Eastern Europe's borders are defined more by culture, religion and history than by geography, and for people who identify themselves with Central Europe, associating them with Eastern Europe may be offensive and vice versa.
There are three religions -- Islam, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic -- and two alphabets -- Roman and Cyrillic -- and as many languages as there are countries in this region.
What the Experts Say
The UN defines Eastern Europe as consisting of the following 10 countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and the Ukraine.
The CIA, on the other hand, says Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia are located in Central Europe, while Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Ukraine and Georgia are considered Eastern European, and Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Romania and Serbia are classified as Southeastern European.
The Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has borders with Poland to the north, Germany to the northwest and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east. The country is composed of the regions of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as parts of Silesia.
The Slovak Republic
The Slovak Republic separated from the Czech Republic in 1993 when Czechoslovakia was dissolved. It is bordered by the Czech Republic to the west, by Austria to the southwest, by Hungary to the south, by the Ukraine to the east, and by Poland to the north. Slovaks comprise more than 85% of the population. Other groups include Hungarians (about 10%), Gypsies, and Czechs.
Take Your Palate on a Magic Carpet Ride
For our purposes, Eastern European foods will consist of the culinary and cultural traditions of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.