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International Women’s Day

Every year International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March. While it was a centre point of women’s right movement in the 20th century, today it is more of an appreciation and acknowledgement of women’s presence and role in our society. The first time Women’s Day was celebrated in New York in 1909 and it was the Socialist Party of America, who organised the event. Socialist movements and communist countries started to celebrate it on a specific day, March 8 until it was adopted by the United Nations in 1975.

Like every country, Hungary has its own famous women from the past, who we would like to remember and introduce through this article. In its 1100 old history, Hungary has had many remarkable female characters from queens through actresses to saints and sporting legends. Hereby we selected a few, whose names you meet when wondering around the streets and squares of Budapest.

One of the favorite leisure places of Budapest, the Margret Island got its name after the legendary Saint Margaret, the daughter of Hungarian king, Béla IV. Margaret, who became a Dominican nun, lived her life in solitary and prayers among the walls of the monastery during the 15th century on the natural island, back then called Rabbit Island. After her death she became a saint and not only the island but the bridge leading to the island was name after her.

Margaret Island

1138 Budapest, Margitsziget

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During late 19th and early 20th century Budapest became one of the cultural capitals of Europe. This was the time of theatres, music and entertainment, and when great divas, prim Donnas and actresses were born. One such actress was Mari Jászai, not only a square close to the Margaret Island was named after her but every year the best actors and actresses are nominated for the most respected prize of the Hungarian theatre, the Jászai Mari Award. Another famous prima donna was Lujza Blaha, a square in the heart of Budapest on the border of the District 7 and District 8 wears her name.

Jászai Mari Square

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Blaha Lujza Square

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Although there were mainly kings, who ruled Hungary, there were a few exceptions. One of them was Maria Theresa from the Habsburg House, who ruled Hungary between 1740 and 1780. She was one of the longest serving leaders of the country. Today, the famous party district, District 7 (Terézváros) and part of the Grand Boulevard (Teréz körút) are named after her. Her favorite daughter and fifth child, Maria Christina was a talented artist and the only one who could marry with the man she loved. Marriage was rather a political agreement instead of an emotional one back then. Before her marriage with Prince Albert of Saxony, she had various love affairs, making her sisters envy of her as their mother only allowed this privilege for Christina. Krisztinaváros, the area named after her can be found on the territory of District 1 and District 12 in Buda.

Teréz Körút

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Perhaps the favorite royal of Hungarians was Queen Elisabeth, the beautiful young wife of Austro – Hungarian Emperor, Franz Josef II. Also known as Sissi, the young queen stood up for the rights of Hungarian people after the defeat of the 1848 War of Independence. With her cheerful nature she supported the relationship between the Emperor and his folks, which resulted in the Settlement between Austria and Hungary in 1867. As the sign of respect and appreciation, a bridge, Elisabeth Bridge was name after her. Furthermore her statute can be seen on Madách Square.

Elisabeth Bridge

1013 Budapest, Erzsébet híd

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Besides famous women form the past, there are some contemporary celebrities Hungarians are proud of. One of them is Krisztina Egerszegi, Hungarian sportswoman, who won 5 gold medals in backstroke swimming at three Olympic Games: Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996). Her career was acknowledged with numerous awards, and through the years the ‘Little Mouse’ (her nickname in her youth) became Queen Krisztina, a sporting legend and a national heroine in Hungary.

So Gentlemen, do not forget to buy a bouquet of flowers and/or some sweets for your loved ones on this special day, be it the Lady of your heart or a woman you love and respect. Should you wish to make this event even more memorable, you may spend an unforgettable dinner at NOBU Budapest!
(*Guide.me Budapest Tip: Nobu Budapest offers 20% discount for lunch and dinner on Women’s Day!)

Photo: Pixabay

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