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Located in central Europe, Hungary is bordered by seven countries: Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro.
Apart from its quality wines (red, white and rosé) and Baroque towns, its strategic location on the continent also attracts thousands of tourists to the country.
Hungary is slightly larger than Ireland. North to south, the greatest distance is 268km; east to west, it's 528km. The landscape consists mostly of plains in the east, low hills to the west, and small mountains to the north. Kékes Mountain (the blue mountain), the country's highest point, is a modest 1014m. The major rivers are the Danube and the Tisza. Since May, 1st 2004 Hungary is a member of the European Union (EU). The currency is the Forint (1 US$ ~ 185 HUF / 1 Euro [€] ~ 250 HUF).
Originally the Magyars came from the Ural mountains and belong to finno-ugric language group. These people swept over the plains to Europe in the ninth and tenth century. Finally they settled in the country they liked the best. During this period there were Slavonic, Hunnish and Avar tribes in the Carpatian Basin. These tribes merged to form the Hungarian nation. When you come to Hungary you can imagine why: the endless puszta plains are everything a horseman and a farmer could wish for. On these plains there are many beautiful cities, the greatest of these is the capital city: Budapest.
Hungary, which lies in the Carpathian basin, was inhabited by the nomadic Magyars in the 8th century AD. These nomads allied with the Holy Roman Empire in the 10th century and a Magyar prince named Stephen I (István) was crowned the 'Christian King'. However, with Stephen's death in 1038, the emerging nation witnessed constant plots and counterplots by rival claimants to the throne. It enjoyed stability and prosperity under the rule of Matthias Corvinus in the 15th century. In 1526, Hungary faced defeat at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, a defeat that brought to an end the independence of the country. Hungary participated in both World War I and II as an ally of Germany.
Budapest is a beautiful metropolis with a lively nightlife. The city is known as the Paris of Eastern Europe because of its monuments. The main downtown railway station called the 'Western Station' (Nyugati Palyaudvar) was even designed by the renowned Gustave Eiffel who built the tour Eiffel. Budapest is famous for its broad avenues and well-laid parks, and is best explored on foot. The Castle District and the Royal Palace are frequented by travellers almost year round, while the Óbuda area has some Roman ruins and the Kiscelli Museum. A cruise along the Danube is a wonderful option as well especially if you are in Budapest.
Lake Balaton, situated about 100 km from Budapest, is the largest in Europe and has several high-rise hotels and beaches along its shore. The sea is about 77km long and at the widest place about 14km. At his most tall place a ferry moves between Tihany and Szántod. This ferry acts for people and vehicles. An important city lying between the Danube and the Dráva rivers is Pécs, known for the paradoxically named Mosque Church built by the Turks.
Though summer is the main tourist season, Hungary is best visited during spring and autumn when the climate is neither too hot nor too cold. The temperatures in July and August sometimes reach up to 40°C!