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Baranya County, one of the 19 administrative counties of Hungary, is located in the southern parts of the historical Hungarian region of Transdanubia or Hungarian Pannonia. To the north is Baranya bordered by Tolna and Somogy counties. The county neighbors Bács-Kiskun County to the east and Somogy County to the west. Baranya's southern borders also pose a Hungarian state border with Croatia. The county has a total area of 4,430 kilometers squared, which represents 4.76% of the whole territory of Hungary. It is divided into Upper and Lower Baranya. The northern part of the territory is characterized by Mecsek Mountains, an area covered in extensive forests. The region's highest peak, Zengő, has an altitude of 682m above sea level and is located in the Mecsek Mountains. Baranya Hills and Villány Mountains cover the central part of Baranya County. Eastern and southern parts of the territory are primarily flat. Baranya produces 98% of Hungary's coal resources.[1] The population of Baranya County is approximately 391,455, which adds up to the density of the population of 88 inhabitants per kilometer squared. This makes Baranya the ninth most populated county in Hungary. Baranya's cultural and economic center and the county's capital city is Pécs. [2]

What Baranya is known for

Even though many natural monuments have been destroyed over time, Baranya County is one of the wealthiest regions in terms of natural values. For example, the Danube-Drava National Park, established in 1996, is one of the most renowned natural parks in the country. In Baranya territory is currently located one national park, three nature reserves, eight nature reserves, and about 50 nature reserves of local significance. [2]

Concerning the cultural and historical sights of the county, one of the most significant historical monuments is the Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs. In the fourth century, the area of the capital city of Baranya, Pécs, was a provincial town of the Roman empire called Sopianae. At that time, a series of decorated tombs were constructed in the cemetery. These tombs are structurally and architecturally significant, as they were built as underground burial chambers with chapels above the ground. The tombs' insides are richly decorated with high-quality murals depicting various Christian themes. Nowadays, the Roman cemetery is protected as an archaeological site and inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list.[4]

Another historically significant sight, located approximately 6km southwest of Sátorhely, is Mohács Historical Memorial Site. The Mohács Memorial is dedicated to the defeat of the Hungarian army by the Turks at Mohács on August 29, 1526. The Memorial was established in 1976, in memory of a battle that changed the course of Hungarian history. The battle only lasted for half an hour, however, it excluded Hungary from European development and caused great suffering. The partition and domination of Hungary by Turks lasted for almost five centuries. [5]

Regarding the cultural sights, the city of Pécs cumulates numerous museums, galleries, and architectonical sights that are a great attraction for a number of tourists. This Mediterranean-style city's presumably most popular destination is the Pécs Cathedral, which foundations can be dated back to the Roman era, around the fourth century. The final reconstructions in 1882 and 1891 granted the building today's neo-Romanesque appearance. [6] Another sought-after attraction of Pécs city is the Széchenyi Square, the main square of the historical city center. Among the square's main attractions is the Mosque of Pasha Qasim, the City Hall, the County Hall, the Nádor hotel, the Zsolnay well, the Fatebenefratelli Church, and the Trinity statue.[7]

The Zsolnay family, with a long porcelain production tradition, which later led to the establishment of the porcelain factory, used to live in the 19-20th century in the area of today's Zsolnay Cultural Quarter. For this reason, Pécs city is known for producing ceramic that is used worldwide. Nowadays, the site consists of 15 protected historic buildings and 88 public Zsolnay statues, scenic parks, and promenades. The quarter is filled with many attractions, cafes, craft shops, and restaurants. The attractions include numerous exhibitions, VR Universe, Lab – Interactive House of Playful Sciences, and a Planetarium. [8]


The territory of Baranya County is divided into the Transdanubian Hills and the Great Plain. The Drava plain represents the county's southern border, and the Danube river borders the east. The Drava plain and the Danube plain are the flattest and lowest part of the region, with an altitude of 85m above sea level. The central part of Baranya makes up the mountain range Mecsek, stretching from east to west. The Mecsek Mountains are the highest-altitude mountains in the county. Some of its highest peaks are Zengő (682 m), Tubes (611 m), Dobogó (594 m), and Jakab-Hegy (592 m). The Baranya Hills mainly represent the central and northern parts of the territory. The two main watercourses of Baranya County are the Danube and Drava rivers. Some of the other significant rivers are Karasica, Vasas-Belvárdi watercourse, Villány-Pogányi watercourse, Csele stream, Borza, Black water, Gyöngyös and many others. Regarding the stagnant waters of the region, over 160 are located in this territory and most of them are of artificial origin. [2]

The area's vegetation is relatively diverse, due to the significant difference in geographical conditions of various locations. However, authentic natural flora can be found in only a few destinations. For the southern parts of the region, there are typically meadows and pastures in the Drava and Danube plains. Apart from those, there are oak, ash, and elm tree groves that are typical for the landscape. The sub-Mediterranean herbaceous species, hornbeam pedunculate oaks, and willows can be found among them. For the southern Baranya Hills, the appearance of the Tartar maple loess oaks is typical. [2]

Concerning the Baranya climate, the sub-Mediterranean influence is characteristic due to its southern location. This sub-Mediterranean influence is reflected in higher annual temperature and amount of sunshine during the day. As a result of the Atlantic effects, the amount of precipitation is higher than average as well. [2] On average, the warmest month of the year is July at 26.0°C. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 1.0°C. The wettest month on average is June, with 84.0mm of precipitation. The driest month of the year is February, with 32.0mm of rainfall. [3]


Baranya County was already inhabited in the Paleolithic age, due to its favorable geographical and climatic features. However, the archeological finds show that the biggest settling of the area took place during the recent Stone Age, continuing to the Neolithic Age. Romans inhabited the countryside of this area, for that reason, traces of connection between Mediterranean cultures and Western European civilization can be found here. The Roman influence started in 35 BC, however, the Romanic civilization spread to the Baranya territory only after it became a Roman province, called Pannonia, in 10 AD. The main purpose of Pannonia was to defend the bordering areas of the Roman empire. Many roads, villas, and other archeological monuments were built during this age. In 1367, the first university in Pécs was founded. Baranya County was successfully developing until the Turkish invasion. The population of the area declined drastically during the Turkish rule between 1526 and 1687. After the expulsion of the Turks, development started again, due to the significant influx of immigrants, especially Germans. In 1852, the Danube Steamship Company has been established, with the main goal to explore and exploit the coalfields around the city of Pécs. Mining and manufacturing became among the most important parts of the economics and business of the county. However, large-scale farming flourished as well. During this period a brick, beer, champagne, organ, glove, and porcelain factory was established. In the last three decades of the 19th century, the population of Pécs doubled. In the years 1918-1921, after World War I, most of Pécs and Baranya county fell under the Serbian occupation. After World War II, dramatic removals and relocations took place in Baranya. From the 1950s to modern days, Baranya is characterized by high industrialization, mainly mining.[2]