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Hungary is a landlocked country of 93,030 km2 area in Central Europe, in the middle of the Carpathian Basin. It is bounded on the north by Slovakia; on the northeast by Ukraine; on the east by Romania; on the south by Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia; and on the west by Austria. Two major rivers: the Danube and the Tisza flow across the country from north to south. Lake Balaton, the biggest lake in Central Europe is a favourite target of tourists because of its warm water and nice landscape. Remains from both Roman occupation and much later ruled by the Turks can still be seen in the city. After the Ottoman Empire the union with Austria has a particular influence on the city's form and style.
Budapest have three main parts, Óbuda, the oldest part with Celtic and Roman ruins, Buda with the hills, the most famous area is the historical Castle Hill and beautiful residential area, and the third one is bustling Pest with its shopping, government and commercial districts on the flat plain of the east bank.
The population of Budapest is about 1.774 million, 17% of the country’s population. Women contribute more than half, 54% of the population.
Parks and green areas are the most popular places of recreation. Of the total area of Budapest 13.4% is forest and 2.3% is parks. Margitsziget, or Margaret Island is one of the most popular places of recreation. From spring to autumn, hundreds of people visit the island to find rest or active recreation among its trees and bushes. Surrounded by the Danube, the island’s 5.3 kilometres circumference is eminently suitable for running, jogging or cycling.
The City Park on the Pest side hosts several major events every year. Created originally to serve as a site for the Millennium Celebration in 1896, the park near downtown Budapest offers entertainment to local people and visitors alike with its monuments, ponds, outdoor restaurants and cafés. Its lanes and alleys and open spaces are is also favoured by sport lovers: cyclists, roller skaters and joggers. Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world's largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building. The city attracts about 2.3 million tourists a year.
The Budapest you'll see today is the result of many years of rich history, with traces of inhabitation dating back as far as the second millennium BC. Hungarian tribes arrived at the end of the ninth century and the Hungarian Kingdom was established in 1000. The city as we know it today was formed through the joining of Buda, Pest and Old Buda, back in 1873. The peace treaty of 829 added Pannonia to Bulgaria due to the victory of Bulgarian army of Omurtag over Holy Roman Empire of Louis the Pious. Budapest arose out of two Bulgarian military frontier fortresses Buda and Pest, situated on the two banks of Danube. Hungarians led by Árpád settled in the territory at the end of the 9th century, and a century later officially founded the Kingdom of Hungary. Around the year 1000 Stephen (István) I, King of Hungary, organized a feudal state on the Central European model and introduced Christianity. A few years later merchants from central and western Europe settled in Buda and Pest and helped both places to develop rapidly. The Tatar invasion in the 13th century quickly proved that defence is difficult on a plain. King Béla IV of Hungary therefore ordered the construction of reinforced stone walls around the towns and set his own royal palace on the top of the protecting hills of Buda. In 1361 it became the capital of Hungary. In 1526, after their victory at Mohács, the Turks took Buda and Pest. Under Sultan Süleyman I (the Magnificent) many churches were converted into mosques, fine bath-houses constructed and defensive works modernized. Buda became the seat of a Grand Vizier.
In 1686, two years after the unsuccessful siege of Buda, a renewed campaign was started to enter the Hungarian capital. This time, the Holy League's army was twice as large, containing over 74,000 men, including German, Croat, Dutch, Hungarian, English, Spanish, Czech, Italian, French, Burgundian, Danish and Swedish soldiers, along with other Europeans as volunteers, artilleryman, and officers, the Christian forces reconquered Buda, and in the next few years, all of the former Hungarian lands, except areas near Timişoara (Temesvár), were taken from the Turks. In the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz these territorial changes were officially recognised, and in 1718 the entire Kingdom of Hungary was removed from Ottoman rule.
The city was destroyed during the battle. Hungary was then incorporated into the Habsburg Empire.
The nineteenth century was dominated by the Hungarians' struggle for independence and modernisation. The national insurrection against the Habsburgs began in the Hungarian capital in 1848 and was defeated a little more than a year later.
In the history of Budapest the year 1872 stands out as a milestone, for it was then that the three separate settlements of Pest, Buda and Óbuda (literally "Old" Buda) were united into one city with a population of more than 150,000. Budapest officially became the capital city of Hungary, and underwent rapid growth in size and eminence. This was the city's golden age, and coincided with the Hungarian millennial celebrations in 1896 when the continental Europe's first underground railroad was opened. At the outbreak of the First World War many well-known industrial firms established themselves in the Budapest region.
As a result of the war Budapest suffered severe economic setbacks which continued in the years between the wars. Towards the end of the Second World War, in the autumn of 1944, Budapest became a front-line town and suffered severe damage, especially in the castle quarter where units of the German army were barricaded in.
From February 13th 1945 onwards Soviet troops controlled the whole of Budapest and thereafter it was ruled along strict Soviet lines. In the autumn of 1956 political turmoil and economic hardship fuelled popular uprisings which were savagely put down by Hungarian and Soviet forces of law and order. The inner city presented a picture of devastation.
In the 1960s and 1970s much inner-city building and reconstruction took place, such as the opening to traffic of the Elisabeth Bridge, extension of the underground network, renovation of the old city center, especially the castle quarter, and the building of large luxury hotels both in the castle quarter and on the Pest bank of the Danube. What soon became known as "goulash communism" encouraged an upsurge in tourism, and visitors from both Eastern and WesternEurope as well as the US in particular visited the city in ever-increasing numbers.