Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hungary - Introduction

Hungary  is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south,Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The country's capital and largest city is Budapest. Hungary is a member of the European UnionNATO, the OECD, the Visegrád Group, and the Schengen Agreement. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe.
Following periods of successive habitation by Celts, Romans, Huns, Slavs, Gepids, and Avars, the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late 9th century by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád. His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000 AD, converting the country to a Christian kingdom. Hungary became a middle power and part of the Western world by the 12th century. After the Battle of Mohács and about 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation (1541–1699), Hungary became part of the Habsburg Empire, and later formed part of the Austro–Hungarian Empire (1867–1918).
Hungary's current borders were first established by the Treaty of Trianon (1920) after World War I. The country lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, and 32% of ethnic Hungarians. On the side of the Axis Powers, Hungary also suffered great damages in World War II. During its four decades long communist dictatorship (1947–1989), the country gained widespread international attention regarding the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal opening of its border with Austria in 1989, previously restricted by the Iron Curtain, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.
On 23 October 1989, Hungary again became a democratic parliamentary republic, and now it is a developed country. Hungary is a popular tourist destination attracting 10.2 million tourists a year (2011). The country is home to the largest thermal water cave systemand 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)..