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Hungarian Culture


Hungary embraces the beautiful city of Budapest on the Danube river, once known as Buda on the right bank (west) of the river, and Pest on the left (east). Buda and Pest joined as a single city in 1873. Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and boasts rich folk traditions of embroidery, pottery, carving and decorated buildings.


Hungary has a profound literary tradition, yet many of its writers and poets are not so popular abroad due to the limited prevalence of the Hungarian language.

One notable writer includes Sandor Marai, as well as Imre Kertesz, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002. Janos Kodolanyi achieved growing popularity in Finland and Italy in the middle of the 20th Century.

The Hungarian writer Peter Esterhazy won recognition in Germany and Austria, while Magda Szabo has acquired popularity in Europe.

Many significant Hungarian mathematicians include Paul Erdos, John von Neumann and Janos Bolyai. Hungarians boast the invention of the ballpoint pen, the BASIC programming language, the match and the electronic railway engine.

The first golden period of Hungary’s film-making industry began in the 1930s, when it developed comedies. Many Hungarian films won international acclaim, especially in Germany.

The second success period for film in the country came in the 1960s, when the art films of Miklos Jancso won public acclaim, while in the 1980s Istvan Szabo was awarded an Oscar. Significant contemporary Hungarian filmmakers include Bela Tarr and Janos Szasz, who create their art in harmony with the traditions of Hungarian cinema.

Hungarian Fine Arts, and their branches, flourished through the centuries. In the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the works of King Mathias, and architecture in particular, demonstrated the power of the church and was predominant over most forms of art.

Romanticism of the 19th Century gave the impetus to the development of historic and genre paintings.

The Nagybanya School of painters introduced Impressionism in Hungarian art, the impact of which was greater than that of the avant-garde. The end of the Second World War saw increasing significance of illustration and graphic arts.

At the end of the 20th Century, many Hungarian artists created major projects related to the celebration of the millennium. Contemporary Hungarian art polarises various artistic genres, while its architecture is seen in the construction of huge office buildings and department stores.