Eastern Europe: countries, map, data, history

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eastern europe is a historical and cultural region of the European continent located between Central Europe and Asia. She is formed by more than 20 countries, many of whom adopted a socialist regime during the Cold War, the period from which the configuration of this region derives.

How end of the soviet union, many nations became independent and began the transition to a market economy. The region concentrates some of the poorest and least developed nations in Europe, and is also marked by ethnic and territorial conflicts.

Read too: Maps of Europe — the cartographic representations of the European continent

Eastern Europe summary

  • Eastern Europe is a historical, economic and cultural region of Europe.

  • It is located between Central Europe and Asia.

  • Its configuration is derived from the Cold War period. The countries that comprise it were in the area of ​​influence of the Soviet Union or were part of that territory.

  • The region is formed by extensive plains and is surrounded by mountain ranges.

  • The predominant climate is temperate.

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  • Eastern Europe is home to important European seas such as the Black Sea.

  • The region's economy is based on the exploitation of natural resources and agriculture.

  • The region concentrates the poorest countries in Europe.

  • Most countries have moved from a planned economy to a market economy in the last 30 years.

  • Eastern Europe is marked by several ethnic and territorial conflicts.

General Eastern European data

  • Territorial extension: 18,052,768 km² (UN, 2021).

  • Localization: Between Central Europe and Asia.

  • Administrative division: countries.

  • Languages: Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Slovenian, Slovak, Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Montenegrin, Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Serbian, Czech, Estonian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Macedonian language.

  • Religions: Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Islamic.

  • Coins: Albanian fan (lek), Belarusian ruble, Russian ruble, grivnia, Bulgarian lev, Czech koruna, Hungarian forint, Moldavian leu, zloty, Romanian leu, euro, Macedonian dinar, Serbian dinar.

  • External relations: Group of Eastern European States (UN).

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Eastern European divisions

Eastern Europe is configured as a geographical, historical, economic and cultural region. For this reason, it is possible to find several listings of countries and sub-regions that are part of this area of ​​the European continent. The main ones take into account the countries that for almost the entire 20th century were part of or were aligned with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

  • Countries that make up Eastern Europe

For statistical purposes, the United Nations Organization (UN) considers the following countries to be part of Eastern Europe:











Taking into account historical and cultural factors, the following countries are also considered part of this region:


Bosnia Herzegovina







North Macedonia




  • Regions that make up Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe is made up of several historical regions. Geographically, however, the countries that comprise it are also members of other important regions of the Europe, which comprise the Northeast, Central-East and Southeast of the continent, which are listed below.

Baltic Sea Region: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Balkans or Balkan Peninsula: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Turkey.

Caucasus: Georgia, part of Russia and Turkey and other transcontinental countries situated in Eastern Europe and Asia such as Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Central Europe: Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Czechia.

Note that the countries indicated for each of the regions are those that are also included in Eastern Europe, and not the entire set of countries that may be part of the aforementioned regions.

Eastern Europe map

Eastern Europe location map

Eastern European Geography

Eastern Europe is one of the regions into which Europe is divided, located in the eastern part of the continent and made up of more than 20 nations. The region is located between Central Europe and the Asian continent, which is why there are many transcontinental countries in its configuration, such as Russia, Georgia and Turkey.

  • Eastern European relief

O relief of the region is marked by flat and hilly terrain to the center and north, areas where the Northern European Plain extends. This geomorphological unit, which also includes the Russian plain, concentrates the least altitude and less rugged on the continent, which favors the development of economic activities such as agriculture and animal husbandry.

The easternmost portion of Eastern Europe is bordered by Asia by the Ural Mountains, a mountain range that stretches from north to south through west-central Russia. In the same country, there is another mountainous area of ​​Eastern Europe, characterized by mountains of the Caucasus in southwestern Russia. The western portion of Eastern Europe also concentrates plateau and mountainous terrain, which integrate the formations of the Alps, in the region of the Carpathians, and of the Cordillera de los Balkans.

  • Eastern European climate and vegetation

O predominant climate in Eastern Europe is the tempered, whose main characteristics are well-defined seasons, mild and rainy summers and very cold winters with precipitation in the form of snow.

In some areas of the south, more precisely in south-central Ukraine, southwestern Russia and parts of Turkey, the arid climate predominates. Along the coastal areas, there is an occurrence of Mediterranean and oceanic temperate climates. Following the climatic distribution, the vegetation of the region is formed by the taiga to the north, by the temperate forest in most of Eastern Europe and by the steppes and grasslands where the climate is drier.

  • Eastern European hydrography

View of the Black Sea
The Black Sea is one of the most important in Eastern Europe, being an area of ​​intense geopolitical disputes.

To the north, Eastern Europe is bathed by the Arctic Ocean, more precisely in the northwest of Russian territory, and also by the Baltic Sea. To the south, the region is limited by the waters of the mMediterranean air. Inserted in this area, in the south and southeast, respectively, are the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, which have a large strategic (territorial protection and connection with other countries and regions) and economic importance for the countries for them bathed.

Furthermore, some of Europe's largest rivers flow through the region, among which the Volga, Danube and Dnieper rivers stand out.

Check it out on our podcast: Geopolitics of strategic maritime passages

Eastern European economy

the region of Eastern Europe brings together some of Europe's poorest nations, especially when considering the value of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Moldova stands out, a country highly dependent on its agricultural production whose GDP per capita is around US$5,200 (IMF, 2022). This list also includes Ukraine, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, with GDP per capita below US$10,000.

The economies of Eastern European countries share a similar process of transition from a planned system, centered on the actions and decisions of the State, for the market model, with greater participation of companies and private institutions. The transition occurred, for most of these nations, with the end of the socialist political regime and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which took place in 1991.

O tertiary sector has great strength in the countries of the region, especially when considering the role of wholesale trade and activities such as tourism. International trade, especially imports, is essential for supplying the domestic market in many of the Eastern European economies.

in relation to secondary sector, the manufacturing industry has expanded greatly in the region in recent decades, with emphasis on the automobile industry (Czeki, Poland, Romania and Hungary), food and consumer goods in the general. The metallurgy, steel industry and the chemical and petrochemical industries are also developing in some Eastern European countries, notably in those where there is intense exploitation of mineral resources.

Even with industrial growth, the primary sector remains the most important in Eastern Europe, especially with regard to agricultural production and mineral extraction. You countries in the region are major producers of cereals and grains, such as wheat, barley, sunflower seed and corn, as well as potatoes, sugar beets and other vegetables.

Almost all countries are rich in natural resources such as Petroleum and natural gas, copper, mineral coal, bauxite, zinc and iron ores, whose exploitation plays a central role in the economy, mainly in foreign trade.

Not all economies in the region are integrated into the European Union. Although some of them have cooperation agreements with the bloc, such as Turkey, or are in the negotiation phase, such as Ukraine, they are only officially part of the European Union:

  • Czechia;

  • Croatia;

  • Slovakia;

  • Slovenia;

  • Estonia;

  • Hungary;

  • Latvia;

  • Lithuania;

  • Poland;

  • Romania.

Of these, only the countries of the Baltic region, Slovakia and Slovenia have joined the euro area, that is, they have the euro as their official currency.

Eastern European culture

Prague city view
Prague, capital of Czechia, is one of the main tourist destinations in Eastern Europe.

Eastern European countries have Similar historical origins and cultural influences, while their national cultures are quite unique and extremely rich in customs, traditions and artistic manifestations (literature, music, painting, dance, crafts).

The languages ​​spoken in this region vary considerably from one country to another, and there are even regional dialects within the limits of the same territory. Some nations, such as Bulgaria, Russia, and Ukraine, have adopted the use of an alphabet other than the Western one, which is the Cyrillic alphabet. In religious terms, the traditions Orthodox are those with the largest number of adherents..

Cities in this region, especially country capitals, are among the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. This is due to both natural attractions and the cultural landscape itself, such as the numerous castles found in the Czechia, Russian architectural references, buildings that served as literary inspiration in Romania and many others. Among the most visited cities in the region are Prague (Czeki), Moscow (Russia) and Budapest (Hungary).

Read too: Kremlin — the history of the fortified complex situated in the center of Moscow

Eastern European Infrastructure

All the European countries present development rates at levels considered high. Those with lower values ​​(below 0.800) are concentrated in Eastern Europe, such as Moldova, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania. The higher economic development achieved in recent decades has provided significant improvements in the quality of life in the region, even though the contribution of infrastructure in Eastern Europe is lower than the rest of the continent.

National and regional socio-economic development strategies include state and private investment in the infrastructure sector, especially in the construction of roads and railways (the main transport routes in the region), airports, electricity generation (with a greater focus on in clean energies, since today the non-renewable sources are still predominant) and connectivity, highlighting the importance of internet and telephone networks.

The term Eastern Europe

The term Eastern Europe is employee most in the historical-cultural sense than in the geographical sense itself. With respect to its position on the continent, this area is commonly referred to as East-Central Europe or Eastern Europe. The name Eastern Europe is associated with the political, ideological and economic history of the countries that make up this region.

The nations that make up the region adopted the socialist regime, ideologically aligning themselves with the Soviet Union in a period characterized by Cold War. In addition to the national political-economic regime, some territories that are now independent countries were part of the USSR at the time, such as Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and others.

Eastern European history

The eastern part of Europe was inhabited by the first east slavic peoples, who came from Russian territory and dispersed throughout Eastern Europe, giving rise to the different ethnic groups that make up the population and cultural framework of this region of the continent. Their lands were incorporated into a series of small kingdoms and even great empires that dominated extensive areas between Europe and Asia, among which are the empires Byzantine (395–1452), Ottoman (1299–1923), Russian (1721–1917) and Austro-Hungarian (1867–1918).

Eastern European countries were severely affected by First World War. The end of this conflict and the immediately subsequent period were marked by the territorial reconfiguration of the region with the emergence of a great nation, the Soviet Union, and the intensification of territorial disputes in other areas triggered by ethnic and nationalist issues, notably in the region where Yugoslavia was formed and other countries, such as Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary.

THE Second World War it was devastating to Eastern Europe. Not only because of the conflicts and crises resulting from the war, but above all because of the Nazi genocide that claimed the lives of millions of people known as Holocaust. The territories emerged from the conflict weakened, and subsequent periods were again marked by disputes, this time ideological.

With the Cold War, the world was divided between the capitalist and socialist blocs, with Eastern European countries aligned to the second bloc, some of them incorporated into the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union officially came to an end in 1991, two years after the fall of the berlin wall in Germany.

The years that followed were marked by the continuation of an economic crisis that had settled in the region, by the declaration of independence of Eastern European countries and by territorial fragmentation and separatist disputes, as occurred in Yugoslavia and in Bosnia. Eastern Europe is marked until today by ethnic and territorial conflicts, the most recent in the region of Crimea and in eastern Ukraine, areas claimed by Russia.

Facts about Eastern Europe

  • The culmination of Europe is in the Eastern European region, in the western part of Russia. This is Mount Elbrus, 5,642 meters above sea level.

  • The first European city to install street lighting was Timisoara, Romania, in 1882.

  • Bulgaria adopted its name in the year 681 CE and has not changed it since. This makes it the oldest country in terms of naming on the European continent.

  • Istanbul (Turkey) and Moscow (Russia) are the two most populous cities in the region.

  • The second largest building in the world is located in Eastern Europe, which is the building that houses the Romanian Parliament in the capital, Bucharest.

  • Medical tourism is one of the most practiced modalities in the region. Searches are higher for dental, aesthetic and wellness care.

  • Czechia is the country with the largest number of castles in Europe.

By Paloma Guitarrara
Geography teacher


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