Open to the world but always stubborn as a mule. This is what Hungarians are. And many other things, of course, as they have lived together with many different peoples and their cultures since their settlement in the Carpathian Basin in the 10th century.
The population of Hungary is close to ten million. The quarter of these people live in Budapest and its wide-spread agglomeration, with more and more people moving in from foreign countries, many of whom have their very own love-at-first-sight Budapest story to tell. The Hungarian capital is the most densely populated metropolitan area in Central-Eastern Europe, but its streets never seem overcrowded, not even in high season.
Most of Hungarians (71 %) live in cities.
Hungary has been a melting-pot of nations for many centuries, as Attila József, one of the most famous Hungarian poets paraphrased it: “Turks, Tatars, Rumanians, Slovaks storm this heart…” To this day, the origin of the Hungarian people remains a matter of scientific debate, just like the origin of its unique and isolated language continues to spark ardent linguistic discourses.
It is for certain, however, that an ethnic group, who were considered to be the ancestors of Hungarians and mostly originated from Central Asia, entered the Carpathian Basin and settled down at today’s Hungary in the 10th century. The modern Hungarian gene pool were diversified by the influences of the centuries that followed, the migration and mixing of various nations and the rearrangement of country borders, and the colourful yet unique culture of Hungary is also a result of this diversification. 84 per cent of the population consider themselves to be Hungarian. The largest ethnic group within the population is that of the Roma people, followed by the culture-preserving Slovaks, Croatians, Romanians, Serbs, Swabians, Rusyns, Greeks, Armenians and other, smaller ethnic groups that form cultural and linguistic communities.
Today, due to the rearrangement of historic borders, a large number of people who feel to be Hungarian live in Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia and Austria, preserving their own language and culture in these regions.
Only 0.12 of the world’s population consider themselves to be Hungarian, which might be a small number, but they’re a people of strong and unique identity.