Where is Hungary Anyway? Mei 7, 2008Posted by finallywoken in Around The World.
Tags: Europe, Sightseeing
This article is written by
Sherwin Tobing, the blog owner of Goresan Ngawur.
I have been living in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, for almost a year. Hungary might sound little bit strange for Indonesians. Many Indonesians do not even have a ghost of idea on where Hungary actually is. Hungary is located in the heart of Europa and its people were originated from somewhere in Central Asia. These people, called Magyar in Hungarian, built a settlement there more than 1000 years ago.
Hungarian language is far from similar with other European languages and categorized as Finno-Ugrian language. International linguists referred it as the second most difficult language to learn after Chinese and, somehow, put it in the same cluster with Estonian and Finnish. Its 44 phonemes and strange grammar and vocabulary contributed to the difficulty in learning it. I, once, read somewhere good example about this. Hungry tourists could easily find restaurant in France, ristorante in Italy, Restaurant in Germany, and restaurante in Spain. Meanwhile, in Hungary he will starve to death since restaurant is étterem in Hungarian. It is spoken by approximately 16 million people. 11 million of them are living in Hungary, and the rest are residing in Translyvania province of Romania, southern part of Slovakia, Serbian autonomous region of Vojvodina, Burgenland in Austria, and some parts of Croatia and Slovenia.
Hungary used to be a very big state before the World War 1 and integrated in dual monarchy system with Austria since 1848 under Austro-Hungarian Empire. Trianon Treaty concluded after the war gave 2/3 of Hungary to its neighbors which result in the existence of Hungarian diaspora in there. Current Hungary is just the remaining 1/3 of it before.
Budapest is an exotic capital city. Beautiful Danube river divided it into hilly Buda and flat Pest. These two are connected by some bridges which shines brightly at night. In the city itself, one may find some buildings from Ottoman era 400 years ago, lot of cathedrals and churches, beautiful castles, operas, museums, and highly eccentric governmental buildings. Jewish largest synagogue can also be found here. My favorites are Hungarian parliament, the largest in Europe, Heroes’ Square (see picture) and St. Istvan’s Cathedral.
Budapest is also famous for its thermal and medicinal baths. There are even some medicinal pools where you can relax yourself. I recommend one in Hotel Gellert. Right beside it, you will be amazed to see the cave in the heart of the city. Up on the Gellert Hill, there stands Citadella, statue built by Austria in the past. Those who like history may want to see Memorial of Hungarian Revolution 1956 and House of Terror, place where you can spend two hours to see equipments used by communist party to torture people and lot of pictures from that era. Between Buda and Pest, there is one small island named Margaret Island, where you can relax, enjoy the beautiful scenery of Danube river, and use some sport facilities. Reaching all places aforementioned is not difficult, Hungarian government provides us great public transportation system.
In regard to foods, I believe all of us here know Hungarian Goulash Soup, I really love it. There are some other great dishes too like fish soup, chicken paprika, and home-made stew. Most of dishes here use paprika as ingredient. Hungary is also famous for its high quality brandy and wine, such as Palinka and Tokaji.
Most Indonesians will have hard time in naming famous Hungarians. Well, some football enthusiasts might be able to name Ferenc Puskas, one of football legend, though. I could also name George Soros, world famous economist from Hungary who emigrated to London to escape Soviet occupation. Who else?
– Albert Szent Gyorgyi, the inventor of Vitamin C who received a Nobel Prize
– Karolyi Simmonyi Jr., the developer of Microsoft Word and Excel
– Janos Kemmy, the first one in the world to send an email
– Joszef Kalamb, the designer of T-Model of Ford
– Viktor Szebehelly, the one who define where Appolo have to land in the moon
– Dones Gabor, the inventor of holography
– Kalman Kand, the father of electric train
– Janos Irinyi, the inventor of match
– Laszlo Biro, the inventor of ballpoint pen
– Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly, world famous composers
– many other
I did experience culture shock when I moved here from Tokyo, Japan last year. People are different, the way they think is different, and their attitude toward foreigners is different. Having lived abroad for 8 years helped me a lot in adapting with local customs and traditions.
It was the first time for me to live in a rather small city. I really missed Tokyo and Jakarta’s crowdedness. I sometimes compared it with Vienna, closest big city. You hardly see lot of people outside after 7 o’clock there. In addition, shops are closed too early and, in Sunday, most of them are not open. Luckily, it is not the case with Budapest. It should also be noted that the air here is much fresher than in Tokyo and, obviously, Jakarta. 😆
Lastly, I found that prices here are much cheaper than Tokyo, yes I know it is an obvious fact, but I did find it as something grateful. With all great things it can offer, Budapest is, indeed, worth living, or, at least, worth visiting. I surely will miss this city after I returned to Tokyo this fall.