Hung. Magyarország, officially Republic of Hungary, republic
(1995 est. pop. 10,319,000), 35,919 sq mi (93,030 sq km), central
Europe. Hungary borders on Slovakia in the north, on Ukraine in
the northeast, on Romania in the east, on Slovenia, Croatia, and
Yugoslavia in the south, and on Austria in the west. The Danube
River forms the Slovak-Hungarian border from a point near Bratislava
to another near Esztergom, then turns sharply south and bisects
the country. Budapest is Hungary's capital and its largest city.
To the east of the Danube, the Great Hungarian Plain (Hung. Alföld)
extends beyond the Hungarian boundaries to the Carpathians and the
Transylvanian Alps. The Dráva and Tisza rivers are also important
waterways. To the west of the Danube is the Little Alföld and
the Transdanubian region, which are separated by the Bakony and
Vértes mts. The Mátra Mts. in the north reach a height
of 3,330 ft (1,015 m) at Kékes, the highest peak in Hungary.
Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Hungary and in central Europe,
is a leading resort area. Hungary has cold winters and hot summers;
springs and autumns are short.
Situated on a plain near the geographic center of Europe, Hungary
has been the meeting place and battleground of many peoples, and
its heterogeneous population was often the cause of social upheaval
before 1919. However, as a result of the separation of non-Hungarian
territories after World War I, the great slaughter of the Jews in
World War II, and the exchange after the war of Slavic and Romanian
minorities for their Magyar counterparts, Hungary is today essentially
homogeneous. The Magyars constitute about 90% of the population.
There are small minorities of Gypsies, Germans, Serbs, and other
groups. Hungarian is the official language. About two thirds of
the people are Roman Catholic, but there is a large Calvinist minority.
Hungary still has the largest Jewish population in Central and Eastern