Location: surrounded by (Counter-clockwise from the North Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria)
Capital: Budapest (the hub of the transportation system, in Hungary, “all roads lead to Budapest”).
Population: 10 million (comparable to Indiana)
Size: 35,919 square miles (comparable to Michigan)
Government: The government is a republic with a Prime Minister (currently Viktor Orban), a President (just resigned Pal Schmitt). Formerly, from 1947-1989, it was a communist country.
Economy: Uses the Forint, but may switch to the Euro. Hungary has been a member of the European Union since 1994. GNI is US $12,850.
- Hungarians have an annual Easter water fight of sorts where men try to throw buckets of water on women.
- Though Hungary is entirely landlocked, it is home to central Europe’s largest lake, Lake Balaton.
- Hungary played a major role in the fall of communism; by opening up its borders to Austria, thousands of Germans could flee West.
- Hungary is rife with great scientific minds and has produced 13 Nobel Prize winners.
- In Hungarian wedding receptions, it is customary for the groom to drink out of the bride’s shoe and for the bride to break a dish on the ground and sweep it up along with coins.
- Hungarian for “cheers” is “Egészségedre,” pronounced, “ay-ga-shay-ga-dray.”
- One of the all time soccer greats, Ferenc Puskás, is from Hungary. He is known for scoring 84 goals in 85 matches for Hungary and 511 in 533 matches in league play, where he played for Real Madrid.
Not So Fun Facts:
- Historically home to a large Jewish community, Hungary is now plagued with anti-Semitism.
- Hungary had to sit out of two Olympics for punishment (1920, 1984). However, they still rank 9th of 211 countries for all time in Olympic medals.
In the News Lately:
- Pal Schmitt resigns over plagiarism scandal involving his doctorate thesis.
- Hungary outlaws sleeping on the streets, now a crime punishable by fines and imprisonment.
- Hungary faces economic trouble and needs EU help.