Hungary – a proud, fiery country with its own seaLexika 08.11.2018 Meet the World with Lexika Reading time: 4 min.
Hungary is a country on the plains and its highest peak is Mount Kékes at 1,015 metres above sea level. However, the Hungarian people do not mind this in the least, because instead of mountains, they have their own “sea”.
Lake Balaton is Hungary’s pride and joy. The largest lake in central European, it is 77 km long, 14 km wide, and 1.5 km wide even at its narrowest point. Its average depth is 3.2 metres. During the summer, the lake temperature does not drop below 22 degrees Celsius and in long-term heat waves can rise as high as 29 degrees. Thanks to these advantages and the superior services offered, the “Hungarian sea” is a popular holiday destination, welcoming holiday-makers from every part of the world.
A pride originating from Hunor and Magor
The word “Hungarian” (Magyar) is derived from a pre-Christian legend about two mythical brothers, Hunor and Magor. The legend has it that one day, while hunting deer, the brothers discovered a beautiful land located on the territory of present-day Hungary, where they then settled and made their home. Hunor then became the forefather of the Huns, while Magor is thought of as the forefather of the Hungarians.
Hungary has been considered one of the oldest and largest countries in Europe since the end of the 9th century. It is older even than France or Germany. Hungarian territory was first ruled by the Celts, then the Romans. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the land was dominated by the Huns. And it is thanks to them that the Hungarians have their unique language, which only a fraction of people around the world can understand, and which is etymologically closest to Finnish and Estonian.
The Hungarians are generally known as proud patriots. They are especially proud of their ancestry, nation, traditions, culture, and language. Their unshakeable patriotism is also evidenced by the fact that Hungarian children study “Patriotism” as a mandatory subject at school.
For many of us, the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word “Hungary” is a plate filled with various delicacies originating in this marvellous country. Various types of goulash – either Szeged goulash, Hungarian goulash, or goulash made in a kettle hung over a fire, as well as special meat stews (pörkölt and paprikás) are the best-known Hungarian dishes, popular in many countries. The recipes for all of them call for a special ingredient considered the best in the world: paprika, which has been an integral part of Hungarian gastronomy since the 1700s. The spiciness of paprika is indispensable; it also gives a unique flavour to the famous Csabai sausage.
If your mouth is watering by now, let’s stay on the topic of Hungarian cuisine for a bit longer. Hungarian dishes are especially spicy and hot, thanks in no small part to the addition of paprika as mentioned above. But not everything revolves around paprika and hot peppers in Hungary. Thanks to Hungary’s unique climatic conditions, vegetables and fruit thrive there. Apricots (from which the traditional Barack Pálinka is made), watermelon, green bell peppers, and tomatoes are among Hungary’s most-cultivated crops. And of course, we must mention grapes, thanks to which Hungary boasts a wealth of fine wines, including Tokaji Furmint, Bull’s Blood and Lime Tree Wine. Lavender lovers will enjoy their beloved flower to their heart’s content when visiting the albeit tiny, but so fragrant village of Tihany surrounded by fields dotted with this aromatic flower.
Hungarian curiosities in a nutshell
- Czárdás is the Hungarian traditional folk dance. It is very challenging to perform and portrays the passion felt by a couple in love.
- Hungary can boast as many as 13 Nobel laureates in all categories with the exception of the peace prize.
- Budapest is the home of the largest Jewish synagogue in Europe and the second largest synagogue in the world. (There is a strong Jewish tradition in Hungary thanks to a community of more than 100,000 Jews.)
- The Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest is the third largest parliament building in the world.
- When writing their names, the Hungarians write their surname first, followed by their given name.
- Among the best-known inventions of famous Hungarians, it is worth mentioning:
- the Rubik’s cube – Rubik Ernő,
- matchsticks – Irinyi János,
- the ballpoint pen, or biro – Bíró László,
- vitamin C – Szent-Györgyi Albert (he was awarded the Nobel prize for this discovery in 1937),
- the electronically programmable computer – Neumann János (John von Neumann),
- Microsoft’s Word and Excel programs – Simonyi Károly (Charles),
- the invention of the airship – Schwarz Dávid (the patent was later bought by Zeppelin),
- and many others, such as the krypton bulb, tungsten lamp, or alternating current.
- In Hungary you can find: 1300 thermal springs, 22 wine regions, 10 national parks, and 8 UNESCO World heritage sites.
- The Budapest Metro is the oldest rapid transit system in continental Europe and the second oldest in the world.
How did Hungary captivate you? Let us know in the comments.