Geography of Hungary – Hungarian Geography

Brief description of the course, topics to be covered:

The aim of the course ‘Geography of Hungary – Hungarian Geography’ is to offer insight into the specific geographical features of Hungary. The course focuses not only on topics that range from the physical geography of the Carpathian Basin to the demographic problems and urbanisation issues of Hungary, but also on the history of Hungarian geography itself.

As part of the course, students will be introduced to the historical geography of Hungary and the history of Hungarian geography during the twentieth century, and to the broader ideological factors that influenced and sometimes even determined the conduct and nature of geographical and social sciences. These lectures will show that scientific knowledge is principally a social construction and a cultural product, and will aim to put the ideas and works of various geographers into the ‘situated messiness’ in which they were embedded. In so doing, this course will inform students about the most influential Hungarian geographical concepts and thinkers, as well as about the unique historical geographical features of Hungary.

One of the focus of the seminars is on mapping the current population trends (e.g. the changing spatial pattern of the ethnic groups in the Carpathian Basin), and their regional impact on future population processes. Our endeavour is to provide an overview of the main demographic events with an emphasis on both internal and international movements. Among other issues, we will deal with the status and position of different ethnic and national minority groups in Hungary and in the neighbouring countries. The seminars will also deal with the historical background of actual political and social challenges connected to ‘ethnicity’ and ‘nationality’ in the Carpathian Basin.

Another goal of the course is to present the most important stages and characteristics of urbanisation in Hungary, with a particular emphasis on post-WWII (socialist and post-socialist) trends. Besides general urbanisation processes, the historical development and the current specificities of the country’s settlement network will be taken into consideration as well.

Within the confines of the semester’s final block, we aim to show the morphological systematisation of landscapes connected to the Carpathian Basin, and will become familiar with its geological background (including the plate tectonic concept of the Carpathian Basin), with the evolution of its drainage network, and with the region’s biogeography and the geography of its soils. Students of the course will also obtain knowledge of the Carpathian Basin’s landscape geography, and will become acquainted with the physical geography and morphology of plains, hills, and mountains built up by different types of rocks (volcanic, carbonate, metamorphic, etc.) and with the natural resources of the various landforms.

The structure of the course

1. Course timetable

The course is taught on Tuesday morning between 9.00 and 10.30 in the D 1-417 room. The first class will meet on Tuesday, September 20th.

2. Course management

The course is taught by Márton Berki, György Farkas, Róbert Győri, and János Móga. Our office hours are posted on our office doors. Students are encouraged to take advantage of these office hours. You can drop by and discuss any concerns you may have with the course or ideas for class essay work. You can find our e-mail via Neptun-homepage

3. Summary outline of the course:

  • Class 1 Hungarian geography in international perspective c.1900-2010; Historical geographies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1919); lecture (20th September) – lecturer: Róbert Győri
  • Class 2 Hungarian geography and ‘Truncated Hungary’ (1920-1947); lecture (27th September) – lecturer: Róbert Győri
  • Class 3 Historical geographies of the socialist period (1948-1990); lecture (4th October) – lecturer: Róbert Győri
  • Field trip to the Great Hungarian Plain (Friday-Saturday, 7-8th October) optional - organisers: Róbert Győri and Ferenc Gyuris
  • Class 4 The urbanisation processes and urban history of Hungary; lecture (11th October) – lecturer: Márton Berki
  • Class 5 The current settlement network of Hungary: A concise overview; lecture (18th October) – lecturer: Márton Berki
  • Class 6 Geography of the ethnic minorities in Hungary; lecture (25th October) – lecturer: György Farkas
  • All Saints’ Day 1st November
  • Class 7 Hungarian minorities in the Carpathian Basin I; lecture (8th November) – lecturer: György Farkas
  • Class 8 Hungarian minorities in the Carpathian Basin II; lecture (15th November) – lecturer: György Farkas
  • Class 9 Physical geography of the Carpathian Basin I; lecture (22nd November) – lecturer: János Móga
  • Class 10 Physical geography of the Carpathian Basin II; lecture (29th November) – lecturer: János Móga


Class assessment will be one 3,000 word essay, the topic of the essay is a matter of negotiation with the lecturers. The title of the class essay should be submitted by 2nd December, and the submission deadline for the class essay is December 16th. We will endeavour to have essays marked by 22nd December.


Key references


Physical geography of the Carpathian Basin

Karátson, Dávid. (ed.) (1999): Pannon Enciklopaedia Magyarország földje - The land that is Hungary. Kertek 2000 Kiadó. CD.

Pécsi, Márton (1996): Geomorphological regions of Hungary. Geographical Research Institute Hungarian Academy of Sciences Budapest p. 121.


Historical geography of Hungary – history of Hungarian geography

Hungarian geography in international perspective c.1900-2010.; Historical geographies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1919)

Ablonczy, Balázs (2007): ‘Pál Teleki. The Life of a Controversial Hungarian Politician.’ Wayne, NJ. pp. 9-14, 19-32, 36-39, 45-46.

Beluszky, Pál (2002): ‘The Spatial Differences of Modernisation in Hungary at the Beginning of the 20th Century.’ Centre for Regional Studies, Pécs. (Discussion papers, 37.)

Beluszky, Pál - Győri, Róbert (2005): ‘The Hungarian Urban Network in the Beginning of the 20th Century.’ Centre for Regional Studies, Pécs. (Discussion Papers, 46.) pp. 20-41.

Jobbitt, Steven (2015): Fodor’s field diary and the writing of the Hungarian imperial self during World War I. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 17.3. doi: 10.7771/1481-4374.2719

Hajdú, Zoltán (1998): ‘Changes in the Politico-geographical Position of Hungary in the 20th Century.’ Centre for Regional Studies, Pécs. (Discussion Papers, 22.) pp. 7-19.

Hajdú, Zoltán (2004): ‘Carpathian Basin and the Development of the Hungarian Landscape Theory until 1948.’ Centre for Regional Studies, Pécs. (Discussion Papers, 44.). pp. 5-20.

Hajdú, Zoltán (2007): ‘Hungarian researches on the Southeast-European space (the Balkans): continuity, interruption or permanent re-start.’ In: Zoltán Hajdú – Iván Illés – Zoltán Raffay (eds): Southeast-Europe: State Borders, Cross-border Relations, Spatial Structures. Centre for Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pécs, 10–45.; pp. 10-21.

Seegel, Steven (2018): ‘Map Man – Transnational Lives and Deaths of Geographers in the Making of East Central Europe.’ University of Chicago Press, Chicago – London


Hungarian geography and the ‘Truncated Hungary’ (1920-1947)

Balogh, Péter (2021): ‘The Concept of the Carpathian Basin: its evolution, counternarratives, and geopolitical implications.’ Journal of Historical Geography 71. pp. 51–62.

Győri, Róbert - Withers, Charles W. J. (2019): ‘Trianon and its aftermath: British geography and the ‘dismemberment’ of Hungary, c.1915-c.1922. ’ Scottish Geographical Journal 135. 1–2. pp. 68–97.

Győri, Róbert - Jankó, Ferenc (2022): ‘Burgenland or West-Hungary. The aspirations and limits of Austrian and Hungarian geography, 1918–1938.’ Journal of Historical Geography 77. pp. 25–37.

Gyuris, Ferenc (2014): ‘Human Geography, Cartography, and Statistics: A Toolkit for Geopolitical Goals in Hungary until World War II.’ Hungarian Cultural Studies. e-Journal of the American Hungarian Educators Association, 7. pp. 214-241.

Hajdú, Zoltán - Dövényi, Zoltán (2000): Evolution of human geographical thought in Hungary in the 20th century. In: Zoltán Kovács (ed.) Hungary Towards the 21st Century - the Human Geography of Transition. Budapest: Geographical Research Institute HAS, pp. 29-48. (Studies in Geography in Hungary, 31.).

Jankó, Ferenc - Jobbitt, Steven (2017): ‘Making Burgenland from Western Hungary: Geography and the Politics of Identity in Interwar Austria.’ Hungarian Cultural Studies. e-Journal of the American Hungarian Educators Association, 10. pp. 14-40.

Jobbitt, Steven (2009): Remembering Szatmár, Remembering Himself: The Geography of Memory and Identity in Ferenc Fodor’s ‘Szatmár földje, Szatmár népe, Szatmár élete’ Hungarian Studies Review, Vol. 36, nos. 1-2. pp. 15-38.

Jobbitt, Steven (2011): Memory and Modernity in Fodor’s Geographical Work on Hungary. In: Tötösy de Zepetnek, Steven – Vasváry, Louise O. (eds): Comparative Hungarian Cultural Studies. Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, pp. 59-71.

Jobbitt, Steven - Győri, Róbert (2016): Ferenc Fodor: A Hungarian Geographer in the First Half of the Twentieth Century. In: Győri, Róbert - Jobbitt, Steven (eds): Fodor Ferenc önéletírásai. ELTE Eötvös József Collegium, Budapest, pp. 39-77.

Keményfi, Róbert (2010): Grenzen - Karten - Ethnien. Kartenartige Konstituirungsmittel im Dienst des ungarischen nationalen Raums. In: Jörn Happel, Christophe von Werdt (Hg.) Osteuropa kartiert - Mapping Eastern Europe (Unter Mitarbeit von Mira Jovanovic) 201-214. Reihe: Osteuropa

Keményfi, Róbert (2009): Kulturelles Grenzgebiet - kulturelle „Wirkungskräfte“. Die Idee vom ,,ungarischen Mesopotamien" In: Petr Lozoviuk (Hg.): Grenzgebiet als Forschungsfeld. Aspekte der ethnografischen und kulturhistorischen Erforschung des Grenzlande. (Schriften zur sächsischen Geschichte und Volkskunde Band 29.) Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag GmbH, 55-75.

Kocsis, Károly (2007): Beiträge zur Geschichte der ungarischen ethnischen Kartographie im Karpatenbecken. NOVA ACTA LEOPOLDINA 94:(349) pp. 81-90.

Romsics, Ignác (2002), The Dismantling of Historic Hungary: The Peace Treaty of Trianon, 1920. Columbia University Press, New York.

Zeidler, Miklós (2007): Ideas on Territorial Revision in Hungary 1920-1945. Boulder; Highland Lakes; New York: Social Science Monographs - Atlantic Research and Publications, Inc


Historical geographies of the socialist period (1948-1990)

Gyimesi, Zoltán (2014): The Contested Post-Socialist Rehabilitation of the Past: Dual Narratives in the Republishing of Tibor Mendöl’s Introduction to Geography. Hungarian Cultural Studies. e-Journal of the American Hungarian Educators Association, 7. pp. 242-273.

Győri, Róbert (2009): ‘Tibor Mendöl.’ In: Lorimer, Hayden – Withers, Charles W. J. (eds.): Geographers: Biobibliographical Studies. Vol. 28. Contiuum, London pp. 39-54.

Győri, Róbert - Gyuris, Ferenc (2012): The Sovietization of Hungarian geography, 1945-1960Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Geographischen Gesellschaft 154. pp. 107-128. 

Gyuris, Ferenc - Győri, Róbert (2013): Sovietized science at the service of ‘socialist national economy’. The example of Hungarian geography, 1945-1960 Berichte. Geographie und Landeskunde. 87. pp. 7-25. 

Hajdú, Zoltán (1993): ‘Settlement Network Policy in Hungary in the Period of State Socialism.’ Centre for Regional Studies, Pécs. (Discussion Papers, 17.).

Heffernan, Michael - Győri, Róbert (2014): Sándor Radó. In: Lorimer, Hayden – Withers, Charles W. J. (eds.): Geographers: Biobibliographical Studies. Vol. 33. Bloomsbury, London pp. 167-202.

Jobbitt, Steven (2014): Scholarly Production in Desperate Times: Ferenc Fodor and the Question of Academic Relevancy in Communist Hungary, 1948-1962. In: Győri, Róbert: (szerk.): Földrajz és földtudomány az Eötvös Collegiumban. Eötvös Collegium, Budapest, pp. 195-213.

Péteri, György (1998): Academia and State Socialism. Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 79-83.

Romsics, Ignác (1999): Hungary in the 20th Century. Corvina, Osiris, Budapest.

Timár, Judit. (2006) ‘The Transformation of Social and Cultural Geography during the Transition Period (1989 to Present Time) in Hungary’, Social and Cultural Geography 7, 649–667.

Timár, Judit (2009): Communist and Post-Communist Geographies. In: Kitchin, Rob; Thrift, Nigel (eds.): International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Volume 1. Elsevier, Oxford. pp. 214-220.


Population geography of Hungary

Kemény, István (ed.) (2005): ‘Roma of Hungary.  Social Science Monographs, Boulder, Colorado - Atlantic Research and Publications, Highland Lakes, New Jersey, New York, East European Monographs, No. DCCII

Kocsis, Károly – Kocsis-Hodosi, Eszter (1998): ‘Ethnic geography of the Hungarian minorities in the Carpathian Basin’ Geographical Research Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest.

Monostori – Őri – S. Molnár – Spéder (eds.): Demographic Portrait of Hungary 2015. Budapest: KSH NKI

Rédei, Mária (2004) The main demographic trends in Hungary.  Population Geography Silver jubilee Issue New Delhi Association of Population Geographers.

Szarka, László (ed.) (2004): ‘Hungary and the Hungarian Minorities. Trends in the Past and in Our Time. Social Science Monographs, Boulder, Colorado - Atlantic Research and Publications, Inc. Highland Lakes, New Jersey, East-European Monographs, No. DCLVII.

The national and ethnic minorities in Hungary. Fact sheets on Hungary, Ministry of Foreign affairs, Budapest, 200/3.

Tóth, Ágnes (ed.) (2005): ‘National and Ethnic Minorities in Hungary, 1920 – 2001.’ Social Science Monographs, Boulder, Colorado


Available data on minority groups in Hungary:

Hungarian Central Statistical Office

Research Institute of Ethnic and National Minorities, Hungarian Academy of  Sciences


 The settlement network and urban history of Hungary

Bajmócy, Péter – Hegedűs, Gábor (2008): Transformation of the Settlement System in Post-Socialist Hungary. In: Kertész, Ádám – Kovács, Zoltán (eds.): Dimensions and Trends in Hungarian Geography (Studies in Geography in Hungary, 33.). Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Geographical Research Institute, Budapest, pp. 135–148.

Beluszky, Pál (1999): The Hungarian Urban Network at the End of the Second Millennium (Discussion Papers No. 27). Centre for Regional Studies of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pécs.

Beluszky, Pál – Győri, Róbert (2005): The Hungarian Urban Network in the Beginning of the 20th Century (Discussion Papers No. 46). Centre for Regional Studies of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pécs.

Corfield, Penelope J. (1999): A Conversation with Vera Bácskai: Urban History in Hungary. Journal of Urban History, 25., pp. 514-535.

Kovács, Zoltán – Dövényi, Zoltán (1998): Geographical Features of Urban Transition in Hungary. Geographica Pannonica, 2., pp. 41-46.

Pirisi, Gábor – Trócsányi, András (2012): The Development of the Hungarian Settlement Network since 1990. In: Csapó, Tamás – Balogh, András (eds.): Development of the Settlement Network in the Central European Countries: Past, Present, and Future. Springer Verlag, Berlin–Heidelberg, pp. 63–74.

Tóth, József (1994): Urbanization and Spatial Structure in Hungary. GeoJournal, 32(4), pp. 343-350.


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