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Thursday, January 15, 2009


The small country of Hungary (Magyarország), surrounded by a sea of Slavs, is unique for its language, culture and ability to survive. Settled by the Magyars (a Finno-Ugric tribe who arrived via Russia in the ninth century), the country and its people have remained true to their heritage despite Mongol invasion in the 13th century, Turkish occupation in the 16th and 17th centuries, Austrian rule in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and communist domination in the mid 20th century.The pride locals have for their nation is immense, but it doesn't spring solely from the stalwart strength of their nation. Hungary is also home to historic urban centres and evocative landscapes, not to mention quality wines, rejuvenating thermal springs, and a thriving arts and music scene.Budapest, the capital, is a fantastic city split in two by the Danube. Buda is older, hillier, and more graceful, while Pest is the commercial centre dotted by gorgeous art nouveau buildings. Budapest contains the country's best bars and clubs, and has been a long time haven for writers, artists and musicians. Other centres, such as Eger, Pécs, Szentendre and Sopron, to name but a few, are vibrant cities with rich histories and stunning architecture