Hungary & Visegrád

Hungary

Hungary is a landlocked country of 93,030 km2 area in Central Europe, in the middle of the Carpathian Basin. It is bounded on the north by Slovakia; on the northeast by Ukraine; on the east by Romania; on the south by Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia; and on the west by Austria. Plains and gentle hills of the Pannonian Basin dominate its surface. Some inselbergs form 600-900 m high mountain ranges. Temperate grasslands, agricultural land, meadows and non-coniferous forests characterise the landscape. Two major rivers: the Danube and the Tisza flow across the country from north to south. Lake Balaton, the biggest lake in Central Europe is a favourite target of tourists because of its warm water and nice landscape.

During its more than 1000 years of existence Hungary has experienced every possible historical ups and downs. It was several times invaded by different empires, occupied neighbouring areas, suffered several subdivisions, won battles and campaigns, lost world wars, survived civil wars and fallen revolutions. Since 2004 Hungary has been a member of the European Union.

Hungary has a slowly diminishing population of 10 million. The capital: Budapest is the most densely populated area with its 1.7 million inhabitants. Major cities of over 100,000 inhabitants are Debrecen, Miskolc, Szeged, Pécs, Győr, Nyíregyháza, Kecskemét and Székesfehérvár.

The dominant Hungarian (Magyar) population arrived from the east, from the Ural region. Its Finno-Ugric language and its traditional folklore is different from those of the surrounding Slavic, German and Romanian populations.

From the wide range of travel and tourism information sites on Hungary see e.g. the official Hungary tourism site or the site of the Lonely Planet.


Visegrád

Visegrád (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈviʃɛɡraːd]) is a small castle town in Pest County, Hungary. It is north of Budapest on the right bank of the Danube in the Danube Bend. It had a population of 1,864 in 2010. Visegrád is famous for the remains of the Early Renaissance summer palace of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and the medieval citadel.

The name Visegrád (Vyšehrad) is of Slavic origin, meaning acropolis, literary “the upper castle” (the castle with a privileged position) or “the upper settlement”. In modern Slovak and Czech the form is Vyšehrad.

The castle of Visegrád is called Fellegvár (Citadel) in Hungarian, in German, the town is called Plintenburg.

Visegrád was first mentioned in 1009 as a county town and the chief town of an archdeaconry. After the destructive Mongol invasion of Europe in 1242, the town was rebuilt in a slightly different location to the south. King Charles I of Hungary made Visegrád, his hometown, the royal seat of Hungary in 1325. In the same time his diplomat Stephen Sáfár was appointed castellan.

Visegrád lost importance after the partition of the Kingdom of Hungary following the Battle of Mohács in 1526.

In 1991, the leading politicians of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland met here to form a periodical forum, the Visegrád group, with an intentional allusion to the meeting centuries earlier in 1335.

Visegrád was granted town privileges again in 2000.