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Nógrád County is one of the 19 counties of Hungary, situated on its northern borders, on the western edge of the Northern Hungary region. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén borders the county to the east, Heves to the southeast, and Pest county to the southwest. It also creates part of the state border with Slovakia to the north. Concerning the natural borders and relief of the county, the territory is surrounded by mountains, Börzsöny to the west, the Mátra to the east, the Ipoly to the northwest, the Karancs, and the Medves to the northeast. The Cserhát occupies land in the central part of the county. The current borders of the county were established in the 1950s when most of the territory belonged to Slovakia's region Hont and were later annexed to Pest. At that time, Salgótarján became the capital city of the county. Nógrád is currently the second smallest county in Hungary. With an area of 2,544.180 kilometers squared, it represents 2.7% of the country's territory. The county has approximately 201,919 inhabitants, which is circa 2% of the entire country's population. The territory's biggest cities are Balassagyarmat and Salgótarján; however, the small villages are more characteristic of the mountainous areas of Nógrád County. [1]

What Nograd is known for

The area of Nógrád County has high natural diversity. Bükk National Park, as well as Danube-Ipoly National Park, partly extend to its territory. Other protected areas of territory are Cserhát Nature Park and Nógrád-Novohrad Geopark. Nógrád-Novohrad Geopark extends to Slovakia's territory as well. It is the first international geopark of the European Geopark Network of UNESCO. The geopark consists of 28 Slovakian villages and 64 Hungarian villages. The geopark aims to preserve and present geoscientific, landscape, ecological, archeological, historical, and cultural values of the area and contribute to its economic development. One of the numerous sights on the Hungarian side of the border is the cave Remete-Barlang, or Hermit Cave. Hungarians used the cave during the Tatar and Turks invasion as a hideout. The cave itself came into existence during Oligocene and Miocene, and only during the raids was turned into stone housing.[4] Presumably, one of the most treasured areas of the Geopark is the Nature Path of Ipolytárnoc Prehistoric Relics. The path offers different routes. At the beginning of one of them, fossil sediments from the bottom of the tropical sea, which date back to 24 million years ago, can be seen on this path. Among these fossils were found prehistoric shark teeth, remains of rayah and fish bones, as well as crocodile, dolphin, and sea cow bones.[5]

The Hollókő village is located in the Cserhát territory, seemingly one of the signature destinations in the Nógrád County. Hollókő is an ethnographic village inscribed on the UNESCO heritage list. Hollókő is known for having cottages over one hundred years old; however, it bears little resemblance to an open-air museum as the village and its inhabitants not only preserve the traditions but also lives them. Situated in the center of the village is a Catholic church from 1889. The houses contain various museums, handicraft workshops, and showrooms. The Hollókő Landscape Protection Area surrounds the village.[6]


The hilly and mid-mountainous landscape of Nógrád is divided by valley planes and basins. The most dominant mountains are, for example, Börzsöny- the westernmost part of the Northern Central Mountains, Nógrád and Cserhát in the west, and Mátra in the east. The Karancs – Medves mountains in the north form an independent mountain unit. The northern side of the Börzsöny periphery contains steeper slopes. To the south, the slopes are milder, forming various rock formations. Most of the Nógrád landscape is covered by the Cserhát mountains, part of the Northern Central Mountains. Cserhát mountain range is rich in springs, as it is situated between Nógrád Basin and the Zagyva Valley. Between Zagyva and Tarna is the localized north-western part of Mátra, also known as Nyugati- or Pásztói-Mátra. Its' highest peak, Muzslait, is at an altitude of 805 m above sea level. There are also the Karancs and Medves mountain ranges of volcanic origin that form an independent landscape unit. The lack of settlements is a characteristic of the Karancs territory, which is almost entirely covered by forests. Thus, Karancs-Medves is a relatively prominent touristic attraction for its geological, topographical, and wildlife diversity; however, the whole territory of Nógrád county is relatively varied. The area includes shallow-sea sediments, sandstones, clay marls, limestone-dolomites, sand-gravel sediments, and volcanic rocks such as andesites, rhyolites, and basalts. The area has the highest proportion of forests in Hungary, which is around 40%. [1]

The territory's climate is determined by the low mountainous and hilly nature of Cserhát. It's moderately cool and dry.[1] On average, the warmest month of the year is August at 28.0°C. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 1.0°C. The wettest month on average is June, with 73.0mm of precipitation. The driest month of the year is January, with 27.0mm of rainfall. July is the sunniest month, with 303 hours of sunshine on average.[3]


Since ancient times, the area was inhabited by nomads, who first settled the territory of today's Fülek, in close proximity to the trade routes to the north. Later, the area was owned by Gallic, Bulgarian, Turkish and Slavic tribes. The last inhabitants among these ethnic groups were the Palócs, with various origins. Árpád, the leader of the territory, divided Nógrád among the tribes' families. Nógrád became an essential political, economic, and military center, which can be proven by the fact that by the end of the 16th century, there were already 42 castles in the area. The area was destroyed during the Turkish occupation and later by the Rákóczi War of Independence. In 1768, the coal deposits were discovered on the outskirts of Tarján city, which helped develop the economy and business of the region; nonetheless, a more significant development occurred only after the First World War. It was brought about by the construction of the railways, coal mining, and production of iron and glass, which foreshadowed the organizational and economic transformation of the county. The population and employment of the Nógrád County increased as well. The Treaty of Trianon, after World War I, stopped economic and social development. Over 42% of the area was annexed to Czechoslovakia. The conditions only started to improve in the 1930s, though, after the Second World War, the heavy industry business was gradually pushed back after the 1960s, which stopped development again. [1]

Nowadays, the county's primary revenue is tourism due to its rich natural diversity and proximity to Slovakia. Nearly 90% of the population is of Hungarian nationality. The second most represented ethnicity are Gypsies (over 7%), and over 1% of inhabitants are of Slovak nationality. Roman Catholicism is predominant among the religions of the region. The county is divided into six districts. Most seats on the County Council belong to the coalition of two right-wing conservative parties.[2]