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Land and Population

Geography, Main Regions

Hungary's location in the centre of Europe along with its hospitable attitude makes it one of the best places to embark at on your Central European journey. It is at the same time both European and distinctly Hungarian, a cauldron, a melting pot of historical events and present day developments. The country proudly upholds its Magyar traditions, culture and arts, but is attentive to what is new and fashionable in the world beyond its boundaries!

As a small landlocked country sharing its borders with seven neighbouring countries, Hungary was originally inhabited by the Magyars, an equestrian nomadic tribe. They were eventually converted to Christianity and in the year 1000, Prince Stephen was crowned as first ruler of the nation. Since then Hungary has seen numerous dynastic changes, from occupation by Turkish forces to the era of Communism and finally in 1989 as an emerging democracy. Today, quaint little towns, cities and ruins in the countryside bear the scars of this turbulent history and provide a rich mosaic of architectural styles and fortified hilltop castles. The Hungarian people, whilst neither Slavic nor Germanic in character, are formal, reserved and intensely proud of their ancient nation and its cosmopolitan capital, Budapest.

Budapest itself is situated on a lovely stretch of the Danube, a river that invokes feelings of romantic enchantment and musical memories. It is a city of culture of astounding beauty and grace and visitors are continually drawn to its enchanting magnetism. Outside the capital city the plains and rolling hills, rivers, lakes and vineyards have much to offer the visitor. The Baroque town Eger and its fine wines;  historical riverside villages along the Danube Bend; commanding fortresses, castles and palaces; the resort-lined Lake Balaton and the thermal spas and volcanically heated lake at Hévíz. These are just some of the country's many highlights waiting for the visitor to discover.

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Population

There are 3200 settlements in Hungary; the population density being 110 people per sq km. Almost five million Magyars live outside the national borders, mostly as a result of the Trianon Treaty in 1920, WWII and the1956 Uprising. An estimated 1.65 million Hungarians live in Transylvania (now Romania) and constitute the largest ethnic minority in Europe. There are another 600,000 Magyars in Slovakia, 350,000 in Serbia, 180,000 in Ukraine and 35,000 in Austria. The number of Hungarian immigrants in the USA, Canada, Australia and Israel add up to more than half a million.