Posts Tagged With: Hungary

Hungary. Trouble In Paradise

 

Rifts Emerge Within Hungary’s Ruling Party

December 30, 2014 | 00:38 GMT

Analysis

Prime Minister Viktor Orban may only have a few months left in office, according to a Dec. 28 report published by Hungarian daily newspaper Nepszava, citing sources close to the ruling Fidesz party. The report describes deep dissatisfaction within the party and a growing sentiment that Orban is an obstacle to success, factors the sources say could lead to a change in leadership following German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s planned February visit to Budapest. The report is the latest indication of a growing rift within Fidesz. Although the party won re-election in April and controls two-thirds of the seats in Hungary’s parliament, tensions over Orban’s increasing isolation and disagreements over the country’s foreign policy orientation have increased over the past months. While Hungary’s government is unlikely to collapse anytime soon, the rift within Fidesz presents a challenge to Orban — the party’s popularity is falling and anti-government protests are on the rise.Fidesz, which stands for the Alliance of Young Democrats, originated in 1988 when a group of 37 young students and intellectuals in two university dorms founded the party as a liberal entity. Orban was one these founding members, and by 1994, he was steering the neophyte party toward the right wing of Hungary’s political spectrum. While he was unquestionably the leader of Fidesz throughout the 1990s and 2000s, a group of fellow Fidesz founders and early members played a major role in advising Orban and shaping the party’s policies.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman Explains.

During his second term as prime minister from 2010-2014, however, Orban started to promote new, younger members of Fidesz to influential posts. Toward the end of the term he was relying on an increasingly small circle of advisors, many of whom were newly appointed officials who lacked significant political or administrative experience. In fact, many of these new appointees owe their positions and political careers to Orban himself. At the same time, many older members of Fidesz were sidelined or relegated to posts outside the country. A number of ministries also had their decision-making authorities removed, further concentrating power in the prime minister’s office and in the hands of Orban’s contracting inner circle. Dependence on this small group, which seldom challenges Orban’s views, has contributed to confusion and frequent changes in policies, alienating many of the party’s veterans and elements of the state apparatus. As Orban has centralized power, many of his political allies have been marginalized, and now they are becoming dissatisfied.

Orban’s suspicious feelings toward the United States have also contributed to rifts within Fidesz. Some party officials, such as founding member and current chairman of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Zsolt Nemeth, have long seen the West in a more positive light. While the United States and Hungary have an uneasy relationship because of concerns over the Fidesz government’s centralization of power, the relationship has only worsened recently. In October, the United States banned six Hungarian nationals, including the head of Hungary’s National Tax and Customs Administration, over corruption charges. Orban responded by publicly pushing department’s head to sue the U.S. charge d’affaires in Hungary. A case was filed in December, and Orban repeatedly made public accusations that the United States is acting against Hungary’s national interest. Moreover, Hungary has continually made attempts to build stronger ties with Russia, even after the outbreak of the crisis in neighboring Ukraine. These foreign policy moves have combined to further alienate Fidesz members who support a Hungarian alliance with Western partners and increased political backing for the government in Kiev.

These reports of growing rifts within Fidesz come at a time when the party’s popularity is waning. Orban was forced to backpedal on a proposal for an internet tax after one hundred thousand Hungarians staged a protest against the plan in October, threatening to undermine the party’s support among its core middle-class constituency. Thousands also rallied against corruption, especially after the government refused to address U.S. concerns regarding corruption in Hungary’s National Tax and Customs Administration. While these protests failed to change Orban’s policies, in the month following the U.S. bans, one poll showed the Fidesz party’s popularity falling by an unprecedented 12 percentage points, demonstrating that strained relations with the United States and ongoing questions over corruption are impacting not only dynamics within Fidesz but also the party’s support among voters.

Despite the reported rifts in the ruling party, a faction capable of challenging Orban’s supremacy has yet to publicly emerge, though there are indications that some of the party’s members are distancing themselves from Orban and maneuvering in anticipation of such a scenario. Although there are doubts about Orban and his small circle of advisors, many Fidesz members have benefited greatly from his rule — both politically and financially. Because of this, they will hesitate to replace him without first building a coalition strong enough to challenge the prime minister. Any contenders will also want assurances that they will not lose their political positions and personal fortunes under a new Fidesz leadership. Orban’s rule may not be over, but the foundation of his power — the Fidesz party machine — has come under threat.

For Hungary, 2015 will see the government strive to avoid international isolation while also facing a host of domestic economic challenges. As a country in the Eurasian borderlands, Hungary has attempted to balance its ties to the West with its relationship with Russia. On one hand, Hungary is a member of both the European Union and NATO, depending heavily on investment and funding from the European Union and its central bank. On the other hand, the Fidesz government has sought to attract investment from Russia in the form of projects that include upgrading its Paks nuclear power plant and supporting the South Stream pipeline project. However, Russia cancelled South Stream and is facing economic troubles of its own, meaning Hungary has less of an opportunity to benefit from its relations with the Kremlin. Orban miscalculated, and now he finds himself struggling to rebalance the country’s foreign alliances.

In a conciliatory gesture to the West on Jan. 1, Hungary will resume reverse natural gas flows to Ukraine after halting them in late September. Nevertheless, with tensions between Hungary and its Western partners still rife, Hungary faces the challenge of avoiding international isolation in 2015.

Politics
nemethzsolt

US-Hungary Relations Are A Marriage In Deep Crisis, Fidesz’s Zsolt Németh Says

Hungary’s international reputation has worsened dramatically during the past half year and in terms of rhetoric, the conflict between the United States and Hungary is becoming dangerously reminiscent of that of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Fidesz politician Zsolt Németh, chairman of the National Assembly’s foreign affairs committee, has said in an interview given to the news website Index.

Mr. Németh pointed out that it gives cause for special concern that the situation has also worsened in regions that distinctly stood by Hungary in the previous four years, citing the country’s Central European allies as an example. Concerning the case of Ildikó Vida, the chairman of the National Tax and Customs Administration who is at the centre of the US visa ban affair, he said that it is unfortunately to associate someone with allegations of corruption without providing the possibility to defend oneself, adding that among allies, it can be expected from parties to do everything possible to root out unfounded accusations becoming public.

Commenting on US-Hungarian relations, he drew a comparison with a marriage experiencing a deep crisis. “This is the deepest crisis since the marriage took place, a situation in which the two sides occasionally completely loose their sobriety and thir self-control, such as the case involving Senator McCain. However, I do not believe that all responsibility can be laid on the Americans. It takes two to tango”, Mr. Németh said.

In Mr. Németh’s opinion, the aggravation of disputes between the governments of the United States and Hungary can be attributed fundamentally to questions of security policy, such as NATO, Russia and the South Stream, adding that this is no excuse for the country’s allies to disregard unwritten rules. The situation could be resolved if the West would present Russia with a reasonable political offer, the chairman of Parliament’s foreign affairs committee concluded.

via index.hu
photo: index.hu/Orsi Ajpek

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Adventure Journal_ Heroes Square, Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Heroes Square by night

Budapest, Heroes Square by night (Photo credit: Truus, Bob & Jan too!)

udge London Steverson on October 18, 2013 at 10:45 PM Delete

delete  Overlays edit

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 or Hungarian Uprising of 1956 (Hungarian: 1956-os forradalom or felkelés) was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956.

The Anniversary of this Independence Day was always seen as a good time for my family to visit the Heroes Square.

 The Millenary Monument is situated at Heroes Square.

 

 

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 or Hungarian Uprising of 1956 (Hungarian: 1956-os forradalom or felkelés) was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. The Anniversary of this Independence Day was always seen as a good time for my family to visit the Heroes Square.

The Millenary Monument is situated at Heroes Square.

It commemorates the 1,000th Anniversary of the Magyar Conquest.

Two colonnades and a 118foot high column are at the center of the Square. On the pedestal is an imposing group of sculptures.

The Magyar Prince Arpad is on horseback. He is accompanied by six other Magyar tribal chiefs.Some of the kings represented are Istvan 1st, Bela 4th, Louis The Great, and Matthias Corvinus. There are also princes of Transylvania, Gabor Bethlen, Ferenc Rakoczi II,and a man of the people Lajos Kossuth, the Hero of the Revolution of 1848-1849.

The colonnade is divided into two symmetrical parts. At the top there are allegorical statues representing Work and Abundance, Knowledge and Glory. The Chariot of War and the Chariot of Peace stand facing each other.

The Magyar Prince Arpad is on horseback. He is accompanied by six other Magyar tribal chiefs.Some of the kings represented are Istvan (Stephen) The 1st, Bela 4th, Louis The Great, and Matthias Corvinus.

There are also princes of Transylvania, Gabor Bethlen, Ferenc Rakoczi II.

In the center of the  Millenary Monument is column 118 feet high with a statue of the Archangel Gabriel on top.

He is standing on top of a globe and has in his right hand the Hungarian Crown, and in his left hand the Apostolic Cross.

The Chariot of War and the Chariot of Peace stand facing each other.

The Magyar Prince Arpad is on horseback. He is accompanied by six other Magyar tribal chiefs.Some of the kings represented are Istvan 1st, Bela 4th, Louis The Great, and Matthias Corvinus.

The Magyar Prince Arpad.

The Chariot of War and the Chariot of Peace stand facing each other.

This magnificent square is bordered by the Fine Arts Museum and The Hungarian Art Gallery.

The Fine Arts Museum is a colossal neo-classical building. The front porch consists eight Greek Corinthian Columns.

The pediment is a replica of the one in Olympia’s Temple of Zeus.

The Art Gallery at Heroes Square.

The Heroes Square is easily accessible by automobile , the metro, or the city buses.

Arriving by car allows you to bring your own refreshments and other personal articles.

Beverage stands and snack shops are available across from the Square near the entrance to the Park.

More elaborate dining options are available with water front tables available.

It may be difficult to imagine that this area was once a Royal Hunting Preserve and an enormous marsh in the 15th Century.

In the middle of the 18th Century Empress Maria Theresa had the marsh land drained and planted many new species of trees to turn the area into a public promenade.

In 1810 Henrik Nebbie, a landscape gardener of French origin,was given the responsibility of turning the area into a large recreational and leisure park.

Families come here in the hot Summer seeking a shady spot to get some fresh air.

The people go for walks, enjoy boating and fishing.

As you walk through the park beyond the Castle, on the edge of the lake you will chance upon a statue of George Washington, the First President of the United States. It was erected there in 1906 with donations from Hungarian emigres.

By the end of the 19th Century this park had taken on its present form.

The Hungarian Declaration of Independence declared the independence of Hungary from the Habsburg Monarchy during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. It was presented to the National Assembly in closed session on 13 April 1849 by Lajos Kossuth, and in open session the following day, despite political opposition from within the Hungarian Peace Party. The declaration was passed unanimously the following day.

The Hungarian Revolution or Uprising of 1956 (Hungarian: 1956-os forradalom or felkelés) was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956.

The revolt began as a student demonstration which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building called out on the streets via Radio Free Europe and a van with loudspeakers on the roof. A student delegation entering the radio building in an attempt to broadcast its demands was detained. When the delegation’s release was demanded by the demonstrators outside, they were fired upon by the State Security Police (ÁVH) from within the building. The news spread quickly and disorder and violence erupted throughout the capital.

The revolt spread quickly across Hungary, and the government fell. Thousands organized into militias, battling the State Security Police (ÁVH) and Soviet troops. Pro-Soviet communists and ÁVH members were often executed or imprisoned, as former prisoners were released and armed. Impromptu councils wrested municipal control from the ruling Hungarian Working People’s Party and demanded political changes. The new government formally disbanded the ÁVH, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. By the end of October, fighting had almost stopped and a sense of normality began to return.

After announcing a willingness to negotiate a withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Politburo changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution. On 4 November, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest and other regions of the country. Hungarian resistance continued until 10 November. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops were killed in the conflict, and 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. Mass arrests and denunciations continued for months thereafter. By January 1957, the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. These Soviet actions alienated many Western Marxists, yet strengthened Soviet control over Central Europe.

Public discussion about this revolution was suppressed in Hungary for over 30 years, but since the thaw of the 1980s it has been a subject of intense study and debate. At the inauguration of the Third Hungarian Republic in 1989, 23 October was declared a national holiday.

Following Stalin’s death in 1953 the Soviet block started to weaken with riots in East Berlin and Poland in the following year. The 20th Congress of the Russian Communist Party acknowledged Stalin’s mistakes (too mild an expression to describe the dictator’s deeds). Hungary’s leader Mátyás Rákosi and other party leaders were ordered to Moscow where they received a harsh criticism.

As a result Rákosi resigned in 1953 but stayed in the background. Nagy Imre became the leader of Hungary who declared a new, more liberal government program. The program promised increased standard of living and lessened the burdens of farmers.

The review of the cases of those illegally condemned started. People felt instinctively that with Nagy Imre a positive change in the politics had begun.

The members of the previous leadership however feared their privileges and that they would be accounted for their unjust deeds.

They stood behind Rákosi who was able to convince the Russian party leaders that Imre Nagy’s program endangers the state of socialist-communist system. The Russians ordered Nagy to withdrew his government program, but he refused to cooperate. Imre Nagy then was removed from his post and excluded from the party. András Hegedűs, one of Rákosi’s henchmen became the prime minister.

More and more trials were turned out to be show trials.

Meanwhile, feeling the new winds blowing university students, writers, poets, and people of other parts of Hungary’s intellectual scenery started to come together and demand even more radical changes. The groups they formed were the Írószövetség and the Petőfi Kör (named after the poet Sándor Petőfi, a prominent figure in the Revolution of 15th March in 1848).

In July 1956 Rákosi became cumbersome to the Russians and they discharged him. The political leadership with Ernő Gerő – a former second in command of Rákosi – didn’t want any reforms, while more and more people were demanding real changes.

The tension reached its peak in October 1956. On the evening of 22nd October 1956 students of the University of Technology in Budapest had decided to demonstrate the next day and devised their demands in 16 points (including withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Hungary, free elections, liberty of speech and press, abolishment of surrendering of goods, Imre Nagy to be appointed to prime minister, removal of the Stalin statue).

On 23rd October 1956 hundreds of thousands demonstrated on the streets: first they went to the Petőfi statue then to the Bem statue and finally to the Parliament where they demanded Imre Nagy to deliver a speech.After his calming speech the mass on Kossuth Square broke up. But by that time other demonstrations started at several other parts of the city.

Stalin statue toppled down

The Stalin statue was toppled down on Heroes’ Square.

The headquarters of the Hungarian Radio became the focal point of the events. Soon the shooting had started and by night the freedom fighters seized control of the Radio building and some other important parts of Budapest.

Hungarian Revolution 1956

On the eve of 23rd-24th October Imre Nagy was appointed prime minister. Russian tanks appeared on the streets of the city trying to bring down the revolution. On 25th October 1956 on Kossuth Square the Russians started to shoot on the peacefully demonstrating people. The demonstrators tried to seek refuge in the ministry of agriculture building but they weren’t allowed in. Around 800 died on that day in that is referred to as “Bloody Thursday”.

After the massacre on Kossuth tér the revolution was unstoppable. Imre Nagy announced that a multi-party system was to replace the communist single-party dictatorship.

End of the 1956 Revolution – Russian Invasion

On 4th November 1956 the strongest continental army lead by the Russians attacked Budapest and Hungary.The badly armed Hungarian freedom fighters and the revolution of 1956 had been beaten down by 11th November.

Nearly 2 000 died during the fights of 1956 most of them under 30 years of age. Many were imprisoned and executed.

Russian Tanks in Budapest, 1956

Until spring of 1957 around 180 000 people left Hungary searching for a better life in the Western world.

Imre Nagy and his comrades were trapped and arrested on 22nd November. Nagy was transported to Romania. Imre Nagy, Pál Maléter and Miklós Gimes were executed on 16th June in 1958 and buried in the prison courtyard. Later their bodies were moved to an unmarked grave in a faraway part of the Municipal Cemetery of Budapest (the famous No. 301 slot).

The remains were exhumated and reburied within a funeral on 16th June in 1989.

Statue of Imre Nagy, Hungary's prime minister

Statue of Imre Nagy near the Parliament

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Adventure Journal-Freedom Square, Budapest, Hungary

Budapest and Paris are my two favorite cities in the world. Both originated and grew on the banks of a river; Paris along the Seine and Budapest along the Danube. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe after the Volga. Since the Middle Ages it has been the connecting route between Eastern and Western Europe. It starts out in the Black Forest and end in the Black sea. It is more than 770 miles long. In Hungarian, it is called the Duna. Hungary’s other two rivers flow into the Danube. The Tisza and the Drava. In 1992 a canal was opened to connect the Danube with the Main River and the Rhine River. This created a new river route linking the North sea and the Black Sea.

Budapest and Paris both are seeping with history.

Freedom Square, also called Liberty Square, is a prime example.

In Hungarian, it is called Szabadsag ter.

It is home to the American Embassy.

The Plaque on the wall of the Chancery in memory of Cardinal Mindszenty.

The Plaque on the wall of the Chancery in memory of Cardinal Mindszenty. “THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA GAVE SHELTER TO CARDINAL JOSEPH MINDSZENTY IN THIS BUILDING BETWEEN NOVEMBER 4, 1956 – SEPTEMBER 28, 1971″Freedom Square was built on the site of the old Austrian barracks. The Austrians built their barracks in 1786. They became a symbol of repression. So, at the end of the 19th Century the barracks were destroyed.

The Square is large, open, and beautiful.

It is lined with buildings with massive facades, such as the former Stock Exchange, which is today the headquarters of MTV Televizio, National Television.

Opposite it is Hungary’s National Bank, Magyar Nemzeti Bank.

North of the Square, laid out in a half-circle, is the only remaining monument dedicated to the Soviet Russians. it is an obelisk in memory of the Red Army soldiers who liberated Budapest in 1945. The American Embassy is located on the opposite side of the street.

There is a statue of President Ronald Reagan behind this Russian obelisk. There is an inscription that says “A country boy against the evil empire”. It is written in both Hungarian and English. The placement of President Reagan’s statue behind this Russian monument was hardly an accident. It just goes to show you that the Hungarians have a great sense of humor.

Now, as you walk towards Kossuth Square you will pass a statue of Imre Nagy. He was one of the heroes of the 1956 revolt against the Russians. He was executed by the Russians.

There is a great story behind this statue of this American general. This statue is in the center of the park on Szabadság tér, facing the American  Embassy, is that of Harry Hill Bandholtz, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, who was Provost Marshall to General Pershing at the end of World War I.

On August 11, 1919, General Bandholtz arrived in Budapest as one of four generals (English, French, Italian, American) to become the Inter-Allied Control Commission for Hungary, primarily to supervise the disengagement of Romanian troops from Hungary.

He became famous when, on the night of October 5, 1919, as President of the Day of the Commission, mainly through bluff, armed only with a riding crop, he prevented a group of Romanian soldiers from removing Transylvanian treasures from the National Museum.

The statue was erected in 1936, and stood throughout World War II with the inscription, in English, “I simply carried out the instructions of my Government, as I understood them, as an officer and a gentleman of the United States Army.”

In the late 1940s the statue was removed “for repair.” It lay in a statue boneyard until the 1980s, at which time it was placed in the garden of the U.S. Ambassador’s residence, at the request of then-Ambassador Salgo. It was re-placed in Szabadság tér at its original location in July 1989, just a few days before the visit of President Bush.

The new inscription on the back reads: “General Harry Hill Bandholtz, head of the American Military Mission, who on October 5, 1919 blocked the removal of the treasures of the National Museum to Romania.”

Between August 1919 and February 09, 1920 he was the U.S. representative to the Inter-Allied Supreme Command’s Military Mission in Hungary. The Military Mission was charged with disarming the Hungarian military and supervising the withdrawal of the Serbian and the Romanian armies that were occupying Hungary. According to the General’s accounts he prevented the arresting of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Istvan Friedrich by the Romanians. He is also remembered for preventing Romanian soldiers from looting the Hungarian National museum on October 5, 1919. It is little wonder that the Hungarian people dedicated a statue to this General.

Major General Bandholtz is widely considered to be the “father” of the United States Army’s Military Police Corps.

Parizsi udvar, or the Paris Passage, is one of Budapest’s most popular sights; not for its shops, but for its architecture.

It is both Byzzntine and Moorish at the same time, or perhaps, a bit Venetian; or, perhaps Art Nouveau.

In any case, it is a strange mixture. The name goes back to the 19th Century.

It alludes to the covered passages which were then fashionable in Paris.

                                            (The Crown of Saint Stephen)

Construction for saint Stephen’s Basilica (Szent Istvan’s Bazillika) began in 1851. It was completed in 1906.

The streets leading from Freedom Square to St. Stephen’s Basilica are lined with delightful little restaurants and shops.

The sidewalk cafes will remind you of Paris. In the Summer they are very busy.

Parking was never easier. Modern high rise garages store cars on raised platforms.

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Adventure Journal-The Healing Waters Of Hungary’s Thermal Baths

Lake Hévíz in Hungary, It is the largest therm...

Lake Hévíz in Hungary, It is the largest thermal lake in Europe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether you just want to relax or you’re looking for a gentle cure for a
specific ailment,

a spa with natural spring thermal water is a perfect
holiday choice.

(The largest thermal lake in the world that is suitable for bathing is located at Hévíz, Hungary)

The only 5-star hotel in Hévíz,
formerly known as the Rogner Hotel & Spa Lothus Therme, is now
operated by Accent Hotel Management.

The hotel, now trading under the name
Lotus Therme Hotel & Spa, awaits guests with the same staff; from 15
October 2012 the new GM has been Ms Erzsébet Pusztai.

With little exaggeration, you could say that all you need to do is push a
stick into the ground anywhere in Hungary and up would come thermal
water, most likely with some kind of curative properties. The geological
features of the Carpathian Basin are such that the earth’s crust is
very thin, so waters rise easily to the surface. Hungary is a land of
more than 1,000 hot springs and enough spa facilities to accommodate
300,000 people at the same time! RudasThese
spas are located in big cities and smaller towns throughout the
country. Some are simple thermal baths serving the local community.

The Romans, no strangers to the good life, were the first to take
advantage of this naturally occurring phenomenon, but Budapest also
offers some of the finest examples of the “Turkish Bath” found anywhere.
Today, a couple of contemplative hours in the local baths are part of
the daily routine for many Hungarians – particularly those with
arthritis, breathing difficulties and muscle pains.

Despite their popularity with tourists, taking a dip in the baths remains a uniquely Hungarian experience.

There are many stereotypes about Hungary: goulash, beautiful women and an impenetrable language, to name but a few…

But leave them at home – if you know where to look, Hungary is a secret garden of healing and wellness.

The Romans were the first to fall in love with Hungary, but
certainly not the last… It is said that wherever they went, they built,
and where they built, they bathed.

They knew of salus per aquam
(“healing by water”) and made maximum use of this natural treasure.

More than two millennia have passed, but the thermal water is showing no
sign of running dry.

Today’s uses of the therapeutic water bear little resemblance to
those of the Roman Empire. Thermal water is now recommended for a wide
variety of conditions, from the scourge of the modern age, stress, to
joint pain and gynaecological or skin complaints.

Whatever the ailment, Hungary’s healing garden has just the cure.
Patients are spoiled for choice not only in terms of the wide range of
wellness spas and resorts equipped according to the highest medical
standards, but also when it comes to accommodation – there is something
for all tastes and budgets. Whether you chose one of the famous cities,
such as Budapest, Eger, Esztergom, Szeged or Visegrád, the opulent
vineyards of Transdanubia, or the holiday capital of Lake Balaton, there
is something for everyone.

Need
any more convincing to spend a relaxing holiday in one of the
sunniest and most hospitable countries in the world? Browse this web
blog and learn more about the centuries of bathing culture that
awaits you wherever you go in Hungary!

The word, massage, originally came from the French masser. It is the act of kneading,
rubbing, stroking or tapping the body in a planned and controlled way.
Massage has a relaxing and at the same time activating effect on the
tissues and muscles. It invigorates the blood supply, restores the skin
and lymphatic functions. Breathing deepens. It is advisable to have
infrared thermo-therapy prior to taking a massage.

Different forms of
massage should be applied for different problems and therapies:
classical massage, acupressure, relaxation massage, lymph draining
massage, foot reflex massage, connective tissue massage, brush massage,
underwater pressure massage and meridian massage.

The word, spa, derives from the abbreviation of the Latin ‘sanus per aquam’
(health through water). In fact the term holds particular significance
in Hungary, famed as the land of thermal and medicinal waters. Today
medicinal baths, wellness centers, clinics and health hotels use the
beneficial effects of water in a whole variety of ways, from the pearl
bath through Kneipp treatments all the way to health-oriented spa
regions. The word spa has become an international term in the area of
whirlpool- and sauna baths, swimming pools, steam baths, beauty farms
and wellness centers.

The
River Danube once formed the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire – the
area today known as Transdanubia was at that time the province of
Pannonia. Its capital was Aquincum (from the Latin aqua, meaning water)
in what is now Budapest. Archaeologists have unearthed 21 Roman baths in
this area: remains of fine mosaics remind us that bathing has been part
of this region’s culture for over 2,000 years. Hungary fell to the
Turks in the 16th century. Is it possible that the Ottomans invaded –
and stayed for 150 years – because they were attracted by the abundance
of thermal water?! Some of the Turkish baths they built during their
occupation – including those in Eger, and the Rác and Rudas in Budapest – are still functioning today.

The Baths and Wellness Centre at Gyula
is situated in the mature grounds of a stately home, next to Hungary’s
only medieval brick-built castle. Many country mansions have been
restored and converted into luxury hotels, and the best of these offer a
range of modern health-related services and facilities. Guests staying
at the country-house hotels in Parádsasvár,Röjtökmuzsaj, Hőgyész and Bikal can expect to be treated like royalty!

Budapest – Spa City

So
beautiful is Budapest that several areas of the city have been declared
UNESCO World Heritage Sites – including the romantic Danube riverscape
and the Parisian boulevard of Andrássy út. Over 100 of Hungary’s mineral
springs emerge in Budapest, and half of these feed the city’s thermal
baths. Two of the grandest bathing complexes – the Széchenyi and the Gellért
date from the turn of the 20th century, when many large-scale
architectural projects were commissioned to celebrate the 1,000th
anniversary of the Magyar Conquest.

Unique Places

The largest thermal lake in the world that is suitable for bathing is located at Hévíz,
in western Hungary.

The water temperature never drop below 79°F/26°C –
even in the depths of winter – and the lake is surrounded by hotels and
sanatoria.

Miskolctapolca,
in the northeast of the country, boasts a unique cave lake. Situated on
a geological fault line on the edge of the Bükk Hills, it is the site
of both cold karst- and hot-water springs.

There
is also a new spa hotel at Egerszalók; the steaming terraces of
snow-white calcium crystals on the green hillside are a spectacle to
behold.

Whether it’s peace and quiet
you’re after or a calendar full of things to see and do, Lake Balaton is
here to satisfy your every need.

Smooth waters and fresh wines, sand
and surf, fishing and frolicking, splashing and sailing, concerts and
clubs, partying and paddle boating, beach volleyball and biking, elegant
castles and sleepy villages, beautiful landscapes and crystal clear
air, Lake Balaton has it all.

The highlights on the northern shore of Lake Balaton include romantic
strolls along the pretty  streets of Balatonfüred oozing 19th century
charm and hiking to the top of Tihany for a breathtaking view of the
lake in the lavender scented air.

Just a few million years ago geysers
spouted hot water into the air on the Tihany peninsula.

Take a hike on
the lunar landscape near the Inner Lake to see the evidence. Just a
short ride from here to the west, between Balatonudvari and Örvényes,
you’ll find one of the most spectacular golf courses of Hungary, Royal
Balaton Golf & Yacht Club.

The
volcanic slopes further west along the shore are the perfect terrain for
refreshing white wines.

Badacsony is a perfect spot for hiking, but a
local myth makes it even more worthwhile for couples.

If you and your
loved one sit on the Rose Stone with your backs to the lake (it’s hard
to turn away from the view, we know), legend has it you’ll be married
within a year.

Now that deserves a toast, right?

Explore the many wine
cellars and their fabulous wines

and mouth watering dishes until you
find your favourite one.

Behind the basalt mountain of Badacsony you can
find the fairytale valley called the Káli Basin. Visit its lovely quiet
villages and move on to the mineral waters at Kékkút, source of
Theodora Quelle waters.

At the
western peak of the lake, you won’t only find the source of health in
the largest natural medicinal thermal water lake in the world in Hévíz,
but also one of the three largest baroque palaces of the country, the
Festetics Palace in Keszthely. If you like great contrasts, after the
grandeur and elegance of the palace, don’t miss out on the area’s tiny
jungle, the Little Balaton. It’s paradise for endangered plants and for
birds, with tens of thousands arriving as if for an annual convention at
migration time. Patient birdwatchers have counted 250 species, of which
100 nest here and 27 are protected.

The southern shores of Lake Balaton will lull you with their quiet
charm.

Small towns oozing character, living traditions of arts and
crafts, spas and wineries,; exquisite castle hotels and the largest
walnut plantation in Europe.

But your trip to Lake Balaton won’t be
complete without visiting the party capital of the area, Siófok.

After
chilling out on one of the many lidos or practicing your wakeboarding
moves on the silky smooth water during the day,

this small town caters
for all your partying needs with club complexes and beachside pubs where
dancing on the tables is the norm,

and everything in between.

The Hungarian Baths Association has
announced that from this year, 9 October has been declared the Day of
Hungarian Bath Culture.

For the first time, more than 50 baths
have joined the initiative offering a 50% discount on admission.
Lectures presenting the history of Hungarian spas and baths will also be
held at the facilities.

The central message of the country for
the forthcoming years will be “healing Hungary”, announced Mr Balázs
Botos, deputy state secretary of the Ministry for National Economy.
Hungary has all the potential to render health tourism as a breakthrough
point, he added.

In the next few years, the Hungarian
message will focus on physical and mental health, but “with the help of
gastronomy, the quality of life and tourism services will also improve”.
To achieve this, more support should be given to the catering industry,
the politician added. In order to improve the possibilities, the demand
and the offer should be more balanced. Problems include the lack of
restaurants offering traditional gastronomy values, fresh Hungarian
ingredients are often missing from the menu and the education system is
also out of date.

When Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi was asked if he believed in extraterrestrials, he replied:

“They are among us, but they call themselves Hungarians”

This small country is one of the oldest European countries, situated in the middle of the continent in Central Europe.

Hungarians speak a language and form a culture unlike any other in
the region: this distinctiveness has been both a source of pride and an
obstacle for more than 1100 years.

This is the country

– which boasts one of the world’s most beautiful cities: Budapest, the “Pearl of the Danube”

– where 2000 year old Roman ruins and 400 year old Turkish monuments can be found side by side

– where Central Europe’s largest fresh water lake – Balaton – is located, providing natural paradise for its visitors

– where hundreds of therapeutic mineral springs gush up from the depths

And there is something else that keeps bringing visitors back to us – the legendary Hungarian hospitality.

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Adventure Teravel-Veszprem, Hungary 2013, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Coat of arms of Hungary

Coat of arms of Hungary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(The Veszprem Public Library, Home of The Steverson Book Collection, and The American Corner)

The University Town of Veszprem dates from the 11th Century. It is called “The City of Queens”. The first Hungarian King to become a Christian chose the name of Istvan (Stephen)as his Christian name.His first wife was Gizella. After the coronation of Gizella in Veszprem, all of the queens of Hungary have been crownedby the bishop of Veszprem.

(The original Library construction, dating from the 11th Century, after which it was destroyed and rebuilt several times.)

Veszprem has been destroyed and rebuilt many times since the 11th Century. Before the Turkish Invasions, rivalry between Ferdinand of Habsburg and Janos Szapolyai resulted in the first destruction. Later battles between the Austrian armies and the Turks caused the Viennese to bur the town down in 1702. Many old buildings such as the original public Library date from the late 18th and early 19th Century.

Sometimes it happens around this time of the year that the winds blow and snow falls and temperatures drop… There were notifications on the TV, radio, internet: everyone knew what was coming. Anyone starting off despite the news on the coming heavy snowfall, took the risk of being stranded. There are certain things that the politicians can not be blamed for, weather is one of them.

Hungary deployed tanks to reach thousands of motorists trapped in heavy snow on Friday as a sudden cold snap and high winds struck parts of the Balkans, Slovakia and Poland, leaving at least two people dead.

“The situation was most critical on the M1 motorway (linking Budapest and Vienna) where hundreds of cars were stranded in the snow, most of them for 18-20 hours now,” said Marton Hajdu, spokesman for the National Directorate for Disaster Management.

Reuters photographer traveling with a rescue convoy said high winds had caused snowdrifts on the motorway up to three feet high.

One Hungarian citizen, her English name is Sophie, said this “I just would like to tell the world…the Hungarian government does not help…they sent a warning text message to people’s cell phones…no signs of any kind of other help. Simple citizens help each other, supermarkets, restaurants, churches and schools opened their doors to help….and Austria! Hundreds of vehicles arrived to Hungary from Austria to remove the snow on the roads. And today is the anniversary of the revolution in 1848 that led to the Hungarian-Austrian (Habsburg) war….ironic isn’t it? Thank you Austria!!!”

Dennis was quick to disagree. He said “The habsburgs were rotten. Most austrians are anti hungarian, They did much bad to hungary during the habsburgs rule. My friends town was helped by the hun gov….. I think with your quick jump out at the hun gov shows you would do best living in the usa where they dont do much to help you during a storm, hurricane, etc. This girl is nothing but a whining communist. Hundreds of austrian vehicles….. lol, u liar.”

One of Sophie’s girl friends was quick to point out, “Zsofia is not telling the whole story her post is a real insult on the police, ambulance, and the army and utility crews who were out on the holiday and helped from the first minutes. Who are working hard after the crazy accidents what have caused by some reckless drivers on icy snowy roads blocking the highways. Hungarian people think they are too smart/clever and do not listen to anyone and do not care, too much freedom since fall of communism and cannot handle in good manner, just complains. Too much to learn, still need a couple decades. Good job Zsofia.”

However, later she pointed out that “Zsofia you must be kidding?You do not even know what are you writing about. You disrespect all the firemen, police, ambulance, army crews who are facing the worst challange of their profession and were out there from the first moment. Stop being smart and blame things on someone else. What about some of the crazy drivers who caused all the troubles not driving according to the weather, causing accidents and keep up thousands of others. No hundreds of vechicles arrived from Austria but they helped as they could, like Hungarians as they can if there is a problem like this. Calm down and if you write anything just try to stay close to the facts. How ironic, if we stay under Austrian or Russian rules this would never happen as this never happens in the USA just think about Sandy, Katrina. Government middle, left, right never going to satisfy everyone at the same time. Stop complaining and keep doing something for others and we will have a good society after 50-80 years of the fall of Communism. For this you do not need goverments or Austria to help. Thank you Zsofia! ”

I was enjoying this colloquy, and was quite attentive when Sophie responded with this,

I do not know where do you live and I do not know you, period. Have you heard of an online site called Facebook? have you seen all the posts of citizens who have seen the roads in the last two days, and who have been helping people who got stuck in the snow? I am talking about thousands of messages…offering shelter, food, and blankets? Interestingly, most of them have not seen any policeman helping out. Farmers help with their own vehicles….volunteers help removing the snow….and no, I did not disrespect the firemen, ambulance, and military…I know they are out there. Although they started helping yesterday afternoon…by that time hundreds of people were stuck on the roads for 12-18 hours. Are you living in Hungary? Have you received the government’s text message that suggested to stay in the car…and if you do not have gas anymore…find another car! Great advice!!!! I also would like to ask if you know anything about the current government? The fact that they ruined the Constitution…they arrest students sitting quietly with banners about the bad situation of the education system…and they call them bloody terrorists. Meanwhile, one of the protectors of the government is a murderer who spent 10 years in prison after he put a sack over his boss’s head and shot him…..This is not about the government wanting to satisfy everyone….And you know what? I do not live in Hungary anymore. Therefore, I am pretty objective and always examine both sides before sharing my opinion because I know how dramatic Hungarians can be when they are furious. As for the hundreds of vehicles from Austria….few snow plows, the Austrian Red Cross, and citizens…I could assume that was about at least a hundred…

Yesterday the prime minister announced that the police and other organizations saved everyone on the roads…..I am wondering why we still get help requests from rural parts of the country….

What a joke!!! reckless drivers blocking the roads :)))))))) Yes probably, the 3 meters snow and the wind had nothing to do with it. As I said, I do not know you….but I have pretty good guesses that I am not going to share because I am not disrespectful. Thank you for your opinion, and have a nice day!”

A fellow citizen came to Sophie’s rescue. He said “Do not defeat Zsofia’s comments! I live in the same country, in the West Hungary and I determinedly justify her statements as I heard the same things, the same ways of ordinary people struggled with snow. We’d scarcely had such a heavy blizzard before and the government was not at all prepared for that. We have got the text messages, but the most substantial milestone in assistance was when Austrians sent their Vehicles. They even said they could stay for a few days as they aren’t currently needed in Austria.

The things Zsofia stated about the government including education problem is not strictly related to this topic, but she’s right, so do not treat her in a humiliating way. I guess her opinion is partly based on her experience and thousands of would-be university students would agree with her.

I just wanted to say, Zsofia, you’re right and it was both a brave and a right idea to share your opinion!”

A more experienced Hungarian chimed in “With all due respect, since you no longer live there you are doing a bit of speculation just like everyone else on this thread is. You probably have never been subject to a weather event such as this one, but I have. And I can tell you with a degree of certainty that neither government, police, or any other form of aid can be everywhere at once. And the outlying rural areas in every country in world is always last on the pole.”

The Gizella Chapel wa discovered in the 18th Century when construction began on the Bishop’s Palace. It dates from the 13th Century.

Saint Michael’s Cathedral dates back to the 11th Century. Only the Gothic Crypt survives. Next door is the Gizella Museum. Adjoining the Museum is Saint Stephen’s Church, which belongs to the Franciscans.

If you walk to the end of the ramparts, you will come to “World’s End‘. From here, one can see as far as The Benedictine Hill and to the viaduct across the Red River. Statues of Saint Stephen and Queen Gizella are situated at World’s End.

( Statues of King Stephen 1st and Queen Gizella are situated at World’s End are covered to protect them from the severe weather.)

(Office of the Mayor of Veszprem, located before the approach to Heroes gate and the Old Town )

The entrance to Old Town is through “Heroes gate“. To the right of Heroes Gate is the old Fire Tower. Today it houses a Castle Museum. The top floor affords a beautiful and panoramic view of the City and Bakony Mountains.

Snow stranded people in cars, buses and trains through the night and conspired with strong winds to cut off dozens of towns and villages in Hungary.

At home, after shoveling snow all night, we were finally able to open the gate. The roads had not been plowed, so we were not going anywhere just yet.

(The statue of a child actor in front of the Pertofi Theater)

I love this stretch of roadway between Veszprem and Balaton Fured where Apos lives.

This is the view of Lake Balaton from Tihany just to the left of the Abbey Church. The modern church was built in the 18th Century. In the middle of the 11th Century, King Andras 1st founded the Benedictine Monastry at Tihany.  It was fortified in 1267 against invasion by the Turks. But it was finally destroyed by the Habsburgsin 1702.

Legyen kellemes napotok!

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Adventure Travel- Hungary 2013, And Then The Floods Came

Budapest, Parliament

Budapest, Parliament (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Record rain fall has caused rivers such as the Danube, the Elbe and the Vlatava in Eastern and Central to overflow their banks. The Danube flows through the center of Budapest, the Hungarian Capitol.  The Danube is one of the longest waterways in Europe. It snakes through Budapest, Hungary to Belgrade, Serbia and Northern Bulgaria before reaching the Black Sea.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said no casualties have been reported in his country, but that 7,000 soldiers and thousands of volunteers were packing sandbags on the banks of the Danube to shore up flood walls.


“The flood is now approaching Budapest, the heart of the country,” Orban said in Esztergom, some 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Budapest. “Two decisive days are ahead of us because the danger will be where most people live and where most things of value are at risk. It is now when we have to gather all our strength.”


While no flood-related deaths or injuries have been reported in Hungary,

 

 

some 1,400 people have been evacuated from towns and villages along the Danube, including over 200 in Budapest.


Parts of the south and north ends of the Hungarian capital are already under water, but the city’s downtown area, including the parliament building and several large hotels near the river bank, are seemingly out of direct danger as flood walls were built to a height of 30.5 feet (9.30 meters).


Officials said nearly 8,000 volunteers and specialized crews in Budapest had strengthened flood walls by packing and placing one million sand bags and many are also monitoring defenses for any leaks.
At least 21 flood-related deaths have been reported in central Europe, as rivers such as the Danube, the Elbe and the Vlatava have overflowed after a week of heavy rains and caused extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.

 

In Hungary, storms threatened flood-prevention work, as the National Meteorological Institute issued warnings along the Danube River and said storms may bring more than an inch of rainfall and wind speeds of 55 miles per hour.

 

Water levels stabilized in Budapest and were starting to subside after peaking at about three times their normal levels on Sunday night June 9, said Mark Mate Kisdi, spokesman for the Municipal Catastrophe Authority.

 

Attention has turned to parts of southern Hungary that will be hit by the Danube River’s advancing floodwaters.

 

“Today is the day of shifting focus from the northern part of the country to the southern parts,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

 

The flood wave was forecast to leave Hungary on Thursday, June 13 and the country has contacted neighboring Serbia to coordinate emergency plans, the prime minister said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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