Located in central Europe, Hungary is a vibrant country bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest, and Austria to the west.
Prior to World War I, Hungary's kingdom had considerable power. However, post-war Hungary was very different, with a loss of 70% of its territory. After that, it was ruled by a Fascist regime and then Communists. In 1989, Hungary opened its borders with Austria, and this led not only to the collapse of the Eastern Block but to transforming itself into a prosperous regional leader. Today, Hungary is an independent, democratic and constitutional state that has been part of the European Union since 2004.
Tourism plays an important part in Hungary's economy. Ranked as one of the top 30 tourist destinations in the world, popular attractions include the largest thermal water cave system and the second largest thermal lake in the world, the largest lake in Central Europe, and the largest natural grasslands in Europe.
With a population of nearly 10 million people, nearly one-fourth of its inhabitants live in the Budapest metropolitan area, and most of its citizens speak Hungarian, the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe.