Covid-19 related news

Coronavirus related news of Hungary on the 26th February 2021

As we wrote in our previous blog post, the 3rd wave of the coronavirus pandemic has hit Hungary as well, there have been more and more new cases and they have extended the Covid-19 related restrictions and border closure until at least the 15th of March. Probably they will be extended even until after this date. Our daily free tours in Budapest are still not running until further notice.

As said in our previous articles, vaccination started in Hungary, with 5 different vaccines. Right now there are about 522 000 people that got the first round and about 240 000 individuals that got the second round of the vaccination. Official news say that there could be about 2.5 million Hungarians vaccinated until this Easter out of the 10 million people living in our country.

A photo by Budapest illustrating some of the precautions people should take during the covid-19 pandemic

Pic taken from : koronavirus.budapest. hu

Remembering the Victims of Communist Dictatorships on the 25th of February

The commemoration of the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Communist Dictatorships (or the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Communism) was adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Hungary on 13 June 2000. According to this, Memorial Day for the Victims of Communism is held on February 25 every year in secondary education institutions.

Béla Kovács, Secretary General of the Independent Smallholders’ Party (FKGP), was arrested by the Soviet authorities on this day in 1947 for his opposition to the Communists and taken to the Soviet Union, where he spent eight years in captivity, first in the Gulag and then from September 25, 1951 in the State Security Ministry’s Central Prison, in Moscow.

The arrest and detention of the politician was the first step on the path by which the Communist Party eliminated its opponents and thus moved towards the establishment of a total one-party dictatorship. The case thus became a symbol of the disregard for democracy and freedoms that characterized the nearly 50-year rule of communism. Béla Kovács became a role model for people who were considered victims of the party state regime.

The statue of Béla Kovács, a Hungarian politician that fell victim of the Communist dictatorship

Photo of statue of Béla Kovács taken from: wikipedia

The Black Book of Communism puts the number of victims of communism worldwide at about 100 million, according to estimates and archival research. In Central and Eastern Europe, the number of victims of famine, forced labor camps or executions reaches one million, but the victims of the system are also those imprisoned, interrogated, tortured, stigmatized, persecuted for their group or religious affiliation, ie everyone deprived of the opportunity for free action and choice, mutilated physically and spiritually. You can learn more about the Communist Dictatorship in Hungary (~1948-1989) on our free Communism walking tour in Budapest, when we can be back doing tours and showing you our city & culture.

Latest News – 23rd February 2021

Latest Covid-19 related news in Hungary and at the Free Walking Tours Budapest Team

Regarding the Covid-19 related restrictions in our country, there has been one change made since our latest blog post: the parliament has extended the “emergency phase” of the country, it will be in action for another at least 90 days. We are still not running our daily free walking tours in Budapest until further notice.

Unfortunately, the 3rd wave of the coronavirus pandemic has started in Hungary recently, there have been more and more new cases and deaths reported in the last week or so. Vaccination has started too, so far Hungary uses the Pfizer/Biontech, the AstraZeneca, the Russian Sputnik V and the Chinese Sinopharm vaccines. There is about 460 000 people in our country that got the first dose of the vaccine and roughly 206 000 got the second round, too.

Picture from: the Official Microsoft Blog

Another piece of news regarding our walking tours in Budapest is that they are going to start the renovation of the iconic Chainbridge, the first permanent bridge on the Danube in Budapest ready in 1849. They are going to close the bridge from traffic and pedestrians, too this spring for a long time (possibly more than 1 year). Our General Free Budapest Walk and most of the travelers walking in our city used to cross this bridge on the way to the Buda side from the Pest side, all the other bridges are a bit too far for crossing in a reasonable time on one tour. This is why we are going to divide our Free Budapest Walk into 2 tours, a Pest tour and a Buda castle tour with different starting times and different meeting points. We are going to upload all the things you need to know, once we are back on track and can run our daily free walking tours in Budapest again.

Stay well and safe!

 

News & Carnival (Farsang) season in Hungary

Latest Covid-19 related news of Hungary

Since our last blog post there has not been any changes to restrictions in Hungary, please click on the following link to read about the latest Covid-19 news and restrictions of our country:

Carnival Season = Farsang in Hungary

Farsang in Hungarian is the name of the period from Epiphany (Vízkereszt in Hungarian, on January 6th) to Pancake day (Húshagyó kedd in our language, it is before Ash Wednesday, it is the 47th day before Easter Sunday), to the beginning of Lent. It is traditionally celebrated with happy feasts, balls, fun, folk festivals. The characteristic of the carnival season is that there is no important religious holiday associated with it in the Christian liturgical calendar, it is mostly based on folk traditions. Carnival events from pre-Christian times were prohibited in the 16th and 17th centuries, because of their wild customs mostly symbolizing lust, hedonism. In Hungary during old times, Farsang was also a period of mating and was also an important “wedding season” as it was already forbidden to hold a wedding during the Easter fast period.

The highlight of Farsang is the carnival. This period of the last three days from Carnival Sunday to Pancake day is actually a winter farewell, too. Famous carnivals (the Rio Carnival, the Venetian Carnival) are held in many cities around the world, and in Hungary the most notable event of the carnival is the ‘Busójárás’ in Mohács, a city on the southern part of Hungary, close to Serbia.

The Busójárás

Busójárás is a celebration of the Šokci people living in the town of Mohács, Hungary, held annually at the end of the Carnival season, Farsang, ending the day before Ash Wednesday. The celebration features Busós (people wearing traditional scary masks) and it includes folk music, parades and dancing, masquerading. There are 2 reasons why they dress up in scary costumes:

  1. To scare winter away
  2. To scare the Turks away… (A big part of Hungary was under Ottoman occupation between 1541 and 1699)

The Busójárás lasts for six days and it is held usually during February. Ten thousands of people visit this event and since 2009 it has been on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list.

Bonfire at the Busójárás in Mohács, held annually as part of the Carnival season

Photo: alfatours. hu

People dressed up in scary costumes during the Busójárás to scare winter and the Turks away

Photo: promenad. hu

A delicious thing we eat at Farsang

The Farsang Doughnut or Farsangi fánk as we call it in Hungarian. It is a soft yeast cake, we deep-fry it and fill it with fruit jam or eat it empty with some powdered sugar on top, yummy! Once we are back on track after the Covid-19 restrictions are eased, you can learn about more delicious Hungarian sweets on our Free walking tours in Budapest!

A few pieces of farsangi fánk (doughnut) a deep-fried yeast cake eaten at carneval season in Hungary

Photo of doughnuts: kifoztuk. hu

 

 

Latest Covid-19 related news of Hungary

Just like in each of our recent blog posts, we share the most important Covid-19 related regulations and news of our country, let’s see what’s new now:

They have extended the restrictions that have been valid for months, now they will be active until the 1st of March. These are the following, including but not limited to:

  • curfew between 8pm and 5 am, shops must close at 7pm
  • foreign citizens cannot enter Hungary (there are a few exceptions)
  • returning Hungarian citizens have to quarantine for 14 days or show 2 negative tests
  • hotels cannot have guests
  • bars, clubs, restaurants, gyms, pools, cinemas are closed
  • all gatherings are prohibited…
  • …therefore our free tours in Budapest are still not running until further notice

Tips about how to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic

Possible easing of restrictions

They have announced it today that opening up and easing the restrictions could be possible in two steps from the beginning of March and then from the beginning of April. It all depends on what happens until then with the spread of Covid-19 in Hungary. The number of new cases were decreasing in the last 1 or 2 weeks, but now it doesn’t seem to be lessening.

Covid-19 vaccination

Vaccination has started in Hungary a few weeks ago, now there are about 250 000 Hungarian people that got the first round of the vaccine and about 75 000 that got the second dose, too. There are about 10 million people living in our country, 2 million in Budapest.

An aerial shot showing Budapest, the river Danube and the Chain bridge lit up on a winter night

Photo by tovissibence

Stay tuned, read our info on our blog, we really hope to be back with our sightseeing walking tours in Budapest as soon as possible!

News & The story of the world’s oldest Olympic champion, who also survived the Holocaust

Latest Hungarian Covid-19 related news

Right now there are about a 150 000 thousand people vaccinated with the 1st dose of the vaccination and about 12 500 with the second dose as well in our country. In the last two weeks the number of cases seems to be decreasing, but the threat has not yet passed.

You can read the short summary of the valid Covid-19 restrictions in Hungary in our previous blog article:

The story of Ágnes Keleti, the world’s oldest Olympic champion

This lady just celebrated her 100 birthday on the 9th of January which made her the world’s oldest living Olympic champion, we are very proud of her… 🙂 And now, let’s see her story…

The hundred year old Ágnes Keleti, the world's oldest living Olympic champion with her birthday cake on the 9th of January

100 year old Ágnes Keleti on the 9th of January (photo: Keleti 100 – Facebook page)

It is not rare that many famous sportsman was preparing for another profession, but then chance determines their career and “accidentally” they end up as some of world’s best sportsman… Ágnes Keleti wanted to be a violoncellist, she was talented, too, she had already performed at the Hungarian Academy of Music, but a Christmas party came when she was in high school when she made a mistake… He wanted to play the swan (Saint Saens) when she was hit by a sudden “short circuit” and froze. She might have played in a symphony orchestra as an adult, she might have been one of the best cellists of Hungary.

But finally she became one of the most successful athletes of her age, whose name is known all over the world. If she had a little more luck, she would have even more than five Olympic golds, she could have gotten up to eight. Of course, the five is not a small thing, there is no other Hungarian athlete who won four golds at an Olympics. Unfortunately they could not celebrate her successes, what’s more, after 1956 (there was a revolution in Hungary against the Communist dictatorship that year), she entered Hungarian territory again only in 1983, so she is hardly known at home…

She was 16 when she started doing gymnastics, at first just to entertain herself. However, Zoltán Dückstein, one of the good coaches of that era, noticed her talent. In 1940, when she was 20 years old, Keleti was already a Hungarian champion, if the Olympics were held that year, she would have had a place in the team… but since she’s Jewish, she could not be part of it. Unfortunately, because of her Jewish origins, the following years were more about survival, than doing sports…

Trying to survive

She took any kind of jobs what she could, she was a furrier’s apprentice, worked in a munition-factory, and used all tricks to survive. She did not put the stigmatizing yellow star on her clothes, and she bought the documents of a certain Piroska Juhász, she paid with all her valuables and money for it. Her uncle and cousin were taken in front of her eyes by the Arrow Cross (the Hungarian fascist party that supported the Nazis and the deportations of Jewish people in Hungary). Her wealthy father, who was a co-owner of a factory, died in Auschwitz. In 1944, the worst year of the Hungarian Holocaust, Keleti was hiding on the Hungarian countryside. Then in January, 1945 the siege of Budapest ended, and her husband returned  from the Mauthausen concentration camp in the spring weighing 33 kg…

A new beginning after WW2

By the fall of 1945, they already restored a gym in such condition that they could do sports there. They achieved that Rezsőné Herpich, the most prestigious coach of the era, was able to return from the expulsion, and the national team reunited. The team traveled to the 1948 London Olympics with the chance of winning, but Keleti was injured unexpectedly. She watched her team in London finish second behind the Czechoslovaks…

Black and white picture of Ágnes Keleti, Hungarian Olympic winner gymnast performing a movement

Young Ágnes Keleti – photo: tornasport.hu

The first golden medal

Keleti was already 31 years old at the Olympics in 1952 in Helsinki and there she wanted to make her big dream come true and become an Olympic champion. They prepared for the final of the ambiguous railing under political pressure while knowing that they had to loose the golden medal and the Soviet team had to win it… However, Mátyás Rákosi (the leader of the Hungarian Communist party 1947-1956, during the period we call the “Heavy dictatorship”) changed his mind in the last minute and asked the team leaders to do everything for the Hungarian success.  You can learn more about the Communist dictatorship in Hungary after WW2 on our Communism tours in the future, when we start running our free tours again: https://www.triptobudapest.hu/tours/communism-walk/

Four gold medals from 1 Olympic games – a Hungarian record

In 1956 in Melbourne, where Keleti’s sister had been living, her farewell appearance ended with four gold medals, and if she didn’t have a spoiled jump, she could have won the fifth as well. Even so, there are two important records attached to her name:

  • No other Hungarian gymnast has ever won gold at two consecutive Olympics
  • To this day in Hungary, she holds the most Olympic medals (10) preceding swimmer Krisztina Egerszegi  and sprint canoer Danuta Kozák
  • Internationally, her performance is not small, Keleti has the third place in the eternal ranking of gymnasts behind the Soviet Larissa Latinyina and the Czechoslovak Vera Caslavska

Her life after 1956

Keleti did not return home to Hungary (like many other Hungarian sportsmen…) from the Melbourne Olympics. She settled down in Israel in 1957, married a Hungarian man there and had two sons. She came home first after the change of regime in 1989, and has visited several times since. She played a key role in the creation of Israeli gymnastics, and from 1958 to 1980 she was the federal captain of the Israeli national team, while preparing the Italian national team for the 1960 Olympics. The 3 words that describe her the most: Humor, love of life, laughter 🙂

We wish you these all over the world, especially during these hard times…

Ágnes Keleti, longest living, oldest Olympic gold medalist of the world performing a split while her pupils watch her

The oldest female olympic winner, Hungarian born Agnes Keleti, 95, makes a split in front of Hungarian young gymnasts in a local training center of Budapest on January 16, 2016. Photo by Péter Kőhalmi / AFP

 

 

 

Latest news & the story of a world-famous film director and producer of Hungarian origin

Latest Covid-19 related news of Hungary

We try to keep posting about the latest and most important restrictions to keep you updated about the Covid-19 situation in Hungary, so here is what’s new since our last posts:

The most important restrictions that we summarized previously (you can read them in a quotation mark following this sentence) and were going to be valid until the 11th of January 2021, has been extended until the 1st of February 2021, then they are going to see if they change them.

  • The borders of Hungary are closed at least until the 1st of February (there are only a few exceptions)
  • There is a curfew between 8pm and 5 am at least until the 11th of January
  • Restaurants can only serve take-away and home delivery orders
  • Hotels cannot accommodate guests except for business travelers or guests that are here for the purpose of economy or education
  • Gyms, pools, museums, public libraries, cinemas, zoos, ice skating rinks are closed
  • Everyone must keep wearing masks on public transportations, indoors, and outdoors on public areas, too (in cities that have more than 10.000 inhabitants) – in parks, nature and while doing sports masks do not have to be worn
  • We are still not running our daily FREE WALKING TOURS in Budapest until further notice, all gatherings are prohibited                    “

The story of Alexander Korda, world-famous film director and producer of Hungarian origin

Sir Alexander Korda, in Hungarian Sándor Korda, was born in 1893 in Túrkeve, Hungary and passed away in 1956 in London.
He was barely two years old, when thanks to the legendary French Lumière brothers, the world’s first public screening took place in Paris on December 28th, 1895, giving birth to movie theaters, cinemas that defined his entire life later.

Black and white photo of Sir Alexander Korda world-famous producer and director of Hungarian origin at work

During his young years, he tried journalism, preferred to publish articles on films, was a film critic, and then worked as a director from the age of 21. From 1916 he became the chief director of a film factory opened in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, the seventh film factory in the world. Jenő Janovics, the founder of this film factory, later recalled this period: “Not too long ago, the young Korda was daydreaming in the New York café in Budapest (one of the most famous and fancy cafés in Budapest from the 1800’s…) about having a not too well paid journalist job, then I made him sit on a train, come to Transylvania. And today? Sándor Korda, the founder of English national film production is celebrated by the audience of five continents of the world. ”

In 1917, he and Sándor Korda bought the Corvin Film Factory, whose Budapest studio became the stronghold of Hungarian film production for the next hundred years.
In the early 1920s, Korda tried his luck in the big world, he worked in Vienna, Berlin, and then Hollywood as well, where he became the director of an American film studio founded by Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, among others.

Korda’s success in Britain

Eventually, Britain became the part of the world where he achieved his greatest success… He settled down in London and founded a film studio in 1932. His films were really spectacular, which only intensified with the appearance of color films. He has shot several internationally successful films and has even been nominated for an Oscar.

Korda had a huge hit in 1933 with “The Private Life of Henry VIII” that he directed. This film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and established Korda internationally and made a star of actor Charles Laughton. As a producer, Korda’s works include movies such as the “Jungle Book”, “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” or “Richard III”.

Colorful movie poster of Alexander Korda's movie, the Jungle book in English

Korda was knighted in 1942, and the British Film Academy named the prize of the most outstanding films of the year after him.

His homeland, Hungary also cherishes his memory in a worthy way, he is the namesake of the Korda Film Studio established in Etyek, Fejér County not far from Budapest. It is worth a visit when you are in Hungary and have time after your Budapest sightseeing and after taking some of our free walking tours, it is an interesting and exciting adventure. Here is their website: https://kordafilmpark.hu/           (Story idea’s from HUstory’s Facebook page.)

Can’t wait to guide you around again…

You can hear about more famous Hungarians when life is more or less back to normal and when we will run our daily free tours again…

 

 

 

Latest news & The story of a Hungarian explorer

Covid-19 related news of Hungary

Since our last blog post coronavirus related restrictions in Hungary has not changed. We might have reached the top of the second wave of the pandemic here, and they are going to decide in the next couple of days about changing the restrictions or leaving them as they are now. You can find the short summary of the valid restrictions of Hungary at the following link:

Story of a world-famous Hungarian explorer and writer

We have started sharing stories of internationally known/important Hungarian persons or things, and the following story is going to be about Gábor Molnár (1908-1980), a world-famous Hungarian explorer and writer, who wrote his works blindly after losing his sight in an accident.

Gábor Molnár was born in Óbuda (Old Buda, north from Buda now) and used to visit the Zoo of Budapest a lot already in his childhood and youth. He used to read the works of Hungarian explorers a lot, too (Lajos Bíró, Ármin Vámbéry, Sándor Kőrösi Csoma). In 1929 he read about an expedition to Brazil in the Christmas issue of a Hungarian newspaper. He couldn’t have hoped to go on a research trip on his own once, so he applied to this trip in a letter. To his great surprise and joy, because of his talents, his shooting skills and his determination, he was chosen as the third member of the expedition to increase the animal and insect collection of the Hungarian National Museum. However, after their arrival, his two companions became seriously ill, and in order to finance their healing and return home, they even had to sell the weapons and equipment of Gábor Molnár, who thus continued exploring and collecting alone without any financial support.

In Brazil he took the job of a site manager at one of the Ford Company’s rubber plantations, with the stipulation that he could set out on his own expedition at any time. From the money he received there, he equipped the following voyages of discovery and paid his companions from this wage. During the explorations he met native Indians, collected special animals, including valuable giant snakes, beetles, insects, animal skins, which he sent home to the Budapest Zoo and the National Museum. Molnár was not paid for these, he only got a diploma and other moral recognition.

On March the 7th, 1932, there was an accident that changed his life forever… In a Ford warehouse that was under his supervision a subordinate, a young boy, found an explosive package. Gábor Molnár himself wanted to remove the igniters, but on the way to the nearby river they exploded in his hands, and as a result he lost his eyesight.

Picture of one of the books about Brasil written by world-famous Hungarian explorer and traveler, Gábor Molnár

Gábor Molnár’s first full book – Adventures in the brazilian jungle

Returning from Brasil and starting writing

He came home from Brazil on May the 24th, 1932, under adventurous conditions in the company of two giant snakes. He was treated in Hungary at the state eye hospital, where his doctors confirmed that he would never see again. Here, with the help of one of the nurses, he learned to use Remington’s typewriter, which launched him into the writing career. He put his experiences, travel adventures and discoveries on paper, his first articles appeared in Budapest newspapers, and then he entered the writers’ society. Later, his twenty-six independent volumes and more than a hundred feuilletons (a part of a newspaper or magazine devoted to fiction, criticism, or light literature) and educational works were published, he acquired radio games and took part in hundreds of writer-reader meetings. From the middle of the 20th century, he became one of the most read and popular writers in the country.

In parallel with his work as a writer, he continued his adventures in the world until the end of his life, visiting Asia and South America several times, and his wife was his faithful companion and main support all the way.

(Story idea taken from HUstory’s Facebook page.)

We are looking forward for our adventures on our free tours in Budapest with you, when it will be possible to travel more freely again…!

 

 

 

Happy Holidays!

In this post we would like to wish all of you all over the world HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A PEACEFUL NEW YEAR! May 2021 be calmer and more organized than 2020 for all of us…

Latest Hungarian Covid-19 related news

Since our last blog post, not much has changed, please read about the latest Covid-19 related restrictions in Hungary in our previous blog article:

Traditional Hungarian Christmas and New Year’s dishes

Let us share a few sentences and pictures of what we eat around Christmas and New Year’s Eve 🙂

  • Halászlé: Fisherman’s soup – it is a hot, spicy paprika spice based fish soup. It is a folk item of Hungarian cuisine, a bright-red hot dish prepared with generous amounts of hot paprika and carp or mixed river fish. It is native to the Pannonian Plain, particularly the river Danube and river Tisza regions. It is also a popular dish among ethnic German “Donauschwaben” and their descendants, for them it is known as “Karpfensuppe”.

A bowl of Halászlé or Fisherman's soup which is a hot, spicy paprika spice based fish soup eaten traditionally at Christmas in Hungary

  • Töltött káposzta: Stuffed cabbage – big cabbage leaves filled with a meatball made of minced meat, rice and spices; cooked with a lot more cabbage (sauerkraut) and of course the Hungarian paprika spice. Add some sour cream to make it even more delicious and even more Hungarian! 🙂

Rolls of Töltött káposzta or Stuffed cabbage in English, which is a cabbage roll filled with a mixture of minced meat, rice and spices

  • Bejgli: Poppy seed/Walnut roll – it is a pastry consisting of a roll of sweet yeast bread with a dense, rich filling of poppy seed, minced walnuts or minced chestnuts. It is popular in Central Europe and parts of Eastern Europe, where it is commonly eaten at Christmas and Easter time.

A picture of our home made bejgli - a Hungarian Christmas delicacy filled with poppy seed or  minced walnuts

Our home made bejgli based on a recipe by one of our grandma’s 🙂

  • At New Year’s Eve traditionally we do not eat poultry because they say good luck flies away with them…
  • But we do eat for example: Lencsefőzelék: Lentil stew or pottage – this is a type of thick Hungarian vegetable stew or soup, similar to pottage. Főzelék is a special category in Hungarian cuisine, not quite like a soup, and thinner than a stew. We eat lentils, because according to Hungarian superstitions it makes you rich in the upcoming year.

Lentil stew or pottage - this is a type of thick Hungarian vegetable stew or soup, similar to pottage

 

Once we are back on track in 2021, you can learn even more about Hungarian cuisine and culture on our free tours! Cannot wait! 🙂

News & The joint story of the Hungarian paprika spice and a chemical engineer

Read the latest Covid-19 related news and a new story in our series about famous Hungarian people and things 🙂

Covid-19 situation in Hungary

We are still in the rising period of the 2nd wave of the pandemic. Since our last post, thins hasn’t changed much, let us summarize shortly what are the latest valid restrictions:

  • The borders of Hungary are closed at least until the 1st of February (there are only a few exceptions)
  • There is a curfew between 8pm and 5 am at least until the 11th of January
  • Restaurants can only serve take-away and home delivery orders
  • Hotels cannot accommodate guests except for business travelers or guests that are here for the purpose of economy or education
  • Gyms, pools, museums, public libraries, cinemas, zoos, ice skating rinks are closed
  • Everyone must keep wearing masks on public transportations, indoors, and outdoors on public areas, too (in cities that have more than 10.000 inhabitants) – in parks, nature and while doing sports masks do not have to be worn
  • We are still not running our daily FREE WALKING TOURS in Budapest until further notice, all gatherings are prohibited

The joint story of chemical engineer Ernő Obermayer and the world-famous Hungarian Paprika spice

Ernő Obermayer (1888-1969) was born in Somlószőlős, Hungary, and graduated in Budapest with a degree in chemical engineering. In the two centers of domestic paprika production, Kalocsa and then in Szeged,  he achieved excellent results in the breeding and development of the world-famous paprika. He managed to introduce several spicy and non-spicy or sweet varieties, 80% of the domestic spicy varieties are the result of his experiments.

The Hungarian paprika powder is well known all over the world and it is available in hot and sweet versions as well

Bust of Ernő Obermayer, a chemical-engineer that experimented with Hungarian paprika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ernő Obermayer

 

It is interesting to mention that Albert Szent-Györgyi, the scientist who discovered Vitamin C and whose work was recognized with the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1937, told in an interview what role his wife, chance and the paprika from Szeged played in his world-famous Hungarian success: “An evening my wife gave me peppers for dinner, which I didn’t feel like eating, but I didn’t have the courage to say that. Looking at the peppers it came to mind, thath I had never tried this plant for research and told my wife that I would take this to the lab the next day rather than eat it. I already knew that night that this vegetable was a treasure trove of vitamin C.”
In his laboratory at the University of Szeged, he successfully produced large amounts of vitamin C from freshly picked sweet peppers, and it turned out that peppers are the richest source of vitamins among all vegetables, it has four to five times as much Vitamin C as lemon for example.

Ernő Obermayer, our world-renowned chemical engineer and farmer, achieved internationally recognized results in the breeding of Hungarian sweet peppers, but in addition to paprika, he was also involved in the cultivation of rice, grain, soybeans, cumin, castor and cotton.

Both the Kalocsa and Szeged Spicy Pepper grists have been included in the Collection of Hungarikums. (FYI: Hungarikum is a collective term indicating a value that is worthy of distinction and highlighting within a unified system of qualification and registry. It also represents the high performance of Hungarian people thanks to its typically Hungarian attribute, uniqueness, specialty and quality 🙂 )

To commemorate him and his work, a bust of Ernő Obermayer was unveiled in Szeged (a nice and cozy city on the south of Hungary, next to our 2nd biggest river, the Tisza) and a memorial plaque was unveiled in his hometown, Somlószőlős.

Szeged is one of the biggest and coziest cities on the south of Hungary next to our second biggest river, the Tisza       Photo of the Cathedral of Szeged and inner city lying next to the second biggest river of Hungary, the Tisza

 

Once you can traveler again to Hungary, you can learn more about Hungarian inventions and discoveries on our General free tour of Budapest 🙂

(This story was based on a post of HUstory’s Facebook page)

 

Latest news + A new series of stories on our blog

In this post we would like to share the latest Covid-19 related news of Hungary and we are also starting to make a series of posts in which we always introduce you a Hungarian person/thing that is known all over the world or at least known widely in the world 🙂

Latest Covid-19 related news of Hungary

Since our last post on the 1st of December, there haven’t been many new restrictions, but what we shared in the previous post, too. The borders of Hungary remain closed until the 1st of February 2021 (there are a few exceptions only) and there is a curfew from 8pm till 5am. We are still not running our daily English and Spanish free tours in Budapest. You can read more details about restrictions in Hungary in our previous blog article.

New series of stories about famous Hungarian people and/or things

From now on, we are going to share a few stories that we hope you find interesting.

Our first story is about Louis Madarasz (1859-1910), American calligrapher of Hungarian origin, artist of calligraphy. Also, the secrets of the Coca-Cola logo … 🙂
His grandfather, László Kisfaludi Madarász, was the police minister of Lajos Kossuth, important politican in Hungarian history, in the War of Independence in 1848-49, which was fought by Hungary against the Austrian, Habsburg Empire. We were part of it since the 1680’s when Austria led a Christian army to liberate us from the Ottoman Empire. His grandfather, László Kisfaludi Madarász, initiated the dethronement of the Habsburg house. In 1850, the grandfather fled with his family to America, where he worked as a farmer until his death, living in retreat like as a hermit. He had enormous respect among the American Hungarians living in exile.
Louis Madarasz, the protagonist of our story was already born in Texas in 1859, but he always considered his Hungarian origins important, and towards the end of his life he also visited the land of his ancestors. He was captivated by calligraphy as a teenager and then his whole life was defined by the magical world of it. In the late 1870s, he enrolled at the New York University of Business, where he gained a reputation for selling artistically crafted, handwritten invitation cards and greeting cards.

A picture of Louis Madarasz, famous calligrapher who might have been the one who created the Coca Cola signiture

He is considered one of the most talented and skilled penman of all times. He ran a successful business, made cards, captions and entire albums written with his special letters. He specialized in writing on black paper with white ink. He worked faster and more accurately than anyone else, his style was unique. He taught his art, writing in “Madarász Style”, in many schools.
He was a versatile talent, he excelled in chess, and as an actor he performed in Shakespeare plays. On December 23 1910, after he had been ill for a long time, Louis Madarasz wrote his last beautiful Christmas card to his friends and clients and then rested in peace forever…
Here comes the suspected story of the Coca-Cola logo: the company’s then-accountant, Frank M. Robinson, was officially credited with “drawing” the original version, but some speculated Louis Madarasz dreamed it and put it down on paper first … if so, he took the secret with him to the grave. The following images include Luis Madarasz’s signature and the Coca-Cola logo, everyone can decide for themselves… 🙂

Picture of the signiture of Louis Madarasz, famous calligrapher, who wa probably the one who created the Coca Cola style signiture

Picture of the world famous Coca Cola signiture probably created by a Hungarian calligrapher