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a part of the Central Danubian Plain; situated east of the Tisza River in northeastern Hungary. The Hortobágy covers an area of approximately 2,000 sq km and rises to an elevation of about 100 m. It is composed mainly of alluvial sands.
Before the course of the Tisza was regulated in the 19th century, the Hortobágy was swampy and was subject to floods when the river overflowed. Reclamation work, such as the construction of a dam at Tiszalók on the Tisza and of the Main Eastern and Main Western Canals, greatly reduced the area of the swamps. Steppe grasses now prevail among the natural flora. About one-half of the region is planted with rice and other grain crops, as well as vineyards. There are also pastures and meadows. Carp and other fish are raised commercially. Deposits of natural gas are found in Nadudvár and at other sites.