Hungary, with its rich history and vibrant culture, is divided into 19 provinces or 'megyék' in Hungarian. These provinces are the building blocks of the country, each with a unique identity and contribution to the Hungarian nation. From the bustling streets of Budapest to the serene hills of Zala, each province offers a glimpse into Hungary's diversity.
Overview of the provinces of Hungary
A closer look at all provinces
Bács-Kiskun – Kecskemét
The province of Bács-Kiskun, with Kecskemét as its capital, is known for its agriculture. Kecskemét itself, with about 111,000 inhabitants, is famous for its architecture and fruit production, in particular the production of apricot brandy. Other important cities in this province are Baja and Kiskunfélegyháza.
Baranya – Pecs
Baranya, with Pécs as its capital, is a province known for its cultural heritage, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pécs has approximately 145,000 inhabitants and is famous for its ceramics and multicultural history. Other notable cities are Komló and Mohács.
Békés – Békéscsaba
Békéscsaba is the capital of the province of Békés and is home to approximately 62,000 people. The region is known for its gastronomy, especially the Békéscsaba sausages. Gyula is another prominent town, known for its thermal baths and castle.
Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén – Miskolc
Miskolc, with approximately 157,000 inhabitants, is the capital of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and the industrial heart of northern Hungary. The city is known for its heavy industry and proximity to the Bükk Mountains. Eger, famous for its historic castle and wine production, is also an important city in this province.
Csongrád-Csanád – Szeged
Szeged, the 'City of the Sun', is the capital of Csongrád-Csanád and is known for its paprika powder and the Szegedinner Goulash. With a population of approximately 162,000, Szeged is also an educational centre with a prestigious university. Hódmezővásárhely and Szentes are other important towns, known for their agriculture and local markets.
Fejér – Székesfehérvár
The provincial capital Székesfehérvár, with a population of approximately 98,000, has a rich history as the former coronation city of the Hungarian kings. Fejér is known for its agriculture and industry. An important industrial city, Dunaújváros is known for its steel production.
Győr-Moson-Sopron – Győr
Győr, with more than 130,000 inhabitants, is the economic and cultural heart of the Győr-Moson-Sopron province. The province is known for its automotive industry, especially due to the presence of a large Audi factory. Sopron, close to the Austrian border, is famous for its wine production and historic architecture.
Hajdú-Bihar – Debrecen
Debrecen, Hungary's second largest city with approximately 200,000 inhabitants, serves as the administrative centre of Hajdú-Bihar. This province is known for its spas and the Hortobágyi National Park, the largest protected area in Hungary. Other towns such as Hajdúböszörmény contribute to the region's agricultural strength.
Heves – Eger
Eger, with about 56,000 inhabitants, is the capital of Heves and famous for its historic castle, thermal baths and Eger wine, especially the 'Egri Bikavér'. The province is characterized by its mixed industries, including agriculture, mining and wine production.
Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok – Szolnok
Szolnok, with a population of around 72,000, is known for its bridges over the Tisza River and a vibrant cultural life. Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok is largely an agricultural province, but also important for food processing and the chemical industry.
Komárom-Esztergom – Tatabánya
Tatabánya, with a population of approximately 65,000, serves as the centre for Komárom-Esztergom. This province is industrially oriented with a strong mining sector. The historic city of Esztergom, birthplace of the first Hungarian king, is also a draw for its basilica and religious significance.
Nógrád – Salgótarján
Salgótarján, the capital of Nógrád with almost 35,000 inhabitants, is a mining town. The province, one of the less populated, is known for its unspoilt nature and castle ruins.
Pest – Budapest
Although Budapest is not technically part of Pest Province, it serves as its administrative centre. Pest is the most populous province and includes several major cities such as Érd and Szentendre, known for their historical significance and cultural attractions.
Somogy – Kaposvár
Kaposvár is the capital of Somogy with approximately 66,000 inhabitants and is known for its cultural events and theatre. Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe, is partly located in this province and is a famous tourist resort.
Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg – Nyíregyháza
Nyíregyháza, with almost 120,000 inhabitants, is the centre of this agriculturally rich province. The region is known for its fruit growing, especially apples, and for its traditional Hungarian crafts.
Tolna – Szekszard
Szekszárd, the capital of Tolna with around 34,000 inhabitants, is famous for its wine region, especially for the red wine Szekszárdi. The province has a strong agricultural tradition and is also known for its cultural festivals.
Vas – Szombathely
Szombathely, with a population of approximately 78,000, is the capital of Vas and is known as a historic city, dating back to Roman times. The province is industrially diverse and has strong ties with neighbouring Austria.
Veszprém – Veszprém
Veszprém, with approximately 60,000 inhabitants, is also called 'the City of Queens', because of the tradition that the queens of Hungary were crowned here. Lake Balaton is an important attraction in this province.
Zala – Zalaegerszeg
Zalaegerszeg, with a population of almost 60,000, is the centre of Zala, a province known for its spas and thermal baths. The region is also an important agricultural area and has a strong tradition in food processing.
The provinces of Hungary are all jewels, each with their unique shine. Whether it is the vibrant city life, the serene rural landscapes, the rich history or the cultural festivities, each province contributes in its own way to the colourful mosaic that is Hungary. This diversity is what attracts travellers and what residents (including Dutch immigrants) are proud to call home. In this way, the provinces form not only the geographical but also the cultural backbone of the country.
Text: editors of Grenzenloos
Image: Wikimedia Commons