A trip to Hungary is a must if you visit Central Europe on vacation. Apart from the attractions, many facts about Hungary help this country stand out.
You will notice that the language is somewhat unique compared to other parts of the continent. A Hungary fun fact that is not many know is that the country is older than Germany and France.
Another interesting fact about Hungary is that the country was home to the first established wine region in the world, Tokaj!
When planning your trip to Budapest or Hungary as a whole, consider these facts on Hungary as a starting point to plan your adventures.
Historical Facts About Hungary
Hungary Is One Of Europe’s Oldest Countries
You might start to think as you read this list that there are a lot of fun facts about Hungary and that’s because there has been a lot of time to develop them as a country!
Hungary was founded in 896 after the Magyars conquest of the Carpathian Basin. Since before 800 BC, there have been people living in this area of Europe when the Magyars settled in what is now Budapest. Descendants of these original Hungarians still exist today as an ethnic group both in and out of Hungary.
Budapest Was Created When Three Cities Merged
One of the best facts about Budapest is that only less than 150 years ago, the city did not exist as it does today.
Budapest was incorporated as a major city when three cities came together in 1873—Buda, Pest, and Obuda. Once the cities came together under one structure, Budapest as a whole saw rapid modernization and technological advancements.
It should also be apparent now how the city you can visit today got its name.
Hungary Was Anti-Soviet Communism
Considering the Soviet Union’s involvement in Hungarian politics and the buildings you can still see today from the communist rule around Hungarian cities, you may not expect Hungarians from the Cold War to be so anti-communist. But they were.
One of the more modern facts about Hungary is that they were the first country to reopen their borders to Western Europe in 1989. There was also the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 to fight Soviet rule and resist being a part of the communist bloc.
Hungarian Cowboys Exist
For many centuries, Hungarians got around the country on horseback, especially those settling on the country’s plains, known as puszta.
There are still Hungarian cowboys that exist and train like their ancestors did. The cowboys, or Csikos, have become one of the many fun facts about Hungary with their skills.
Today, they herd Hungarian Grey Cattle and curly-haired pigs. They will also put on horse shows to demonstrate and compete with each other as they show off their skills.
The grey cattle are only half domesticated. Since they are still partly wild, you never know what may happen at a demonstration show. This can be an alarming fact considering their large horns.
Another underlying Hungarian fact is that the fun tricks you will see from Csikos, and their horse resulted from their conflict history with the Puszta.
Modern horses are still trained to sit like dogs with riders on their backs to protect the Csikos. They are also trained to lay flat on the ground, like a cat ready to pounce.
Fun Facts About Hungary For Travelers
Take A Dip In A Thermal Bath
One of the main yet unsurprising facts about Hungary is that Budapest has the most thermal water springs compared to any other capital city in the world.
Some of the more famous and well-known ones in the city are the Szechenyi, Gellert, and Kiraly Baths. Across the country, there are more than 1,500 thermal spas.
In Budapest alone, 70 million liters of thermal water will come to the surface in Budapest. Soaking in a thermal bath is one of the best things to do in Hungary.
The Largest Synagogue In Europe Is In Budapest
One of the amazing facts about Budapest is that the largest synagogue in Europe is located in the capital city.
The Great Synagogue is not a simple building like many other synagogues around the world. No. This is a large and imposing building as impressive as any European cathedral. It is one of the many things Hungary is famous for.
The Great Synagogue was built in the 1850s, with enough seats for 3,000 people to attend services inside. The only other larger synagogue in the world is the Belz Great Synagogue in Jerusalem.
Hungary Is Home To The Largest Lake In Central Europe
If you’re looking to get outdoors, this is a fact about Hungary to know. While the country is inland geographically, it is home to Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe.
During the summer months, many people visit Lake Balaton for a short vacation. This is a relaxing destination to try their hands at water sports or just chill along the shorelines.
Try The National Dish—Goulash
Planning a trip to a new place is incomplete without knowing essential facts about Hungary—like what the national dish is!
If you consider yourself a “foodie,” you will love the unique flavors and bites you can find in Hungary. The most popular and famous dish is goulash. This is a thick beef and vegetable stew with a unique red color.
Actually, many Hungarian dishes will have this red coloring. This is because paprika is grown in the area and put into almost every traditional meal.
You will also find traditional dishes that use cottage cheeses and sour cream across many menus. For desserts in Hungary, you can try a tart and cold sour cherry soup or chimney bread.
For A Fun Ride, Take The Children’s Railway Up Buda Hills
A final fun fact of Hungary that should inspire you to visit Hungary.
There is a train operating in Budapest that is almost entirely run by children ages 10 to 14.
One of the most obscure facts about Budapest is that the 1940s Children Railway is still active. It was started by the Soviet Union as a way to train communist children.
Kids must complete a four-month training course to learn how to be conductors, inspectors, and workers. The only adults you’ll find working tgere are the station master and the adults that drive the train.
The railway takes you up Buda Hills on a 45-minute-long journey. You can buy a hop-on, hop-off day ticket so you can get off along the way and see Budapest from new heights.
Interesting Cultural Facts About Hungary
Be Careful Not To Clink Your Beer Glasses
You won’t have difficulty finding bars in Hungary where drinking beer is the norm. Although Hungary has the first established wine region in the world, many people will turn to beer to enjoy the end of a workday.
However, you will never see people clinking their glasses to cheers. According to legends, after the Hungarians were defeated in a revolution against the Habsburgs in 1848, 13 Hungarian generals were executed. After each execution, the Austrians performing the act clinked their beer glasses together in celebration.
Hungarians vowed not to clink their glasses together in opposition for 150 years. And while that deadline has passed, many still won’t do it.
The Hungarian Language Is A Mouthful
Try your hand at saying facts about Hungary in Hungarian, and you will impress natives and linguists alike. There are 44 letters in the Hungarian alphabet.
While some letters might look similar, the language is wildly known to be far more unique than any other European language. This makes it incredibly difficult to learn. Hungarian is derived from Central Asia and the Magyar tribes that settled in the area.
The Government Has A Say In Your Child’s Name
A fact of Hungary is that the Government has a list of pre-approved names that soon-to-be parents can use when getting ready to name their children.
This is partly to preserve Hungarian culture as many of the names on the list are native in nature. It is also to protect children from having a “silly” name that may make their lives more difficult as they mature.
A family can apply to have a name granted that is not on the approved list. However, it would have to be considered appropriate by the Hungarian officials that do the approval.
You Use Hungarian Inventions Every Day
Have you written down anything today using a ballpoint pen? Have you ever tried to solve a Rubik’s cube? Or looked into the sky and saw a helicopter?
Hungary may not be the largest country in Europe or have the same international influence as others; many fun and practical inventions have come out of Hungary.
No Building In Budapest Is Taller than 96 Meters
As you walk along the streets of Budapest, you may notice that the city took care in blending old and modern architecture in its city planning.
When you look at downtown Budapest, notice that all of the buildings are basically the same height, except two. The Hungarian Parliament building and the Szent Istvan Basilica, are the tallest structures and both exactly 96 meters high.
It is a city law that no building can be higher than these two. 96 meters is symbolic as well—it represents the years when the Magyers came to the area, in 896.
The two landmark buildings were built to be the same height to represent the equal importance of religion and Government in the lives of Hungarians.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EUROPE
Discover More Fun Facts About Hungary
With the very popular capital city Budapest located inside the already unique and fun Hungary, there is no reason that you shouldn’t want to go to this part of Europe.
Hungarian facts have had centuries to evolve and change—and it seems like all of the unique and fun facts about this country make it the perfect vacation destination.
Now that you know facts about Hungary, you can impress your travelling companions and marvel at what you will see as you travel around this ancient and culturally important country.