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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A map of the plain
Landscape - Farm on the Hortobágy, Hungary
Landscape - Danube-Tisa-Danube Canal near the village of Rumenka, close to Novi Sad, Serbia

The Pannonian Plain is a large plain in Central Europe that remained when the Pliocene Pannonian Sea dried out. It is a geomorphological subsystem of the Alps-Himalaya system.

The river Danube divides the plain roughly in half. The plain consists mainly of the Great Hungarian Plain (in the south and east) and the Little Hungarian Plain (in the northwest).



The Pannonian Plain is part of the somewhat larger geographical area referred to as the Carpathian Basin (especially in Hungarian texts) or Pannonian Basin (in South Slavic texts).

The name Pannonian Plain can also refer to Croatian Panonska nizina, Serbian Панонска низија/ Panonska nizija and Slovenian Panonska nizina, which are the traditional names for the lowland part of the Pannonian Basin in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia.


The plain is roughly bounded by the Carpathian mountains, the Alps, the Dinaric Alps and the Balkan mountains.

Although rain is not plentiful, it usually falls when necessary and the plain is a major agricultural area; it is sometimes said that these fields of rich loamy loess soil could feed the whole of Europe. For its early settlers, the plain offered few sources of metals or stone. Thus when archaeologists come upon objects of obsidian or chert, copper or gold, they have almost unparalleled opportunities to interpret ancient pathways of trade.



Pannonian Sea

Approximate extent of Pannonian Sea during the Miocene Epoch.

The precursor to the present plain was a shallow sea that reached its greatest extent during the Pliocene era, when three to four kilometres of sediments were deposited.

History of the plain

The plain was named after the Pannonians, a northern Illyrian tribe. Various different peoples inhabited the plain during its history. In the first century BC, the eastern parts of the plain belonged to the Dacian state, and in the first century AD its western parts were subsumed into the Roman Empire. The Roman province named Pannonia was established in the area, and the city of Sirmium, today Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia, became one of the four capital cities of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century.

In the Age of Migrations and the early Middle Ages, the region belonged to several realms such as the Hun Empire, the Kingdom of the Gepids, the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths, the Kingdom of the Lombards, the Avar Kingdom, the Slavic state of Samo, the Bulgarian Empire, the Frankish Empire, the Great Moravia, the Balaton Principality, the Pannonian Pricipality and the Kingdom of Syrmia.

The Kingdom of Hungary established in 1000 by the Magyars was centered around the plain and included almost all of it (as did the former Avar Kingdom as well). After the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the central and eastern regions of the kingdom and the plain on which they lay were incorporated into the Ottoman Empire, while the remainder to the north-west was subsumed into the holdings of the Habsburg Monarchy and retitled Royal Hungary. Under Ottoman administration, the plain was reorganized into the Eyalet of Budim, the Eyalet of Egri, the Eyalet of Sigetvar, and the Eyalet of Temeşvar. The eastern parts of the plain were under the dominion of the Principality of Transylvania, which itself would be divided between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs four decades later.

The Pannonian Plain was frequently a scene of conflict between the two empires. At the end of the 17th century the Habsburgs won decisive battles against the Ottomans, and most of the plain gradually came under Habsburg rule. Under Habsburg rule the region was eventually reorganized into the Kingdom of Hungary, the Banat of Temeswar, the Military Frontier, the Kingdom of Croatia, the Kingdom of Slavonia and Serbian Voivodship and Tamiš Banat.

The Habsburg Monarchy was subsequently transformed into the Austrian Empire (in 1804) and later became Austria-Hungary (in 1867). Most of the plain was located within the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary, since all other Habsburg possessions in the plain were integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary until 1882. The autonomous Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, which was one of the Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen, comprised the south-western portion of the plain.

Since 1918, the region has been divided among Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed to Yugoslavia in 1929).


Today the plain is divided among Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. The peripannonian lands are some areas around the Pannonian plain which are not elevated like the surrounding mountains (e.g. Maribor Plain in Slovenia, northern Bosnia and Herzegovina- primarily Republika Srpska etc).


Wheat field near Temerin

The Pannonian plain is divided into two parts along the Transdanubian Medium Mountains (Hungarian: Dunántúli-középhegység). The northwestern part is called Western Pannonian plain (or province) and the southeastern part Eastern Pannonian plain (or province). They comprise the following sections:

Note: The Transylvanian Plateau and the Lučenec-Košice Depression (both parts of the Carpathians) and some other lowlands are sometimes also considered part of the Pannonian Plain in non-geomorphological or older divisions.


Relatively large or distinctive areas of the plain that do not necessarily correspond to national borders include:

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