Do extra-terrestrial beings exist? - the Nobel Prize winning Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi, was once asked by his disciples in California. Of course, Fermi answered - they are already here among us, they are called Hungarians...

You are welcome here, in the homeland of the extra-terrestrial beings. Why did Fermi think this about us? Because Hollywood's dream factories were partly built by Hungarian producers, directors, writers and cameramen? Or because - as the saying goes - Hungarians were created by God to sit on horseback? Perhaps because Bela Bartok's music in his own time was considered extra-terrestrial by many? Or because of the Hungarian language, which does not resemble any world language and sounds so strange?

So, who are these Hungarians? It is not (yet) known quite precisely. It seems certain they arrived somewhere from Asia. Their nearest kinship is with distant "small" peoples. With regard to Hungary's location, world languages generally define it as: Eastern Europe. In fact, our country is situated in the centre of the continent, in Central Europe, in its eastern part: this is the Carpathian Basin, where one thousand years ago, visitors already found a Hungarian state.

Map of Europe

This small country is one of the great survivors of history: states and empires emerged, expanded or disintegrated and disappeared around it. Hungary and the Hungarian nation survived the devastation of the Tartars and Turks, Habsburgs and Russians in the Carpathian Basin; survived the fact that it belonged among the losers of both world wars. A stormy history? The national anthem describes the Hungarians as "people torn by fate".

So we are not extra-terrestrials. We learnt and became tempered in the tormenting storms of the world: you can experience a particular organic link between the old and new, between history and the present-day in this country, which is still keenly safeguarding its traditions, culture and arts, but was always perceptive to what is new, different and the future.

Do you know that one of the centres of the Renaissance was here in the 15th century? That the Hungarian statehood is 1,000 years old? That after 1945, the first armed revolution against Stalinism took place in Hungary? That the iron curtain was dismantled on the frontier of Hungary and Austria?

In Hungary, you can see regions with a particular atmosphere, fabulous villages, churches and castles. You are welcome in Budapest, which many consider to be one of the finest cities of Europe. If you are fond of tasty food, and exclusive wines, this is the place that you will like!

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