Hungary is a medium-sized country in the Carpathian basin, with ten million inhabitants. It has a statehood of more than a thousand and one hundred years, and is a member state of the European Union since 2004. The country has an area of about 93 000 square kilometers, its official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe.
Although Hungary is not a very sizable country, throughout history the country has incorporated different values, cultures and traditions which were influenced by both Eastern and Western heritage. It gave the world many well-known inventors, scientists, explorers, composers and sports stars, and Hungary has more Nobel prize winners per capita than any other nation.
Besides being a world leader in Nobel Prize laureates, there are also many famous inventions and innovations that Hungarians gave to the world - just to remember a few of them: the matches (János Irinyi), the dynamo and the soda water machine (Ányos Jedlik), the telephone switch (Tivadar Puskás), the helicopter (Oszkár Asbóth), the ballpoint pen (László Bíró) the concept of digital computing (János von Neumann) the colour TV (Peter Károly Goldmark) or the design of the Volkswagen Beetle.
Across the country there are 8 World Heritage Sites, and on the relatively small territory Hungary has many beautiful natural features such as 10 national parks, charming rivers, gentle hills, lakes with soft fresh water, lush natural forests, large plains, caves and caverns with fantastic underground treasures and the world’s second largest thermal lake. The beautiful sceneries provide great opportunities for hiking and other fun outdoor activities. All this makes the country an increasingly popular European tourist destination. Currently, with over 12 million visitors, Hungary ranks as the 23rd most visited country in the world.
In Hungary both Budapest, the capital, and the countryside evoke a strong sense of history and tradition at every turn. In Hungary many cities still have their classic old historical attractions, showing influence from various cultures, including Turkish invaders, Austrian emperors or Italian Renaissance designers.
Visitors can have a great time discovering some of the real treasures of the country: The Great Hungarian Plains are definitely one of the plainest plain anywhere in Europe, whereas the northernmost historical mosque of the continent can be found in the city of Pécs, where the nearby town of Villány produces one of the best red wines in Hungary. With its scenic setting and beautiful old houses Hollókő is a village where the traditional way of life is still alive. Esztergom, a charming little town with an imposing Basilica is the spiritual home and first capital of Hungary, and Aggtelek offers the unique adventure of visiting the largest cave system in Central Europe. The Tokaj region’s gift to the world is dessert wine, produced here, which is called the “wine of kings and king of wines”. Lake Hévíz with its 25°C yearly average water temperature is the largest biologically active thermal lake in Europe and there are many other historic spa towns and facilities throughout the country offering everything from simple bathing in regenerative waters to longer sophisticated stays in lovely spa resorts.
Although Hungary is a landlocked country, Lake Balaton, central Europe's largest fresh water lake, is often called as the Hungarian sea. The more than 70-kilometre long lake with its soft and silky blueish- greenish water is one of Hungary's most frequented resorts. The open water contests of the 2017 FINA World Championships will be organised here. But it will be just one of the many aquatics events organized here, since Lake Balaton often welcomes swimming and sailing competitions and the Balaton Cross-Swimming Championship is held annually.
We are pleased to remember that the first European Swimming Championship (1926) took place in Budapest, which was followed – in big part thanks to the remarkable achievements of our athletes and professionals – by four more events in 1958, 2006, 2010 and 2012 (with the last event in Debrecen).
Hungary is proudly placed 8th both in the all-time Olympic medal table and in that of the FINA World Championships, while ranks 5th in the European Championships (aquatics) - despite being the world’s 108th country as far as its size-, and the 84th as far as its population is concerned.
It is also to be highlighted that Hungary was among the eight founding nations of FINA. With all that in mind we are honoured to host the third major global sport event – and very much look forward to welcoming you at the 17th FINA World Championships!