U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BACKGROUND NOTES:  HUNGARY, DECEMBER 1994
PUBLISHED BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS


December 1994
Official Name:  Republic of Hungary


PROFILE

Geography

Area:  93,000 sq. km.  (36,000 sq. mi.); about the size of
Indiana.
Cities:  Capital--Budapest (est. pop. 2 million); Debrecen
(220,000); Miskolc (208,000); Szeged (189,000); Pecs
(183,000).
Terrain:  Much of Hungary is flat, with low mountains in the
north and northeast and north of Lake Balaton.
Climate:  Temperate.  January average temp. 00C (320F); July
200C (700F).

People

Nationality:  Noun and adjective--Hungarian(s).
Population (est.):  10 million.
Ethnic groups: Magyar 92%, Romany 3% (est.), German 1%,
Slovak 1%, Jews 1%, Southern Slav 1%, others 1%.
Religions:  Roman Catholic 68%, Calvinist 20%, Lutheran 5%,
others, including Jewish, Baptist, Adventist, Pentecostal,
Unitarian 5%.
Languages:  Magyar 98%, other 2%.  Education: Compulsory to
age 16.  Attendance--96%.  Literacy--99%.  Health:  Infant
mortality rate--15/1,000.  Life expectancy--67 yrs. men, 75
yrs.  women.
Work force (5 million):  Agriculture--19%.  Industry and
commerce--49%.  Services--27%.  Government--5%.
Official language: Magyar (Hungarian).

Government

Type:  Parliamentary democracy.
Constitution:  August 20, 1949.  Substantially revised in
1989,  amended in 1990.
Branches:  Executive--Council of Ministers.  Legislative--
Hungarian National Assembly (386 members, four-year term).
Judicial--Supreme Court and Constitutional Court.
Administrative regions:  19 counties plus capital region of
Budapest.
Principal political parties:  Socialists (MSZP, reform
communists) 32%;  Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ center-
left) 19%;  Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF center) 12%;
Independent Smallholder's Party (FKGP center right) 9%;
Federation of Young Democrats (FIDESZ center-left) 7%;
Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP center-right) 7%.

Economy (1993)

GDP:  $38 billion.
Annual growth rate:  -2.3%.
Per capita income:  $3,700.
Natural resources:  Fertile land, bauxite, brown coal.
Agriculture/forestry (7.3% of 1993 GDP):  Products--meat,
corn, wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, vegetables, fruits,
sunflower seeds.
Industry/construction (33% of 1993 GDP):  Machinery, buses,
and other transportation equipment; precision and measuring
equipment; textiles; medical instruments; and
pharmaceuticals.
Trade:  Exports--$8.9 billion:  machinery, buses, and other
transportation equipment; medical instruments;
pharmaceuticals; textiles; other consumer manufactures; and
agricultural products.  Major markets--Germany, Commonwealth
of Independent States (CIS), Austria, Italy, U.S., France.
Imports--$12.5 billion:  energy, raw materials, machinery,
and transportation equipment.  Major suppliers--CIS,
Germany, Austria, Italy U.S., France.
Exchange rate  (1993):  About 100 forints=U.S.$1.


HISTORY

Since its conversion to Western Christianity before AD 1000,
Hungary has been an integral part of Europe.  Although
Hungary was a monarchy for nearly 1,000 years, its
constitutional system preceded by several centuries the
establishment of Western-style governments in other European
countries.

Sharing defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy (1867-
1918) at the end of World War I, Hungary lost two-thirds of
its territory and nearly as much of its population.  It
experienced a brief but bloody communist dictatorship and
counter-revolution in 1919, followed by a 25-year regency
under Admiral Miklos Horthy.  Although Hungary fought in
most of World War II as a German ally, following an
unsuccessful attempt to switch sides on October 15, 1944, it
fell under German military occupation until the end of the
war.  In January 1945, a provisional government concluded an
armistice with the Soviet Union.  It also established the
Allied Control Commission, under which Soviet, American, and
British representatives held complete sovereignty over the
country.  The Commission's chairman was a member of Stalin's
inner circle and exercised absolute control.

Communist Takeover

The provisional government, dominated by the Hungarian
Communist Party (HCP), was replaced in November 1945 after
elections which gave majority control of a coalition
government to the Independent Smallholders' Party.  The
government instituted a radical land reform and gradually
nationalized mines, electric plants, four heavy industries,
and some large banks.

The communists ultimately undermined the coalition regime by
discrediting leaders of rival parties and by terror,
blackmail, and framed trials.  In elections tainted by fraud
in 1947, the leftist bloc gained control of the government.
Post-war cooperation between the U.S.S.R. and the West
collapsed, and the Cold War began.  With Soviet support,
Moscow-trained Matyas Rakosi began to establish a communist
dictatorship.  By February 1949, all opposition parties had
been forced to merge with the HCP to form the Hungarian
Workers' Party.  In 1949, the communists held a single-list
election and adopted a Soviet-style constitution which
created the Hungarian People's Republic.  Rakosi became
Prime Minister in 1952.

Between 1948 and 1953, the Hungarian economy was reorganized
according to the Soviet model.  In 1949, the country joined
the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CEMA)--a Soviet-
bloc economic organization.  All private industrial firms
with more than 10 employees were nationalized.  Freedom of
the press, religion, and assembly were strictly curtailed;
the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Jozsef
Mindszenty, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Forced industrialization and land collectivization soon led
to serious economic difficulties, which reached crisis
proportions by mid-1953, the year Stalin died.  The new
Soviet leaders blamed Rakosi for Hungary's economic
situation and began a more flexible policy in Eastern Europe
called the "New Course."  Imre Nagy replaced Rakosi as prime
minister in 1953 and repudiated much of Rakosi's economic
program of forced collectivization and heavy industry.  He
also ended political purges and freed thousands of political
prisoners.

However, the economic situation continued to deteriorate,
and Rakosi succeeded in disrupting the reforms and in
forcing Nagy from power in 1955 for "right-wing
revisionism."  Hungary joined the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact
Treaty Organization the same year.  Rakosi's attempt to
restore Stalinist orthodoxy then foundered as increasing
opposition developed within the party and among students and
other organizations after Khrushchev's 1956 denunciation of
Stalin.  Fearing revolution, Moscow replaced Rakosi with his
deputy, Erno Gero, in order to contain growing ideological
and political ferment.

1956 Revolution

Pressure for change reached a climax on October 23, 1956,
when security forces fired on Budapest students marching in
support of Poland's confrontation with the Soviet Union.
The ensuing battle quickly grew into a massive popular
uprising.  Gero called on Soviet troops to restore order on
October 24.  Fighting did not abate until the Central
Committee named Imre Nagy as prime minister on October 25,
and the next day Janos Kadar replaced Gero as party first
secretary.  Nagy dissolved the state security police,
abolished the one-party system, promised free elections, and
negotiated with the U.S.S.R. to withdraw its troops.

Faced with reports of new Soviet troops pouring into Hungary
despite Soviet Ambassador Andropov's assurances to the
contrary, on November 1, Nagy announced Hungary's neutrality
and withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact.  He appealed to the
United Nations and the Western powers for protection of its
neutrality.  Preoccupied with the Suez Crisis, the UN and
the West failed to respond.  The Soviet Union launched a
massive military attack on Hungary on November 3.  Some
200,000 Hungarians fled to the West.  Nagy and his
colleagues took refuge in the Yugoslav Embassy.

Kadar, after delivering an impassioned radio address on
November 1 in support of "our glorious revolution" and
vowing to fight the Russians with his bare hands if they
attacked Hungary, defected from the Nagy cabinet; he fled to
the Soviet Union and on November 4 announced formation of a
new government.  He returned to Budapest and, with Soviet
support, carried out severe reprisals; thousands of people
were executed or imprisoned.  Despite a guarantee of safe
conduct, Nagy was arrested and deported to Romania.  In June
1958, the government announced that Nagy and other former
officials had been executed.

Reform Under Kadar

In the early 1960s, Kadar announced a new policy under the
motto of "He who is not against us is with us."  He declared
a general amnesty, gradually curbed some of the excesses of
the secret police, and introduced a relatively liberal
cultural and economic course aimed at overcoming the post-
1956 hostility toward him and his regime.  In 1966, the
Central Committee approved the "New Economic Mechanism,"
through which it sought to overcome the inefficiencies of
central planning, increase productivity, make Hungary more
competitive in world markets, and create prosperity to
ensure political stability.  However, the reform was not as
comprehensive as planned, and basic flaws of central
planning produced economic stagnation.

Over the next two decades of relative domestic quiet,
Kadar's government responded to pressure for political and
economic reform and to counter-pressures from reform
opponents.  By the early 1980s, it had achieved some lasting
economic reforms and limited political liberalization and
pursued a foreign policy which encouraged more trade with
the West.  Nevertheless, the New Economic Mechanism led to
foreign debt in pursuit of economic stimuli for unprofitable
industries.

Transition to Democracy

Hungary's transition to a Western-style parliamentary
democracy was the first and the smoothest among the former
Soviet bloc, inspired by a nationalism that long had
encouraged Hungarians to control their own destiny.  By
1987,  activists within the party and bureaucracy and
Budapest-based intellectuals were increasing pressure for
change.  Some of these became reform socialists.  Others
began movements which were to develop into parties.  Young
liberals formed the Federation of Young Democrats (FIDESZ);
a core from the so-called Democratic Opposition formed the
Association of Free Democrats (SZDSZ); and the neopopulist
national opposition established the Hungarian Democratic
Forum (MDF).  Civic activism intensified to a level not seen
since the 1956 revolution.  In 1988, Kadar was replaced as
prime minister, and Reform Socialist leader Imre Pozsgay was
admitted to the Politburo.  That same year, the parliament
adopted a "democracy package," which included trade union
pluralism; freedom of association, assembly, and the press;
a new electoral law; and a radical revision of the
constitution, among others.

A Central Committee plenum in February 1989 endorsed in
principle the multiparty political system and the
characterization of the October 1956 revolution as a
"popular uprising," in the words of Pozsgay, whose reform
movement had been gathering strength as communist party
membership declined dramatically.  Kadar's major political
rivals then cooperated to move the country gradually to
democracy.  The Soviet Union reduced its involvement by
signing an agreement in April 1989 to withdraw Soviet forces
by June 1991.  National unity culminated in June 1989 as the
country reburied Imre Nagy, his associates, and,
symbolically, all other victims of the 1956 revolution.  A
roundtable, made up of representatives of the new parties
and some recreated old parties (such as the Smallholders and
Social Democrats), the communist party, and different social
groups, met in the summer and fall of 1989 to discuss major
changes to the Hungarian constitution and the steps in the
transition to a fully free and democratic country.  In
October 1989, the communist party convened its last
congress, which ended with a substantial victory for the
party's reform faction and a change in name to the Hungarian
Socialist Party.

In a historic session on October 16-20, 1989, the parliament
adopted legislation providing for multiparty parliamentary
elections and a direct presidential election.  The
parliament aimed to transform Hungary from a people's
republic into the Republic of Hungary, to protect  human and
civil rights, and to ensure separation of powers among the
judicial, executive, and legislative branches of government.
It asserted the "values of bourgeois democracy and
democratic socialism" and gave equal status to public and
private property as a prerequisite for moving toward a
market economy.

National Security

Hungary spearheaded the move leading to the dissolution of
the Warsaw Pact Treaty Organization by its 17% reduction  of
defense expenditures and the 30% reduction of its armed
forces between 1989 and 1992 to a level of 100,000.  This
latter figure includes 26,000 civilian employees of the
Hungarian Home Defense Forces (HHDF).  The military HHDF (or
Honvedseg) is undergoing major restructuring in
organization, orientation, and training.  Hungary is also
coping with severe budget constraints while attempting to
adopt a Western-style defense force that can be integrated
into NATO.  Both the previous and the present governments
have declared a desire to join NATO, and Hungary has
welcomed the "Partnership for Peace" initiative.  The
Honvedseg includes the army, which is the largest, followed
by the air force and a small naval contingent that patrols
the Danube River.

On March 11, 1989, Hungary and the Soviet Union concluded an
agreement under which the latter withdrew all 65,000 troops
from the country in June 1991 and asked that Hungary
compensate the former Soviets for the military bases they
relinquished.  Hungarian counterclaims charge that some of
the bases were built without permission and do not conform
to Hungarian building codes.  Toxic wastes and other Soviet
materials left behind at these bases constitute a serious
environmental hazard.  The zero option of no claim for
compensation by either side was finally worked out.  As
compensation for a portion of state debt to Hungary, both
sides--Hungary and Russia--agreed that a sum of up to $800
million in military equipment would be made available to
Hungary.

Principal Government Officials

President--Arpad Goncz
Prime Minister--Gyula Horn (MSZP)
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Laszlo Kovacs (MSZP)
Ambassador to the U.S.--Gyorgy Banlaki
Ambassador to the UN--Istvan Nathom

The Hungarian embassy is located at 3910 Shoemaker St. NW,
Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-362-6730).


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The prime minister selects the ministers in the cabinet.
Under a system of checks-and-balances, each cabinet nominee
appears before four parliamentary committees in open
hearings.  The unicameral Hungarian National Assembly is the
highest organ of state authority and initiates and approves
legislation sponsored by the prime minister.  A 15-member
constitutional court has power to challenge legislation on
grounds of unconstitutionality.

Hungary's first free, multiparty elections in more than 40
years were a milestone in the move toward a parliamentary
democracy.  In 1990, the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF)
won 43% of the vote to 24% for the Alliance of Free
Democrats (SZDSZ).  As a result, the MDF leader, Jozsef
Antall, became prime minister and formed a center-right
coalition government--with the Independent Smallholders'
Party (12%) and the Christian Democratic People's Party (6%)-
-to command a 60% majority in the parliament.  In addition
to a small number of independents, the other parties
represented in the parliament were the HSP, who gained 8%,
and the Young Democrats (FIDESZ), who received 6%.  Upon the
death of Josef Antall in December 1993, Peter Boross
succeeded to the post of Prime Minister.

The Antall/Boross coalition governments achieved a
reasonably well-functioning parliamentary democracy and laid
the foundation for a free market economy.

In May 1994, four years after it peacefully surrendered
power, the reformed Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) came
back to win a plurality of votes and 54% of the seats in
parliamentary elections focused largely on economic issues
and the substantial decline in living standards since 1990.
A heavy turnout of voters swept away the right-of-center
coalition but soundly rejected the extremists on the right
and the left.  Although it has a majority, the MSZP, which
has announced its intention to continue economic reform and
privatization, to preserve political rights, and to seek a
historical reconciliation with Hungary's neighbors, formed a
broader based coalition with the left-of-center Alliance of
Free Democrats (SZDSZ), which took second place with 18% of
the seats.  This coalition, which assumed power on July 15,
commands the two-thirds majority required to pass certain
key legislation such as a law on electronic media and
constitutional amendments.


ECONOMY

Before World War II, Hungary had a predominantly
agricultural economy.  Following the standard Stalinist
pattern, industrialization was forced on Hungary in the post-
war period.  Under communism, most economic activity was
conducted by state-owned enterprises or cooperatives,
although various small businesses were allowed to operate.
Agriculture was collectivized, undoing the immediate post-
war division of large estates among small peasant owners.
Today, farms are being privatized, both to small holders and
to agribusiness firms.

In 1950, more than 50% of the labor force worked on the
land; in 1993, slightly less than 7% engage in agricultural
activity.  Recently, Hungarian agriculture has been
generally self-sufficient and an important source of export
earnings.  Both the agricultural and industrial sectors have
suffered from a lack of investment since the late 1970s.  In
the 1970s and 1980s, Hungary accumulated a huge foreign
debt, largely to finance subsidies to consumers and to
unprofitable state enterprises.  Net foreign debt rose from
about $1 billion in 1972 to about $15 billion in 1993,
giving Hungary the highest per-capita debt in Central
Europe.  Its repayment record, however, has been excellent.

Changes introduced by the communist regime, particularly
during its last two years, eased the transformation to a
market economy.  When Antall took office, 150 state
enterprises already had been privatized under a "business
transformation" law.  Private firms had rights equal to
those of state enterprises under a law on corporate
association.  A joint venture law was in place, and foreign
companies had begun to invest in Hungary.  A little-used
bankruptcy law was in place.  A value-added tax and a
progressive personal income tax had largely replaced the
former arbitrary levies on profits of state enterprises.
The 1990 budget passed by the communist parliament had
slashed the annual deficit by cutting subsidies while
raising charges on fuel, cigarettes, and liquor.

The Hungarian Government has encouraged the founding of
private busi-nesses and moved forward on privatization of
state enterprises.  In 1993, the private sector generated
about 50% of GDP.

The 1993 federal budget ended with a deficit of 6% of GDP,
stalling a three-year program with the IMF, as revenue short-
falls exceeded budget cuts.  The government cut all consumer
subsidies and reduced the real value of subsidies to the
remaining state enterprises.  Subsidy cuts led to increases
in the price of medicines, bakery products, sugar, rice,
railroad and bus transportation, postage, telephone calls,
water and sewerage services, electricity, coal, and gas.
Charges on concessionary home mortgages were increased
substantially.

The deregulation of prices begun under the communist regime
was extended by the Hungarian Government; more than 95% of
prices have been decontrolled.  The reform effort incurs
painful, immediate costs to achieve more productive use of
economic resources and higher incomes in the longer term.
Phasing out uneconomic activities and reducing exports to
the former Soviet bloc helped lead to a decline in the gross
domestic product (GDP) in 1992 that amounted, in real terms,
to 2.3%.  Unemployment rose from 1.7% of the labor force in
1990 to an average of about 12% in 1993.

Foreign Trade

Hungary has shifted much of its trade from its former Soviet-
bloc partners to Western countries.  In 1993, 70% of
Hungary's trade was with Western countries; Germany now is
Hungary's principal trading partner, providing more trade
with Hungary than with all of the former Soviet republics.
Trade with Russia has been further reduced because of
declining oil exports to Hungary.  Trade with the United
States is increasing; total trade has risen to more than
$800 million in 1993.  The U.S. has extended to Hungary most-
favored-nation status, Generalized System of Preferences
concessions, Overseas Private Investment Corporation
insurance, and access to the Export-Import Bank.  The two
countries have concluded a bilateral intellectual property
rights agreement and are negotiating a bilateral investment
treaty.

Foreign concerns have invested over $7 billion in Hungary--
more than half of all foreign investment in Central and
Eastern Europe.  The United States is the largest investor,
with about $3.6 billion invested by mid-1994, followed by
Germany and Austria.  Foreign capital is attracted by low
wages for highly skilled workers, generous tax incentives,
favorable geographic location, fertile land, and knowledge
of the market of the former Soviet bloc.

Any Hungarian person or enterprise may engage in
international trade now, and about 90% of imports have been
freed from license restrictions.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Except for the short-lived neutrality declared by Imre Nagy
in November 1956, Hungary's foreign policy generally fol-
lowed the Soviet lead from 1947 to 1989.  During 1948-49,
Hungary maintained treaties of friendship, cooperation, and
mutual assistance with the Soviet Union, Poland,
Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria.  In 1950, it
concluded a friendship treaty with the then-German
Democratic Republic.  It was one of the founding members of
the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact and CEMA, and it was the first
Central European country to withdraw from those
organizations, both now defunct.


Along with other European associates of the former Soviet
Union, Hungary has been participating in East-West
cooperation agreed upon at the 1975 Helsinki Conference on
Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE).  It has signed
all of the CSCE follow-on documents since 1989.  Hungary's
record of implementing CSCE Helsinki Final Act provisions,
including those on reunification of divided families,
remains among the best in Eastern Europe.

Hungary has been a member of the United Nations since
December 1955.  As with any country, Hungarian security
attitudes are shaped largely by history and geography.  For
Hungary, this is a history of more than 400 years of
domination by great powers (the Ottomans, the Habsburgs, the
Germans during World War II, and the Soviets during the Cold
War) and a geography of regional instability and separation
from Hungarian minorities living in neighboring countries.

Hungary's current foreign policy, a direct response to these
factors, has three equal priorities:  integrating rapidly
with the West and its institutions, improving relations with
neighboring countries--particularly those with ethnic
Hungarian minorities--and supporting the rights of Hungarian
minorities abroad.  Currently, the Hungarians view ethnic
instability as the greatest threat to European security.


U.S.-HUNGARIAN RELATIONS

Relations between the United States and Hungary following
World War II were affected  by Soviet armed forces'
occupation of Hungary.  Full diplomatic relations were
established at the legation level on October 12, 1945,
before the signing of the Hungarian peace treaty on February
10, 1947.

After the communist takeover in 1947-48, relations with
Hungary were increasingly strained by the nationalization of
U.S.-owned property, unacceptable treatment of U.S. citizens
and personnel, and restrictions on the operations of the
American legation.  During the difficult period following
the Hungarian national uprising in 1956, relations continued
to erode.

Embassies were opened in 1966, and bilateral relations
slowly but steadily improved after ambassadors were
exchanged.  In 1972, a consular convention was concluded to
provide consular protection to U.S. citizens in Hungary.  In
1973, a bilateral agreement was reached under which Hungary
settled the nationalization claims of American citizens.  In
1976, Hungary paid its debt arrearages to the U.S.
Government in full, including those dating back to the post-
World War I era.  In 1977, an agreement on exchanges and
cooperation in culture, education, science, and technology
was concluded.

In January 1978, the United States returned to the people of
Hungary the historic Crown of Saint Stephen and other
Hungarian coronation regalia that had been safeguarded by
the United States since the end of World War II.
Symbolically and actually, this event marked the beginning
of excellent relations between the two countries.  A 1978
bilateral trade agreement included extension of most-favored-
nation status.  Cultural and scientific exchanges were
expanded.  Major U.S. official cultural exhibits have been
well received.  In 1989, the United States and Hungary
renewed a civil air agreement providing for direct service
between New York and Budapest.

As Hungary began to pull away from the links forged by
Soviet communism, the United States offered assistance and
expertise to help establish a constitution, a democratic
political system, and a plan for a free market economy.
Between 1989 and 1993, the Support for East European
Democracy (SEED) Act provided more than $136 million for
economic restructuring and private-sector development.  The
Hungarian-American Enterprise Fund, capitalized at $65
million, offers loans, equity capital, and technical
assistance to promote private-sector development of
Hungarian-American joint ventures.

In 1991, the U.S. and Hungary initiated a security
assistance relationship that is now active in both the
International Military Education and Training Program
($700,000) and the $13-million Foreign Military Sales
Program.

Additional U.S. assistance includes a $10 million energy-
sector grant and other technical assistance.  Grants to the
Inter-national Executive Service Corps, MBA Enterprise Corps
(composed of recent recipients of Master of Business
Administration degrees), and the Center for International
Private Enterprise help these non-governmental organizations
provide expertise directly to private enterprises.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the
Environmental Law Institute assist the Ministry of
Environment and the Hungarian Parliament in drafting the
country's first environmental legislation.  Other issues
receiving attention include health care, employment,
housing, education, and small business development.  About
140 Peace Corps volunteers throughout Hungary work to
improve English-language training and environmental
awareness.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Ambassador--Donald M.  Blinken
Deputy Chief of Mission-- James I. Gadsden
Press/Cultural Affairs Officer--Donna Culpepper
Political Officer--William Siefkin
Economic Officer--Charles English
Commercial Officer--Patrick Hughes
Science Attache--Lawrence Cohen
Administrative Officer--Martha L. Campbell
Consul--Arnold Haskin Campbell
Defense Attache--Col. John Concannon, USA
USAID Director--David Cowles

The U.S. embassy in Hungary is located at Szabadsag Ter 12,
Budapest (tel. 112-6450).


TRAVEL NOTES

Customs:  No visa is required for visits up to 90 days.
Visitors are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy.
There is no limit on the amount of hard currency that may be
brought into Hungary.  However, travelers are required to
declare upon entry any foreign funds in their possession to
facilitate re-export of the funds upon departure.
Immunization requirements are generally those of Western
Europe.

Climate and clothing:  Budapest's climate is temperate, with
seasons of almost equal length.

Health:  Services and medications are widely available and
generally adequate, although of a different standard from
that in the United States.  Tapwater is potable.  Raw fruits
and vegetables are safe to eat.  Avoid unpasteurized milk.

Telecommunications:  Telephone and telegraph services are
readily available at standard international rates. Hungary
is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Tourist attractions:  Budapest is the country's leading
tourist attraction, especially for its museums, historic
houses and buildings of the "Var" (Royal Castle) area
overlooking the Danube River.  Roman ruins are located at
Aquincum in suburban Budapest and other parts of
Transdanubia (Pannonia).  The remains of the Renaissance
palace of the Hungarian kings at Visegrad on the Danube bend
are of great historic and cultural interest.  Many Europeans
visit Lake Balaton, Central Europe's largest lake, for
fishing, swimming and sunbathing.  Thermal baths are located
throughout the country.  The Hungarian Puszta or "Great
Plain" in the east is interesting for its wildlife.

National holidays:  Businesses and the U.S. Embassy may be
closed on the following Hungarian holidays:

New Year's Day--January 1
Commemoration of 1848-49 Revolution--March 15
Easter Monday--date varies
Labor Day--May 1
National Day (St. Stephen's Day)--August 20
Commemoration of 1956 Revolution--October 23
Christmas Day--December 25
Boxing Day--December 26

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Published by the U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Public Affairs -- Office of Public Communication -
- Washington, DC
December 1994 -- Editor:  Chris Macdonald -- Managing
Editor:  Peter A. Knecht

Department of State Publication 7915
Background Notes series -- This material is in the public
domain and may be reprinted without permission; citation of
this source is appreciated.

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.

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