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Hungary Encyclopedia for Kids



On the banks of the Danube

With an imperial tradition behind it and a long history as a national state, Hungary occupies a fundamental position in Central Europe, both geographically and historically and politically. The recent entry into the European Union gives the country back its proper role, of hinge between the Slavic world and the Germanic world, and pushes it towards social and economic development

A great plain

The wide Pannonian Plain, bordered to the north by heights that barely exceed 1,000 m, constitutes the Hungarian territory and also extends beyond the political borders, especially towards the south, in Croatia and Serbia, and towards the east, in Romania. The plain is, as a whole, surrounded by hills and therefore remains isolated from the flows of humid and warm air that come from the Mediterranean. Consequently, the climate of Hungary is continental and not very humid: the prevalent spontaneous vegetation is a particular type of steppe (the puszta), which gives way to woods on the hills and in the more humid areas. These are represented primarily by the courses of rivers: the Danube and the Tisza, which cuts the whole country from north to south, and the Drava, which marks its southwestern border; and then by swamps and lakes, including the great Lake Balaton.

The Hungarians or Magyars settled in the Pannonian Plain in the Middle Ages. Coming from western Siberia, they did not speak a language of the Indo-European group, and they merged with the Slavs and with Latinized peoples already settled, giving rise to an original culture that soon came into contact with the Austrian one.

Although in alternating phases in the course of its history, Hungary has been a typical Central European country and the recent entry into the European Union has strengthened secular relations.

Rapidly developing

The Hungarian population has been in slight and steady decline for decades. This is perhaps the most striking case of demographic transition: the total number of residents does not decrease as a result of emigration, but of too few births to equalize the deaths. Around three million other Hungarians live outside the borders of the state: in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia. For Hungary travel information, please check

The territorial distribution of the population is not very balanced; almost a quarter of the total lives in the capital Budapest, while the other cities are much less populous: Debrecen barely exceeds 200,000 residents, Miskolc, Szeged (Szeged) and Pécs are quite below.

There are many small urban centers and rural villages, also due to the country’s economic structure. Hungary has in fact experienced industrial development (in the metallurgical, mechanical, chemical, textile sectors) in the main urban centers, where the activities of the modern tertiary sector are also establishing themselves, but agriculture continues to have great space (cereals, sunflowers, lives).

Tourism has also become very important, which in the many Hungarian monuments and art collections, as well as in the beautiful natural landscapes, finds strong reasons of attraction. After the opening of the borders in the 1990s, and especially after joining the European Union, tourism in Hungary has become a massive phenomenon. The country has good communication infrastructures – you can also navigate the whole Danube and a large part of the Tisza -, a schooled population, great university traditions: conditions that allow it to develop quickly, despite the persistence of serious socio-economic imbalances.

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