Official name: Republic of Hungary
Location: East-Central Europe (borders with Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia)
Area: 93,030 square km
Population: 10,300,000 (21 percent under 14 and 60 percent between 15-59)
Density of population: 110 per sq. kilometer
Form of government: Republic
Capital city: Budapest
Spoken languages: Hungarian (a very special language, originating from the Finno-Ugric group of languages)
Currency: Hungarian Forint
Suffrage: 18 years of age (universal)
Chief of state: Laszlo SOLYOM (since 5 August 2005), Head of Government: Gordon Bajnai - Prime Minister
Member of: NATO and EU
For centuries, Hungary has been an agricultural country, but since The Second World War it has become heavily industrialized. Through the 1970s and 1980s, industry was largely state-owned, and two thirds of agricultural output came from collective and state farms. Hungary’s economy underwent difficult readjustment in the 1990s, as it moved from producing goods chiefly for export to the USSR to developing a market-based economy and finding new trading partners. By the end of 1995, almost all retail trade had been privatized, and only less than half of all economic output originated from state-owned enterprises. Economic reforms also brought high unemployment and rising inflation, but today Hungary’s economy is one of the most prosperous in what used to be called Eastern Europe.
Slightly over 50% of Hungary’s land is arable. With highly diversified crop and livestock production, the country is self-sufficient in food and in the mid-1990s was making about 15% of its export earnings from agriculture. Corn, wheat, barley, sugar beets, potatoes, sunflower seeds, and grapes are the major crops. Pigs, cattle, and sheep are raised.
|Bauxie - source|
Hungary has been an important producer of bauxite, and deposits of copper, natural gas, coal, oil, and uranium have been exploited as well. Mining was drastically curtailed in the 1990s as the country moved to a market economy and found it was not cost-effective to exploit the country’s minerals at world prices. The gradual decline of gas and oil production is due to the exhaustion of reserves. Industry is well-diversified; major products include steel, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cement, processed food, textiles, and motor vehicles. About one third of Hungarian industry is located in or near Budapest. Other industrial centers are Győr, Miskolc, Pécs, Debrecen, Szeged, and Dunapentele. The tourism is also an important source of foreign capital. The country is a member of the European Union, and its main trading partners are other countries in the EU (especially Germany, Austria, and Italy) and Russia.
By 14 B.C., western Hungary was part of the Roman Empire’s province of Pannonia and Dacia. The area east of the Danube was never part of the Roman Empire and was largely occupied by various Germanic and Asiatic peoples. In 896 all of Hungary was invaded by the Magyars, who founded a kingdom. Christianity was accepted during the reign of Stephen I (St. Stephen), 977–1038. A devastating invasion by the Mongols killed half of Hungary’s population in 1241. The peak of Hungary’s great period of medieval power came during the reign of Louis I the Great (1342–1382), whose dominions touched the Baltic, Black, and Mediterranean seas. War with the Turks broke out in 1389, and for more than 100 years the Turks advanced through the Balkans. When the Turks smashed a Hungarian army in 1526, western and northern Hungary accepted Hapsburg rule to escape Turkish occupation. Intermittent war with the Turks was waged until a peace treaty was signed in 1699.
|The arrival of the Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin - source|
After the suppression of the 1848 revolt, led by Louis Kossuth, against Hapsburg rule, the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary was set up in 1867. The dual monarchy was defeated, along with the other Central Powers, in World War I. After a short-lived republic in 1918, the chaotic Communist rule of 1919 under Béla Kun ended with the Romanians occupying Budapest on Aug. 4, 1919. When the Romanians left, Nicholas Horthy entered the capital with a national army. The Treaty of Trianon of June 4, 1920, by which the Allies parceled out Hungarian territories, cost Hungary 68% of its land and 58% of its population.
In World War II, Hungary allied with Germany, which aided the country in recovering lost territories. Following the German invasion of Russia on June 22, 1941, Hungary joined the attack against the Soviet Union, but withdrew in defeat from the eastern front by May 1943. Germany occupied the country for the remainder of the war and set up a puppet government. Hungarian Jews and Gypsies were sent to death camps. The German regime was driven out by the Soviets in 1944–1945.
|Street scene after the Siege of Budapest - source|
By the Treaty of Paris (1947), Hungary had to give up all territory it had acquired since 1937 and to pay $300 million in reparations to the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. In 1948, the Communist Party, with the support of Soviet troops, seized control. Hungary was proclaimed a People’s Republic and one-party state in 1949. Industry was nationalized, the land collectivized into state farms, and the opposition terrorized by the secret police. The terror, modeled after that of the USSR, reached its height with the trial and life imprisonment of József Cardinal Mindszenty, the leader of Hungary’s Roman Catholics, in 1948. On October 23, 1956, an anti-Communist revolution broke out in Budapest. To cope with it, the Communists set up a coalition government and called former prime minister Imre Nagy back to head the government. But he and most of his ministers sympathized with the anti-Communist opposition, and he declared Hungary a neutral power, withdrawing from the Warsaw Treaty and appealing to the United Nations for help. One of his ministers, János Kádár, established a counter regime and asked the USSR to send in military force. Soviet troops and tanks suppressed the revolution in bloody fighting after 190,000 people had fled the country. Under Kádár (1956–1988), Communist Hungary maintained more liberal policies in the economic and cultural spheres, and Hungary became the most liberal of the Soviet-bloc nations of eastern Europe. Continuing his program of national reconciliation, Kádár emptied prisons, reformed the secret police, and eased travel restrictions to the west.
In 1989, Hungary’s Communists abandoned their monopoly on power voluntarily, and the constitution was amended in October 1989 to allow for a multiparty state. The last Soviet troops left Hungary in June 1991, thereby ending almost 47 years of military presence. The transition to a market economy proved difficult. In April 1999, Hungary became part of NATO, and in May 2004, it joined the EU. In 2006, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány was reelected on a platform promising economic "reform without austerity." In September, a tape was leaked to the media on which Prime Minister Gyurcsany admitted that he blatantly lied about the state of the economy to win reelection. Antigovernment demonstrators rioted and demanded his resignation.
In May 2002, the Hungarian Socialist Party (Magyar Szocialista Part, MSzP) came to power. There have been a few re-shuffles in parliament since then, most recently when opposition-backed Laszlo Solymon was chosen as the next president, after the Socialists’ candidate was blocked - but the coalition survived and won the April 2006 general election. This was the first time a government had been re-elected since the restoration of democracy in 1990.
Hungary has joined with the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovak Republic in the Visegrad group, which promotes political and economic co-operation in central Europe. In September 2006 Budapest was engulfed in demonstrations, as Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admitted that he had lied to voters about the state of Hungary’s economy. Police again battled protestors in October 2007 during the 51st anniversary of the Hungarian anti-Soviet uprising.
After many years as a one-party Marxist state, Hungary became a multiparty parliamentary democracy in 1989. The unicameral legislature consists of the 386-seat national assembly, whose members are directly elected to four-year terms. The executive branch consists of a president, who is the chief of state and, along with the presidential council, is elected by the national assembly, and a prime minister, who is the head of government. The leading political parties are the Socialist party, the Hungarian Civic party, the Independent Smallholder’s party, the Alliance of Free Democrats, and the Hungarian Democratic Forum. For administrative purposes, the country is divided into 19 counties, 20 urban counties, and the capital city.
|The Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapes - source|
Last national elections 2006
Last European Parliament election June 2009 See: • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009_(Hungary) • http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/archive/elections2009/en/hungary_en.html
Most famous Hungarians
Franz Liszt – composer
Drew Barrymore – actress
Rachel Weizs - actress, model
Abraham Ganz – scientist
|Franz Liszt - source|
Of those Hungarians declaring religious affiliation, about 68% say they are Roman Catholic, 21% Reformed (Calvinist) Protestants and 6% Evangelical (Lutheran) Protestants. There are also small Greek Catholic and Orthodox congregations. Hungary’s Jews number about 80,000, down from a pre-war population of almost 10 times that size.
Hungary has eight listed World Heritage sites:
- The old village and environs of Hollók? (1987)
- The Aggtelek karst and Slovakian karst caves (1995)
- The 1,000 year-old Benedictine Abbey at Pannonhalma and its natural surroundings (1996)
- Hortobágy National Park - the Puszta (1999)
- Pécs Early Christian burial vaults (2000)
- Fert?/Neusiedlersee cultural region (2001)
- The historic wine-making cultural region of Tokaj (2002)
- The Budapest Danube panorama, the Buda Castle District (1987), Andrássy Road and its historic surroundings (2002)
In general Hungary has embraced modern living (the same as in Czech Republic), although the older generation still preserves their traditions and culture, particularly in small villages. When meeting a Hungarian, handshaking is customary and both their Christian name and surname should be used. Normal courtesies should be observed. At a meal, toasts are usually made and should be returned. A useful word is egészségünkre (pronounced ay-gash-ay-gun-gre), meaning ’your health’. A knowledge of German can prove useful. Gifts such as flowers or a bottle of wine are acceptable for hosts as a token of thanks, particularly when invited for a meal. Smoking is prohibited on public transport in towns and public buildings.
In Hungary, the system of outwork/home working, which means working away from the company premises (but not e-working), has been known for a long time. Typical activities carried out in this framework included tailoring, sewing, basketwork, preparing strip carpets, doormats or other home craft work that can mostly be done at home. Beside manual activities, intellectual work carried out in this framework included writing studies and articles, translating, editing, publishing-related activities, and work carried out periodically in research institutes, libraries, archives, or other localities.
Since personal computers started to appear in Hungary in the early 1990s, e-working or teleworking/ telecommuting has spread in the case of those intellectual jobs that had already been done from home. It included writing and editing documents usually at home and submitting them in an electronic format, and later by Internet. Employees carrying out scientific or similar work were given 1-3 research days a week to complete tasks away from the company premises. It is interesting that employees with this scope of activities are still not considered teleworkers in most cases, although their working activity is the typical form of partial teleworking.
Similarly to the above-mentioned group, teachers, district nurses, survey-takers, consultants, managers are not considered e-workers, in spite the fact, that part of their work is done away from the workplace using mobile information technology (IT). Employees working in these jobs are not employed by e-work contract in most cases, as the conventional labor contracts provide an adequate frame for employment. The above-mentioned scope of activities is remarkably widespread in Hungary.
With the spreading of IT devices and connected professions, the range of jobs that can be carried out in the form of e-working has been widening further: IT jobs, such as programmer, developer, designer, supporter, data collector, etc. E-work has developed as a result of the improvement of instruments and technologies. A large number of people working in these jobs became self-employed workers (free lancer, e-lancer) who work away from the workplace.
Among traditional office jobs there is an increasing number of jobs that are performed away from the company premises, such as accounting, part of secretarial duties. There is also a great number of people working in this way among employees in the field of customer care and sales, such as employees doing call centre jobs, travel agents, training organizers, sales representatives (e.g.: medical representatives).
Most wonderful places in Hungary
Often described as the "Little Paris of Middle Europe", Budapest is famous not only for the monuments reflecting its own 1,000-year-old culture, but also for the relics of others who settled here. Remains from both Roman occupation and much later ruled by the Turks can still be seen in the city. After the Ottoman Empire the union with Austria has a particular influence on the city’s form and style. The capital has two sides, Buda and Pest, stretching along the banks of the Danube, representing two different characters of the city.
Suburban Buda and its historic castle district offer medieval streets and houses, museums, caves and Roman ruins. The dynamic Pest side boasts the largest parliament building in Europe, riverside promenades, flea markets, bookstores, antique stores and café houses.
Budapest has a lot to offer. Museums and galleries, churches and synagogues, palaces and historic buildings, baths and pools are presented together with the influence of Secession in the city.
Visegrád is rich with natural and historic attractions. There are sites at three heights: the Main Street, the Solomon Tower and the Castle on the top of the hill. The latter offers a wonderful view of the Danube Bend.
The Palace of the great Renaissance ruler, King Mathias (1458-1490), was ornamented with red marble fountains. In a marvelous environment, this huge two-story building was one of the most luxurious royal residences of its time. The Renaissance court of the palace, and the Hercules Fountain which streams wine on holidays were authentically reconstructed by archaeologists. Nearby the five-story Solomon Tower is among the oldest and most intact Romanesque dwelling towers of Central Europe. Battle scenes are re-enacted in its yard during summer.
The "Hungarian Sea", is the people’s name for the 50 mile long lake with silky green-yellow water in the middle of Transdanubia. Lake Balaton is one of Hungary’s most precious treasures and most frequented resorts. It is also the largest lake in Central Europe. The southern shores are ideal for small children because of the shallow water, but on the north shore the water gets deeper instantaneously. The summer water temperature is around 80 °F, which is warmer than the average air temperature in the morning and in the evening. The water and the sleek mud of the lake are excellent remedies for nervous complaints, anemia and nervous fatigue.
Picturesque vineyards in the region produce an assortment of excellent wines that go very well with the delicious local food. Large numbers of inns and restaurants welcome guests from home and abroad.
Places of interest
Old Village of Holloko and Surroundings, County of Nograd: Hoolok is a deliberately preserved traditional settlement. The village was developed during the 17th and 18th centuries, make is a living example of rural life before the 20th century agricultural revolution.
Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst: County of Borsod-Abauj: The variety of formations which are concentrated in a restricted area makes the 712 currently identified caves in a typical temperate-zone karstic system. The display a rare combination of tropical and glacial climatic effects and makes it possible to study geological history.
Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and it’s Natural Environment: The fist Benedictine Monks settled in Hungary in 996. The monks converted the Hungarians to Christianity, and founded the country’s first school. In 1055 the monks wrote the first document in Hungarian. This monastic community has been significant for promoting culture since being founded. The monastery has a 1,000 year history that can be seen in the succession of architectural styles of the monastery buildings. The oldest building dates back to 1224 and still houses a school and monastic community.
|Pannonhalma Archabbey - source|
Hortobagy National Park - the Puszta: The park consists of a vast area of plains and wetlands in Eastern Hungary. The traditional forms of land use and grazing of domestic animals have been present in this pastoral society for more than two millennia. The Hungarian Puszta is an outstanding example of cultural landscapes shaped by a pastoral society.
Early Christian Necropolis of Pecs -Sopianae: A remarkable series of decorated tombs were constructed in the 4th century. The tombs were in the provincial town of Sopianae, which is now Pecs. The tombs are important structurally and architecturally, since they were built as underground burial chamber with memorial chapels above ground. The richly decorated tombs are decorated with murals of Christina themes, that tare very high quality.
Ferto / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape: The Ferto - Neusiedler Lake area has served as a meeting place for different cultures for eight millennia. The villages surrounding the lake and several 18th and 19th century palaces add to the beauty and cultural interest of the area.
Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape: The landscape demonstrates the long tradition of the region’s wine production. The region has low hills and river valleys with intricate patterns of vineyards, farms, villages and small town. The historic networks of deep wine cellars illustrate every factor for the production of the famous Tokaj wines. The viticultural tradition has existed for at least a thousand years and continues into the present era.