as allowing farmers significant plots of private land within the collective farm system (háztáji gazdálkodás). The living standard rose as consumer goods and food production took precedence over military production, which was reduced to one-tenth of pre-revolutionary levels.
In 1968, the New Economic Mechanism introduced free-market elements into the socialist command economy. From the 1960s through the late 1980s, Hungary was often referred to as "the happiest barrack" within the Eastern bloc. During the latter part of the Cold War Hungary's GDP per capita was fourth only to East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union. As a result of this relatively high standard of living, a more liberalised economy, a less censored press, and less restricted travel rights, Hungary was generally considered one of the more liberal countries in which to live in Central Europe during communism. In the 1980s, however, living standards steeply declined again because of a worldwide recession to which communism was unable to respond. By the time Kádár died in 1989, the Soviet Union was in steep decline and a younger generation of reformists saw liberalisation as the solution to economic and social issues.
Hungary's transition from communism to democracy and capitalism (rendszerváltás, "regime change") was peaceful and prompted by economic stagnation, domestic political pressure, and changing relations with other Warsaw Pact countries. Although the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party began Round Table Talks with various opposition groups in March 1989, the reburial of Imre Nagy as a revolutionary martyr that June is widely considered the symbolic end of communism in Hungary. Over 100,000 people attended the Budapest ceremony without any significant government interference, and many speakers openly called for Soviet troops to leave the country. Free elections were held in May 1990, and the Hungarian Democratic Forum, a major conservative opposition group, was elected to the head of a coalition government. József Antall became the first democratically elected prime minister since World War II.
With the removal of state subsidies and rapid privatisation in 1991, Hungary was affected by a severe economic recession. The Antall government's austerity measures proved unpopular, and the Communist Party's legal and political heir, the Socialist Party, won the subsequent 1994 elections. This abrupt shift in the political landscape was repeated in 1998 and 2002; in each electoral cycle, the governing party was ousted and the erstwhile opposition elected. Like most other post-communist European states, however, Hungary broadly pursued an integrationist agenda, joiningNATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. As a NATO member, Hungary was involved in the Yugoslav Wars.
Hungary was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, the Hungarian parliament passed a law granting the government the power to rule by decree, suspending by-elections and outlawing certain forms of medical disinformation. Parliament rescinded this law on 16 June 2020 because of the improving epidemiological situation in Hungary.
Hungary is a landlocked country. Its geography has traditionally been defined by its two main waterways, the Danube and Tisza rivers. The common tripartite division—Dunántúl ("beyond the Danube", Transdanubia), Tiszántúl ("beyond the Tisza"), and Duna-Tisza kőze ("between the Danube and Tisza")—is a reflection of this. The Danube flows north–south through the centre of contemporary Hungary, and the entire country lies within its drainage basin.
Transdanubia, which stretches westward from the centre of the country towards Austria, is a primarily hilly region with a terrain varied by low mountains. These include the very eastern stretch of the Alps, Alpokalja, in the west of the country, the Transdanubian Mountains in the central region of Transdanubia, and the Mecsek Mountains and Villány Mountains in the south. The highest point of the area is the Írott-kő in the Alps, at 882 metres (2,894 ft). The Little Hungarian Plain (Kisalfőld) is found in northern Transdanubia. Lake Balaton and Lake Hévíz, the largest lake in Central Europe and the largest thermal lake in the world, respectively, are in Transdanubia as well.
The Duna-Tisza kőze and Tiszántúl are characterised mainly by the Great Hungarian Plain (Alfőld), which stretches across most of the eastern and southeastern areas of the country. To the north of the plain are the foothills of the Carpathians in a wide band near the Slovakian border. The Kékes at 1,014 m (3,327 ft) is the tallest mountain in Hungary and is found there.
Hungary has 10 national parks, 145 minor nature reserves, and 35 landscape protection areas.
Hungary has a temperate seasonal climate, with generally warm summers with low overall humidity levels but frequent rain showers and cold snowy winters. Average annual temperature is 9.7 °C (49.5 °F). Temperature extremes are 41.9 °C (107.4 °F) on 20 July 2007 at Kiskunhalas in the summer and −35 °C (−31.0 °F) on 16 February 1940 at Miskolc in the winter. Average high temperature in the summer is 23 to 28 °C (73 to 82 °F) and average low temperature in the winter is −3 to −7 °C (27 to 19 °F). The average yearly rainfall is approximately 600 mm (23.6 in).
Hungary is ranked sixth in an environmental protection index by GW/CAN.
The President of the Republic (köztársasági elnök) serves as the head of state and is elected by the National Assembly every five years. The president is invested primarily with representative responsibilities and powers: receiving foreign heads of state, formally nominating the prime minister at the recommendation of the National Assembly, and serving as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Importantly, the president is also invested with veto power and may send legislation to the 15-member Constitutional Court for review. The third most significant governmental position in Hungary is the Speaker of the National Assembly, who is elected by the National Assembly and responsible for overseeing the daily sessions of the body.
The prime minister (miniszterelnök) is elected by the National Assembly, serving as the head of government and exercising executive power. Traditionally, the prime minister is the leader of the largest party in parliament. The prime minister selects Cabinet ministers and has the exclusive right to dismiss them, although cabinet nominees must appear before consultative open hearings before one or more parliamentary committees, survive a vote in the National Assembly, and be formally approved by the president. The Cabinet reports to Parliament.
Following a decade of Fidesz–Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) rule led by Viktor Orbán, Freedom House's Nations in Transit 2020 report reclassified Hungary from a democracy to a transitional or hybrid regime. According to the report, "the right-wing alliance... has gradually undermined the rule of law in Hungary and established tight control over the country's independent institutions... has steadily rewritten the Hungarian constitution, and eliminated democratic safeguards statutorily embodied in the Constitutional Court, Prosecutors Office, Media Authority, and State Audit Office...". It also limited parliamentary oversight, independent media, non-governmental organisations and academics, while consolidating power around the central government. Other democracy barometers have also rated Hungary as not a democracy, and there are a wide variety of labels for Hungary's political system found in scholarship. According to data from the V-Dem Institute, Hungary is one of the most rapidly autocratising countries in the world as of 2021.
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(June 2022)
Since the fall of communism, Hungary has a multi-party system. The last Hungarian parliamentary election took place on 3 April 2022. This parliamentary election was the 8th since the 1990 first multi-party election. The result was a victory for Fidesz–KDNP alliance, preserving its two-thirds majority with Orbán remaining prime minister. It was the third election according to the new Constitution of Hungary which went into force on 1 January 2012. The new electoral law also entered into force that day. The voters elected 199 MPs instead of previous 386 lawmakers. The current political landscape in Hungary is dominated by the conservative Fidesz, who have a near supermajority, and two medium-sized parties, the left-wing Democratic Coalition (DK) and liberal Momentum.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of communist dictatorship in 1989, a democratic form of government was established. Today's parliament is still called Országgyűlés just like in royal times, but in order to differentiate between the historical royal diet is referred to as the "National Assembly" now. The Diet of Hungary was a legislative institution in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary from the 1290s, and in its successor states, Royal Hungary and the Habsburg kingdom of Hungary throughout the early modern period. The articles of the 1790 diet set out that the diet should meet at least once every 3 years, but since the diet was called by the Habsburg monarchy, this promise was not kept on several occasions thereafter. As a result of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, it was reconstituted in 1867. The Latin term Natio Hungarica ("Hungarian nation") was used to designate the political elite which had participation in the diet, consisting of the nobility, the Catholic clergy, and a few enfranchised burghers, regardless of language or ethnicity.
The judicial system of Hungary is a civil law system divided between courts with regular civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts with jurisdiction over litigation between individuals and the public administration. Hungarian law is codified and based on German law and in a wider sense, civil law or Roman law. The court system for civil and criminal jurisdiction consists of local courts (járásbíróság), regional appellate courts (ítélőtábla), and the supreme court (Kúria). Hungary's highest courts are located in Budapest.
Law enforcement in Hungary is split among the police and the National Tax and Customs Administration. The Hungarian Police is the main and largest state law enforcement agency in Hungary. It carries nearly all general police duties such as criminal investigation, patrol activity, traffic policing, border control. It is led by the national police commissioner under the control of the Minister of the Interior. The body is divided into county police departments which are also divided into regional and town police departments. The National Police has subordinate agencies with nationwide jurisdiction, such as the "Nemzeti Nyomozó Iroda" (National Bureau of Investigation), a civilian police force specialised in investigating serious crimes, and the gendarmerie-like, militarised "Készenléti rendőrség" (Stand-by Police) mainly dealing with riots and often reinforcing local police forces. Because of Hungary's accession to the Schengen Treaty, the police and border guards were merged into a single national corps, with the border guards (Határőrség Magyarországon) becoming police officers. This merger took place in January 2008. The Customs and Excise Authority remained subject to the Ministry of Finance under the National Tax and Customs Administration.
Since 1989, the top foreign policy goal has been achieving integration into Western economic and security organisations. Hungary joined the Partnership for Peace programme in 1994 and has actively supported the IFOR and SFOR missions in Bosnia. Since 1989 Hungary has improved its often frosty neighbour relations by signing basic treaties with Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. These renounce all outstanding territorial claims and lay the foundation for constructive relations. However, the issue of ethnic Hungarian minority rights in Romania, Slovakia, and Serbia periodically cause bilateral tensions to flare up, although relations with Serbia have more recently become extremely close due to strong Hungarian advocacy for Serbian EU membership. Since 2017, the relations with Ukraine rapidly deteriorated over the issue of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine. Since 1989, Hungary has signed all of the OSCE documents, and served as the OSCE's Chairman-in-Office in 1997. Historically, Hungary has had particularly friendly relations with Poland; this special relationship was recognised by the parliaments of both countries in 2007 with the joint declaration of 23 March as "The Day of Polish-Hungarian Friendship".
The president holds the title of commander-in-chief of the nation's armed forces. The Ministry of Defence jointly with chief of staff administers the armed forces, including the Hungarian Ground Force (HDF) and the Hungarian Air Force. Since 2007, the Hungarian Armed Forces has been under a unified command structure. The Ministry of Defence maintains political and civil control over the army. A subordinate Joint Forces Command coordinates and commands the HDF. In 2016, the armed forces had 31,080 personnel on active duty, the operative reserve brought the total number of troops to fifty thousand. In 2016, it was planned that military spending the following year would be $1.21 billion, about 0.94% of the country's GDP, well below the NATO target of 2%. In 2012, the government adopted a resolution in which it pledged to increase defence spending to 1.4% of GDP by 2022.
Military service is voluntary, though conscription may occur in wartime. In a significant move for modernisation, Hungary decided in 2001 to buy 14 JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft for about 800 million EUR. Hungarian National Cyber Security Center was re-organised in 2016 in order to become more efficient through cyber security. In 2016, the Hungarian military had about 700 troops stationed in foreign countries as part of international peacekeeping forces, including 100 HDF troops in the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan, 210 Hungarian soldiers in Kosovo under command of KFOR, and 160 troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hungary sent a 300-strong logistics unit to Iraq in order to help the U.S. occupation with armed transport convoys, though public opinion opposed the country's participation in the war.
Hungary is divided into 19 counties (megye). The capital (főváros) Budapest is an independent entity. The counties and the capital are the 20 NUTS third-level units of Hungary. The states are further subdivided into 174 districts (járás). The districts are further divided into towns and villages, of which 25 are designated towns with county rights (megyei jogú város), sometimes known as "urban counties" in English. The local authorities of these towns have extended powers, but these towns belong to the territory of the respective district instead of being independent territorial units. County and district councils and municipalities have different roles and separate responsibilities relating to local government. The role of the counties are basically administrative and focus on strategic development, while preschools, public water utilities, garbage disposal, elderly care, and rescue services are administered by the municipalities.
Hungary has 3,152 localities as of 15 July 2013. 346 towns (Hungarian term: város, plural: városok; the terminology doesn't distinguish between cities and towns – the term town is used in official translations) and 2,806 villages (Hungarian: község, plural: községek). The number of towns can change, since villages can be elevated to town status by act of the president. Budapest has a special status and is not included in any county while 23 of the towns are so-called urban counties (megyei jogú város – town with county rights). All county seats except Budapest are urban counties. Four of the cities (Budapest, Miskolc, Győr, and Pécs) have agglomerations, and the Hungarian Statistical Office distinguishes seventeen other areas in earlier stages of agglomeration development. The largest city is Budapest, while the smallest town is Pálháza with 1,038 inhabitants in 2010. The largest village is Solymár with a population of 10,123 as of 2010. There are more than 100 villages with fewer than 100 inhabitants while the smallest villages have fewer than 20 inhabitants.
Hungary continues to be one of the leading nations for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in Central and Eastern Europe, the inward FDI in the country was $119.8 billion in 2015, while investing more than $50 billion abroad. As of 2015, the key trading partners were Germany, Austria, Romania, Slovakia, France, Italy, Poland and Czech Republic. Major industries include food processing, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, information technology, chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods, and tourism (with 12.1 million international tourists in 2014). Hungary is the largest electronics producer in Central and Eastern Europe. Electronics manufacturing and research are among the main drivers of innovation and economic growth in the country. In the past 20 years Hungary has also grown into a major centre for mobile technology, information security, and related hardware research. The employment rate was 68.3% in 2017; the employment structure shows the characteristics of post-industrial economies, 63.2% of employed workforce work in service sector, the industry contributed by 29.7%, while agriculture with 7.1%. Unemployment rate was 4.1% in 2017, down from 11% during the financial crisis of 2007–2008. Hungary is part of the European single market which represents more than 508 million consumers. Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union members and by EU legislation.
Budapest is the financial and business capital, classified as an Alpha world city in the study by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. On the national level, Budapest is the primate city of Hungary regarding business and economy, accounting for 39% of the national income, the city has a gross metropolitan product more than $100 billion in 2015, making it one of the largest regional economies in the European Union. Budapest is also among the Top 100 GDP performing cities in the world, measured by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Furthermore, Hungary's corporate tax rate is only 9%, which is relatively low for EU states.
Hungary's achievements in science and technology have been significant, and research and development efforts form an integral part of the country's economy. Hungary spent 1.61% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on civil research and development in 2020, which is the 25th highest ratio in the world. Hungary ranks 32nd among the most innovative countries in the Bloomberg Innovation Index. Hungary was ranked 34th in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, down from 33rd in 2019. In 2014, Hungary counted 2,651 full-time equivalent researchers per million inhabitants, steadily increasing from 2,131 in 2010 and compares with 3,984 in the U.S. or 4,380 in Germany. Hungary's high technology industry has benefited from both the country's skilled workforce and the strong presence of foreign high-tech firms and research centres. Hungary also has one of the highest rates of filed patents, the sixth highest ratio of high-tech and medium high-tech output in the total industrial output, the 12th highest research FDI inflow, placed 14th in research talent in business enterprise and has the 17th best overall innovation efficiency ratio in the world.
The key actor of research and development in Hungary is the National Research, Development and Innovation (NRDI) Office, which is a national strategic and funding agency for scientific research, development and innovation, the primary source of advice on RDI policy for the Hungarian government and the primary RDI funding agency. Its role is to develop RDI policy and ensure that Hungary adequately invest in RDI by funding excellent research and supporting innovation to increase competitiveness and to prepare the RDI strategy of the government, to handle the NRDI Fund and represents the government and RDI community in international organisations.
Budapest, Debrecen, Miskolc, and Szeged have tram networks. The Budapest Metro is the second-oldest underground metro system in the world; its Line 1 dates from 1896. The system consists of four lines. A commuter rail system, HÉV, operates in the Budapest metropolitan area.
Hungary has a total length of approximately 1,314 km (816.48 mi) motorways (Hungarian: autópálya). Motorway sections are being added to the existing network, which already connects many major economically important cities to the capital. Ports are located at Budapest, Dunaújváros and Baja.
Hungary's total energy supply is dominated by fossil fuels, with natural gas occupying the largest share, followed by oil and coal. In June 2020, Hungary passed a law binding itself to a target of net-zero emissions by 2050. As part of a broader restructuring of the nation's energy and climate policies, Hungary also extended its National Energy Strategy 2030 to look even further, adding an outlook until 2040 that prioritizes carbon-neutral and cost-effective energy while focusing on reinforcing energy security and energy independence. Key forces in the country's 2050 target include renewables, nuclear electricity, and electrification of end-use sectors. Significant investments in the power sector are expected, including for the construction of two new nuclear energy generating units. Renewable energy capacity has increased significantly, but in recent years growth in the renewables sector has stagnated. What is more, certain policies that limit development of wind power are expected to negatively impact the renewables sector.
Hungary's emission of greenhouse gases has dropped alongside the economy's decreasing use of carbon-based fuels. However, independent analysis has identified space for Hungary to set more ambitious emissions reduction targets.
Like most other European countries, Hungary is experiencing sub-replacement fertility; its estimated total fertility rate of 1.43 children per woman is well below the replacement rate of 2.1, albeit higher than its nadir of 1.28 in 1999, and remains considerably below the high of 5.59 children born per woman in 1884. As a result, its population has been gradually declining and rapidly aging. In 2011, the conservative government began a programme to increase the birth rate with a focus on ethnic Magyars by reinstating 3 year maternity leave as well as boosting part-time jobs. The fertility rate has gradually increased from 1.27 children born per woman in 2011. The natural decrease in the first 10 months of 2016 was only 25,828 which was 8,162 less than the corresponding period in 2015. In 2015, 47.9% of births were to unmarried women. Hungary has one of the oldest populations in the world, with the average age of 42.7 years.Life expectancy was 71.96 years for men and 79.62 years for women in 2015, growing continuously since the fall of Communism.
Hungary recognises two sizeable minority groups, designated as "national minorities" because their ancestors have lived in their respective regions for centuries in Hungary: a German community of about 130,000 that lives throughout the country, and a Romani minority numerous around 300,000 that mainly resides in the northern part of the country. Some studies indicate a considerably larger number of Romani in Hungary (876,000 people – c. 9% of the population.). According to the 2011 census, there were 8,314,029 (83.7%) ethnic Hungarians, 308,957 (3.1%) Romani, 131,951 (1.3%) Germans, 29,647 (0.3%) Slovaks, 26,345 (0.3%) Romanians, and 23,561 (0.2%) Croats in Hungary; 1,455,883 people (14.7% of the total population) did not declare their ethnicity. Thus, Hungarians made up more than 90% of people who declared their ethnicity. In Hungary, people can declare more than one ethnicity, so the sum of ethnicities is higher than the total population.
Hungarian is a member of the Uralic language family, unrelated to any neighbouring language and distantly related to Finnish and Estonian. It is the largest of the Uralic languages in terms of the number of speakers and the only one spoken in Central Europe. There are sizeable populations of Hungarian speakers in Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the former Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Israel, and the U.S. Smaller groups of Hungarian speakers live in Canada, Slovenia, and Austria, but also in Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, and Chile. Standard Hungarian is based on the variety spoken Budapest. Although the use of the standard dialect is enforced, Hungarian has several urban and rural dialects.
Although contemporary Hungary has no official religion and recognises freedom of religion as a fundamental right, the constitution "recognises Christianity's nation-building role" in its preamble and in Article VII affirms that "the state may cooperate with the churches for community goals." The 2011 census showed that the majority of Hungarians were Christians (54.2%), with Roman Catholics (római katolikusok) (37.1%) and Hungarian ReformedCalvinists (reformátusok) (11.1%) making up the bulk of these alongside Lutherans (evangélikusok) (2.2%), Greek Catholics (1.8%), and other Christians (1.3%). Jewish (0.1%), Buddhist (0.1%) and Muslim (0.06%) communities are in the minority. 27.2% of the population did not declare a religious affiliation while 16.7% declared themselves explicitly irreligious, another 1.5% atheist.
During the initial stages of the Protestant Reformation, most Hungarians adopted first Lutheranism and then Calvinism in the form of the Hungarian Reformed Church. In the second half of the 16th century, the Jesuits led a Counter-Reformation campaign, and the population once again became predominantly Catholic. This campaign was only partially successful, however, and the (mainly Reformed) Hungarian nobility were able to secure freedom of worship for Protestants. In practice, this meant cuius regio, eius religio; thus, most individual localities in Hungary are still identifiable as historically Catholic, Lutheran, or Reformed. The country's eastern regions, especially around Debrecen (the "Calvinist Rome"), remain almost completely Reformed, a trait they share with historically contiguous ethnically Hungarian regions across the Romanian border. Orthodox Christianity in Hungary is associated with the country's ethnic minorities: Armenians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Romanians, Rusyns, Ukrainians, and Serbs.
Historically, Hungary was home to a significant Jewish community with a pre-World War II population of more than 800,000, but it is estimated that just over 564,000 Hungarian Jews were killed between 1941 and 1945 during the Holocaust in Hungary. Between 15 May and 9 July 1944 alone, over 434,000 Jews were deported on 147 trains, most of them to Auschwitz, where about 80% were gassed on arrival. Some Jews were able to escape, but most were either deported to concentration camps, where they were killed by Arrow Cross members. From over 800,000 Jews living within Hungary's borders in 1941–1944, about 255,500 are thought to have survived. There are about 120,000 Jews in Hungary today.
Education is predominantly public, run by the Ministry of Education. Preschool-kindergarten education is compulsory and provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is also compulsory until the age of sixteen.Primary education usually lasts for eight years. Secondary education includes three traditional types of schools focused on different academic levels: the Gymnasium enrolls the most gifted children and prepares students for university studies; the secondary vocational schools for intermediate students lasts four years and the technical school prepares pupils for vocational education and the world of work. The system is partly flexible and bridges exist, graduates from a vocational school can achieve a two years programme to have access to vocational higher education for instance. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study rated 13–14-year-old pupils in Hungary among the best in the world for maths and science.
Most of the universities are public institutions, and students traditionally study without fee payment. The general requirement for university is the Matura. The Hungarian public higher education system includes universities and other higher education institutes, that provide both education curricula and related degrees up to doctoral degree and also contribute to research activities. Health insurance for students is free until the end of their studies. English and German language are important in Hungarian higher education, there are a number of degree programmes that are taught in these languages, which attracts thousands of exchange students every year. Hungary's higher education and training has been ranked 44 out of 148 countries in the Global Competitiveness Report 2014.
Hungary ranks fourth (above neighbour Romania, and after China, the United States and Russia) in the all-time medal count at the International Mathematical Olympiad with 336 total medals, dating back to 1959.
Hungary is one of the main destinations of medical tourism in Europe, particularly for dentistry, in which its share is 42% in Europe and 21% worldwide.Plastic surgery is also a key sector, with 30% of the clients coming from abroad. Hungary is well known for its spa culture and is home to numerous medicinal spas, which attract "spa tourism".
In common with developed countries, cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality, accounting for 49.4% (62,979) of all deaths in 2013. However, this number peaked in 1985 with 79,355 deaths, and has been declining continuously since the fall of communism. The second leading cause of death is cancer with 33,274 (26.2%), which has been stagnant since the 1990s. Deaths from accidents dropped from 8,760 in 1990 to 3,654 in 2013; the number of suicides has declined precipitously from 4,911 in 1983 to 2,093 in 2013 (21.1 per 100,000 people), the lowest since 1956. There are considerable health disparities between the western and eastern parts of Hungary; heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and suicide is prevalent in the mostly agricultural and low-income Great Plain region in the east, but infrequent in the high-income, middle class areas of Western Transdanubia and Central Hungary. Smoking is a leading cause of death in the country, although it is in steep decline: The proportion of adult smokers declined to 19% in 2013 from 28% in 2012, owing to strict regulations such as a nationwide smoking ban in every indoor public place and the limiting of tobacco sales to state-controlled "National Tobacco Shops".
Hungary ranks as the 17th safest country in the world, with a homicide rate of 1.3 per 100,000 people.
Hungary is home to the largest synagogue in Europe, built in 1859 in Moorish Revival style with a capacity of 3,000 people; the largest medicinal bath in Europe, completed in 1913 in Modern Renaissance style and located in the Budapest city park; one of the largest basilicas in Europe; the second-largest territorial abbey in the world; and the largest early Christian necropolis outside Italy. Notable architectural styles include Historicism and Art Nouveau, or rather several variants of Art Nouveau. In contrast to Historicism, Hungarian Art Nouveau is based on national architectural characteristics. Taking the eastern origins of the Hungarians into account, Ödön Lechner, the most important figure in Hungarian Art Nouveau, was initially inspired by Indian and Syrian architecture and later by traditional Hungarian decorative designs. In this way, he created an original synthesis of architectural styles. By applying them to three-dimensional architectural elements, he produced a version of Art Nouveau that was specific to Hungary. Turning away from the style of Lechner, yet taking inspiration from his approach, the group of "Young People" (Fiatalok), which included Károly Kós and Dezsö Zrumeczky, used the characteristic structures and forms of traditional Hungarian architecture to achieve the same end.
Besides the two principal styles, Budapest also displays local versions of trends originating from other European countries. The Sezession from Vienna, the German Jugendstil, Art Nouveau from Belgium and France, and the influence of English and Finnish architecture are all reflected in the buildings constructed at the turn of the 20th century. Béla Lajta initially adopted Lechner's style, subsequently drawing his inspiration from English and Finnish trends; after developing an interest in the Egyptian style, he finally arrived at modern architecture. Aladár Árkay took almost the same route. István Medgyaszay developed his own style, which differed from Lechner's, using stylised traditional motifs to create decorative designs in concrete. In the sphere of applied arts, those chiefly responsible for promoting the spread of Art Nouveau were the School and Museum of Decorative Arts, which opened in 1896.
Foreigners have unexpectedly "discovered" that a significantly large portion of the citizens lives in old and architecturally valuable buildings. In the Budapest downtown area almost all the buildings are about one hundred years old, with thick walls, high ceilings, and motifs on the front walls.
Hungary has renowned composers of contemporary classical music, György Ligeti, György Kurtág, Péter Eötvös, Zoltán Kodály and Zoltán Jeney among them. Bartók was among the most significant musicians of the 20th century. His music was invigorated by the themes, modes, and rhythmic patterns of the Hungarian and neighbouring folk music traditions he studied, which he synthesised with influences from his contemporaries into his own distinctive style.
Franz Liszt, one of the greatest pianists of all time; a renowned composer and conductor
Folk music is a prominent part of the national identity and has been significant in former country parts that belong—since the 1920 Treaty of Trianon—to neighbouring countries such as Romania, Slovakia, Poland and especially in southern Slovakia and Transylvania. After the establishment of a music academy led by Liszt and Ferenc Erkel, Hungary produced an important number of art musicians:
Broughton claims that Hungary's "infectious sound has been surprisingly influential on neighboring countries (thanks perhaps to the common Austro-Hungarian history) and it's not uncommon to hear Hungarian-sounding tunes in Romania, Slovakia and Poland". It is also strong in the Szabolcs-Szatmár area and in the southwest part of Transdanubia, near the border with Croatia. The Busójárás carnival in Mohács is a major Hungarian folk music event, formerly featuring the long-established and well-regarded Bogyiszló Orchestra.
Hungarian classical music has long been an "experiment, made from Hungarian antecedents and on Hungarian soil, to create a conscious musical culture musical world of the folk song". Although the Hungarian upper class has long had cultural and political connections with the rest of Europe, leading to an influx of European musical ideas, the rural peasants maintained their own traditions such that by the end of the 19th-century Hungarian composers could draw on rural peasant music to (re)create a Hungarian classical style. For example, Bartók collected folk songs from across Central and Eastern Europe, including Romania and Slovakia, while Kodály was more interested in creating a distinctively Hungarian musical style.
During the era of communist rule in Hungary (1944–1989), a Song Committee scoured and censored popular music for traces of subversion and ideological impurity. Since then, however, the Hungarian music industry has begun to recover, producing successful performers in the fields of jazz such as trumpeter Rudolf Tomsits, pianist-composer Károly Binder and, in a modernised form of Hungarian folk, Ferenc Sebő and Márta Sebestyén. The three giants of Hungarian rock, Illés, Metró and Omega, remain very popular, especially Omega, which has followings in Germany and beyond as well as in Hungary. Older veteran underground bands such as Beatrice, from the 1980s, also remain popular.
In the earliest times, Hungarian language was written in a runic-like script (although it was not used for literature purposes in the modern interpretation). The country switched to the Latin alphabet after being Christianised under the reign of Stephen I of Hungary in the 11th century. The oldest remained written record in Hungarian language is a fragment in the Establishing charter of the abbey of Tihany (1055) which contains several Hungarian terms, among them the words feheruuaru rea meneh hodu utu rea, "up the military road to Fehérvár" The rest of the document was written in Latin. The oldest remaining complete text in Hungarian language is the Funeral Sermon and Prayer(Halotti beszéd és könyörgés) (1192–1195), a translation of a Latin sermon. The oldest remaining poem in Hungarian is the Old Hungarian Lamentations of Mary(Ómagyar Mária-siralom), also a (not very strict) translation from Latin, from the 13th century. It is also the oldest surviving Uralic poem. Among the first chronicles about Hungarian history were Gesta Hungarorum (Deeds of the Hungarians) by the unknown author usually called Anonymus, and Gesta Hunnorum et Hungarorum (Deeds of the Huns and the Hungarians) by Simon Kézai. Both are in Latin. These chronicles mix history with legends, so historically they are not always authentic. Another chronicle is the Képes krónika (Illustrated Chronicle), which was written for Louis the Great.
Renaissance literature flourished under the reign of King Matthias. Janus Pannonius, although he wrote in Latin, is considered one of the most important persons in Hungarian literature, being the only significant Hungarian Humanist poet of the period. The first printing house was also founded during Matthias' reign, by András Hess in Buda. The first book printed in Hungary was the Chronica Hungarorum. The most important poets of the period were Bálint Balassi and Miklós Zrínyi. Balassi's poetry shows medieval influences, his poems can be divided into three sections: love poems, war poems and religious poems. Zrínyi's most significant work, the epic Szigeti veszedelem (ThePeril of Sziget, written in 1648/49) is written in a fashion similar to the Iliad and recounts the heroic Battle of Szigetvár, where his great-grandfather died while defending the castle of Szigetvár. Among the religious literary works, the most important is the Bible translation by Gáspár Károlyi (the second Hungarian Bible translation in history), the Protestant pastor of Gönc, in 1590. The translation is called the Bible of Vizsoly, after the town where it was first published.
Traditional dishes such as the world-famous goulash (gulyás stew or gulyás soup) feature prominently in Hungarian cuisine. Dishes are often flavoured with paprika (ground red peppers), a Hungarian innovation. The paprika powder, obtained from a special type of pepper, is one of the most common spices used in typical Hungarian cuisine. Thick, heavy sour cream called tejföl is often used to soften the flavour of a dish. The famous Hungarian hot river fish soup called fisherman's soup or halászlé is usually a rich mixture of several kinds of poached fish.
The csárda is the most distinctive type of Hungarian inn, an old-style tavern offering traditional cuisine and beverages. Borozó usually denotes a cosy old-fashioned wine tavern, pince is a beer or wine cellar and a söröző is a pub offering draught beer and sometimes meals. The bisztró is an inexpensive restaurant often with self-service. The büfé is the cheapest place, although one may have to eat standing at a counter. Pastries, cakes and coffee are served at the confectionery called cukrászda, while an eszpresszó is a café.
Pálinka is a fruit brandy, distilled from fruit grown in the orchards situated on the Great Hungarian Plain. It is a spirit native to Hungary and comes in a variety of flavours including apricot (barack) and cherry (cseresznye). However, plum (szilva) is the most popular flavour. Beer goes well with many traditional Hungarian dishes. The five main Hungarian beer brands are: Borsodi, Soproni, Arany Ászok, Kõbányai, and Dreher. People traditionally do not clink their glasses or mugs when drinking beer. There is an urban legend in Hungarian culture that Austrian generals clinked their beer glasses to celebrate the execution of the 13 Martyrs of Arad in 1849. Many people still follow the tradition, although younger people often disavow it, citing that the vow was only meant to last 150 years.
For over 150 years, a blend of forty Hungarian herbs has been used to create the liqueur unicum. Unicum is a bitter, dark-coloured liqueur that can be drunk as an apéritif or after a meal, thus helping digestion.
Hungarians in traditional garments / folk costumes dancing the csárdás
Ugrós (jumping dances) are old-style dances dating back to the Middle Ages. The ugrós can include solo or couple dances accompanied by old-style music, shepherd and other solo man's dances from Transylvania, and marching dances, along with remnants of medieval weapon dances. Karikázó is a circle dance performed by women accompanied by the singing of folk songs. Csárdás are newer style dances developed in the 18 and 19th centuries, which includes embroidered costumes and energetic music. From the men's intricate boot slapping dances to the ancient women's circle dances, Csárdás demonstrates the infectious exuberance of the Hungarian folk dancing still celebrated in the villages. Verbunkos is a solo man's dance evolved from the recruiting performances of the Austro-Hungarian army. The legényes is a men's solo dance done by the ethnic Hungarian people living in the Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania. Although usually danced by young men, it can be also danced by older men. The dance is generally performed freestyle by one dancer at a time in front of a band. Women participate in the dance by standing in lines to the side and singing or shouting verses while the men dance. Each man performs a number of points (dance phrases), typically four to eight without repetition. Each point consists of four parts, each lasting four counts. The first part is usually the same for everyone (there are only a few variations).
It was in the beginning of the 18th-century that the present style of Hungarian folk art took shape, incorporating both Renaissance and Baroque elements, depending on the area, as well as Persian Sassanide influences. Flowers and leaves, sometimes a bird or a spiral ornament, are the principal decorative themes. The most frequent ornament is a flower with a centrepiece resembling the eye of a peacock's feather. Nearly all the manifestations of folk art practiced elsewhere in Europe also flourished among the Magyar peasantry at one time or another, their ceramics and textile being the most highly developed of all. The finest achievements in their textile arts are the embroideries which vary from region to region. Those of Kalotaszeg are charming products of Oriental design, sewn chiefly in a single colour—red, blue, or black. Soft in line, the embroideries are applied on altar cloths, pillowcases, and sheets.
The Sárköz and Matyóföld regions produce the finest embroideries. The women's caps generally exhibit black and white designs as delicate as lace and give evidence of the people's wonderfully subtle artistic feeling. The embroidery motifs applied to women's wear have also been transposed to tablecloths and runners suitable for modern use as wall decorations.
The Hungarian Grand Prix in Formula One has been held at the Hungaroring just outside Budapest, which circuit has FIA Grade 1 license. Since 1986, the race has been a round of the Formula One World Championship. The track was completely resurfaced for the first time in early 2016, and it was announced the Grand Prix's deal was extended for a further five years, until 2026.
Hungary has won three Olympic football titles, and the country finished as runners-up in the 1938 and 1954 FIFA World Cups, and third in Euro 1964. Hungary revolutionised the sport in the 1950s, laying the tactical fundamentals of total football and dominating international football with the Aranycsapat ("Golden Team"), which included Ferenc Puskás, top goal scorer of the 20th century, to whom FIFA dedicated its newest award, the Puskás Award. The team of that era has the second all-time highest Football Elo Rating in the world, with 2166, and one of the longest undefeated runs in football history, remaining unbeaten in 31 games spanning more than four years.
The post-golden age decades saw a gradually weakening Hungary, though recently there is renewal in all aspects. The Hungarian Children's Football Federation was founded in 2008, as youth development thrives. They hosted the 2010 UEFA Futsal Championship in Budapest and Debrecen, the first time the MLSZ staged a UEFA finals tournament. Also, the national teams have produced some surprise successes such as beating Euro 2004 winner Greece 3–2 and 2006 FIFA World Cup winner Italy 3–1. During UEFA Euro 2016 Hungary won Group F and were eventually defeated in the round of 16.
^Kristó Gyula – Barta János – Gergely Jenő: Magyarország története előidőktől 2000-ig (History of Hungary from the prehistory to 2000), Pannonica Kiadó, Budapest, 2002, ISBN963-9252-56-5, p. 687, pp. 37, pp. 113 ("Magyarország a 12. század második felére jelentős európai tényezővé, középhatalommá vált"/"By the 12th century Hungary became an important European constituent, became a middle power", "A Nyugat részévé vált Magyarország ... /Hungary became part of the West"), pp. 616–644
^"1989. évi XXXI. törvény az Alkotmány módosításáról" [Act XXXI of 1989 on the Amendment of the Constitution]. Magyar Közlöny (in Hungarian). Budapest: Pallas Lap- és Könyvkiadó Vállalat. 44 (74): 1219. 23 October 1989.
^The Mongol invasion: the last Arpad kings, Encyclopædia Britannica – "The country lost about half its population, the incidence ranging from 60 percent in the Alföld (100 percent in parts of it) to 20 percent in Transdanubia; only parts of Transylvania and the northwest came off fairly lightly."
^Ignác Romsics (2002). Dismantling of Historic Hungary: The Peace Treaty of Trianon, 1920 Issue 3 of CHSP Hungarian authors series East European monographs. Social Science Monographs. p. 62. ISBN9780880335058.
^ abJ. Lee Ready (1995), World War Two. Nation by Nation, London, Cassell, page 130. ISBN1-85409-290-1
^Mike Thomson (13 November 2012). "Could the BBC have done more to help Hungarian Jews?". BBC (British broadcasting service). the BBC broadcast every day, giving updates on the war, general news and opinion pieces on Hungarian politics. But among all these broadcasts, there were crucial things that were not being said, things that might have warned thousands of Hungarian Jews of the horrors to come in the event of German occupation. A memo setting out policy for the BBC Hungarian Service in 1942 states: "We shouldn't mention the Jews at all". By 1943, the BBC Polish Service was broadcasting the exterminations. And yet his policy of silence on the Jews was followed until the German invasion in March 1944. After the tanks rolled in, the Hungarian Service did then broadcast warnings. But by then it was too late "Many Hungarian Jews who survived the deportations claimed that they had not been informed by their leaders, that no one had told them. But there's plenty of evidence that they could have known," said David Cesarani, professor of history at Royal Holloway, University of London.
^University of Chicago. Division of the Social Sciences, Human Relations Area Files, inc, A study of contemporary Czechoslovakia, University of Chicago for the Human Relations Area Files, inc., 1955, Citation 'In January 1947 the Hungarians complained that Magyars were being carried off from Slovakia to Czech lands for forced labor.'
^Alfred J. Rieber (2000). Forced Migration in Central and Eastern Europe, 1939–1950. Psychology Press. p. 50. ISBN978-0-7146-5132-3. A presidential decree imposing an obligation on individuals not engaged in useful work to accept jobs served as the basis for this action. As a result, according to documentation in the ministry of foreign affairs of the USSR, approximately 50,000 Hungarians were sent to work in factories and agricultural enterprises in the Czech Republic.
^Canadian Association of Slavists, Revue canadienne des slavistes, Volume 25, Canadian Association of Slavists., 1983
^S. J. Magyarody, The East-central European Syndrome: Unsolved conflict in the Carpathian Basin, Matthias Corvinus Pub., 2002
^Boda, Zsolt; Szúcs, Zoltán Gábor (2021). "When Illiberalism Meets Neoliberalism: State and the Social Sciences in Present Hungary". Political Science in the Shadow of the State: Research, Relevance, Deference. Springer International Publishing. pp. 203–230 . ISBN978-3-030-75918-6. By now there is widespread agreement on the fact that Hungary is not a democracy anymore (as reflected in the conclusions of V-Dem, Freedom House and a range of global democracy barometers).
^Hellmeier, Sebastian; Cole, Rowan; Grahn, Sandra; Kolvani, Palina; Lachapelle, Jean; Lührmann, Anna; Maerz, Seraphine F.; Pillai, Shreeya; Lindberg, Staffan I. (18 August 2021). "State of the world 2020: autocratization turns viral". Democratization. 28 (6): 1053–1074. doi:10.1080/13510347.2021.1922390. S2CID236350924.
^Szabolcsi Although the Hungarian upper class has long had cultural and political connections with the rest of Europe, leading to an influx of European musical ideas, the rural peasants maintained their own traditions such that by the end of the 19th century Hungarian composers could draw on rural peasant music to (re)create a Hungarian classical style. For example, Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, two of Hungary's most famous composers, are known for using folk themes in their own music.
^Szalipszki, p. 12 Refers to the country as "widely considered" to be a "home of music".
^Szabolcsi, The Specific Conditions of Hungarian Musical Development "Every experiment, made from Hungarian antecedents and on Hungarian soil, to create a conscious musical culture (music written by composers, as different from folk music), had instinctively or consciously striven to develop widely and universally the musical world of the folk song. Folk poetry and folk music were deeply embedded in the collective Hungarian people's culture, and this unity did not cease to be effective even when it was given from and expression by individual creative artists, performers and poets."
^Ian Spencer Hornsey, The Chemistry and Biology of Winemaking, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2007, p. 49, ISBN9780854042661
^This is the world-famous sweet, topaz-colored wine known throughout the English-speaking world as Tokay. "A rich, sweet, moderately strong wine of a topaz color, produced in the vicinity of Tokay, in Hungary; also, a similar wine produced elsewhere." Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language (Springfield, Mass.: G.&C. Merriam, 1913). See Tokay at page 2166.
^"Aszfaltavató a Hungaroringen" (in Hungarian). Hungaroring. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016. "A Magyar Nagydíj szerződését újabb öt évvel meghosszabbítottuk, ami azt jelenti, hogy a futamunknak 2026-ig helye van a Formula–1-es versenynaptárban." Translates as "We have extended the Hungarian Grand Prix's contract for a further 5 years, which means that our race has a place on the F1 calendar until 2026".