WTCR Budapest

28.04.2019 | Budapest - Hungaroring

Key Facts

Location: Central Europe.

Area: 93,028 sq km (35,918 sq miles).

Population: 9,897,541 (2015).

Population Density: 106.4 per sq km.

Capital: Budapest.

Government: Parliamentary Republic.

Geography: Hungary is situated in Central Europe, sharing borders to the north with Slovakia, to the northeast with Ukraine, to the east with Romania, to the south with Croatia and Serbia, and to the west with Austria and Slovenia. Despite much of the country lying lower than 200m (656ft), there are several ranges of hills, chiefly in the north and west. The country’s highest point is Kékes in the Matra Mountains northeast of Budapest, which is 1,014m (3,327ft) high. Other, relatively low, mountain ranges include the North Hungarian Mountains, the Transdanubian Mountains and Mecsek north of Pécs. The lowest point, near Szeged in southern Hungary, is just 77m (253ft) above sea level. The Great Hungarian Plain, which stretches northeast from the Danube to the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, east to the mountains of Transylvania in Romania, and south to the Fruška Gora range in Serbia, covers more than half of Hungary’s total territory. It is flat and low-lying throughout, never exceeding more than 183m (591ft) in height. The Little Hungarian Plain is similar, but much smaller, and lies in northwest Hungary next to the Austrian and Slovakian borders. Two major European rivers run through Hungary, the Danube and the Tisza. The former flows through Budapest on its way to the Black Sea via Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. The River Tisza, which has its source in Ukraine, flows south through Hungary into Vojvodina in northern Serbia, where it joins with the Danube. Both rivers are navigable in Hungary. Smaller rivers include the Rába, Szamos, Sío and the Drava, which largely defines the Croatian border. Hungary has no coastline, but the country is home to Lake Balaton in west-central Hungary, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘Hungarian Sea’. Lake Balaton is a regionally important freshwater lake, the largest in Central Europe, with a surface area of 592 sq km (229 sq miles). At 78km (48 miles) long and up to 14km (9 miles) wide, it’s Hungary’s largest recreational area and a popular destination for both summer swimming and winter sports. Hungary also has two much smaller lakes: Lake Velence, which is a bird reserve, and Lake Fertö, which straddles the Austrian border near Sopron.

Language: Hungarian (Magyar) is the official language. German and English are widely spoken by both the older and younger generations. Some French is also spoken, mainly in western Hungary.

Religion: Christianity: 52% Roman Catholic, 16% Calvinist, 3% Lutheran, 2.6% Greek Catholic and a small number of other Christian, Eastern Orthodox and Jewish minorities.

Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).

Social Conventions: When meeting a Hungarian, handshaking is customary and both first name and surname should be used. At a meal, toasts are usually made and should be returned. Gifts such as flowers, chocolates, or a bottle of good quality wine are acceptable for hosts as a token of thanks – particularly when invited for a meal. Smoking, although popular in Hungary, is prohibited on public transport in towns and public buildings. English is quite widely spoken in tourist areas, but some knowledge of German can also prove useful.

Electricity: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.

Head of Government: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán since 2010.

Head of State: President János Áder since 2012.

Recent History: Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai succeeded Ferenc Gyurcsany, who resigned after failing to push through measures to revive Hungary's crisis-hit economy, in April 2009.

In May 2002, the Hungarian Socialist Party (Magyar Szocialista Part, MSzP) came to power. There have been a few re-shuffles in parliament since then, most recently when opposition-backed Laszlo Solymon was chosen as the next president, after the Socialists' candidate was blocked - but the coalition survived and won the April 2006 general election. This was the first time a government had been re-elected since the restoration of democracy in 1990.

Hungary became a member of NATO in 1999 and joined the EU in 2004. Hungary has also joined with the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovak Republic in the Visegrad group, which promotes political and economic co-operation in central Europe. In September 2006 Budapest was engulfed in demonstrations, as Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admitted that he had lied to voters about the state of Hungary's economy. Police again battled protestors in October 2007 during the 51st anniversary of the Hungarian anti-Soviet uprising.

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