Cultural programs

Pre-conf tour: Easter festival and The Danube bend - Monday 17

Easter festival in the Szentendre Open-air Museum

The aim of founding the Szentendre Open Air Museum was to present folk architecture, interior decoration, farming and way of life in the Hungarian language area from the 2nd half of the 18th century to the 1st half of the 20th century, through original and authentic objects, relocated houses arranged in old settlement patters. The more and more elaborate settlement plan appropriates the relocation of more than 400 edifices into the museum, arranged into village-like regional units on the basis of ethnographical considerations. Within the units buildings are fitted into the traditional system of peasant households, supplemented by sacred, communal and outbuildings which used to be integral parts of traditional villages. Dwellings and farm-buildings represent the typical houses and outbuildings having evolved historically in each region.

Traditionally on Easter Monday the boys visited the girls, recited a poem and doused them with buckets of water to ensure they become good wives and bare many children. This tradition has both Christian and pagan roots. In exchange for the dousing the girls would reward their visitors with Easter eggs, chocolate treats and a shot of pálinka.

Visegrád and the view of the Danube bend

Visegrád is a small castle town in Pest County, Hungary. It is north of Budapest on the right bank of the Danube in the Danube Bend. Visegrád is famous for the remains of the Early Renaissance summer palace of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and the medieval citadel.

The castle was laid out on a triangular ground plan and had three towers at its corners. In the 14th century, at the time of the Angevin kings of Hungary, the castle became a royal residence and was enlarged with a new curtain wall and palace buildings. The Lower Castle is the part of the fortification system that connects the Upper Castle with the Danube. In its centre rises the Solomon Tower, a large, hexagonal residential tower dating from the 13th century. In the 14th century, new curtain walls were built around the tower. During a Turkish raid in 1544, the southern part of the tower collapsed. Its renovation began only in the 1870s and was finished in the 1960s.

Esztergom

Esztergom was the capital of Hungary from the 10th till the mid-13th century when King Béla IV of Hungary moved the royal seat to Buda.

Esztergom is the seat of the prímás (see Primate) of the Roman Catholic Church in Hungary, and the former seat of the Constitutional Court of Hungary. The city has the Keresztény Múzeum, the largest ecclesiastical collection in Hungary. Its cathedral, Esztergom Basilica is the largest church in Hungary.

Primate Cellar is directly under the hill of the Esztergom Basilica. One of the important purposes of Primate Cellar is to propagandize the tradition of Hungarian wines and wine culture. Therefore the grapes and wine are the connecting link between the units of the complex: the Tunnel of Wine Regions of the Carpathian Basin, the restaurant and the Wine-growing Exhibition.

Mid-conf tour: Cave tour and The Puszta - Thursday 20

Aggtelek

The Baradla-Domica cave system in Hungary is one of the longest-researched caves, visited for centuries for its speleothems. As part of the Aggtelek Karst, the cave system extends more than 25.5 km (15.8 mi) and includes the 5.3 km (3.3 mi) Domica cave in Slovakia. Before the 1990's, the passage in the cave was blocked by bars at the state boundary. The cave has a natural entrance at Aggtelek, at the foot of a high white cliff that overlooks the edge of the village. It has an articulated, meandering main channel 7 km (4.3 mi) long, with a rock tunnel, on average, 10 m (33 ft) wide and 7 to 8 m (23 to 26 ft) high with a few giant caverns. The main branch has several short and long connecting side branches. A significant part of the cave has varied colors and shapes providing an unparalleled spectacle of decorative stalactites. Subterranean river waters run through the main branch at times of flood. Natural entrances to the cave have been open from ancient times, and there are traces of Neolithic occupation.

Diósgyőr

Diósgyőr is a historical town in Hungary, today it is a part of Miskolc. The medieval castle in Diósgyőr was a favourite holiday residence of Hungarian kings and queens; today it is a popular tourist attraction. The city, Miskolc was a center of heavy industry until the 1990's.

Hortobágy

Hortobágy is the largest protected area, and the largest natural grassland in Central Europe with cattle, sheep, oxen, horses, tended by herdsmen, and it provides habitat for various different species (342 bird species have been registered to appear in the puszta). This is an 800 km² national park in Eastern Hungary, in the puszta, rich with folklore and cultural history. Hortobágy was never densely populated, and its few villages were destroyed during the Tartar and Turkish invasions. The monotony of the grasslands is punctuated by the burial mounds and guard mounds of the Nomad peoples that lived here thousands of years ago. For thousands of years the wild animals grazing on the grasslands of Hortobágy, the aurochs and wild horses, were gradually replaced by domesticated animals. A large number of tough, undemanding long-haired sheep and grey cattle can be found here. Less ancient species are the curly-bristled mangalica pig, a source of good bacon, and the Nonius horse. The predecessor of the latter was brought to Hortobágy from Normandy at the beginning of the 19th century. Visitors are amazed at the skills of the horsemen and at the sight of the galloping herds of horses.

Post-conf tour: Budapest - Sunday 23

Budapest is the capital and most populous city of Hungary, one of the largest cities in the European Union and sometimes described as the primate city of Hungary. It has an area of 525 square kilometres (203 square miles) and a population of about 1.8 million within the administrative limits in 2016. It is both a city and county, and forms the centre of the Budapest Metropolitan Area, which has an area of 7,626 square kilometres (2,944 square miles) and a population of 3.3 million, comprising 33 percent of the population of Hungary. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the Danube river with the unification of Buda and Óbuda on the west bank, with Pest on the east bank on November 17, 1873.

The history of Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Hungarians arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241–42. The re-established town became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture by the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, the region entered a new age of prosperity, and Budapest became a global city after its unification in 1873. It also became the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a great power that dissolved in 1918, following World War I. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Republic of Councils in 1919, the Battle of Budapest in 1945, and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

The central area of the city along the Danube River is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has many notable monuments, including the Hungarian Parliament, Buda Castle, Fisherman's Bastion, Gresham Palace, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Matthias Church and the Liberty Statue. Further famous landmarks include Andrássy Avenue, St. Stephen's Basilica, Heroes' Square, the Great Market Hall, the Nyugati Railway Station built by the Eiffel Company of Paris in 1877 and the second-oldest metro line in the world, the Millennium Underground Railway. Budapest is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the Hungarian National Museum, House of Terror, Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Hungarian State Opera House, National Széchényi Library and Hungarian Academy of Sciences.