Nemzeti Vágta


I would say we had a plethora of fesztivals this weekend. More to come on the Chocolate and Candy Fesztival, which to me is like a neon sign to parents: Enter At Your Own Risk! After enough drooling over the chocolate options, we wandered over to Hősök tere (Heroes Square) to see the Nemzeti Vágta (National Gallop).

Started in 2008, officially the aim of the Nemzeti Vágta is “to reaffirm and renew the nation’s equine traditions and to pass on this cultural heritage.” Unofficially, it’s just a cool way to see horses and riders in traditional Hussar costumes blazing around Heroes Square inches in front of your face, and then to partake of the hundreds of booths with all sorts of stuff you didn’t know you needed until you saw it. Especially the freshly fried potato chips.

It’s a fun setup — teams representing most of Hungary’s villages and towns compete in a large tournament as single riders and, as you can see above, on team carriages that evoke a bit of Ben Hur. Our friends here tell us its historical foundations are a bit tenuous, but as a spectacle on a beautiful weekend, it works.


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