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HUNGARIAN HISTORY Part 4. – Ottoman Era

One of the best ways to understand a country’s culture is through getting to know its history. Are Hungarians the descendants of Attila the Hun, whose portraits are on the Hungarian banknotes, how many and which wars Hungarians fought, what did Hungarians invent and give to the world? Instead of reading numerous books to answer these questions, through this series we aim to introduce you Hungarian history in a nutshell.

In the previous part we wrote about the history of the Margaret Island and St. Margaret, the death of the Árpád Dynasty and the Hungarian’s beloved king, King Matthias and his reign. In this part we will introduce you the era of the Ottoman Empire, which lasted over 150 years.

HUNGARIAN HISTORY Part 3. - St. Margaret & King Matthias

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Throughout the years Hungary faced and won many battles against the Ottomans but after the death of King Matthias, the Turkish took over the country. The famous battle, when Hungarians lost against the Ottoman Empire, called the battle of Mohács, was fought in 1526. (In memory of the battle the Historical Park of Mohács, located near the Southern border of the country was built. Visiting the park, you can walk through the battle field, where thousands of soldiers were fighting to protect Hungary.)

Over the following 150 years of presence, the Turks had significant influence on culture and everyday life in both Budapest and the countryside. One of the most well-known example of the Turkish influence is the bath culture. Budapest has extraordinary thermal baths such as the Rudas and the Kiraly Bath, both of them built on the Buda side in the 16th century by the Turks.

Rudas Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool

1013 Budapest, Döbrentei tér 9.

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Király Bath

1027 Fő utca 84.

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Besides bath houses you can find the recently renovated Tomb of Gul Baba, an Ottoman-era poet and philosopher, located on Mecset Street in Buda. From this monument, you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the city all the way to the Danube.

Gül Baba's Tomb

1023 Budapest, Mecset u. 14.

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Besides baths, Hungarians can thank the Turkish many gastronomic delights, such as coffee, tomato, corn, poppy seeds, aubergine and even the main ingredient of the Hungarian cuisine, the paprika powder. Many Hungarian dishes such as the stew, stuffed cabbage and stuffed paprika can be originated back to the 16th century, when the Ottomans appeared in the country. If you fancy to try authentic dishes, we recommend you to visit Fakanál Restaurant located at the Great Market Hall of Budapest.

Central Market Hall

1093 Vámház krt. 1-3.

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Outside Budapest, there are two main cities with very rich Ottoman legacy. If you have time it’s worth visiting Pécs in Southern Hungary, where you can see the fascinating Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim, the Bath of Pasha Memi and the Shrine of Idris Baba. Eger, the second city, is located in the Northeast of Hungary and it is well known of its Turkish heritage as well. It is home to the 40 meter tall minaret built by Turks in 1596.To reach the minaret’s narrow balcony you need to climb 97 small but high steps, however, the effort is well worth as there is a unique panorama of Eger from up there. There is also a Turkish bath or Hammam in Eger, where you can rest after climbing the minaret.

We hope you enjoyed this brief introduction to the era of the Ottoman Empire in Hungary. In the fifth part of the series you can read about the presence of the Habsburg Monarchy in Hungary.

Our previous articles about the hungarian history:

HUNGARIAN HISTORY Part 3. - St. Margaret & King Matthias

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HUNGARIAN HISTORY Part 2. - The first Kings

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HUNGARIAN HISTORY Part 1. - The origins of the Hungarians

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Photo: szallas.hu

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