About Budapest

The City of Budapest, which is divided by the Danube River, is one of the most scenic places in the world. There is no other place quite like Hungary. This is a country full of surprises and holds a wealth of history and culture. It has become the proud heritage of the Hungarians. WELCOME to the land of the Magyars – the people who strive to keep their culture and at the same time to be accepted in an ever-changing world.

Budapest lies in the very heart of Europe. It shares its borders with many countries. To the north borders Slovakia, Ukraine in the northeast, in the south it shares borders with Slovenia, Serbia, Romania and Croatia and with Austria to the west. It is one of the oldest countries in Europe. It was founded in 896, before France and Germany became separate entities, and before the unification of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms.

History

People lived on both sides of the Danube where Budapest now stands. Traces have been found of settlements dating back as far as the Stone Age. Like neighboring countries, Hungary was part of the Celtic world, then the Roman Empire. The building of a Roman Fort named Aquincum (which is also the name of the hotel of Percom 2014), was a factor in the flourishing of both civilian and military life.

In 896, following the fall of the Roman Empire, the Huns, ruled under King Attila, settled in the plains of Pannonia. Eventually, the Huns name would be used in naming the country "Hungary". The Hungarian language is known as Magyar. It is the direct descendant of the language spoken by the Huns.

Stephen (István) I, King of Hungary, organized a feudal state and introduced Christianity. Merchants from central and western Europe quickly settled in Buda and Pest and both places developed rapidly until the Mongols stormed the Danube towns of Buda and Pest. The construction of the Castle of Buda was ordered by King Béla IV. Royalty moved to Buda in 1347. In the 15th century, the Royal Palace and Buda, together with Visegrád, were further fortified and it became a center of Renaissance culture. In 1777 Buda became the 1st University Town.

Budapest was so named by merging Obuda, Buda and Pest in 1872-73 under the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth (Sissi). Budapest became the official Capital of Hungary.

Little Known Facts

  • As of 2007, 13 Hungarians had received a Nobel Award, more than Japan, China, India, Australia or Spain.
  • The first continent Underground Railroad was built in Hungary in 1896.
  • One third of the 15 million Hungarian speakers live outside Hungary, mostly in Romania, but also in all adjacent countries to Hungary.
  • Budapest has more thermal springs than any other capital city in the world. There are over 1500 spas featuring Roman, Greek and Turkish architecture. Hungary has 450 public baths.
  • Budapest is home to the 3rd largest Parliament building in the world.
  • Despite the country’s name and its language, DNA tests have revealed that central Asian genes represent only a tiny percentage of the Hungarian population.
  • Hungarian inventions include: noiseless match, Rubik’s cube, krypton electric blub, holography, ballpoint pen, theory of the hydrogen bomb, BASIC programming language, absolute geometry, carburetor, transformer, telephone exchange and the thermo graphic camera.
  • Hungarian language is known as Magyar. It is the direct descendent of the language spoken by the Huns. It has only two related languages in Europe – Finnish and Estonian.
  • Hungary is home to the 2nd largest synagogue in the world.
  • There are more than 40 theatres and over 100 museums and galleries in the city.
  • In 1989 Hungary was the first communist-block country to open its borders with Western Europe.
  • Budapest Zoo is one of the oldest in the world. It was opened in 1865.
  • Budapest is the northernmost holy place of Islam – here lies the 1541 tomb of Gül Baba.
  • It is home to one of the largest music festivals in the world – Sziget Festival every August.
  • Budapest is the biggest city in Hungary. It is home to 20% of the Hungarian population.
  • Budapest was not always the capital of Hungary. Esztergom was the birth and coronation place of St. Stephan – the first king of Hungary. In 1241 King Béla IV moved the royal seat to Buda.
  • Only five countries (USA, USSR, UK, France, Italy) have won more total Summer Olympic gold medals than Hungary.
  • Hero’s Square was constructed in 1896 to commemorate the 1000 year anniversary of the Hungarian conquest.
  • Hungary was one of the first communist-era countries to oppose the Soviet regime during the Cold War, notably with the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
  • In 1903 Budapest’s Elizabeth Bridge was the world’s longest suspension bridge.

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