The Chain Bridge, the most famous Budapest bridge built in 1849. *Photo from Wikipedia
August 20 is Saint Stephen’s Day – Hungary’s first king St. Stephen’s Day, also the day of the Foundation of Hungary and “the day of the new bread”.
St. Stephen of Hungary (975 – 1038), as the first king of Hungary, led the country into the Christian church and established the institutions of the kingdom and the church.
Following centuries of successive habitation by Celts, Romans, Huns, Slavs, Gepids (East Germanic tribe) and Avars (a group of Eurasian nomads), the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late 9th century by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád in the Honfoglalás (“homeland-conquest”). His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000 CE, converting the country to a Christian kingdom.
By the 12th century, Hungary became a middle power within the Western world, reaching a golden age by the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526 and about 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation (1541–1699), Hungary came under Habsburg rule, and later formed a significant part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867–1918).
Hungary’s current borders were first established by the Treaty of Trianon (1920) after World War I, when the country lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, and 32% of ethnic Hungarians. Following the interwar period, Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II, suffering significant damage and casualties.
Hungary came under the influence of the Soviet Union, which contributed to the establishment of a four-decade-long communist dictatorship (1947–1989). The country gained widespread international attention regarding the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal opening of its previously-restricted border with Austria in 1989, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.
On October 23, 1989, Hungary again became a democratic parliamentary republic.
Hungary is a parliamentary constitutional republic in Central Europe. It is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, Slovenia to the west, Austria to the northwest, and Ukraine to the northeast.