Country number: 35
Territory number: 37
When? March 1990, coming from Krakow, after the Wall Came Down, via Slovakia, going on to Vienna
How? On the train
Who? With friend Jenny
‘I admit I have a Hungarian temper. Why not? I am from Hungary. We are descendants of Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun’
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Budapest, Hungary’s capital, straddles the River Danube. Its 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly old town of Buda with flat modern Pest. Trinity Square in Buda is home to the iconic sights of gold roofed thirteenth century Matthias Church and the turrets of the Fishermen’s Bastion terrace serving up views across the city. The Matthias Church. with its diamond patterned roof has been heavily restored in a style described as ‘florid’ on Wikipedia. The Hungarian parliament in Budapest is the world’s third largest parliamentary building and is the tallest building in the capital city, as well. It is also counted among the oldest legislative buildings in Europe. Pest is overflowing with little restaurants, every one of of them serving goulash. Budapest has the highest number of thermal springs in the world. 70 million litres of thermal water rise to the earth’s surface daily.
A scenic boat trip up the Danube. First stop Visegrád, a small castle town, north of Budapest. (It had a population of 1,864 in 2010.) Visegrád is famous for the remains of the Early Renaissance summer palace of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and the medieval citadel. That’s me, going in the entrance. Next, the city of Esztergom, the capital of Hungary between 10th and 13th century. The basilica is the seat of the Catholic Church of Hungary, and the largest church and tallest building in the country. This neo-classical building is the predecessor of several earlier churches, the earliest of which was the first cathedral in Hungary. It ‘s stately rather than beautiful , possessing three impressive domes with an altarpiece reputed to be the largest painting in the world on a single piece of canvas. It also houses a fascinating museum of church treasures, plate, reliquaries, vestments, chasubles, mitres etc.
Hungary was formerly a part of the Roman Empire, after the fall of which,– the people of the country at that time –the Huns – gave the country their name – Hungary. Hungarian is the direct descendant of the language spoken by the Huns.
The country came under communist rule after the Second World War.
Hungary became an independent nation in 1989, joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
Hungarians write their last name first and first name last. You cannot name your child in Hungary unless it is approved by the government. You can choose form an extensive list of names or fill in a form for approval with the Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
The world’s highest denomination notes ever were issued in Hungary with a face value of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 Hungarian pengos (one quintillion pengo).
Hungary has the highest rate of VAT in the world – 27%
Hungary also has the highest female suicide and highest death rate by cancer .