Top Ten Hungarian Attractions

Top Ten Hungarian Attractions

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       Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe situated in the Carpathian Basin and bordered by Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. The capital and largest city is Budapest. Hungary is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, and the Visegrád Group and is a Schengen state. The official language is Hungarian, also known in Hungaryas Magyar, which is part of the Uralic family and is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe. Following a Celtic (after 450 BC) and a Roman (9 AD – 430 AD) period, the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late 9th century by the Hungarian ruler Árpád, whose great-grandson Saint Stephen I was crowned with a crown sent from Rome by the pope in 1000 AD. The Kingdom of Hungary lasted for 946 years, and at various points was regarded as one of the cultural centers of the Western world. After about 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation (1541–1699), Hungary was integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy, and later constituted half of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy (1867–1918). A great power until the end of WWI, Hungary lost over 70% of its territory, along with one third of its population of Hungarian ethnicity, and all its sea ports under the Treaty of Trianon, the terms of which have been considered excessively harsh by many in Hungary. The kingdom was succeeded by a Fascist regime, and then a Communist era (1947–1989) during which Hungary gained widespread international attention during the Revolution of 1956 and the unilateral opening of its border with Austria in 1989, thus accelerating the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. The present form of government is a parliamentary republic, which was established in 1989. Today, Hungary is a high-income economy and a regional leader in some respects. Hungary is one of the 30 most popular tourist destinations of the world, attracting 8.6 million tourists a year (2007). The country is home to the largest thermal water cave system and the 2nd largest thermal lake in the world (LakeHévíz), the largest lake in Central Europe (Lake Balaton), and the largest natural grasslands inEurope (Hortobágy).

  1. Budapest
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    Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country’s principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial and transportation center. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3,284,110 people. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with the unification on November 17, 1873 of west-bank Buda and Óbuda with east-bank Pest. The history of Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Magyars arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-42. The re-established town became one of the centers of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, development of the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after the 1873 unification. It also became the second capital of Austria-Hungary, a great power that dissolved in 1918. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest of 1945 and the Revolution of 1956. Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes’ Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the 2nd oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world’s largest thermal water cave system, 2nd largest synagogue, and 3rd largest Parliament building. The city attracts about 2.3 million tourists a year. Considered a financial hub in Central Europe, the city ranked 3rd (out of 65 cities) on Mastercard’s Emerging Markets Index, and ranked as the most livable Central/Eastern European city on EIU’s quality of life index. It is also ranked as “Europe’s 7th most idyllic place to live” by Forbes. It is the highest ranked Central/Eastern European city on Innovation Cities’ Top 100 index. Budapest is home to the headquarters of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), and the first foreign office of the CIPA.
    Links: Cities, Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest,
  2. Pécs
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    Pécs is the 5th largest city of Hungary, located on the slopes of the Mecsek mountains in the south-west of the country, close to its border with Croatia. It is the administrative and economical center of Baranya County. The city Sopianae was founded by Romans at the beginning of the 2nd century, on an area peopled by Celts and Pannoni tribes. By the 4th century it became the capital of Valeria province and a significant early Christian center. The early Christian necropolis is from this era which became an UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 2000. Its episcopate was founded in 1009 by Steven I, and the first university in Hungary was founded in Pécs in 1367 by Louis I the Great. Pécs was formed into one of the cultural and arts center of the country by bishop Janus Pannonius, the great, Hungarian, humanist poet. Pécs has a rich heritage from the age of a 150 year long Ottoman occupation, like the mosque of Pasha Qasim the Victorious on Széchenyi square. Pécs always was a multicultural city where many cultural layers are encrusted melting different values of the history of 2,000 years. Hungarians, Croatians and Swabians still live in peace together in economic and cultural polarity. In 1998 Pécs was given the UNESCO prize Cities for Peace for maintaining the cultures of the minorities, and also for its tolerant and helping attitude toward refugees of the Balkan Wars. In 2007 Pécs was 3rd, in 2008 it was 2nd Livable city (The LivCom Awards) in the category of cities between 75-200 thousand inhabitants. In 2010 Pécs has been selected to be the European Capital of Culture sharing the title together with Essen and Istanbul. The city’s motto is: “The Borderless City.” After the reception of the title major renewal started in the city. Renewed public places, streets, squares and neighborhoods, new cultural centers, a concert hall, a new library and center and a cultural quarter were designed.
    Links: Top Ten Necropolises, Top Ten Tombs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A9cs,
  3. Tokaj Wine Region Cultural Landscape
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    Tokaj-Hegyalja is a historical wine region located in southeastern Slovakia and northeastern Hungary. Hegyalja means “foothills” in Hungarian, which was the original name of the region. The region consists of 28 named villages and 7,000 hectares of classified vineyards, of which an estimated 5,000 are currently planted. It has long been famous for as it is the origin of Tokaji aszú wine, the world’s oldest botrytized wine.
    Links: Wine, Top Ten Wine Regions, Top 100 Wines, Top Ten Hungarian Wines, Top 100 Wineries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokaj-Hegyalja,
  4. Szeged
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    Szeged is the 3rd largest city of Hungary, the largest city and regional center of the Southern Great Plain and the county town of Csongrád county. The University of Szeged is one of the most distinguished universities in Hungary. The famous Open Air Plays of Szeged (first held in 1931) are one of the main attractions; they are held every summer. Szeged celebrates the Day of the city on August 7th.
    Links: Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Fountains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szeged,
  5. Esztergom Basilica
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    The Primatial Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary Assumed Into Heaven and St. Adalbert is an ecclesiastic basilica in Esztergom, Hungary, the mother church of the Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest, and the seat of the Catholic Church in Hungary. It is dedicated to the Saint Mary of the Assumption and Saint Adalbert. It is the tallest building in Hungary and the 18th biggest church in the world. Its inner area is 5,600 m². It is 118 m long and 49 m wide. Its dome, forming a semi-sphere, is situated in the middle, and it has 12 windows. The altarpiece depicts the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by Michelangelo Grigoletti, is the largest painting in the world painted on a single piece of canvas. The basilica is also known for Bakócz Chapel (named after Tamás Bakócz), built by Italian masters between 1506–1507 out of red marble of Süttő, its walls adorned with Tuscan Renaissance motifs. It is the most precious remaining example of Renaissance art in Hungary. The huge crypt, built in Old Egyptian style in 1831, is today the resting place of late archbishops, among others, József Mindszenty.
    Links: Top Ten Basilicas, Paintings, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esztergom_Basilica,
  6. Debrecen
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    Debrecen is the 2nd largest city in Hungary after Budapest. Debrecen is the regional center of the Northern Great Plain region and the seat of Hajdú-Bihar County.
    Links: Top Ten Churches, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debrecen,
  7. Caves of Aggtelek Karst
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    The Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst consist of 712 caves spread out over a total area of 55,800 ha along the border of Hungary and Slovakia.
    Links: Caves, Cave Paintings, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caves_of_Aggtelek_Karst_and_Slovak_Karst,
  8. Hortobágy National Park
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    Hortobágy is both the name of a village in Hajdú-Bihar county and an 800 km² national park in Eastern Hungary, rich with folklore and cultural history. The park, a part of the Alföld (Great Plain), was designated as a national park in 1973 (the first in Hungary). The Hortobágy is Hungary’s largest protected area and the largest natural grassland in Europe. Hortobágy is a steppe, a grassy plain with cattle, sheep, oxen, and horses, tended by herdsmen, and it provides habitat for various different species (342 bird species have been documented, including the Common Crane, Dotterel, Stone Curlew and Great Bustard). One of its most iconic sites is the Nine-holed Bridge. Traditional T-shaped sweep wells dot the landscape, as well as the occasional mirage of trees shimmering in the reflected heat of the Puszta. Until recently it was believed that this alkaline steppe was formed by the clear cutting of huge forests in the Middle Ages, followed by measures to control the course of the Tisza River, allegedly resulting in the soil’s current structure and pH. However, Hortobágy is much older, with alkalinization estimated to have started ten thousand years ago, when the Tisza first found its way through the Great Hungarian Plain, cutting off many streams from their sources in the Northern Mountains. The formation was finished by grazing animals, mastodons, and wild horses during the Ice Age, followed by domesticated animals. Hortobágy has also had negative connotations. Hortobágy was a place where Hungarian Stalinists sent their political opponents to work in forced labour, especially after the Resolution of Informbiro (Cominform or Communist Information Bureau). In much the same way as prison Goli otok functioned in Tito’s Yugoslavia (see Tito–Stalin split) and Bărăgan in Romania.
    Links: National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hortob%C3%A1gy_National_Park,
  9. Millenary Benedictine Monastery of Pannonhalma
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    The Benedictine Pannonhalma Archabbey is the most notable landmark in Pannonhalma and one of the oldest historical monuments in Hungary. It is located near the town, on top of a hill. Saint Martin of Tours is believed to have been born at the foot of this hill, hence its former name, Mount of Saint Martin, from which the monastery occasionally took the alternative name of Márton-hegyi Apátság. This is the 2nd largest territorial abbey in the world, after the one in Monte Cassino. Its notable sights include the Basilica with the Crypt (built in the 13th century), the Cloisters, the monumental Library with 360,000 volumes, the Baroque Refectory (with several examples of trompe l’oeil) and the Archabbey Collection (the 2nd biggest in the country). Today there are about 50 monks living in the monastery.
    Links: Monasteries, Top Ten Abbeys,
  10. Hollókő
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           Hollókő is a Palóc ethnographic village in Hungary, part of the World Heritage. Its name means “Raven-stone” in Hungarian.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holl%C3%B3k%C5%91,
  11. Cultural Landscape of Lake Fertõ
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           Lake Neusiedl is the 2nd largest steppe lake in Central Europe, straddling the Austrian–Hungarian border. The lake covers 315 square km, of which 240 km² is on the Austrian side and 75 km² on the Hungarian side. The lake’s drainage basin has an area of about 1,120 km². From north to south, the lake is about 36 km long, and it is between 6 km and 12 km wide from east to west. On average, the lake’s surface is 115.45 m above the Adriatic Sea and the lake is no more than 1.8 m deep.
    Links: Lakes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neusiedler_See,
  12. Links: Top Ten Hungarian Hotels, Top Ten Hungarian Restaurantshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungary,

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