Monday, October 10, 2011

Hungarian National Museum

A rainy overcast morning meant that it was a good time for indoor sightseeing, so I visited the Hungarian National Museum. I got a 90-minute lesson in Hungarian history.

Major takeaway point: the Hungarians have still not gotten over the territorial losses that they suffered at the conclusion of World War I.

Background primer. Prior to World War I, Hungary was tethered to the Austrian Habsburgs via "dual monarchy." As such, Hungary fought WWI on the side of the Axis, the losers. As a result of the Versailles negotiations, the Treaty of Trianon cut off about two-thirds of Hungarian territory. Transylvania went to enlarge Romania. Slovakia was cut off and joined with the Habsburg-occupied Czech lands to form Czechoslovakia. Interior Croatia and the Vojvodina (now a constituent part of indepedent Serbia) were given to the newly frm Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, a.k.a. Yugoslavia. And bits and pieces were given to Ukraine and even Austria. (That last bit was clearly as injustice. Austria was the nation (far and away) most responsible for starting World War I, with their plan for a war of retribution against Serbia for a lone anarchist assassinating the heir to their throne in a land that was part of Austria-Hungary. Evil Habsburgs.) Hungary shrunk. Native-speaking Hungarians were now under the thumb of foreigh countries. And, 90+ years later, Hungary still has not gotten over it.

I had a great tour of very nice museum. (No flash photography inside, so no pictures to post.) It was nice to know more of the background of the historic figures whose names have become major streets all over Hungary. But after 90 minutes, it was time to end the museum tour.

After a nice walk through the museum, the weather had cleared. The sun was out. It was chilly, but pleasant enough in the sunlight. It was time for my next destination: the Palinka and Sausage Festival!

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