Location: Central Europe, northwest of Romania
Geographic coordinates: 47 00 N, 20 00 E
Map references: Europe
total: 93,030 sq km
land: 92,340 sq km
water: 690 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Indiana
total: 2,009 km
border countries: Austria 366 km, Croatia 329 km, Romania
443 km, Serbia and Montenegro 151 km (all with Serbia), Slovakia
515 km, Slovenia 102 km, Ukraine 103 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: temperate; cold, cloudy, humid winters; warm summers
Terrain: mostly flat to rolling plains; hills and low mountains
on the Slovakian border
lowest point: Tisza River 78 m
highest point: Kekes 1,014 m
Natural resources: bauxite, coal, natural gas, fertile soils,
arable land: 51%
permanent crops: 3.6%
permanent pastures: 12.4%
forests and woodland: 19%
other: 14% (1999)
Irrigated land: 2,060 sq km (1993 est.)
Environment - current issues: the approximation of Hungary's
standards in waste management, energy efficiency, and air, soil,
and water pollution with environmental requirements for EU accession
will require large investments
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air
Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds,
Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification,
Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes,
Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic
Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol,
Law of the Sea
Geography - note: landlocked; strategic location astride
main land routes between Western Europe and Balkan Peninsula as
well as between Ukraine and Mediterranean basin
Hungary lies in Central Europe in the Carpathian Basin. The greatest
distance from north to south is 268 km, from east to west 528 km.
Hungary is divided into 9 regions; Budapest and environs, Central
Danube region, Western Transdanubia, Central Transdanubia, Lake
Balaton and environs, Southwest Hungary, Southern Great Plain, Northeast
Hungary and Lake Tisza.
The two most important rivers in Hungary are the Danube and Tisza,
which flows across the country from north to south.
Hungary's climate is temperate, and the country can be divided into
three climatic zones: Mediterranean in the south, Continental in
the east, and Atlantic in the west. In Southern Transdanubia, summers
is warm, sunny and unusually long.
The Great Plain has the most extreme seasonal differences with cold,
windy winters and hot, usually dry summers.
Summers can be very hot in Budapest and Western Transdanubia, with
winters relatively short, often cloudy but sometimes brilliantly
The mean average temperature in Hungary is 11 degrees centigrade.
January is the coldest month (minus two degrees Celsius) and July
the hottest (28 degrees Celsius).
Hungary was part of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire, which
collapsed in World War I.
After World War II Hungary became part of Soviet-dominated Eastern
Europe, and its government and economy were refashioned on the communist
Increased nationalist opposition, which culminated in the government's
announcement of withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact in 1956, led to
massive military intervention by Moscow and the swift crushing of
In the more open GORBACHEV years, Hungary led the movement to dissolve
the Warsaw Pact and steadily moved toward multiparty democracy and
a market-oriented economy.
Following the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Hungary has developed
close political and economic relations with western Europe and is
now being considered a possible future member of the European Union.
Size: Approximately 92,103 square kilometers.
Topography: Lies in the central Danube Basin.
Rolling foothills in the west; hilly region north of Budapest; remainder
of the country to the east and south has a variety of terrains.
Highest point: Mount Kekes, 1,008 meters.
Climate: Continental and mild.
Population: Approximately 10.6 million in 1989;
average annual growth rate, negative 0.2 percent.
Ethnic Groups: Magyars more than 95 percent of
population. Minorities include Gypsies, Germans, Jews, Slovaks,
Serbs, Slovenes, Croats, Romanians, and Greeks.
Language: Modern Hungarian spoken by all. Various
dialects used at home. Minorities bilingual.
Religion: Religious freedom guaranteed by Constitution.
About 67.5 percent Roman Catholic, 20 percent Reformed (Calvinist),
5 percent Lutheran, and 5 percent unaffiliated. Small numbers of
other Protestant sects, Uniates, Orthodox, and Jews.
Education: Free, compulsory education from ages
six to sixteen. About of half students get vocational and technical
training. About 10 percent of population aged eighteen to twentytwo
enrolled in regular daytime courses in higher education.
Welfare: Social insurance program includes free
health care, unemployment compensation, and retirement benefits.
Health care good, with decline in infant mortality and incidence
of communicable diseases. High proportion of elderly; pensions low
relative to wages.
Data as of September 1989
With a land area of 92,103 square kilometers, Hungary is roughly
the size of the state of Indiana. It measures about 250 kilometers
from north to south and 524 kilometers from east to west. It has
some 2,258 kilometers of boundaries, shared with Austria to the
west, Yugoslavia to the south and southwest, Romania to the southeast,
the Soviet Union to the northeast, and Czechoslovakia to the north.
Hungary's modern borders were first established after World War
I when, by the terms of the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, it lost more
than two-thirds of what had formerly been the Kingdom of Hungary
and 58.5 percent of its population . With the aid of Nazi Germany,
the country secured some boundary revisions at the expense of parts
of Slovakia in 1938 and Carpatho-Ukraine in 1939 and at the expense
of Romania in 1940. However, Hungary lost these territories again
with its defeat in World War II. After World War II, the Trianon
boundaries were restored with a small revision that benefited Czechoslovakia.
Data as of September 1989
Most of the country has an elevation of fewer than 200 meters .
Although Hungary has several moderately high ranges of mountains,
those reaching heights of 300 meters or more cover less than 2 percent
of the country. The highest point in the country is Mount Kekes
(1,008 meters) in the Matra Mountains northeast of Budapest. The
lowest spot is 77.6 meters above sea level, located in the Hortobagy.
The major rivers in the country are the Danube and Tisza. About
one-third of the total length of the Danube River lies in Hungary;
the river also flows through parts of the Federal Republic of Germany
(West Germany), Austria, Yugoslavia, and Romania. It is navigable
within Hungary for 418 kilometers. The Tisza River is navigable
for 444 kilometers in the country. Less important rivers include
the Drava along the Yugoslav border, the Raba, the Azamos, the Sio,
and the Ipoly along the Czechoslovak border. Hungary has three major
lakes. Lake Balaton, the largest, is 78 kilometers long and from
3 to 14 kilometers wide, with an area of 592 square kilometers.
Hungarians often refer to it as the Hungarian Sea. It is Central
Europe's largest freshwater lake and an important recreation area.
Its shallow waters offer good summer swimming, and in winter its
frozen surface provides excellent opportunities for winter sports.
Smaller bodies of water are Lake Velence (26 square kilometers)
in Feher County and Lake Fertφ (Neusiedlersee--about 82 square kilometers
Hungary has three major geographic regions: the Great Plain (Nagy
Alfold), lying east of the Danube River; the Transdanube, a hilly
region lying west of the Danube and extending to the foothills of
the Alps; and the Northern Hills, which is Austrian a mountainous
and hilly country beyond the northern boundary of the Great Plain.
The Great Plain contains the basin of the Tisza River and its branches.
It encompasses more than half of the country's territory. Bordered
by mountains on all sides, it has a variety of terrains, including
regions of fertile soil, sandy areas, wastelands, and swampy areas.
Hungarians have inhabited the Great Plain for at least a millennium.
Here is found the puszta, a long, and uncultivated expanse
(the most famous such area still in existence is the Hortobagy),
with which much Hungarian folklore is associated. In earlier centuries,
the Great Plain was unsuitable for farming because of frequent flooding.
Instead, it was the home of massive herds of cattle and horses.
In the last half of the nineteenth century, the government sponsored
programs to control the riverways and expedite inland drainage in
the Great Plain. With the danger of recurrent flooding largely eliminated,
much of the land was placed under cultivation, and herding ceased
to be a major contributor to the area's economy.
The Transdanube region lies in the western part of the country,
bounded by the Danube River, the Drava River, and the remainder
of the country's border with Yugoslavia. It lies south and west
of the course of the Danube. It contains Lake Fertφ and Lake Balaton.
The region consists mostly of rolling foothills of the Austrian
Alps. However, several areas of the Transdanube are flat, most notably
the Little Plain (Kis Alfold) along the lower course of the Raba
River. The Transdanube is primarily an agricultural area, with flourishing
crops, livestock, and viticulture. Mineral deposits and oil are
found in Zala County close to the border of Yugoslavia.
The Northern Hills lie north of Budapest and run in a northeasterly
direction south of the border with Czechoslovakia. The higher ridges,
which are mostly forested, have rich coal and iron deposits. Minerals
are a major resource of the area and have long been the basis of
the industrial economies of cities in the region. Viticulture is
also important, producing the famous Tokay wine.
The country's best natural resource is fertile land, although soil
quality varies greatly. About 70 percent of the country's total
territory is suitable for agriculture; of this portion, 72 percent
is arable land. Hungary lacks extensive domestic sources of the
energy and raw materials needed for industrial development .
Data as of September 1989
Temperatures in Hungary vary from -28° C to 22° C. Average
yearly rainfall is about sixty-four centimeters. Distribution and
frequency of rainfall are unpredictable. The western part of the
country usually receives more rain than the eastern part, where
severe droughts may occur in summertime. Weather conditions in the
Great Plain can be especially harsh, with hot summers, cold winters,
and scant rainfall.
By the 1980s, the countryside was beginning to show the effects
of pollution, both from herbicides used in agriculture and from
industrial pollutants. Most noticeable was the gradual contamination
of the country's bodies of water, endangering fish and wildlife.
Although concern was mounting over these disturbing threats to the
environment, no major steps had yet been taken to arrest them .
Data as of September 1989