Hungary: History, Culture & Economy

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Hungary /ˈhʌŋɡəri/ (Hungarian: Magyarország [ˈmɒɟɒrorsaːɡ]), officially the Republic of Hungary (Magyar Köztársaság), is a landlocked country in the Carpathian Basin in Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Its capital is Budapest. Hungary is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the Visegrád Group, and is a Schengen state. The official language is Hungarian, the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe, being part of the Finno-Ugric family.

Following a Celtic (after c. 450 BC) and a Roman (9 AD – c. 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. 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 World War I, Hungary lost over 70% of its territory, along with one third of its population of Hungarian ethnicity, under the Treaty of Trianon, the terms of which have been considered excessively harsh by many in Hungary. The kingdom was succeeded by a Communist era (1947–1989) during which Hungary gained widespread international attention regarding the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal move of opening its border with Austria in 1989, thus accelerating the collapse of the Eastern Bloc . The present form of government is a parliamentary republic (since 1989). Today, Hungary is a high-income economy according to World Bank, emerging and developing economy according to IMF and a regional leader regarding certain markers.

Hungary is one of the thirty most popular tourist destinations among the countries of the world, attracting 8.6 million tourists per year (2007). The country is home to the largest thermal water cave system and the second largest thermal lake in the world (Lake Hévíz), the largest lake in Central Europe (Lake Balaton), and the largest natural grasslands in Europe (Hortobágy).

The culture of Hungary has a distinctive style of its own in Hungary, diverse and varied, starting from the capital city of Budapest on the Danube, to the Great Plain bordering Ukraine. Hungary was formerly (until 1918) one half of Austria-Hungary. Hungary has a rich folk tradition, for example: embroideries, decorated potterys, buildings and carvings. Hungarian music ranges from the rhapsodies of Franz Liszt to folk music and Hungarian gipsy music and Roma music. Hungary has a rich and colorful literature, with many poets and writers, although not many are well known abroad due to the limited prevalence of the Hungarian language being a Finno-Ugric language. Some noted authors include Sándor Márai and Imre Kertész, who have been gaining acclaim in recent decades. János Kodolányi was more known in the middle of the twentieth century in Italy and Finland. Imre Kertész won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002. Péter Esterházy is known and popular in Austria and Germany, and Magda Szabó has become well-known in Europe recently as well.

The economy of Hungary is a medium-sized, structurally, politically and institutionally open economy in Central Europeand is part of the European Union’s (EU) single market. Like most Eastern European economies, the economy of Hungary experienced market liberalisation in the early 1990s as part of the transition from socialist economy to market economy. Hungary is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since 1995, a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1996, and a member of the European Union since 2004.

Notes from Wikipedia

A'Keiba Burrell
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