(Magyarország, Magyar Köztársaság)
Location: Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia Croatia and Slovenia
Language(s): Bulgarian, English
Total Area: 93,030 km2
Though a small country its position, overlooking central Europe, has meant that it has had a major impact on Europe and the rest of the world. It was of course one part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, and that contributed much to it's literature and music. It’s rather unfortunate that they will best be remembered in the 20th century for the First World War. After their defeat in that war, they were never again the same country. First the communists took over in 1919 and then the far right. In the Second World War their friendship with the Nazis almost destroyed them. Life got so bad for Hungarians that in 1956 they revolted against the government. It resulted in 20,000 deaths. Finally in 1989, the people succeeded, this time peacefully, in overthrowing the Communists. Since then they have slowly implemented a strong democratic system and in 2004 joined the EU.
Though it is hard for many people to name a famous Hungarian that has lived or is still living in Hungary, there have been many famous Hungarians who have made their name abroad. Michael Curtiz, the director of Casablanca, Bela Lugosi, who most famously played Dracula in Todd Brown´s film of the same name, Zsa Zsa Gabor, the famous Hollywood actress and Harry Houdini, the man who defied the strongest of chains and the most difficult of locks. Perhaps the most famous Hungarian who was brought up in the country was the footballer Ferenc Puskas. He is named behind only Pele and Maradona as the greatest footballer the world has ever known.
Everyone who has been to Budapest, Hungary’s capital, will tell you it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The UNESCO World Heritage site certainly thinks so. Its protected areas include the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrassy Avenue, Heroes Square and the Millennium Underground Railway. In its center is the Millennium memorial- a memorial to all the leaders that founded Hungary in the 9th century.
The question many people ask, even after over fifty years, is why the Hungarian side of the fifties never won the world cup. With the likes of Puskas and Kocsis on their side, they were by far the best team in the world. From 1950-1956, they won 46 games, drew only six and barring the world cup final, remained undefeated. In fact, it remains a mystery why they didn´t win the 1954 final against West Germany. Not only were they playing a relatively weak side, but lead 2-0. Germans are still surprised they won; they still call it the miracle of Bern. Nowadays the Hungary side is pretty weak, but the influence of the fifties team, particularly tactically, is still felt today.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2011 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Simon Arms (Berlin, Germany) for story editing