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Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County is one of the 19 counties of Hungary, part of the Northern Hungary Region. The county is located in the northernmost part of the country, constituting a state border with Slovakia. The county neighbors Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg to the east, Hajdú-Bihar to the southeast, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok to the south, and Heves and Nógrád to the southwest. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén is the second-largest county in Hungary, both in terms of territory and population. The most significant river flowing through this area is the Tisza and some of its tributaries, for example, Bodrog, Hernád, Sajó, and Zagyva. The county's area is 7,247.17 kilometers squared, with the capital city of Miskolc located approximately in the center. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén population reaches the number of 684,793, which represents 7% of Hungary's total population. [1]

What Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen is known for

The Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén is filled with natural, historical, and cultural sights. The area features three national parks (Hortobágy, Bükk, and Aggtelek National Park), six landscape protection districts, and 17 nature conservation areas. The Aggtelekt National Park, which continues into Slovakia's territory as Slovak Karst, is presumably known the most for its caves complexes. Nowadays, 712 caves are identified as part of this relatively large cave complex, consisting of many diverse intact caves concentrated in a rather small area. Over 99% of the Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst are preserved in their authentic natural condition due to state protection.[3]

Hungary's largest national park, Bükk, is also situated in the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county. It is located in the northern mountains, between Szilvásvárad and Lillafüred, and was established in 1977. The national park is home to various endangered species. However, its highest significance is considered to be the caves, which are part of the national park. Bükk's limestone mountains and caves have been proven to be inhabited by pre-historic people in the past. The country's longest (4,000m) and deepest (245m) cave, Istvánlápa, is also located here. [4]

Concerning the cultural and historical heritage, the castle of Diósgyőr is open for visitors offering various exhibitions, events, and tours. Presumably, one of the reasons for its high popularity is the Knights Tournament Arena, which is part of the exhibition. Knight games in the style of middle age are organized in the Arena. Diósgyőr was built in the 13th century and nowadays, it is part of the county's capital city, Miskolc.[5]

Regarding the economy and business, Tokaj Wine Region produces the Tokaj wine with over a thousand years of tradition. Tokaj region is located in the Zemplén Mountains, featuring numerous cellar labyrinths, vines, and slopes. For example, the cellar row of the Gombos-Hegyi Pincesor is part of the World Heritage. The whole region consists of approximately 30 towns and villages, each producing wine. [6]


The Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén is situated in the northwestern part of the highly diverse Northern Hungary-Central Mountains. The Northern Hungary-Central Mountains include the Bükk Region, the Aggtelek–Rudabánya Mountains, and the Tokaj–Zemplén Mountains, as well as watercourse valleys and basins, for example, Ózd-Egercsehi basin, Sajó, Rakacai, and Hernád valley. The Bükk Mountains are considered the richest region in Hungary in terms of their cave system. The longest and deepest cave in the country is located in the Bükk territory, called István-lápai cave, with a depth of 250m and a length of 4.5km. Another cave system in this region is situated in the Aggtelek Karst, which also extends to Slovakia. The Aggtelek caves are one of the prehistoric caves in Europe. Most parts of Hungary's largest forests are also situated in the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén area, mostly in its northern parts. Southern parts of the country belong to the Great Plain landscape, including the territories of Bodrogköz, Takta-Köz, and Borsodi floodplain. [1]
In terms of weather and climate, the county is located in the continental climate area, where the alteration of the four seasons throughout the year is typical. The warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 26°C. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 0°C. The most precipitation falls during June with an average of 83.0 mm. The driest month is January, with an average of 27.0mm of rainfall.[7]


The historical comitatus, equivalent to today's County, was established during the Middle Ages. Each one of the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén was its own comitatus. Borsod county belonged to the Castle of Borsod, Abaúj belonged to the Castle of Újvár, nowadays located in the village of Abaújvár, and Zemplén belonged to the Castle of Zemplén, which nowadays belongs to the territory of Slovakia. Approximately two-thirds of the area of these three counties was royal property. The rest was considered the private property of various wealthy families. For example, the area of Miskolc belonged to the Miskolc clan, whose name it bears to this day. In the Borsod territory, the Bors-Miskóc clan was significant. Abaúj was the estate of the Aba family. By the 14th century, most of the territory was owned by these oligarch families, which was the reason for the war during the rule of Charles Robert. In 1312, Charles Robert gained power over Northern Hungary. During the rule of the Anjou family, the Free Royal Town of Kassa, which nowadays belongs to Slovakia as Košice, was established. Together with Miskolc, the cities became the most important settlements in the area. The Castle of Diósgyőr, which is nowadays part of Miskolc, became one of the favorite residences of the royal family. In the 16th century, wine production started to gain importance. After the loss to Turks in the battle of Mohács, a significant part of southern Hungary became occupied by Turks, which led to a further increase of the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén importance, as it was and still is, the northernmost part of Hungary. After the occupation ended, Hungary became part of the Habsburg monarchy. During that time, an important family of Francis II Rákóczi, who led a revolution against Habsburg's rule in the early 18th century, had most of his estates in the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén territory. From this area, the revolution itself was organized. During the 18th century, several towns were freed from their feudal landowners, which helped develop the area. New guilds and manufacturers were formed, and mines, glassworks, and forges were opened. Until this period, the most important city in the region was Kassa. However, Miskolc began to catch up, and its significance grew. Foreign settlers from Slovakia, Greece, Germany, and Russia helped speed up the progress. In 1787, Borsod, Abaúj and Zemplén had almost 500,000 inhabitants. Later, the railway lines were built, and new factories were established.[2]

Due to the Treaty of Trianon after World War I, Hungary had to give up its northernmost parts to Czechoslovakia. Abaúj gave up 48% of its area and Zemplén 72%. However, during World War II, Hungary re-annexed the territories of Abaúj and Zemplén. During that time, the capital of the Abaúj-Torna county was Kassa. After the victory of the allies, the pre-1938 borders were reinstated. Hungarian population living in Slovakia was after the Second World War expelled. In 1950, the county of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, with Miskolc as the county capital, was established. During the Socialist rule, the territory became highly industrialized, and new cities were established. This led to rapid urbanization, which peaked in the 1980s. The end of the Socialist rule led to great regress and unemployment. Nowadays, efforts are directed toward the development of tourism.[2]