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This guide is also available on Kindle here.

A landlocked country in the heart of Europe, Hungary was a powerful medieval kingdom. From the sixteenth century it was part of first the Ottoman and then the Habsburg empires, and reemerged as an independent country after the First World War. Intimately involved in European history and culture, the Hungarians have always been proud of their distinctive identity, reinforced by the fact that their language bears no resemblance to that of any of their neighbors. After the Second World War they were subsumed into the drab uniformity of the Eastern Bloc, but staged the heroic, doomed Revolution of 1956 against Soviet occupation. Today, following the collapse of Communism, Hungarians feel part of Central Europe again, the Europe of the Habsburg empire, of science, culture, and civic virtue, of gem-like Baroque churches and nineteenth-century schools, town halls, barracks, and railway stations.

This beautiful and beguiling land is home to the magnificent city of Budapest on the banks of the Danube, to the largest lake in central Europe, and to charming spa towns and hot springs. It is also home to an idiosyncratic, resourceful, and cultured people. Hungarians like to boast that Hungary has more Nobel Prizewinners per capita than any other country—but this glowing view of themselves is being challenged by the fast-moving dynamics of the modern world. Hungarian openness and hospitality have been tested by the migrant crisis on Europe’s doorstep, and the rise of populist parties.

What are modern Hungarians like? Culture Smart! Hungary sets out to provide the answer. After setting the context in a brief historical overview, it offers practical advice and important insights into different aspects of Hungarian life today, to help deepen your understanding and appreciation of this fascinating, complex, and talented people.

Brian McLean and Kester Eddy are British journalists and writers who have both lived in Budapest for many years and raised Hungarian families. Each brings specialist knowledge to the book, the former in Hungarian history and culture and the latter in political and economic affairs. 

"Culture Smart has come to the rescue of hapless travellers." Sunday Times Travel

"... the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries." Global Travel

"...full of fascinating-as well as common-sense-tips to help you avoid embarrassing faux pas." Observer

" useful as they are entertaining." Easyjet Magazine

"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times