Hungary is home to Europe’s largest synagogue (Great Synagogue), which was completed in 1859 in Moorish Revival style with a capacity of 3000 people, Europe’s largest medicinal bath (Széchenyi Medicinal Bath), which was completed in 1913 in Modern Renaissance Style and is located in the City park, Hungary’s largest building (the Parliament building), which is 268 meters (879 feet) long, and one of the world’s largest bagel shops.
Historicism and Art Nouveau, or rather many variations of Art Nouveau, are two notable architectural styles in Hungary. Hungarian Art Nouveau, in contrast to Historicism, is based on indigenous architectural features. dön Lechner (1845–1914), the most significant person in Hungarian Art Nouveau, was originally influenced by Indian and Syrian architecture, and subsequently by traditional Hungarian ornamental patterns, taking into consideration the Hungarians’ eastern roots. He developed a unique synthesis of architectural styles in this manner. He created a form of Art Nouveau that was unique to Hungary by applying them to three-dimensional building components.
The group of “Young People” (Fiatalok), who included Károly Kós and Dezsö Zrumeczky, were to utilize the distinctive structures and forms of traditional Hungarian architecture to accomplish the same goal, while departing from Lechner’s style but drawing inspiration from his method.
Apart from the two main styles, Budapest also exhibits localized adaptations of trends from other European nations. The Sezession from Vienna, the German Jugendstil, Art Nouveau from Belgium and France, and the influence of English and Finnish architecture can all be seen in buildings built around the turn of the twentieth century. Béla Lajta followed Lechner’s style at first, then drew influence from English and Finnish styles; after becoming interested in Egyptian architecture, he eventually arrived at contemporary architecture. Aladár rkay followed a similar path. István Medgyaszay created his own style, which varied from Lechner’s, by creating ornamental patterns in concrete utilizing stylized traditional themes. The School and Museum of Decorative Arts, which established in 1896, were primarily important for spreading Art Nouveau throughout the applied arts world.
Foreigners have “discovered” that a substantial percentage of the population lives in historic and aesthetically important structures. Almost majority of the buildings in Budapest’s downtown district are over a century old, with strong walls, lofty ceilings, and front-wall themes.
Hungary’s music consists mostly of traditional Hungarian folk music and music by notable composers such as Liszt and Bartók, two of Hungary’s finest composers. Dohnányi, Franz Schmidt, Zoltán Kodály, Gabriel von Wayditch, Rudolf Wagner-Régeny, László Lajtha, Franz Lehár, Imre Kálmán, Sándor Veress, and Rózsa are among the other internationally renowned composers. Because the first syllable of each phrase is always emphasized in Hungarian traditional music, it has a strong dactylicrhythm.
György Ligeti, György Kurtág, Péter Eötvös, Zoltán Kodály, and Zoltán Jeney are only a few of Hungary’s globally famous modern classical music composers. Béla Bartók, one of Hungary’s finest composers, was also one of the twentieth century’s most influential musicians. The themes, modes, and rhythmic patterns he learned in Hungarian and surrounding folk music traditions energized his work, which he blended with influences from his contemporaries to create his own unique style.
In the areas of folk, popular, and classical music, Hungary has made many contributions. Hungarian folk music is an important element of the country’s identity and continues to influence Hungarian music. Former country portions that belong to surrounding nations such as Romania, Slovakia, southern Poland, and particularly southern Slovakia and Transylvania, which both contain large populations of Hungarians, have been important in Hungarian folk music since the 1920 Treaty of Trianon. Hungary produced a significant number of art musicians with the founding of a music school headed by Ferenc Erkel and Franz Liszt.
According to Broughton, Hungary’s “infectious sound has had a remarkably impact on surrounding nations (owing possibly to the shared Austro-Hungarian heritage), and Hungarian-sounding songs are not unusual to hear in Romania, Slovakia, and southern Poland.” It’s also strong in the Szabolcs-Szatmár region, as well as in the southwest portion of Transdanubia, near the Croatian border. The Busójárás carnival in Mohács is a significant Hungarian folk music festival that used to include the Bogyiszló orchestra, which is well-known throughout Hungary.
Hungarian classical music has long been described as a “attempt, created from Hungarian ancestors and on Hungarian soil, to build a conscious musical culture [using] the musical universe of the folk song.” Although the Hungarian upper class has long had cultural and political ties with the rest of Europe, resulting in an influx of European musical ideas, rural peasants maintained their own traditions, allowing Hungarian composers to (re)create a Hungarian classical style by the end of the nineteenth century. Bartók, for example, gathered folk tunes from all across Central and Eastern Europe, including Romania and Slovakia, while Kodály was more concerned with developing a unique Hungarian musical style.
A Song Committee examined and controlled popular music in Hungary during the Communist period (1944–1989) for signs of subversion and ideological impurity. Since then, the Hungarian music industry has started to revive, with prominent artists in the areas of jazz such as trumpeter Rudolf Tomsits, pianist-composer Károly Binder, and Ferenc Seb and Márta Sebestyén performing a modernized version of Hungarian folk. Illés, Metró, and Omega, the three titans of Hungarian rock, are still extremely popular, particularly Omega, which has fans in Germany and abroad as well as Hungary. Veteran underground bands from the 1980s, such as Beatrice, are still popular.
Hungarian food, like the art of hospitality, is an important part of Hungarian culture. Traditional foods like the world-famous Goulash (gulyás stew or gulyás soup) play an important role. Paprika (ground red peppers), a Hungarian invention, is often used in dishes. One of the most popular spices in traditional Hungarian cuisine is paprika powder, which is made from a particular kind of pepper. The finest paprika is produced in the city of Kalocsa. Tejföl, a thick, heavy Hungarian sour cream, is often used to lighten the flavor of the meals. Fisherman’s soup, or halászlé in Hungarian, is typically a rich combination of various types of poached fish.
Chicken paprikash, foie gras prepared from goose liver, pörkölt stew, vadas (game stew with vegetable sauce and dumplings), fish with almonds, and salty and sweet dumplings, such as trós csusza, are among the other delicacies (dumplings with fresh quark cheese and thick sour cream). Dobos Cake, strudels (rétes) stuffed with apple, cherry, poppy seed, or cheese, Gundel pancake, plum dumplings (szilvás gombóc), somlói dumplings, dessert soups such as cold sour cherry soup and sweet chestnut puree, gesztenyepüré (cooked chestnuts mashed with sugar and rum and split into crumbs, topped with whipped cream). Pastries like perec and kifli are quite popular.
The csárda, or old-style tavern, is the most characteristic kind of Hungarian inn, serving traditional food and drinks. A borozó is a quaint old-fashioned wine tavern, a pince is a beer or wine cellar, and a söröz is a bar that serves draught beer and, sometimes, food. The bisztró is a low-cost restaurant that often offers self-service. Although one may have to dine standing at a counter, the büfé is the cheapest option. Cukrászda is a confectionary that serves pastries, cakes, and coffee, while an eszpresszó is a cafeteria.
Pálinka is a Hungarian fruit brandy made from fruit cultivated in orchards on the Great Hungarian Plain. It’s a Hungarian spirit that comes in a range of flavors including apricot (barack) and cherry (cseresznye). However, the most popular flavor is plum (szilva). Beer: Many traditional Hungarian meals go nicely with beer. Borsodi, Soproni, Arany szok, Kbányai, and Dreher are the five major Hungarian brands.
Wine: According to Hugh Johnson’s book The History of Wine, Hungary’s terrain is excellent for winemaking. Hungarian winemaking has seen a rebirth after the collapse of communism. Year after year, the selection of high-quality wine grows. North-Transdanubia, Lake Balaton, South-Pannónia, Duna-region or Alföld, Upper-Hungary, and Tokaj-Hegyalja are the six wine regions of Hungary.
The primary products of Hungary’s wine regions are elegant and full-bodied dry whites with excellent acidity, but complex sweet whites (Tokaj), graceful (Eger), and full-bodied robust reds (Villány and Szekszárd) are also available. Olaszrizling, Hárslevel, Furmint, Pinot gris or Szürkebarát, Chardonnay (whites), Kékfrankos (or Blaufrankisch in German), Kadarka, Portugieser, Zweigelt, Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, and Merlot are the most common grape types. Tokaji Asz and Egri Bikavér are two of Hungary’s most well-known wines. Tokaji is a Hungarian word that means “of Tokaj” or “from Tokaj” and is used to identify wines from the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine area. Many great writers and composers have praised Tokaji wine, including Beethoven, Liszt, Schubert, and Goethe; Joseph Haydn’s favorite wine was a Tokaji. Louis XV and Frederick the Great tried to outdo one another in the quality of the vintages they stocked when they served Tokaji to guests like Voltaire. Every year, Napoleon III, France’s final Emperor, requested 30–40 barrels of Tokaji for the Court.[citation required] Gustav III never drank any other wine. Customers in Russia included Peter the Great and Empress Elizabeth.
Unicum, a liqueur made from a mix of 40 Hungarian herbs, has been around for over 150 years. Unicum is a bitter, dark-colored liqueur that aids digestion whether consumed as an aperitif or after a meal.
Hungary is known for its hot springs. From the outset, a love for spa culture and Hungarian history have been linked. Roman, Greek, Turkish, and northern country architectural features may be found in Hungarian spas.
Thermal water of high quality may be found in large amounts over approximately 80% of Hungary’s land due to its favorable geographical position. In Hungary, there are about 1,500 thermal springs (more than 100 just in the Capital area). In Hungary, there are about 450 public baths.
The earliest period of spas in Hungary was inaugurated by the Romans. In Buda, the ruins of their bath facilities may still be seen. During the Turkish Invasion, the thermal springs of Buda were utilized to build a variety of bathhouses, some of which are still operational today, such as the Király Baths and Rudas Baths.
The development of deep drilling and medical research in the nineteenth century paved the way for a further improvement in bathing culture. The prominence of grand spas like Gellért Baths, Lukács Baths, Margaret Island, and Széchenyi Medicinal Bath reflects this revival. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is Europe’s biggest spa complex and the first thermal bath constructed on Budapest’s Pest side. This structure is a well-known example of contemporary Renaissance architecture. The Gellért spa, located on Budapest’s Buda side, is the city’s most well-known and opulent thermal complex.
Ugrós (Jumping Dances): Old-style dances from the Middle Ages. This category includes solo or couple dances with old-style music, shepherd and other solitary man’s dances from Transylvania, marching dances, and relics of medieval weapon dances.
Karikázó is a women-only circle dance accompanied by singing of folk tunes.
The Hungarian term for the national dances, with Hungarian embroidered clothing and powerful music, is Csárdás: New type dances emerged in the 18–19th century. Csárdás shows the contagious exuberance of the Hungarian folk dancing still enjoyed in the countryside, from the men’s complex bootslapping dances to the old women’s circle dances.
Verbunkos is a single man’s dance that originated from the Austro-Hungarian army’s recruitment demonstrations.
The Legényes is a men’s solo dance performed by ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania’s Kalotaszeg area. Although it is typically performed by young guys, it may also be performed by elderly men. The dance is usually done freestyle in front of a band by one dancer at a time. Women join in by standing to the side and singing or screaming lyrics while the males dance. Each guy executes a set of points (dance phrases), usually four to eight, in a non-repetitive manner. Each point is divided into four sections, each of which lasts four counts. For the most part, the first portion is the same for everyone (there are only a few variations).
The current form of Hungarian folk art emerged in the early 18th century, combining Renaissance and Baroque components, as well as Persian Sassanide influences, depending on the region. The main ornamental motifs are flowers and foliage, with the occasional addition of a bird or spiral decoration. A flower with a centerpiece that resembles the eye of a peacock’s feather is the most common decoration.
Almost every kind of folk art practiced elsewhere in Europe thrived at one time or another among the Magyar peasants, with pottery and textiles being the most developed of them.
Embroideries, which differ from area to region, are the best accomplishments in their textile arts. Those from Kalotaszeg, Transylvania, are beautiful Oriental-style goods, usually stitched in a single hue — red, blue, or black. The embroideries are put on altar cloths, pillowcases, and sheets in a soft line.
Sárköz in Transdanubia and Matyóföld on the Great Hungarian Plain create the best embroidery in Hungary. Women’s hats in the Sárköz area have exquisite black and white lace patterns, demonstrating the people’s great creative sensibility. The embroidered motifs used on women’s clothing have been adapted to tablecloths and runners that may be used as contemporary wall decorations.
These black clay pots are based on more than 300 years of traditional Transdanubian folk patterns and forms. Because all of the labor is done by hand, including the shape and ornamentation, no two are exactly identical. The impressions are produced by the ceramist’s thumb or a finger while he or she creates the item.
Herend Porcelain, which was founded in 1826 and specializes in luxury hand painted and gilded porcelain, is one of the world’s biggest ceramic manufacturers. It was a supplier to the Habsburg Dynasty and aristocratic clients across Europe in the mid-nineteenth century. Many of the company’s vintage designs are still available. After communism fell in Hungary, the plant was privatized, and it is currently 75 percent owned by its management and employees, exporting to over 60 countries.
Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture produces porcelain, pottery, ceramics, tiles, and stoneware in Hungary. The eosin glazing technique and pyrogranite ceramics were introduced by the firm. Miklós Zsolnay founded the Zsolnay factory in Pécs, Hungary, in 1853 to manufacture stoneware and ceramics. Vilmos Zsolnay (1828–1900), his son, joined the business in 1863 and rose through the ranks to become its manager and director within a few years. He brought the factory’s revolutionary goods to the attention of the globe in world fairs and international exhibits, notably the 1873 World Fair in Vienna and the 1878 World Fair in Paris, when Zsolnay won a Grand Prix.