From Hungary’s days as a member of the Ottoman Empire, to the Austro-Hungarian polyglot whose 50 year reign collapsed during World War I, to its brief stint under communist rule following World War II, to finally rallying for liberty in the late 1960s, Hungary is as rich in culture as it is in history. This country’s pride in the uniqueness of its history and language is reflected in the unity of the entire nation.
Only slightly smaller than the state of Indiana, Hungary is home to Budapest, named a World Heritage City by UNESCO for its maintenance of monuments from Aquincum, the ancient Roman city, to the Gothic castle of Buda, which are some of the greatest historical and architecturally influencing destinations in all of Europe. The capital city is divided in half by the Danube, and the Chain Bridge connects Buda with Pest.
Hungarians refer to themselves as Magyars, a name they share with the official language. Over 10 million Magyars live within the country’s borders while another 5 million live outside of Hungary, two million of whom reside in Transylvania, Romania.
In a country full of historical monuments and national pride, it comes as no surprise that Hungary is home to a wealth of arts and culture. Folk music is still a predominant genre, with festivals and dance halls dedicated to enjoying this traditional music. The art industry, which faded during the communist rule, is now finding its footing again in the nation’s cultural society. With works of long-forgotten artists re-emerging, the Hungarian art market went from non-existent to booming in just a few short decades.
Hungarian cuisine is known for having a serious "bite," and that bite can be accredited to the country’s spicy staple, paprika. Paprika has been part of Hungarian fare for five or six centuries. While it began as part of the humble farmer's diet, it grew to be popular even amongst the nobility. Today, paprika can be found in most Hungarian homes and restaurants, as well as in a wide variety of native recipes.