Hungary Geography, Population and Language

By | December 27, 2021

Hungary is an inland state of Eastern Europe, bordering Slovakia to the N, Ukraine to the NE, Romania to the E, Serbia and Croatia to the S, Slovenia and Austria to the West.

Physical characteristics

The Hungarian territory is mostly flat (for over 70% of the total surface), with reliefs that reach the maximum altitude to the North, in Mount Kékes (1015 m), which is part of the Mátra group. The Danube and some modest reliefs constitute the dividing line that allows to distinguish the two main morphological units of the country: the Dunántúl (Oltredanubio, or Transdanubio) to the west, and the Nagyalföld (Great Plain) or, more simply, Alföld, to the east. The narrow northern mountainous belt (Felföld), between the Danube and the Tisza, is made up of a series of reliefs (Csóványos Mountains, Mátra Mountains, Bükk group) all belonging to the pre-Carpathian region, but with a different geological constitution. The Dunántúl is a large region between the Danube, which sets its limits to the North and E, the Drava, which circumscribes it to the South, the extreme Alpine foothills of Burgenland to the West; inside it is not completely homogeneous, but three sub-regions can be recognized. The Kisalföld, in the extreme north-western part, is characterized both by the presence of the first pre-alpine reliefs and by marshy areas. Further to the SE is the Selva Baconia, a relief formed almost simultaneously with the Alps and the Carpathians, consisting of an articulated series of limestone plateaus between 400 and 700 m ASL of Lake Balaton there is a mostly hilly area, characterized by deposits of sand and löss. The Alföld is a vast flat region, whose height averages around 100-110 m asl, extending E of the Danube and divided into two parts by the other great Hungarian river tributary of the Danube itself, the Tisza. The section between the two rivers, the so-called Hungarian Mesopotamia, consists of a sand platform with poor surface hydrography. The E section of the Tisza looks like a morphologically much more articulated territory, in which löss plateaus, sandy ridges, creek dejection cones, traces of dunes, brackish areas, marshy basins alternate. In this vast area the contrast between the cultivated plain, the alföld, and the steppe, or puszta, is clearly visible.. ● Hungarian hydrography is dominated by the two great river systems of the Danube and the Tisza, which flow parallel to each other; a third important river, the Drava, marks the border with Croatia for a long stretch. The Danube, which flows through Hungary for 410 km, assumes particular importance both as a communication route and for the fact that it supplies about 2/3 of all the water resources used. The Tisza, whose hydraulic regime has been regulated through the construction of a system of dams, is partly navigable and used to produce electricity. The largest and most important lake, also from an economic and tourist point of view, is the Balaton, formed in the Pleistocene. Other lakes are Ferto̯ and Velence. ● The climate of the Hungary has marked elements of continentality, however mitigated by the influence of Atlantic and Mediterranean air masses. The average temperatures of the coldest month, January, are between −4 ° C in the northern mountainous parts and −0.5 ° C in the extreme southern regions. The highest averages are recorded, in the month of July, in the south-eastern part, with 22 ° C. Precipitation shows great territorial disparities: in the driest areas of thepuszta the total annual rainfall is around 500 mm, moving towards the W and N it reaches over 900 mm.


The dominant group is that of the Magyars (84%), followed by minorities of Roma (5%), Ruthenians (3%), Germans (2%), Romanians (1%). There are numerous Hungarian communities which, following the historical events of the 20th century, found themselves included in the borders of Romania (2 million, mostly in Transylvania), Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine, Croatia. The country’s demographic dynamics have long been negative (−0.2% in 2009) due to the low birth rate (9.5 ‰), which is contrasted by a decidedly high death rate (12.9 ‰) compared to the average of European countries. On a regional scale, only the central and western Transdanubian regions have a positive demographic balance, while the others, including the Hungary which includes the capital, are marked by a negative migratory dynamic. The urban network is dominated by the capital, which concentrates just under a fifth of the country’s population and, in addition to playing a central role on a national scale, is the only Hungarian city with an international functional dimension. Among other cities, Debrecen alone exceeds 200,000 residents. ● The religion is Christian, predominantly (63.1%) Catholic of the Latin rite, with minorities of Reformed, Protestant and, very small, of Muslims and Jews. For Hungary geography, please check


The Hungarian or Magyar language (magyar nyelv) belongs to the Ugric group of the Finno-Ugric family. Evidence of Hungarian voices can be found in Byzantine and Latin documents as early as the 10th century, but the first text written in Hungarian dates back to around 1200 (Halotti beszéd”Funeral prayer”). Hungarian is presented as a strongly unitary language; the dialectal divisions are minimal. In vocalism we note the phenomenon of vowel harmony; in consonantism it develops several Finno-Ugric phonemes, and like the Permian languages ​​it presents the fall of the nasals into the nasal-occlusive nexus. The morphology reflects the Finno-Ugric type very faithfully: several declension suffixes and possessives are preserved; many cases are formed with postpositions of adverbial origin; in conjugation two types are distinguished, one of which is used when the object is determined (objective conjugation). The lexicon appears to be very innovative. The ancient-Turkish elements belong to the most ancient layer, while the contacts with Iranian languages have been remarkable, especially with the Ossetian. After the settlement of the Hungarians in Europe, and their conversion, the most important linguistic influences were exercised by the Slavic languages, then by the German. Since Latin has been the written language in the Hungary for many centuries, a considerable number of voices of Latin origin, generally cultured voices, have entered the Hungarian lexicon.


The Hungary boasts an ancient heritage of folk songs and dances, rediscovered and published in the early 20th century. by B. Bartók and Z. Kodály. On the side of the so-called ‘cultured music’ a favorable period occurred in the 15th century, when Italian and Burgundian musicians worked at the court of Mattia Corvino. However, the first specifically Hungarian musical expressions were recorded under Turkish rule (1526); at the same time an abundant repertoire of polyphonic religious songs and instrumental dances developed. Hungarian music retained its own characteristics until the expulsion of the Turks (1676), to then assume Austrian characteristics. Between 18th and 19th century on the one hand, we witnessed the increasingly strong influence of the German symphonic style on Hungarian composers; on the other hand, by musicians of the Germanic cultural area (such as FJ Haydn, L. van Beethoven, F. Schubert etc.), of stylistic modules mediated by Hungarian music. The essays of a national school, tempted by F. Liszt in hisHungarian rhapsodies were based precisely on the equivocal assumption of Magyar stylistic elements ‘adapted’ to cultured music. In the 20th century. the Hungary became the protagonist of a renewal, including the names of musicians such as A. Molnár, G. Ligeti and G. Kurtág.

Hungary Geography