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    The isolated mountains of Bulgaria hide cultural gems around every corner, including this old Turkish bridge in the Rhodopi Mountains. Explore Bulgaria!

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HungaryThe name Hungary is either named after the Huns or the Magyars. The Central Asian Huns may have lent the name to the country, but most people believe the name comes from the Magyars (the modern day Hungarians), when they were in an alliance called On-Ogour, which means "ten arrows" in Bulgar, their allied people.

In Hungarian, or Magyar, the name of the country is Magyarország, which is clearly rooted with the word Magyar, which is the name of the Hungarian people in the Hungarian language and the word ország, which means "clime," which references a region with a particular climate.



The Hungarians are an ethnic and linguistic oddity in Europe as they have historic roots in Central Asia. However, over time the people have changed dramatically in many ways and today are very similar to much of Europe in terms of culture and lifestyle, despite their ethnic and linguistic differences.

Early Magyar (Hungarian) settlers to Europe found the lands of modern day Hungary to be ideal in terms of farming, herding, and raising animals. These people's ancestors were generally nomadic people who lived off the lands and animals present and they found a piece of land in Europe with similar rolling hills and grasslands that made their settlement in this particular location a natural fit. However, their historic lifestyle and culture was slowly lost on these new lands.

While the early settlers fought invaders and lived off the lands as nomads and herders, the people didn't take too long to settle the lands and form permanent settlements. However, the lifestyle was still based on the lands as farming and raising animals was at the core of the daily life.

As the people of Europe settled and the Magyars began interacting with neighboring people, the culture and the lifestyle changed dramatically. While their language remained, nearly everything else changed, beginning with their conversion to Christianity, their first link to Europe in a cultural sense. This new religion also encouraged foreign settlers to the lands, settlers who arrived with new ideals, technologies, and foods.

Although power shifted over time, the Magyars continued to develop their own particular culture and lifestyle, a culture and lifestyle that was always tied to Europe. The similarities between Hungarian culture and European culture peaked with Austrian-Hungarian unification as these two powers controlled much of central and eastern Europe. This helped spread Hungarian influence, while also introducing cultural aspects from neighboring countries to Hungary.

The lifestyle also continued to change over time, particularly under communist rule in the 1900s. While the communists introduced new technologies and better infrastructure, they also urbanized the population to a great degree, changed the occupations of the people, and altered the economy and political situation. This changed the lifestyle and the mentality of the people as the Hungarians gained a stronger identity, one that was very opposed to communism, communist principles, and most particularly a communist economy.

Today the Magyars are an anomaly in many ways as they are ethnically Central Asian and still speak a language from that region. However, today the Magyars are more culturally tied to Europe as nearly every aspect of their culture reflects this continent, although they maintain many unique aspects of their culture, not unlike their language and ethnicity.

Information for Hungary was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks