Country name: Republic of Hungary (local: Magyar Koztarsasag).
Government type: parliamentary democracy.
Independence: 1001 (unification by King Stephen I).
Constitution: 18 August 1949, effective 20 August 1949, revised 19 April 1972; 18 October 1989 revision ensured legal rights for individuals and constitutional checks on the authority of the prime minister and also established the principle of parliamentary oversight; 1997 amendment streamlined the judicial system.
Administrative divisions: 19 counties (megyek, singular - megye), 20 urban counties (singular - megyei varos), and 1 capital city (fovaros).
Counties: Bacs-Kiskun, Baranya, Bekes, Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen, Csongrad, Fejer, Gyor-Moson-Sopron, Hajdu-Bihar, Heves, Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok, Komarom-Esztergom, Nograd, Pest, Somogy, Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg, Tolna, Vas, Veszprem, Zala.
Urban counties: Bekescsaba, Debrecen, Dunaujvaros, Eger, Gyor, Hodmezovasarhely, Kaposvar, Kecskemet, Miskolc, Nagykanizsa, Nyiregyhaza, Pecs, Sopron, Szeged, Szekesfehervar, Szolnok, Szombathely, Tatabanya, Veszprem, Zalaegerszeg.
Capital city: Budapest.
Terrain: mostly flat to rolling plains; hills and low mountains on the Slovakian border.
Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes.
Total area: 93,030 km˛.
Highest point: Kekes 1,014 m.
Climate: temperate; cold, cloudy, humid winters; warm summers.
Ports and harbors: Budapest, Dunaujvaros, Gyor-Gonyu, Csepel, Baja, Mohacs.
Population: 10 million (July 2004).
Population growth rate: -0.25 % (2004).
Life expectancy at birth: 72.2 years.
Religions: Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Roman Catholic 15%, other 14%.
Ethnic groups: Hungarian 89.9%, Roma 4%, German 2.6%, Serb 2%, Slovak 0.8%, Romanian 0.7%.
Language: Hungarian 98.2%, other 1.8%.
Under the leadership of Janos KADAR in 1968, Hungary began liberalizing its economy, introducing so-called "goulash Communism." Hungary held its first multiparty elections in 1990 and initiated a free market economy. It joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
Hungary was part of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed during World War I. The country fell under Communist rule following World War II.
In 1956, a revolt and announced withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact were met with a massive military intervention by Moscow.
Hungary has made the transition from a centrally planned to a market economy, with a per capita income one-half that of the Big Four European nations. Hungary continues to demonstrate strong economic growth and to work toward accession to the European Union in May 2004. The private sector accounts for over 80% of GDP. Foreign ownership of and investment in Hungarian firms are widespread, with cumulative foreign direct investment totaling more than $23 billion since 1989. Hungarian sovereign debt was upgraded in 2000 to the second-highest rating among all the Central European transition economies. Inflation has declined substantially, from 14% in 1998 to 4.7% in 2003; unemployment has persisted around the 6% level. Germany is by far Hungary's largest economic partner. Short-term issues include the reduction of the public sector deficit to 3% in 2004 and avoiding unjustified increases in wages.
GDP (purchasing power parity): US$ 139.8 billion (2003).
GDP per capita (purchasing power parity): US$ 13,900 (2003)
GDP growth rate: 2.9 % (2003).
Unemployment rate: 5.9 % (2003).
Currency: forint (HUF).
Industries: smining, metallurgy, construction materials, processed foods, textiles, chemicals (especially pharmaceuticals), motor vehicles.
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