|Hungary||Introduction||Back to Top|
Hungary (in Hungarian, Magyarország), republic, in central Europe, bordered on the north by Slovakia; on the north-east by Ukraine; on the east by Romania; on the south by Serbia (part of the federation of Serbia and Montenegro), Croatia, and Slovenia; and on the west by Austria. The total area of Hungary is 93,030 sq km (35,919 sq mi). Hungary is somewhat oval in shape, with an extreme length from east to west of about 528 km (328 mi) and a maximum width from north to south of about 267 km (166 mi). The capital and largest city is Budapest.Official Name - Republic of Hungary
|Hungary||Provinces||Back to Top|
19 counties (megyek, singular - megye), 20 urban counties* (singular - megyei varos), and 1 capital city** (fovaros); Bacs-Kiskun, Baranya, Bekes, Bekescsaba*, Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen, Budapest**, Csongrad, Debrecen*, Dunaujvaros*, Eger*, Fejer, Gyor*, Gyor-Moson-Sopron, Hajdu-Bihar, Heves, Hodmezovasarhely*, Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok, Kaposvar*, Kecskemet*, Komarom-Esztergom, Miskolc*, Nagykanizsa*, Nograd, Nyiregyhaza*, Pecs*, Pest, Somogy, Sopron*, Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg, Szeged*, Szekesfehervar*, Szolnok*, Szombathely*, Tatabanya*, Tolna, Vas, Veszprem, Veszprem*, Zala, Zalaegerszeg*
|Hungary||People||Back to Top|
The population of Hungary (2001 estimate) is 10,106,017. The overall population density is 109 persons per sq km (281 per sq mi). Urban areas are home to 66 percent of the population.
From its inception in the 11th century, the Kingdom of Hungary was a multi-ethnic country. Major territorial changes made Hungary ethnically homogenous after World War I, however, and more than nine-tenths of the population is now ethnically Hungarian and speaks Hungarian (Magyar) as its mother tongue. The Hungarian language is classified as a member of the Ugric branch of the Uralic languages; as such it is most closely related to the Ob-Ugric languages, Khanty and Mansi, which are spoken east of the Ural Mountains. It is also related, though more distantly, to Finnish and Estonian, each of which is (like Hungarian) a national language; to the Sami languages of far northern Scandinavia; and, more distantly still, to the Samoyedic languages of Siberia. Ethnic Hungarians are a mix of the Finno-Ugric Magyars and various assimilated Slavic, Turkish, and Germanic peoples. About 3 percent of the population is Gypsy (Rom), and nearly another 5 percent is made up of Slovaks, Romanians, Croats, Germans, and others.
|Hungary||History||Back to Top|
The region that now comprises Hungary was once part of the ancient Roman province of Pannonia. Situated on the periphery of the Roman Empire, the region was among the first to fall to the Germanic tribes that began to seize the Roman dominions in the closing years of the 2nd century ad. The Germanic tribes were later driven from the region by the Huns. After the death of Attila the Hun, the Germans reoccupied the area, only to be expelled again, in the 5th century, by the Avars, an Asian people. With the decline of Avar power during the 8th century, the Moravians, a Slavic tribe, seized the northern and eastern portions of the region and, between 791 and 797, Charlemagne, king of the Franks, added the remainder of the region to his domains.
Hungary came into existence when the Magyars, a Finno-Ugric people, occupied the middle basin of the Danube River in the late 9th century AD. Parts of its territory had formed the ancient Roman provinces of Pannonia and Dacia. When Rome lost control of Pannonia at the end of the 4th century, it was occupied first by Germanic tribes, then by Slavs. The subsequent history of Dacia is unrecorded. The central plains had formed the bases of nomadic immigrant peoples from the steppes north of the Black Sea—Huns, Bulgars, Avars—some of whom extended their domination farther afield. The Avars, who dominated the basin in the 7th and 8th centuries, were crushed in about 800 by Charlemagne, whose successors organized the western half of the area in a chain of Slavic vassal “dukedoms.” One of these, Croatia, which extended as far north as the Sava River, made itself fully independent in 869, while another, Moravia, which then extended as far as the Gran (now Hron) River, had openly defied its Carolingian overlord for as long. The Byzantine Empire and Bulgaria exercised loose authority over the south and east of the area.
Stephen (who was canonized in 1083), a new era began for Hungary. Christianity became the official religion, paganism was suppressed, royal authority was centralized, and the country was divided into counties for administrative purposes. The non-Magyar sections of the population were treated as inferior and were forced to shoulder a disproportionate burden of labor and taxation for many centuries. When Stephen died in 1038 the country was left without a direct heir to the throne. Struggles for the throne and pagan revolts bred instability in the country. Ladislas I, who served as king during the latter half of the 11th century, strengthened the country by arranging an alliance with Pope Gregory VII. Ladislas subjugated Croatia, Bosnia, and part of Transylvania; his successor, Koloman, obtained part of Dalmatia.
|Hungary||Culture||Back to Top|
The ancient Magyars had a rich folk culture, which incorporated Eastern themes into its folktales, art, and music. Following the Hungarian conversion to Christianity in the 10th century, pagan and Eastern cultural elements were replaced by Western cultural and social patterns, and Latin became the official and literary language. During the 15th century Italian artists and scholars introduced the humanistic Renaissance into Hungarian culture. In the 16th century Hungarian replaced Latin. In the 18th and 19th centuries Hungary absorbed the Age of Enlightenment and Western European liberalism. The early 20th century saw the rise of the “West” school of Hungarian intellectuals, who favored the integration of Hungarian cultural elements with modern Western culture. After World War II (1939-1945) the Communist regime made efforts to pattern Hungarian culture after that of the USSR.
The cultural milieu of Hungary is a result of the diverse mix of genuine Hungarian peasant culture and the cosmopolitan culture of an influential German and Jewish urban population. Both the coffeehouse (as meeting place for intellectuals) and Gypsy music also have had an impact. Cultural life traditionally has been highly political since national culture became the sine qua non of belated nation building from the early 19th century. Theatre, opera, and literature in particular played crucial roles in developing national consciousness. Poets and writers, especially in crisis situations, became national heroes and prophets. Governments also attempted to influence cultural life through subsidy and regulation. During the state socialist era culture was strictly controlled; party interference was influenced by ideological principles, and mass culture was promoted.
Hungary's most traditional cultural element is its cuisine. Hungarian food is very rich, and red meat is frequently used as an ingredient. Goulash (gulyás), bean soup with smoked meat, and beef stew are national dishes. The most distinctive element of Hungarian cuisine is paprika, a spice made from the pods of chili peppers (Capsicum annuum). Paprika is not native to Hungary—having been imported either from Spain, India by way of the Turks, or the Americas—but it is a fixture on most dining tables in Hungary and an important export. Among Hungary's spicy dishes are halászle, a fish soup, and lecsó, made with hot paprika, tomato, and sausage. Homemade spirits, including various fruit brandies (pálinka), are popular. Before World War II, Hungary was a wine-drinking country, but beer has become increasingly prevalent. Although Hungarians were not quick to accept them, foreign cuisines appeared in Budapest from the 1990s, a sign of the growing influence of the outside world.
|Hungary||Life||Back to Top|
Peasant dress, food, and entertainment, including folk songs and folk dances—the rituals of weddings and Easter and Christmas holidays—continued until the mid-20th century. The drastic (and in the countryside brutal) modernization of the second half of the 20th century nearly destroyed these customs. They were preserved, however, as folk art and tourist entertainment. Everyday life changed dramatically, as did the family structure. Families became smaller, and ties with extended families diminished. The culture also became less traditional. Clothing styles began to follow the international pattern, and traditional peasant dress was replaced by blue jeans. Folk songs are still occasionally heard, but in daily life they have been replaced by modern rock and pop music. Urban culture, especially in the capital city, is highly cosmopolitan and encompasses the tradition of coffeehouse culture. Watching television is a popular pastime, with Hungarians viewing an average of two to three hours of TV per day.
|Hungary||Land||Back to Top|
Dominating the relief are the great lowland expanses that make up the core of Hungary. The Little Alfold (Little Hungarian Plain, or Kis Alföld) lies in the northwest, fringed on the west by the easternmost extension of the sub-Alps along the border with Austria and bounded on the north by the Danube. The Little Alfold is separated from the Great Alfold (Great Hungarian Plain, or Nagy Magyar Alföld) by a low mountain system extending across the country from southwest to northeast for a distance of 250 miles (400 kilometres). This system, which forms the backbone of the country, is made up of Transdanubia (Dunántúl) and the Northern Mountains, separated by the Visegrád Gorge of the Danube. The former is dominated by the Bakony Mountains, with dolomite and limestone plateaus at elevations between 1,300 and 2,300 feet (400 and 700 metres) above sea level interspersed with volcanic peaks; the latter, which consist of volcanic rocks, comprise the Mátra Mountains in the north, reaching a height of 3,327 feet (1,014 metres) at Mount Kékes, the nation's highest peak. Regions of hills reaching elevations of 800 to 1,000 feet lie on either side of the mountain backbone, while to the south and west of Lake Balaton is an upland region of more subdued, loess-covered topography. The Great Alfold covers most of central and southeastern Hungary.
|Hungary||Plants and Animal||Back to Top|
20 percent of Hungary is forested, mostly with oak, lime, beech, and other deciduous trees in the Transdanubian lands and mountains. Hare, fox, deer, and boar are abundant. Duck, heron, crane, and stork are native to the country, and the Great Hungarian Plain, which is mostly steppe, is a resting spot for many migrating species.
|Hungary||Economy||Back to Top|
Before World War II, the economy of Hungary was based primarily on agriculture. What little industry the country had was almost entirely destroyed during the war. After the Communists took power in 1948, the Hungarian government took control of the economy and set forth a series of long-range economic development plans in which the emphasis was on industrialization, particularly the development of heavy industry. However, these plans were not well matched with Hungary’s resources and capabilities, and the new industries were not able to meet the government’s high production goals. In the late 1950s and 1960s the government was forced to readjust its plans and place more emphasis on agriculture and the manufacturing of consumer goods. In 1968 the government introduced an economic reform program known as the New Economic Mechanism (NEM), which allowed for limited decentralization of the economy. The first years of the NEM were considered a success; the production of consumer goods rose, and Hungarians experienced a substantial improvement in their standard of living. However, opposition among Soviet and Hungarian Communist leaders prevented the full development of the program and the NEM ended in the 1980s.
After 1989 Hungary's emerging market and parliamentary systems inherited a crisis-ridden economy with an enormous external debt and noncompetitive export sectors. Hungary turned to the world market and restructured its foreign trade, but market competition, together with a sudden and radical opening of the country and the abolition of state subsidies, led to further economic decline. Agriculture was drastically affected and declined by half. A large portion of the iron, steel, and engineering sectors, especially in northeastern Hungary, collapsed. Industrial output and GDP decreased by 30 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Unemployment, previously nonexistent, rose to 14 percent in the early 1990s but declined after 1994.
Hungary continues to demonstrate strong economic growth and to work toward accession to the European Union. The private sector accounts for over 80% of GDP. Foreign ownership of and investment in Hungarian firms is widespread, with cumulative foreign direct investment totaling $23 billion by 2000. Hungarian sovereign debt was upgraded in 2000 to the second-highest rating among all the Central European transition economies. Inflation - a top economic concern in 2000 - is still high at almost 10%, pushed upward by higher world oil and gas and domestic food prices. Economic reform measures such as health care reform, tax reform, and local government financing have not yet been addressed by the ORBAN government.
|Hungary||Communications||Back to Top|
the telephone system has been modernized and is capable of satisfying all requests for telecommunication service domestic: the system is digitalized and highly automated; trunk services are carried by fiber-optic cable and digital microwave radio relay; a program for fiber-optic subscriber connections was initiated in 1996; heavy use is made of mobile cellular telephones international: Hungary has fiber-optic cable connections with all neighboring countries; the international switch is in Budapest; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean regions), 1 Inmarsat, 1 very small aperture terminal (VSAT) system of ground terminals
|Hungary||Languages||Back to Top|
Hungarian, also called Magyar, is the official language of Hungary. Hungarian is a member of the Ugric branch of the Finno-Ugric languages. It has been influenced by a number of other languages, including Turkish, German, Latin, French, and several Slavic languages.
|Hungary||Politics||Back to Top|
Alliance of Free Democrats or SZDSZ [Gabor DEMSZKY]; Christian Democratic People's Party or KDNP [Gyorgy GICZY, president]; Federation of Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party or FYD-HCP [Laszlo KOVER]; note - used to be Hungarian Civic Party or FIDESZ; Hungarian Democratic Forum or MDF [Ibolya DAVID]; Hungarian Democratic People's Party or MDNP [Erzsebet PUSZTAI, chairman]; Hungarian Justice and Life Party or MIEP [Istvan CSURKA, chairman]; Hungarian Socialist Party or MSZP [Laszlo KOVACS, chairman]; Hungarian Workers' Party or MMP [Gyula THURMER, chairman]; Independent Smallholders or FKGP [Jozsef TORGYAN, president]
|Hungary||Government||Back to Top|
1948 and 1989 the Communists controlled all levels of government in Hungary, and the head of the Communist Party was the country’s most powerful leader. In the late 1980s public pressure forced the country’s leaders to accept the formation of opposition parties. In 1989 the Communist Party ended its monopoly on power, and renamed itself the Hungarian Socialist Party (HSP). Soon afterward, the Hungarian parliament revised the 1949 constitution to create a multiparty parliamentary democracy in which power is reserved for the people and exercised through their elected representatives.
|Hungary||Legal||Back to Top|
Legal system: rule of law based on Western model Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal Executive branch: chief of state: Ferenc MADL (since NA August 2000) head of government: Prime Minister Viktor ORBAN (since 6 July 1998) cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 6 June 2000 (next to be held by June 2005); prime minister elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president election results: Ferenc MADL elected president; percent of legislative vote - NA% (but by a simple majority in the third round of voting); Viktor ORBAN elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote - NA% note: to be elected, the president must win two-thirds of legislative vote in the first two rounds or a simple majority in the third round Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Orszaggyules (386 seats; members are elected by popular vote under a system of proportional and direct representation to serve four-year terms) elections: last held on 10 and 24 May 1998 (next to be held May/June 2002) election results: percent of vote by party (5% or more of the vote required for parliamentary representation in the first round) - MSZP 32.0%, FIDESZ 28.2%, FKGP 13.8%, SZDSZ 7.9%, MIEP 5.5%, MMP 4.1%, MDF 2.8%, KDNP 2.3%, MDNP 1.5%; seats by party - MSZP 134, FIDESZ 148, FKGP 48, SZDSZ 24, MDF 17, MIEP 14, independent 1; note - seating as of 2000 by party - MSZP 136, FIDESZ 141, FKGP 48, SZDSZ 24, MDF 16, MIEP 12, independents 9 Judicial branch: Constitutional Court (judges are elected by the National Assembly for nine-year terms)
|Hungary||organization||Back to Top|
ABEDA, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, G- 9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOGIP, UNOMIG, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU (associate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC
|Hungary||Education||Back to Top|
Schooling is compulsory for all children in Hungary from the age of 6 through 16. The literacy rate in Hungary stands at 100 percent of the adult population. Primary education is free, and the government pays the bulk of the cost of secondary and higher education. The educational system consists of general, or primary, schools, which comprise the first eight grades; secondary grammar schools for academic work; technical schools; and institutions of higher learning. Emphasis is placed on vocational training and on education in technical subjects.
|Hungary||Defence||Back to Top|
Military branches: Ground Forces, Air Force; note - there is a paramilitary Border Guard which is under the Ministry of Interior
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 2,573,119 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 2,050,404 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 64,121 (2001 est.)
|Hungary||International Disputes||Back to Top|
Gabcikovo/Nagymaros Dam dispute with Slovakia is before the ICJ
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