Coordinates: 48°40′N 19°30′E / 48.667°N 19.500°E /
Slovenská republika (Slovak)
Coat of arms
Anthem: "Nad Tatrou sa blýska"
"Lightning Over the Tatras"
Location of Slovakia (dark green)
– in Europe (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (green) –
Slovakia in the World
and largest city
48°09′N 17°07′E / 48.150°N 17.117°E / 48.150; 17.117
Ethnic groups (2011)
Unitary parliamentary republic
• Prime Minister
(as part of Czechoslovakia)
28 October 1918
• autonomous Land of Slovakia (cs) (within Second
23 November 1938
• First Slovak
Republic (client state of Nazi Germany)
14 March 1939
• Slovak Socialist
Republic (within Czechoslovak Federation)
1 January 1969
Republic (change of name within Czechoslovak
1 March 1990
• from Czechoslovakia
1 January 1993a
• Joined the European Union
1 May 2004
49,035 km2 (18,933 sq mi) (127th)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
5,435,343  (116th)
• 2011 census
111/km2 (287.5/sq mi) (88th)
• Per capita
• Per capita
low · 8th
very high · 40th
Euro (€)b (EURb)
• Summer (DST)
Drives on the
Saints Cyril and Methodius
Our Lady of Sorrows
ISO 3166 code
.sk and .eu
Czechoslovakia split into the Czech
Republic and Slovakia; see Velvet
Slovak koruna before 2009.
Shared code 42 with Czech
Republic until 1997.
Slovakia (/sloʊˈvækiə, slə-,
-ˈvɑː-/ ( listen); Slovak: Slovensko
[ˈsloʋensko] ( listen)), officially the Slovak Republic
(Slovak: Slovenská republika, listen (help·info)), is
a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by
Poland to the north,
Ukraine to the east, the Czech
Republic to the
Hungary to the south, and
Austria to the southwest. Slovakia's
territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres
(19,000 sq mi) and is mostly mountainous. The population is
over 5 million and consists mostly of Slovaks. The capital and largest
city is Bratislava. The official language is Slovak.
Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day
Slovakia in the 5th
and 6th centuries. In the 7th century, they played a significant role
in the creation of
Samo's Empire and in the 9th century established
the Principality of Nitra. In the 10th century, the territory was
integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary. After
World War I
World War I and the
dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the
Slovaks and Czechs
Czechoslovakia (1918–1939). A separate (First) Slovak
Republic (1939–1945) existed in World War II as a client state
of Nazi Germany. In 1945,
Czechoslovakia was re-established and under
Communist rule became a Soviet satellite. In 1989, the Velvet
Revolution ended Communist rule in Czechoslovakia.
Slovakia became an
independent state on 1 January 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of
Czechoslovakia, sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce.
Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy with a very high
Human Development Index, a very high standard of living and
performs favourably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom,
internet freedom, democratic governance and peacefulness. The country
maintains a combination of market economy with a comprehensive social
security system. Citizens of
Slovakia are provided with universal
health care, free education and one of the longest paid maternity
leave in the OECD. The country joined the
European Union in 2004
Eurozone on 1 January 2009.
Slovakia is also a member of
the Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD, the WTO, CERN,
the OSCE, the Council of
Europe and the Visegrád Group. The Slovak
economy is one of the fastest growing economies in
Europe and 3rd
fastest in eurozone. Its legal tender, the Euro, is the world's 2nd
most traded currency. Although regional income inequality is high,
90% of citizens own their homes. In 2016, Slovak citizens had
visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 165 countries and territories,
ranking the Slovak passport 11th in the world.
Slovakia is the
world’s largest per-capita car producer with a total of 1,040,000
cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone and the 7th largest
car producer in the European Union. The car industry represents 43% of
Slovakia's industrial output, and a quarter of its exports.
2.1 Bronze Age
2.2 Iron Age
2.2.1 Hallstatt Period
2.2.2 La Tène Period
2.2.3 Roman Period
2.3 Great invasions from the 4th to 7th centuries
2.4 Slavic states
Moravia (830–before 907)
2.6 Kingdom of
World War II
World War II (1939–1945)
2.9 Soviet influence and Communist party rule (1948–1989)
2.10 Establishment of the Slovak
Republic (after 1993)
3.1 Tatra mountains
3.2 National parks
5 Politics and government
5.1 Foreign relations
5.3 Human rights
5.4 Administrative divisions
9.1 Folk tradition
10 See also
14 External links
The first written mention of name
Slovakia is in 1586 (German: In
Liptau, bei der Stadt Sankt Nikolaus in der Slovakia). It derives
from the Czech word Slováky; previous German forms were Windischen
landen and Windenland (the 15th century). The native name
Slovensko (1791) derives from an older name of
Slovaks Sloven what may
indicate its origin before the 15th century. The original meaning
was geographic (not political), since
Slovakia was a part of the
multiethnic Kingdom of Hungary[note 1] and did not form a separate
administrative unit in this period.
Main article: History of Slovakia
Principality of Nitra
Principality of Nitra Late 8th c. – 833
Great Moravian Empire
Great Moravian Empire 833–907
Hungary c. 907–1000
Austrian Empire 1804–1867
Austro-Hungarian Empire 1867–1918
Czech and Slovak Federative
A Venus from Moravany nad Váhom, which dates back to 22,800 BC
Radiocarbon dating[dubious – discuss]puts the oldest surviving
archaeological artefacts from
Slovakia – found near Nové Mesto nad
Váhom – at 270,000 BCE, in the Early Paleolithic era. These
ancient tools, made by the
Clactonian technique, bear witness to the
ancient habitation of Slovakia.
Other stone tools from the
Middle Paleolithic era (200,000 –
80,000 BCE) come from the Prévôt (Prepoštská) cave near
Bojnice and from other nearby sites. The most important discovery
from that era is a
Neanderthal cranium (c. 200,000 BCE), discovered
near Gánovce, a village in northern Slovakia.
Archaeologists have found prehistoric human skeletons in the region,
as well as numerous objects and vestiges of the
principally in the river valleys of Nitra, Hron, Ipeľ,
Váh and as
far as the city of Žilina, and near the foot of the Vihorlat, Inovec,
Tribeč mountains, as well as in the
Myjava Mountains. The most
well-known finds include the oldest female statue made of mammoth-bone
(22,800 BCE), the famous Venus of Moravany. The statue was found
in the 1940s in
Moravany nad Váhom
Moravany nad Váhom near Piešťany. Numerous
necklaces made of shells from Cypraca thermophile gastropods of the
Tertiary period have come from the sites of Zákovská, Podkovice,
Hubina, and Radošina. These findings provide the most ancient
evidence of commercial exchanges carried out between the Mediterranean
and central Europe.
Left: a Celtic
Right: five Slovak crowns
Bronze Age in the geographical territory of modern-day Slovakia
went through three stages of development, stretching from 2000 to
800 BCE. Major cultural, economic, and political development can
be attributed to the significant growth in production of copper,
especially in central
Slovakia (for example in Špania Dolina) and
northwest Slovakia. Copper became a stable source of prosperity for
the local population.
After the disappearance of the Čakany and
Velatice cultures, the
Lusatian people expanded building of strong and complex
fortifications, with the large permanent buildings and administrative
centres. Excavations of Lusatian hill forts document the substantial
development of trade and agriculture at that period. The richness and
the diversity of tombs increased considerably. The inhabitants of the
area manufactured arms, shields, jewellery, dishes, and statues.
The arrival of tribes from
Thrace disrupted the people of the
Kalenderberg culture, who lived in the hamlets located on the plain
(Sereď) and in the hill forts like Molpír, near Smolenice, in the
Little Carpathians. During Hallstatt times, monumental burial mounds
were erected in western Slovakia, with princely equipment consisting
of richly decorated vessels, ornaments and decorations. The burial
rites consisted entirely of cremation. The common people were buried
in flat urnfield cemeteries. A special role was given to weaving and
the production of textiles. The local power of the "Princes" of the
Hallstatt period disappeared in
Slovakia during the last century
before the middle of first millennium BCE, after strife between the
Scytho-Thracian people and locals, resulting in abandonment of the old
hill-forts. Relatively depopulated areas soon caught interest of
emerging Celtic tribes, who advanced from the south towards the north,
following the Slovak rivers, peacefully integrating into the remnants
of the local population.
La Tène Period
From around 500 BCE, the territory of modern-day
settled by Celts, who built powerful oppida on the sites of modern-day
Bratislava and Devín. Biatecs, silver coins with inscriptions in the
Latin alphabet, represent the first known use of writing in Slovakia.
At the northern regions, remnants of the local population of Lusatian
origin, together with Celtic and later Dacian influence, gave rise to
the unique Púchov culture, with advanced crafts and iron-working,
many hill-forts and fortified settlements of central type with coinage
of the "Velkobysterecky" type (no inscriptions, with a horse on one
side and a head on the other). This culture is often connected with
the Celtic tribe mentioned in Roman sources as Cotini.
A Roman inscription at the castle hill of
Trenčín (178–179 AD)
From 2 CE, the expanding
Roman Empire established and maintained
a series of outposts around and just north of the Danube, the largest
of which were known as
Carnuntum (whose remains are on the main road
Vienna and Bratislava) and
Szőny at the Slovak-Hungarian border). Such Roman border settlements
were built on the present area of Rusovce, currently a suburb of
Bratislava. The military fort was surrounded by a civilian vicus and
several farms of the villa rustica type. The name of this settlement
was Gerulata. The military fort had an auxiliary cavalry unit,
approximately 300 horses strong, modelled after the Cananefates. The
remains of Roman buildings have also survived in
(present-day downtown Bratislava), the suburbs of Dúbravka and
Bratislava Castle Hill.
Near the northernmost line of the Roman hinterlands, the Limes
Romanus, there existed the winter camp of Laugaricio (modern-day
Trenčín) where the Auxiliary of Legion II fought and prevailed
in a decisive battle over the Germanic
Quadi tribe in 179 CE
during the Marcomannic Wars. The Kingdom of Vannius, a kingdom founded
by the Germanic Suebian tribes of
Quadi and Marcomanni, as well as
several small Germanic and Celtic tribes, including the Osi and
Cotini, existed in western and central
Slovakia from 8–6 BCE to
Great invasions from the 4th to 7th centuries
In the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, the
Huns began to leave the Central
Asian steppes. They crossed the
Danube in 377 CE and occupied
Pannonia, which they used for 75 years as their base for
launching looting-raids into Western Europe. However, Attila's death
in 453 brought about the disappearance of the Hun tribe. In 568, a
Turko-Mongol tribal confederacy, the Avars, conducted its own invasion
into the Middle
Danube region. The Avars occupied the lowlands of the
Pannonian Plain, and established an empire dominating the Carpathian
In 623, the Slavic population living in the western parts of Pannonia
seceded from their empire after a revolution led by Samo, a Frankish
merchant. After 626, the Avar power started a gradual decline
but its reign lasted to 804.
The Slavic tribes settled in the territory of present-day
the 5th century. Western
Slovakia was the centre of Samo's empire in
the 7th century. A Slavic state known as the Principality of Nitra
arose in the 8th century and its ruler
Pribina had the first known
Christian church of the territory of present-day
by 828. Together with neighbouring Moravia, the principality formed
the core of the
Great Moravian Empire
Great Moravian Empire from 833. The high point of this
Slavonic empire came with the arrival of
Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius in
863, during the reign of
Duke Rastislav, and the territorial expansion
Duke Svätopluk I.
Moravia (830–before 907)
Main article: Great Moravia
A statue of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius in Žilina. In 863, they
introduced Christianity to what is now Slovakia.
Moravia arose around 830 when Mojmír I unified the Slavic
tribes settled north of the
Danube and extended the Moravian supremacy
over them. When Mojmír I endeavoured to secede from the supremacy
of the king of
East Francia in 846, King
Louis the German
Louis the German deposed him
and assisted Mojmír's nephew Rastislav (846–870) in acquiring the
throne. The new monarch pursued an independent policy: after
stopping a Frankish attack in 855, he also sought to weaken influence
of Frankish priests preaching in his realm.
Duke Rastislav asked the
Michael III to send teachers who would interpret
Christianity in the Slavic vernacular.
Upon Rastislav's request, two brothers, Byzantine officials and
Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius came in 863. Cyril developed
the first Slavic alphabet and translated the
Gospel into the Old
Church Slavonic language. Rastislav was also preoccupied with the
security and administration of his state. Numerous fortified castles
built throughout the country are dated to his reign and some of them
(e.g., Dowina, sometimes identified with
are also mentioned in connection with Rastislav by Frankish
Scire vos volumus, a letter written in 879 by
Pope John VIII
Pope John VIII to
During Rastislav's reign, the
Principality of Nitra
Principality of Nitra was given to his
nephew Svätopluk as an appanage. The rebellious prince allied
himself with the Franks and overthrew his uncle in 870. Similarly to
Svätopluk I (871–894) assumed the title of the
king (rex). During his reign, the
Great Moravian Empire
Great Moravian Empire reached its
greatest territorial extent, when not only present-day
Slovakia but also present-day northern and central Hungary, Lower
Austria, Bohemia, Silesia, Lusatia, southern
Poland and northern
Serbia belonged to the empire, but the exact borders of his domains
are still disputed by modern authors. Svatopluk also withstood
attacks of the semi-nomadic
Magyar tribes and the Bulgarian Empire,
although sometimes it was he who hired the Magyars when waging war
against East Francia.
In 880, Pope John VIII set up an independent ecclesiastical
province in Great
Moravia with Archbishop Methodius as its head. He
also named the German cleric
Wiching the Bishop of Nitra.
Certain and disputed borders of Great
Moravia under Svatopluk I
(according to modern historians)
After the death of Prince Svatopluk in 894, his sons Mojmír II
(894–906?) and Svatopluk II succeeded him as the Prince of
Moravia and the Prince of
Nitra respectively. However, they
started to quarrel for domination of the whole empire. Weakened by an
internal conflict as well as by constant warfare with Eastern Francia,
Moravia lost most of its peripheral territories.
In the meantime, the semi-nomadic Magyar tribes, possibly having
suffered defeat from the similarly nomadic Pechenegs, left their
territories east of the Carpathian Mountains, invaded the
Carpathian Basin and started to occupy the territory gradually around
896. Their armies' advance may have been promoted by continuous
wars among the countries of the region whose rulers still hired them
occasionally to intervene in their struggles.
It is not known what happened with both Mojmír II and
Svatopluk II because they are not mentioned in written sources
after 906. In three battles (4–5 July and 9 August 907) near
Bratislava, the Magyars routed Bavarian armies. Some historians put
this year as the date of the break-up of the Great Moravian Empire,
due to the Hungarian conquest; other historians take the date a little
bit earlier (to 902).
Moravia left behind a lasting legacy in Central and Eastern
Europe. The Glagolitic script and its successor Cyrillic were
disseminated to other Slavic countries, charting a new path in their
sociocultural development. The administrative system of Great Moravia
may have influenced the development of the administration of the
Kingdom of Hungary.
Main article: Kingdom of Hungary
Stephen I, King of Hungary
Following the disintegration of the
Great Moravian Empire
Great Moravian Empire at the turn
of the 10th century, the
Hungarians annexed the territory comprising
modern Slovakia. After their defeat on the
Lech River they abandoned
their nomadic ways; they settled in the centre of the Carpathian
valley, adopted Christianity and began to build a new state – the
From the 11th century, when the territory inhabited by the
Slavic-speaking population of Danubian Basin was incorporated into the
Kingdom of Hungary, until 1918, when the Austro-Hungarian empire
collapsed, the territory of modern
Slovakia was an integral part of
the Hungarian state. The ethnic composition became more
diverse with the arrival of the Carpathian
Germans in the 13th
century, and the
Jews in the 14th century.
A significant decline in the population resulted from the invasion of
the Mongols in 1241 and the subsequent famine. However, in medieval
times the area of the present-day
Slovakia was characterised by German
Jewish immigration, burgeoning towns, construction of numerous
stone castles, and the cultivation of the arts. In 1465, King
Matthias Corvinus founded the Hungarian Kingdom's third university, in
Pressburg (Bratislava, Pozsony), but it was closed in 1490 after his
Hussites also settled in the region after the Hussite
A soldier from a Slovak volunteers' corps during the fight for
independence from the Kingdom of Hungary
Owing to the Ottoman Empire's expansion into Hungarian territory,
Bratislava was designated the new capital of
Hungary in 1536, ahead of
the old Hungarian capital of
Buda falling in 1541. It become part of
Habsburg monarchy, marking the beginning of a new era.
The territory comprising modern Slovakia, then known as Upper Hungary,
became the place of settlement for nearly two-thirds of the Magyar
nobility fleeing the Turks and far more linguistically and culturally
Hungarian than it was before. Partly thanks to old Hussite
Slovaks studying under Martin Luther, the region then
experienced a growth in Protestants. For a short period in the
17th century, most
Slovaks were Lutherans. They defied the
Catholic Habsburgs and sought protection from neighboring
Transylvania, a rival continuation of the Magyar state that practiced
religious tolerance and normally had Ottoman backing. Upper Hungary,
modern Slovakia, became the site of frequent wars between Catholics in
the west territory and
Protestants in the east, also against Turks,
the frontier was on a constant state of military alert and heavily
fortified by castles and citadels often manned by
Catholic German and
Slovak troops on the
Habsburg side. In 1655, the printing press at the
Trnava university produced the Jesuit Benedikt Szöllősi's Cantus
Catholic hymnal in the
Slovak language that reaffirmed
links to the earlier works of Cyril and Methodius. The Ottoman wars,
Austria and Transylvania, and the frequent
insurrections against the
Habsburg Monarchy inflicted a great deal of
devastation, especially in the rural areas. In the Austro-Turkish
War (1663–1664) a Turkish army led by the
Grand Vizier decimated
Slovakia. Even so,
Slovaks from the Principality of Upper Hungary
fought alongside the Turks against the Austrians at the Battle of
Vienna of 1683. As the Turks withdrew from
Hungary in the late 17th
century, the importance of the territory comprising modern Slovakia
Pressburg retained its status as the capital of
Hungary until 1848, when it was transferred back to Buda.
During the revolution of 1848–49, the
Slovaks supported the Austrian
Emperor, hoping for independence from the Hungarian part of the Dual
Monarchy, but they failed to achieve their aim. Thereafter relations
between the nationalities deteriorated (see Magyarization),
culminating in the secession of
Hungary after World War
Main article: Czechoslovakia
A monument to
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Milan Štefánik – both
key figures in early Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovak declaration of independence
Czechoslovak declaration of independence by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
in the United States, 1918.
Slovakia and the regions of Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia
Carpathian Ruthenia formed a common state, Czechoslovakia, with
the borders confirmed by the Treaty of Saint Germain and Treaty of
Trianon. In 1919, during the chaos following the break-up of
Czechoslovakia was formed with numerous
Hungarians within the newly set borders. A Slovak patriot Milan
Rastislav Štefánik (1880–1919), who helped organise Czechoslovak
regiments against Austria-
Hungary during the First World War, died in
a plane crash. In the peace following the World War, Czechoslovakia
emerged as a sovereign European state. It provided what were at the
time rather extensive rights to its minorities and remained the only
democracy in this part of
Europe in the interwar period.
During the Interwar period, democratic
Czechoslovakia was allied with
France, and also with
Yugoslavia (Little Entente);
Locarno Treaties of 1925 left East European security
Slovaks enjoyed a period of relative prosperity.
There was progress in not only the development of the country's
economy, but also culture and educational opportunities. The minority
Germans came to accept their role in the new country and relations
Austria were good. Yet the
Great Depression caused a sharp
economic downturn, followed by political disruption and insecurity in
Czechoslovakia came under continuous pressure from the
revisionist governments of
Germany and Hungary. Eventually this led to
Munich Agreement of September 1938, which allowed
Nazi Germany to
partially dismember the country by occupying what was called the
Sudetenland, a region with a German-speaking majority and bordering
Germany and Austria. The remainder of "rump"
Czecho-Slovakia and included a greater degree of Slovak
political autonomy. Southern and eastern Slovakia, however, was
Hungary at the
First Vienna Award
First Vienna Award of November 1938.
World War II
World War II (1939–1945)
Main articles: Slovak
Republic (1939–1945) and
Slovakia during World
Adolf Hitler greeting Jozef Tiso, 1941
Munich Agreement and its
Vienna Award, Nazi Germany
threatened to annex part of
Slovakia and allow the remaining regions
to be partitioned by
Poland unless independence was
Slovakia seceded from
Czecho-Slovakia in March 1939
and allied itself, as demanded by Germany, with Hitler's
coalition. Secession had created the first Slovak state in
history. The government of the First Slovak Republic, led by Jozef
Tiso and Vojtech Tuka, was strongly influenced by
gradually became a puppet regime in many respects.
Meanwhile, the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, sought to reverse the
Munich Agreement and the subsequent German occupation of
Czechoslovakia, and to return the
Republic to its 1937 boundaries. The
government operated from
London and it was ultimately considered, by
those countries that recognised it, the legitimate government for
Czechoslovakia throughout the Second World War.
Troops of Slovak anti-Nazi resistance movement in 1944
Jews out of 80,000 who remained on Slovak territory after
Hungary had seized southern regions were deported and taken to German
death camps. Thousands of Jews, Gypsies and other politically
undesirable people remained in Slovak forced labor camps in Sereď,
Vyhne, and Nováky. Tiso, through the granting of presidential
exceptions, allowed between 1,000 and 4,000 people crucial to the war
economy to avoid deportations. Under Tiso's government and
Hungarian occupation, the vast majority of Slovakia's pre-war Jewish
population (between 75,000–105,000 individuals including those who
perished from the occupied territory) were murdered. The
Slovak state paid
Germany 500 RM per every deported Jew for
"retraining and accommodation" (similar payment, but only 30 RM was
paid by Croatia).
After it became clear that the Soviet
Red Army was going to push the
Nazis out of eastern and central Europe, an anti-Nazi resistance
movement launched a fierce armed insurrection, known as the Slovak
National Uprising, near the end of summer 1944. A bloody German
occupation and a guerilla war followed.
Germans and their local
collaborators completely destroyed 93 villages and massacred thousands
of civilians, often hundreds at a time. The territory of Slovakia
was liberated by Soviet and Romanian forces by the end of April 1945.
Soviet influence and Communist party rule (1948–1989)
Warsaw Pact invasion of
Czechoslovakia in 1968
Velvet Revolution ended 41 years of authoritarian Communist rule
Czechoslovakia in 1989.
After World War II,
Czechoslovakia was reconstituted and Jozef
Tiso was executed in 1947 for collaboration with the Nazis. More than
80,000 Hungarians and 32,000 Germans were forced to leave
Slovakia, in a series of population transfers initiated by the Allies
at the Potsdam Conference. Out of about 130,000 Carpathian Germans
Slovakia in 1938, by 1947 only some 20,000 remained.
As a result of the Yalta Conference,
Czechoslovakia came under the
influence and later under direct occupation of the Soviet Union and
its Warsaw Pact, after a coup in 1948. The country
was invaded by the
Warsaw Pact forces (with the exception of Romania
and Albania) in 1968, ending a period of liberalisation under the
leadership of Alexander Dubček. In 1969
Czechoslovakia became a
federation of the Czech Socialist
Republic and the Slovak Socialist
Czechoslovakia was never part of the Soviet Union and
remained independent to a degree.
Establishment of the Slovak
Republic (after 1993)
Slovakia became a member of the
European Union in 2004 and signed the
Lisbon Treaty in 2007.
The end of Communist rule in
Czechoslovakia in 1989, during the
peaceful Velvet Revolution, was followed once again by the country's
dissolution, this time into two successor states. The word "socialist"
was dropped in the names of the two republics, i.e. the Slovak
Republic was renamed Slovak Republic. In July 17, 1992
Slovakia, led by Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar, declared itself a
sovereign state, meaning that its laws took precedence over those of
the federal government. Throughout the autumn of 1992, Mečiar and
Czech Prime Minister
Václav Klaus negotiated the details for
disbanding the federation. In November the federal parliament voted to
dissolve the country officially on December 31, 1992.
Republic and the Czech
Republic went their separate ways
after 1 January 1993, an event sometimes called the Velvet
Slovakia has remained a close partner with the Czech
Republic. Both countries co-operate with
Poland in the
Slovakia became a member of
NATO on 29 March 2004 and
European Union on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2009, Slovakia
Euro as its national currency.
Main article: Geography of Slovakia
See also: Geomorphological division of Slovakia
Slovakia lies between latitudes 47° and 50° N, and longitudes 16°
and 23° E.
The Slovak landscape is noted primarily for its mountainous nature,
Carpathian Mountains extending across most of the northern
half of the country. Among these mountain ranges are the high peaks of
Fatra-Tatra Area (including Tatra Mountains, Greater Fatra and
Lesser Fatra), Slovak Ore Mountains,
Slovak Central Mountains
Slovak Central Mountains or
Beskids. The largest lowland is the fertile
Danubian Lowland in the
southwest, followed by the
Eastern Slovak Lowland
Eastern Slovak Lowland in the
southeast. Forests cover 41% of Slovak land surface.
Main article: Tatra Mountains
Panorama of the High Tatras
Gerlachovský štít (2,655 metres or 8,711 feet), the highest peak in
Kriváň (2,495 metres or 8,186 feet), the country's symbol on 1,2 and
5 euro cents
Lomnický štít (2,634 metres or 8,642 feet)
Skalnaté pleso Observatory
Skalnaté pleso Observatory (1,751 metres or 5,745 feet)
Bystrá (2,248 metres or 7,375 feet)
Tatras, with 29 peaks higher than 2,500 metres (8,202 feet) AMSL, are
the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. Tatras occupy
an area of 750 square kilometres (290 sq mi), of which the
greater part 600 square kilometres (232 sq mi) lies in
Slovakia. They are divided into several parts.
To the north, close to the Polish border, are the
High Tatras which
are a popular hiking and skiing destination and home to many scenic
lakes and valleys as well as the highest point in Slovakia, the
Gerlachovský štít at 2,655 metres (8,711 ft) and the country's
highly symbolic mountain Kriváň. To the west are the Western Tatras
with their highest peak of Bystrá at 2,248 metres (7,375 ft) and
to the east are the Belianske Tatras, smallest by area.
Separated from the Tatras proper by the valley of the
Váh river are
the Low Tatras, with their highest peak of
Ďumbier at 2,043 metres
The Tatra mountain range is represented as one of the three hills on
the coat of arms of Slovakia.
Main article: List of national parks of Slovakia
A topographic map of Slovakia
There are 9 national parks in Slovakia, they cover 6.5% of Slovak land
Tatra National Park
738 square kilometres (73,800 ha)
Low Tatras National Park
728 square kilometres (72,800 ha)
Veľká Fatra National Park
404 square kilometres (40,400 ha)
Slovak Karst National Park
346 square kilometres (34,600 ha)
Poloniny National Park
298 square kilometres (29,800 ha)
Malá Fatra National Park
226 square kilometres (22,600 ha)
Muránska planina National Park
203 square kilometres (20,300 ha)
Slovak Paradise National Park
197 square kilometres (19,700 ha)
Pieniny National Park
38 square kilometres (3,800 ha)
Tatra National Park
Low Tatras National Park
Pieniny National Park
Slovak Paradise National Park
Malá Fatra National Park
Main article: List of caves in Slovakia
Slovakia has hundreds of caves and caverns under its mountains, of
which 30 are open to the public. Most of the caves have
stalagmites rising from the ground and stalactites hanging from above.
There are currently five Slovak caves under UNESCO's World Heritage
Site status. They are Dobšinská Ice Cave, Domica, Gombasek Cave,
Jasovská Cave and Ochtinská Aragonite Cave. Other caves open to the
public include Belianska Cave, Demänovská Cave of Liberty,
Demänovská Ice Cave
Demänovská Ice Cave or Bystrianska Cave.
Main article: List of rivers of Slovakia
Most of the rivers stem in the Slovak mountains. Some only pass
through and the others make a natural border with surrounding
countries (more than 620 kilometres (385 mi)). For example, the
Dunajec (17 kilometres (11 mi)) to the north, the
kilometres (107 mi)) to the south or the Morava (119 kilometres
(74 mi)) to the West. The total length of the rivers on Slovak
territory is 49,774 kilometres (30,928 mi).
The longest river in
Slovakia is the
Váh (403 kilometres
(250 mi)), the shortest is the Čierna voda. Other important and
large rivers are the Myjava, the
Nitra (197 kilometres (122 mi)),
the Orava, the
Hron (298 kilometres (185 mi)), the
kilometres (120 mi)), the Slaná (110 kilometres (68 mi)),
Ipeľ (232 kilometres (144 mi), forming the border with
Hungary), the Bodrog, the Laborec, the
Latorica and the Ondava.
The biggest volume of discharge in Slovak rivers is during spring,
when the snow melts from the mountains. The only exception is the
Danube, whose discharge is the greatest during summer when the snow
melts in the Alps. The
Danube is the largest river that flows through
Štrbské pleso natural lake is a popular tourist destination in the
Zelené pleso Kežmarské
Veľké Hincovo pleso
Veľké Hincovo pleso is the biggest and deepest mountain lake in the
Slovak High Tatras
Žabie pleso in the High Tatras
Zbojnícke Ľadové pleso in Veľká Studená dolina
There are around 175 naturally formed tarns in High Tatras. With an
area of 20 hectares (49 acres) and its depth of 53 metres
Veľké Hincovo pleso
Veľké Hincovo pleso is the largest and the deepest
tarn in Slovakia. Other tarns in the
High Tatras include Štrbské
pleso, Popradské pleso, Skalnaté pleso, Zbojnícke pleso, Velické
pleso, Žabie pleso, Krivánske zelené pleso or Roháčske plesá.
Other than in the
High Tatras there are Vrbické pleso in Low Tatras,
Morské oko and Vinné jazero in
Vihorlat Mountains or Jezerské
jazero in Spišská Magura.
The largest dams on the river
Liptovská Mara and Sĺňava.
Other well-known dams are Oravská priehrada in the north, Zemplínska
Domaša in the east, Senecké jazerá,
Zlaté piesky or
Zelená voda in the west.
Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification types of Slovakia
The Slovak climate lies between the temperate and continental climate
zones with relatively warm summers and cold, cloudy and humid winters.
Temperature extremes are between −41 to 40.3 °C (−41.8 to
104.5 °F) although temperatures below −30 °C
(−22 °F) are rare. The weather differs from the mountainous
north to the plains in the south.
The warmest region is
Bratislava and Southern
Slovakia where the
temperatures may reach 30 °C (86 °F) in summer,
occasionally to 39 °C (102 °F) in Hurbanovo. During night,
the temperatures drop to 20 °C (68 °F). The daily
temperatures in winter average in the range of −5 °C
(23 °F) to 10 °C (50 °F). During night it may be
freezing, but usually not below −10 °C (14 °F).
In Slovakia, there are four seasons, each season (Spring, Summer,
Autumn and Winter) lasts three months. The dry continental air brings
in the summer heat and winter frosts. In contrast, oceanic air brings
rainfalls and reduces summer temperatures. In the lowlands and valleys
fog is often, especially in winter.
Spring starts with 21 March and is characterised by colder weather
with average daily temperature of 9 °C (48 °F) in the
first weeks and about 14 °C (57 °F) in May and 17 °C
(63 °F) in June. In Slovakia, the weather and climate in the
spring is very unstable.
Summer in Spišské Podhradie
Winter in Banská Štiavnica; the town is a
UNESCO World Heritage
Summer starts on 22 June and is usually characterised by hot weather
with daily temperatures exceeding 30 °C (86 °F). July is
the warmest month with temperatures up to about 37 to 40 °C (99
to 104 °F), especially in regions of southern
Slovakia – in
the urban area of Komárno,
Hurbanovo or Štúrovo. Showers or
thunderstorms may occur because of the summer monsoon called Medardova
kvapka (Medard drop – 40 days of rain).
Summer in Northern Slovakia
is usually mild with temperatures around 25 °C (77 °F)
(less in the mountains).
Slovakia starts on 23 September and is mostly characterised
by wet weather and wind, although the first weeks can be very warm and
sunny. The average temperature in September is around 14 °C
(57 °F), in November to 3 °C (37 °F). Late September
and early October is a dry and sunny time of year (so-called Indian
Winter starts on 21 December with temperatures around −5 to
−10 °C (23 to 14 °F). In December and January it is
usually snowing, these are the coldest months of the year. At lower
altitudes, snow does not stay the whole winter, it is changing into
the thaw and frost. Winters are colder in the mountains, where the
snow usually lasts until March or April and the night temperatures
fall to −20 °C (−4 °F) and colder.
See also: Endemic Plant Species in Slovakia
Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica in the Tatra Mountains
Slovakia signed the Rio
Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on Biological Diversity on 19 May
1993, and became a party to the convention on 25 August 1994. It
has subsequently produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action
Plan, which was received by the convention on 2 November 1998.
The biodiversity of
Slovakia comprises animals (such as annellids,
arthropods, molluscs, nematodes and vertebrates), fungi (Ascomycota,
Glomeromycota and Zygomycota),
micro-organisms (including Mycetozoa), and plants.
Over 4000 species of fungi have been recorded from Slovakia.
Of these, nearly 1500 are lichen-forming species. Some of these
fungi are undoubtedly endemic, but not enough is known to say how
many. Of the lichen-forming species, about 40% have been classified as
threatened in some way. About 7% are apparently extinct, 9%
endangered, 17% vulnerable, and 7% rare. The conservation status of
non-lichen-forming fungi in
Slovakia is not well documented, but there
is a red list for its larger fungi.
Politics and government
Politics of Slovakia
Politics of Slovakia and
Law of Slovakia
Prime Minister of Slovakia
Prime Minister of Slovakia and List of Presidents of
Grassalkovich Palace in
Bratislava is the seat of the President of
The National Council building in Bratislava
Summer Palace, the seat of the government of Slovakia
Slovakia is a parliamentary democratic republic with a multi-party
system. The last parliamentary elections were held on 5 March 2016 and
two rounds of presidential elections took place on 15 and 29 March
The Slovak head of state and the formal head of the executive is the
president (currently Andrej Kiska), though with very limited powers.
The president is elected by direct, popular vote under the two-round
system for a five-year term. Most executive power lies with the head
of government, the prime minister (currently Peter Pellegrini), who is
usually the leader of the winning party, but he/she needs to form a
majority coalition in the parliament. The prime minister is appointed
by the president. The remainder of the cabinet is appointed by the
president on the recommendation of the prime minister.
Slovak highest legislative body is the 150-seat unicameral National
Council of the Slovak
Republic (Národná rada Slovenskej republiky).
Delegates are elected for a four-year term on the basis of
Slovak highest judicial body is the Constitutional Court of Slovakia
(Ústavný súd), which rules on constitutional issues. The
13 members of this court are appointed by the president from a
slate of candidates nominated by parliament.
The Constitution of the Slovak
Republic was ratified 1 September 1992,
and became effective 1 January 1993. It was amended in September 1998
to allow direct election of the president and again in February 2001
due to EU admission requirements. The civil law system is based on
Austro-Hungarian codes. The legal code was modified to comply with the
obligations of Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) and to expunge the Marxist–Leninist legal theory. Slovakia
accepts the compulsory
International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice jurisdiction
Main office holders
15 June 2014
22 March 2018
Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic
23 March 2016
Deputy Speakers of the National Council of the Slovak Republic
Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová
Freedom and Solidarity
23 March 2016
23 March 2016
23 March 2016
23 March 2016
Main article: Foreign relations of Slovakia
See also: List of diplomatic missions of Slovakia
Japan in Bratislava
Slovak Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Slovakia joined the
European Union and
NATO in 2004 and the Eurozone
Slovakia is a member of the
United Nations (since 1993) and
participates in its specialised agencies. The country was, on 10
October 2005, elected to a two-year term on the UN Security Council
from 2006 to 2007. It is also a member of the Schengen Area, the
Europe (CoE), the Organization for Security and Cooperation
Europe (OSCE), the
World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European
Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and part of the Visegrad Four
(V4, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland).
Republic and the Czech
Republic entered into a Customs
Union upon the division of
Czechoslovakia in 1993, which facilitates a
relatively free flow of goods and services.
Slovakia maintains diplomatic relations with 134 countries, primarily
through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As of December 2013, Slovakia
maintained 90 missions abroad, including 64 embassies, seven missions
to multilateral organisations, nine consulates-general, one consular
office, one Slovak Economic and Cultural Office and eight Slovak
Institutes. There are 44 embassies and 35 honorary consulates in
Main article: Military of Slovakia
Slovak Air Force
Slovak Air Force
Special Forces Regiment operating in eastern Afghanistan
The Armed Forces of the Slovak
Republic number 14,000 uniformed
NATO in March 2004. The country has
been an active participant in US- and NATO-led military actions. There
is a joint Czech-Slovak peacekeeping force in Kosovo. From 2006 the
army transformed into a fully professional organisation and compulsory
military service was abolished.
Slovak Ground Forces are made up of two active mechanised infantry
brigades. The Air and Air Defence Forces comprise one wing of
fighters, one wing of utility helicopters, and one SAM brigade.
Training and support forces comprise a National Support Element
(Multifunctional Battalion, Transport Battalion, Repair Battalion), a
garrison force of the capital city Bratislava, as well as a training
battalion, and various logistics and communication and information
bases. Miscellaneous forces under the direct command of the General
Staff include the 5th
Special Forces Regiment.
The US State Department in 2015 reported:
"The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;
however, there were problems in some areas. Notable human rights
problems included official corruption; a judiciary that was
inefficient and engendered low public trust; and widespread
discrimination against Roma minority. Other human rights problems
included: excessive use of police force against migrants, physical
mistreatment of detainees; lack of independent oversight of police;
targeting of the press for civil defamation suits by members of the
political, judicial, and financial elite; expressions of anti-Semitism
by right-wing groups; and demeaning statements and demonstrations
against refugees and migrants."
Human rights in
Slovakia are guaranteed by the Constitution of
Slovakia from the year 1992 and by multiple international laws signed
Slovakia between 1948 and 2006.
Slovakia excludes multiple
Main articles: Regions of Slovakia, Districts of Slovakia, and List of
municipalities and towns in Slovakia
Bratislava, capital and largest city of Slovakia
As for administrative division,
Slovakia is subdivided into 8 krajov
(singular – kraj, usually translated as "region"), each of which is
named after its principal city. Regions have enjoyed a certain degree
of autonomy since 2002. Their self-governing bodies are referred to as
Self-governing (or autonomous) Regions (sg. samosprávny kraj, pl.
samosprávne kraje) or Upper-Tier Territorial Units (sg. vyšší
územný celok, pl. vyššie územné celky, abbr. VÚC).
The "kraje" are subdivided into many okresy (sg. okres, usually
translated as counties).
Slovakia currently has 79 districts.
The okresy are further divided into obcí (sg. obec, usually
translated as "municipality"). There are currently 2,891 obcí.
In terms of economics and unemployment rate, the western regions are
richer than eastern regions.
Bratislava is the third richest region of
European Union by GDP (PPP) per capita (after
Luxembourg City), GDP at purchasing power parity is about three times
higher than in other Slovak regions.
Name in English
Name in Slovak
Banská Bystrica Region
Main article: Economy of Slovakia
National Bank of Slovakia
National Bank of Slovakia in Bratislava
The Slovak economy is a developed, high-income economy, with the
GDP per capita equalling 77% of the average of the
European Union in
2016. The country has difficulties addressing regional imbalances
in wealth and employment. GDP per capita ranges from 188% of EU
Bratislava to 54% in Eastern Slovakia.
OECD in 2017 reported:
Republic continues exhibiting robust economic performance,
with strong growth backed by a sound financial sector, low public debt
and high international competitiveness drawing on large inward
Slovakia was ranked by the
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund as the
39th richest country in the world (out of 187 countries), with
purchasing power parity per capita GDP of $32,895. The country used to
be dubbed the "Tatra Tiger".
Slovakia successfully transformed from a
centrally planned economy to a market-driven economy. Major
privatisations are completed, the banking sector is almost completely
in private hands, and foreign investment has risen.
Slovakia is part of the Schengen Area, the EU single market, and since
Eurozone (dark blue)
The Slovak economy is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe
and 3rd fastest in eurozone (2017). In 2007, 2008 and 2010 (with GDP
growth of 10.5%, 6% and 4% retrospectively). In 2016, more than 86% of
Slovak exports went to European Union, and more than 50% of Slovak
imports came from other
European Union member states.
The ratio of government debt to GDP in
Slovakia reached 52% by the end
of 2016, far below the
Unemployment, peaking at 19% at the end of 1999, decreased to 5,95% at
the end of 2017, lowest recorded rate in Slovak history.
Inflation dropped from an average annual rate of 12% in 2000 to just
3.3% in 2002, an election year, but it rose again in 2003–2004
because of rising labour costs and taxes. It reached only 1% in 2010
which is the lowest recorded rate since 1993. The rate was at 4%
Slovakia adopted the
Euro currency on 1 January 2009 as the 16th
member of the Eurozone. The euro in
Slovakia was approved by the
European commission on 7 May 2008. The
Slovak koruna was revalued on
28 May 2008 to 30.126 for 1 euro, which was also the exchange rate
for the euro.
High-rise buildings in Bratislava's business districts
Slovakia is an attractive country for foreign investors mainly because
of its low wages, low tax rates and well educated labour force. In
Slovakia has been pursuing a policy of encouraging
foreign investment. FDI inflow grew more than 600% from 2000 and
cumulatively reached an all-time high of $17.3 billion in 2006,
or around $22,000 per capita by the end of 2008.
In March 2008, the Ministry of Finance announced that Slovakia's
economy is developed enough to stop being an aid receiver from the
Slovakia became an aid provider at the end of 2008.
See also: Automotive industry in Slovakia
ESET headquarters in Bratislava
Although Slovakia's GDP comes mainly from the tertiary (services)
sector, the industrial sector also plays an important role within its
economy. The main industry sectors are car manufacturing and
electrical engineering. Since 2007,
Slovakia has been the world's
largest producer of cars per capita, with a total of 1.040.000
cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone. There are
currently three automobile assembly plants: Volkswagen's in Bratislava
Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, Audi Q8, Porsche
Cayenne, Lamborghini Urus), PSA Peugeot Citroën's in
Peugeot 208, Citroën C3 Picasso) and Kia Motors'
(models: Kia Cee'd, Kia Sportage, Kia Venga). In 2018, Jaguar Land
Rover is set to open the country's fourth automobile assembly plant in
From electrical engineering companies,
Foxconn has a factory at Nitra
for LCD TV manufacturing, Samsung at
Galanta for computer monitors and
television sets manufacturing.
ESET is an IT security company from
Bratislava with more than
1,000 employees worldwide at present. Their branch offices are in
the United States, Ireland, United Kingdom, Argentina, the Czech
Singapore and Poland.
A graphical depiction of Slovakia's product exports in 28 colour-coded
Bratislava's geographical position in Central
Europe has long made
Bratislava a crossroads for international trade traffic.
Various ancient trade routes, such as the
Amber Road and the Danube
waterway, have crossed territory of present-day Bratislava. Today,
Bratislava is the road, railway, waterway and airway hub.
Nuclear Power Plant Mochovce
Slovakia produced a total of 28 393
GWh of electricity while
at the same time consumed 28 786 GWh. The slightly higher level of
consumption than the capacity of production (- 393 GWh) meant the
country was not self-sufficient in energy sourcing.
electricity mainly from the Czech
Republic (9 961
GWh – 73.6% of
total import) and exported mainly to
Hungary (10 231
GWh – 78.2% of
Nuclear energy accounts for 53.8% of total electricity production in
Slovakia, followed by 18.1% of thermal power energy, 15.1% by hydro
power energy, 2% by solar energy, 9.6% by other sources and the rest
1.4% is imported.
The two nuclear power-plants in
Slovakia are in Jaslovské Bohunice
and Mochovce, each of them containing two operating reactors. Prior to
the accession of
Slovakia to the EU in 2004, the government agreed to
turn-off the V1 block of Jaslovské Bohunice power-plant, built in
1978. After deactivating the last of the two reactors of the V1 block
Slovakia instantly stopped being self-dependent in energy
production. Currently there is another block (V2)
with two active reactors in Jaslovské Bohunice. It is scheduled for
decommissioning in 2025. Two new reactors are under construction in
Mochovce plant. The nuclear power production in
draws attention to Austrian green-energy activists who occasionally
organise protests and block the borders between the two
Main article: Transport in Slovakia
A tram in the northern town of Vysoké Tatry
Bratislava Airport, the main international airport of Slovakia.
Highway network in
Slovakia as of 2016
There are four main highways D1 to D4 and eight express ways R1 to R8.
Most of them are still in the planning phase.
The D1 motorway connects
Bratislava to Trnava, Nitra, Trenčín,
Žilina and beyond, while the D2 motorway connects it to Prague, Brno
Budapest in the north-south direction. A large part of
D4 motorway (an outer bypass), which should ease the pressure on
Bratislava's highway system, is scheduled to open in 2020.
The A6 motorway to
Slovakia directly to the
Austrian motorway system and was opened on 19 November 2007.
Bratislava there are currently five bridges standing over the
Danube (from upstream to downstream): Lafranconi Bridge, Nový Most
(The New Bridge or Most SNP), Starý most (The Old Bridge), Most
Prístavný most (The Harbor Bridge).
The city's inner network of roadways is made on the radial-circular
shape. Nowadays, the city experiences a sharp increase in the road
traffic, increasing pressure on the road network. There are about
200,000 registered cars in Bratislava, (approximately 2 inhabitants
A train of Railways of Slovak Republic
Bratislava's M. R. Štefánik Airport is the main
international airport in Slovakia. It is located 9 kilometres (5.6
miles) northeast of the city centre. It serves civil and governmental,
scheduled and unscheduled domestic and international flights. The
current runways support the landing of all common types of aircraft
currently used. The airport has enjoyed rapidly growing passenger
traffic in recent years; it served 279,028 passengers in 2000,
1,937,642 in 2006 and 2,024,142 in 2007. Smaller airports served
by passenger airlines include those in
Košice and Poprad.
Bratislava is one of the two international river ports in
Slovakia. The port connects
Bratislava to international boat traffic,
especially the interconnection from the
North Sea to the
Black Sea via
Danube Canal. Additionally, tourist boats operate from
Bratislava's passenger port, including routes to Devín,
Main article: Tourism in Slovakia
List of castles in Slovakia
List of castles in Slovakia and List of World Heritage Sites
The centre of
Bardejov – a
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Cable cars at
Jasná in the Tatra Mountains
The Old Town in Bratislava
Slovakia features natural landscapes, mountains, caves, medieval
castles and towns, folk architecture, spas and ski resorts. More than
5 million tourists visited
Slovakia in 2016, and the most attractive
destinations are the capital of
Bratislava and the High Tatras.
Most visitors come from the Czech
Republic (about 26%),
Slovakia contains many castles, most of which are in ruins. The best
known castles include
Bojnice Castle (often used as a filming
location), Spiš Castle, (on the
UNESCO list), Orava Castle,
Bratislava Castle, and the ruins of
Devín Castle. Čachtice Castle
was once the home of the world's most prolific female serial killer,
the 'Bloody Lady', Elizabeth Báthory.
Slovakia's position in
Europe and the country's past (part of the
multicultural Kingdom of Hungary, the
Habsburg monarchy and
Czechoslovakia) made many cities and towns similar to the cities in
Republic (such as Prague),
Austria (such as Salzburg) or
Hungary (such as Budapest). A historical center with at least one
square has been preserved in many towns. Large historical centers can
be found in Bratislava, Trenčín, Košice, Banská Štiavnica,
Levoča, and Trnava. Historical centers have been going through
restoration in recent years.
Historical churches can be found in virtually every village and town
in Slovakia. Most of them are built in the Baroque style, but there
are also many examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, for
example Banská Bystrica,
Bardejov and Spišská Kapitula. The
Basilica of St. James in
Levoča with the tallest wood-carved altar in
the world and the Church of the Holy Spirit in
Žehra with medieval
UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The St. Martin's Concathedral
Bratislava served as the coronation church for the Kingdom of
Hungary. The oldest sacral buildings in
Slovakia stem from the Great
Moravian period in the 9th century. Very precious structures are the
complete wooden churches of northern and northern-eastern Slovakia.
Most were built from the 15th century onwards by Catholics, Lutherans
and members of eastern-rite churches.
Typical souvenirs from
Slovakia are dolls dressed in folk costumes,
ceramic objects, crystal glass, carved wooden figures, črpáks
(wooden pitchers), fujaras (a folk instrument on the
UNESCO list) and
valaškas (a decorated folk hatchet) and above all products made from
corn husks and wire, notably human figures. Souvenirs can be bought in
the shops run by the state organisation ÚĽUV (Ústredie ľudovej
umeleckej výroby – Centre of Folk Art Production). Dielo shop chain
sells works of Slovak artists and craftsmen. These shops are mostly
found in towns and cities.
Prices of imported products are generally the same as in the
neighbouring countries, whereas prices of local products and services,
especially food, are usually lower.
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Slovak Academy of Sciences
Slovak Academy of Sciences has been the most important scientific
and research institution in the country since 1953.
Slovaks have made
notable scientific and technical contributions during the history. The
list of important scientists and their inventions include:
Jozef Murgaš (1864–1929), contributed to development of wireless
Ján Bahýľ (1856–1916), constructed the first motor-driven
helicopter (four years before Bréguet and Cornu)
Štefan Banič (1870–1941), constructed the first actively used
Aurel Stodola (1859–1942), created a bionic arm in 1916 and
pioneered steam and gas turbines
John Dopyera (1893–1988), constructed a resonator guitar, an
important contribution to the development of acoustic string
Eugen Čerňan (1934–2017), American astronaut of Slovak origin was
the last man to visit the Moon
Ivan Bella (1964), first Slovak in space, having participated in
a 9-day joint Russian-French-Slovak mission on the space station Mir
Daniel Gajdusek (1923–2008), (of Slovak ancestry) won the Nobel
Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1976 for work on Kuru
Slovakia is currently in the negotiation process of becoming a member
of the European Space Agency. Observer status was granted in 2010,
Slovakia signed the General Agreement on Cooperation in
which information about ongoing education programmes was shared and
Slovakia was invited to various negotiations of the ESA. In 2015,
Slovakia signed the European Cooperating State Agreement based on
Slovakia committed to the finance entrance programme named PECS
(Plan for the European Cooperating States) which serves as preparation
for full membership. Slovak research and development organizations can
apply for funding of projects regarding space technologies
advancement. Full membership of
Slovakia in the ESA is expected in
2020 after signing the ESA Convention.
Slovakia will be obliged to set
state budget inclusive ESA funding.
Main article: Demographics of Slovakia
Further information: List of Slovaks
Largest cities or towns in Slovakia
Štatistický úrad Slovenskej republiky – 31 December 2011
Spišská Nová Ves
Ethnic makeup of
Slovakia according to Census 2011
Linguistic makeup of
Slovakia according to Census 2011
According to the 2011 census, the majority of the inhabitants of
Hungarians are the largest ethnic
minority (8.5%). Other ethnic groups include Roma (2%), Czechs
Rusyns (0.6%) and others or unspecified (7.6%).
Unofficial estimates on the Roma population are much higher, around
Slovakia was estimated to have a total fertility rate of
1.33 (i.e., the average woman will have 1.33 children in
her lifetime), which is significantly below the replacement level and
is one of the lowest rates among EU countries.
The largest waves of Slovak emigration occurred in the 19th and early
20th centuries. In the 1990 US census, 1.8 million people
self-identified as having Slovak ancestry.
Main article: Slovak language
See also: History of the Slovak language
Slovak alphabet has 46 characters, of which 3 are digraphs and 18
The official language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic language
family. Hungarian is widely spoken in the southern regions, and Rusyn
is used in some parts of the Northeast. Minority languages hold
co-official status in the municipalities in which the size of the
minority population meets the legal threshold of 15% in two
Slovakia is ranked among the top EU countries regarding the knowledge
of foreign languages. In 2007, 68% of the population aged from 25 to
64 years claimed to speak two or more foreign languages, finishing 2nd
highest in the European Union. The best known foreign language in
Slovakia is Czech.
Eurostat report also shows that 98.3% of Slovak
students in the upper secondary education take on two foreign
languages, ranking highly over the average 60.1% in the European
The deaf community uses the Slovak Sign Language. Even though spoken
Czech and Slovak are similar, the Slovak Sign language is not
particularly close to Czech Sign Language.
Main article: Religion in Slovakia
See also: History of Christianity in Slovakia
Basilica of St. Giles
Basilica of St. Giles in Bardejov
St. Elisabeth Cathedral
St. Elisabeth Cathedral in
Košice is Slovakia's largest church
Cross at the top of the Slavkovský štít
The Slovak constitution guarantees freedom of religion. In 2011, 62.0%
Slovaks identified themselves as Roman Catholics, 8.9% as
Protestants, 3.8% as Greek Catholics, 0.9% as Orthodox, 13.4%
identified themselves as atheists or non-religious, and 10.6% did not
answer the question about their belief. In 2004, about one third
of the then church members regularly attended church services.
The Slovak Greek
Catholic Church is an Eastern rite sui iuris Catholic
Church. The pre–World War II population of the country included
an estimated 90,000
Jews (1.6% of the population). After the genocidal
policies of the Nazi era, only about 2,300
Jews remain today (0.04% of
In 2016, Slovak parliament passed a new bill that will obstruct Islam
and other religious organisations from becoming state-recognised
religion by doubling the minimum followers threshold from 25,000 to
50,000. The law passed by a two-third majority at the parliament.
In 2010, there were an estimated 5,000 Muslims in Slovakia
representing less than 0.1% of the country's population. Slovakia
is the last member state of the
European Union without a mosque.
Main article: Education in Slovakia
Education in Slovakia
Education in Slovakia is compulsory from age 6 to 16. The education
system consists of elementary school which is divided into two parts,
the first grade(age 6–10) and the second grade(age 10–15) which is
finished by taking nationwide testing called Monitor, from Slovak
language and math. Parents may apply for social assistance for a child
that is studying on an elementary school or a high-school. If
approved, the state provides basic study necessities for the child.
Schools provide books to all their students with usual exceptions of
books for studying a foreign language and books which require taking
notes in them, which are mostly present at the first grade of
Comenius University headquarters in Bratislava
After finishing elementary school, students are obliged to take one
year in high school. They are able to pick from Gymnasium, which is
seen as the highest level of high-school education and usually
considered as a preparatory school for attending a university,
although anyone can apply to any university. Besides Gymnasiums,
Slovakia has specialised high schools with bacalaureat and specialised
highschools without bacalaureat. Schools with bacalaureat take 5 years
to complete while the ones without usually take less. Gymnasiums and
many other high schools require passing an entry exam, consider
previous study results or perform a combination of both before
accepting a new student. A student may apply to two high schools at
once. If student fails to get accepted in any high school, the student
can submit an appeal or seek a third high school with an empty slot
for one more student outside of the standard application process.
Parents and students prefer to avoid this uncertainty and tend to
choose at least one high school with a high chance of acceptance. Most
high-schools are finished by passing a matura exam, which consists of
Slovak language and literature, one foreign language and one
specialised subject. If school offered multiple specializations or
taught multiple foreign languages, student may choose which subject he
or she wants to do the matura exam in. If student wants and the school
allows it, it's possible to do matura exam in more than three
Main Building Hall of the University of Economics
After finishing a high school, students can go to university and are
highly encouraged to do so.
Slovakia has a wide range of universities.
The biggest university is Comenius University, established in 1919.
Although it's not the first university ever established on Slovak
territory, it's the oldest university that is still running. Most
Slovakia are public funded, where anyone can apply.
Every citizen has a right for free education on public schools. If
student has to repeat a year or attends a second school after
obtaining a degree, or is older than 26 years and attending Bachelor's
or Master's courses or is older than 30 years and attending
Doctorate's courses, student has to pay the expenses. Students of
Doctorate's courses receive a scholarship. Students of Bachelor's and
of Master's courses can apply for a scholarship depending on their
study performance. The limit for applying for performance scholarship
is set individually by each university.
Slovakia has several privately funded universities, however public
universities consistently score better in the ranking than their
private counterparts. Universities have different criteria for
accepting students. Anyone can apply to any number of universities.
The limiting factor is the cost of application fees, which can range
from a few € to over 100 € per one application. The student may
apply for a social discount for the application fee. Several
universities, including some the best ranking in Slovakia, accept all
applicants and perform a screening process during the study, which
results in a higher dropout rate among the students compared to
universities that require passing an entry exam. Other methods of
acceptance may include weighting past study results from high school,
passing an entry test or a combination of both.
The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the
OECD, currently ranks Slovak secondary education the 30th in the world
(placing it just below the
United States and just above Spain).
Main article: Culture of Slovakia
This wooden church in
Bodružal is an example of Rusyn folk
architecture and is a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Folk tradition has rooted strongly in
Slovakia and is reflected in
literature, music, dance and architecture. The prime example is a
Slovak national anthem, "Nad Tatrou sa blýska", which is based on a
melody from "Kopala studienku" folk song.
Manifestation of Slovak folklore culture is the "Východná" Folklore
Festival. It is the oldest and largest nationwide festival with
international participation, which takes place in Východná
Slovakia is usually represented by many groups but mainly by
SĽUK (Slovenský ľudový umelecký kolektív – Slovak folk art
collective). SĽUK is the largest Slovak folk art group, trying to
preserve the folklore tradition.
Slovak women in traditional dress demonstrating a traditional method
of grinding grain into flour
An example of wooden folk architecture in
Slovakia can be seen in the
well preserved village of
Vlkolínec which has been the
Heritage Site since 1993. The
Prešov Region preserves the
world's most remarkable folk wooden churches. Most of them are
protected by Slovak law as cultural heritage, but some of them are on
UNESCO list too, in Bodružal, Hervartov, Ladomirová and Ruská
The best known Slovak hero, found in many folk mythologies, is Juraj
Jánošík (1688–1713) (the Slovak equivalent of Robin Hood). The
legend says he was taking from the rich and giving to the poor.
Jánošík's life was depicted in a list of literature works and many
movies throughout the 20th century. One of the most popular is a film
Jánošík directed by
Martin Frič in 1935.
Visual art in
Slovakia is represented through painting, drawing,
printmaking, illustration, arts and crafts, sculpture, photography or
conceptual art. The supreme and central gallery institution displaying
Slovak art nowadays is the Slovak National Gallery, established
The Visitation is a 1506 panel painting by Majster M. S.
Well-known sculptor of the 15th century Late Gothic era in
the Master Paul of Levoča. Although his work can be found in many
places (Banská Bystrica,
Spišská Sobota or Lomnička), his most
famous is a wooden altar in the Church of St. Jacob in Levoča. With
its height of 18.62 metres (61 ft), it is the tallest Gothic
altar in the world. Well-known painters of that time are the
Master from Okoličné, author of the altar in St. Elisabeth Cathedral
in Košice, and Master M.S. of the 16th century, whose statue of
Madonna can be seen in the Saint Catherine Church in Banská
Štiavnica. The statues of Saint Catherine and Saint Barbara are in
the art gallery of the Slovak Mining Museum in Banská Štiavnica.
The 19th century in
Slovakia was a turbulent period of time when
Slovaks began experiencing their national revival in the kingdom of
Romanticism of Jozef B. Klemens (1817–1883) and
Peter Michal Bohúň
Peter Michal Bohúň (1822–1879) was represented in the portrait
paintings of Slovak national protagonists of that time (Štefan
Moyses, Andrej Sládkovič, Karol Kuzmány or Ľudovít Štúr),
depicting the revolutionary atmosphere of the 1840s in the background.
Other important painters of the 19th century were mainly portraitists
Vojtech Angyal, Dominik Skutecký (1849–1921), J. Štetka, E. Ballo,
Jozef Hanula (1863–1944), landscapist Karol Miloslav Lehotský
(1846–1915) and impressionists Maximilián Schurmann (1863–1944)
and P. Kern.
Sculpture in the 19th century was dominated by a sacral sculptor
Vavrinec Dunajský (1784–1833) and his son Ladislav Dunajský,
Ján Hollý memorial in Dobrá Voda. Another important
sculptors were Ján Koniarek (1878–1952), Alajos Stróbl
János Fadrusz (1858–1903) and Alojz Rigele
Mikuláš Galanda – Mother (1933)
Mikuláš Galanda (1895–1938),
Martin Benka (1888–1971),
Janko Alexy (1894–1970),
Miloš Alexander Bazovský (1899–1968),
Gustáv Mallý (1879–1952) and
Jan Hála (1890–1959) are
considered to be the ones who laid foundations of the Slovak modern
art in the first half of the 20th century. The inspiration of their
work stems mainly from the lives of everyday people in Slovak rurals
which they admired and idealised. The painters influenced by Art
Nouveau, symbolism and expressionism are Zolo Palugyay (1898–1935),
Anton Jasusch (1882–1965), Edmund Gwerk (1895–1956) or Július
Jakoby (1903–1985). Important also is
Blažej Baláž (1958).
Some of the most distinguished Slovak artists, whose work was closely
linked to modern European art streams are
Koloman Sokol (1902–2003),
who became a professor of graphic techniques at the Escuela de las
Artes del Libro and at the University of
Mexico City from 1937 to
Ľudovít Fulla (1902–1980) who received many international
prices for his work and Imro Weiner-Kráľ (1901–1978). The
generation of 1909 is represented by
Cyprián Majerník (1909–1945),
Ján Želibský, Ján Mudroch (1909–1968), Ladislav Čemický
(1909–1968) and Ester M. Šimerová (1909).
Slovak graphic art experienced its peak during the 20th century. The
most notable print-makers are
Koloman Sokol (1902–2003), Vincent
Albín Brunovský (1935–1997), Jozef
Jankovič (1937), Dušan Kállay (1948), Vladimír Gažovič (1939),
Karol Ondreička (1944–2003)
Blažej Baláž (1958) or the young
generation of artists Katarína Vavrová, and Matej Krén.
Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art
Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art in Medzilaborce. Andy Warhol's
parents were immigrants from Slovakia.
Andy Warhol (1928–1987), a leading figure in the 20th century visual
art movement known as pop art, was born in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as
Andrej Varchola to Slovak parents Ondrej Varchola (1889–1942) and
Júlia (née Zavacká, 1892–1972). A museum dedicated to him is
in Medzilaborce, where his parents lived.
Notable Slovak photographers in the 20th century are Martin Martinček
(1913–2004) and Karol Kállay (1926–2012). Both Martinček and
Kállay received the EFIAP (Excellence de la Fédération
Internationale de l' Art Photographique) price in 1970.
Sculpture in the 20th century is represented by Ján Koniarek
(1878–1952), Július Bártfay (1888–1979), Tibor Bártfay (1922)
Ján Mathé (1922), Jozef Kostka (1912–1996), Ladislav Snopek
(1919–2010), Rudolf Uher or Rudolf Hornák.
Notable Slovak artists of the 21st century include Cyril Blažo
Viliam Loviska (1964)
Further information: Slovak literature
Ľudovít Štúr, the author of the
Slovak language standard
For a list of notable Slovak writers and poets, see List of Slovak
Christian topics include: poem
Proglas as a foreword to the four
Gospels, partial translations of the Bible into Old Church Slavonic,
Zakon sudnyj ljudem.
Medieval literature, in the period from the 11th to the 15th
centuries, was written in Latin, Czech and Slovakised Czech. Lyric
(prayers, songs and formulas) was still controlled by the Church,
while epic was concentrated on legends. Authors from this period
include Johannes de Thurocz, author of the
Chronica Hungarorum and
Maurus, both of them Hungarians. The worldly literature also
emerged and chronicles were written in this period.
There were two leading persons who codified the Slovak language. The
Anton Bernolák whose concept was based on the western
Slovak dialect in 1787. It was the codification of the first ever
literary language of Slovaks. The second was Ľudovít Štúr, whose
formation of the
Slovak language took principles from the central
Slovak dialect in 1843.
Slovakia is also known for its polyhistors, of whom include Pavol
Jozef Šafárik, Matej Bel, Ján Kollár, and its political
revolutionaries and reformists, such
Milan Rastislav Štefánik
Milan Rastislav Štefánik and
Famous globetrotter and explorer, count Móric Benyovszky had Slovak
Main article: Music of Slovakia
Slovak National Theatre
Slovak National Theatre building in Bratislava
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava
State Theatre Košice
The most important Slovak composers have been Eugen Suchoň, Mikuláš
Schneider-Trnavský, Ján Cikker, Ján Levoslav Bella, Alexander
Moyzes and Dezider Kardoš, in the 21st century
Vladimír Godár and
Popular music began to replace folk music beginning in the 1950s, when
Slovakia was still part of Czechoslovakia; American jazz, R&B, and
rock and roll were popular, alongside waltzes, polkas, and czardas,
among other folk forms. By the end of the 1950s, radios were common
household items, though only state stations were legal. Slovak popular
music began as a mix of bossa nova, cool jazz, and rock, with
propagandistic lyrics. Dissenters listened to ORF (Austrian Radio),
Radio Luxembourg, or Slobodná Európa (Radio Free Europe), which
played more rock.
Due to Czechoslovak isolation, the domestic market was active and many
original bands evolved.
Slovakia had a very strong pop culture during
the 1970s and 1980s. This movement brought many original bands with
their own unique interpretations of modern music. The quality of
socialist music was very high. Stars such as Karel Gott, Olympic,
Pražský výběr (from the Czech Republic) or Elán, Modus,
Tublatanka, Team (from Slovakia) and many others were highly acclaimed
and many recorded their LPs in foreign languages.
Velvet Revolution and the declaration of the Slovak state,
domestic music dramatically diversified as free enterprise encouraged
the formation of new bands and the development of new genres of music.
Soon, however, major labels brought pop music to
Slovakia and drove
many of the small companies out of business. During the 1990s,
American grunge and alternative rock, and
Britpop have a wide
following, as well as a newfound enthusiasm for musicals.
Peter Lipa (born 1943) is a well-known Slovak singer, composer and
promoter of modern jazz. He is one of the main organisers of the
Jazz Days" festival, which takes place in the capital city
at the end of October each year since 1975. It is the biggest jazz
venue in Slovakia.
Martin Valihora (1976), having been awarded a scholarship on the
Berklee College of Music
Berklee College of Music in Boston, he established himself as a
part of the New York's jazz scene. He has been playing with the
world's famous Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara.
Other notable Slovak jazz players are
Laco Déczi (1938) – composer,
Marián Varga (1947-2017) – composer, organ player
Main article: Slovak cuisine
Slovak wine and Beer in Slovakia
Halušky with bryndza cheese, kapustnica soup and Zlatý Bažant dark
beer – examples of Slovak cuisine
Slovak cuisine is based mainly on pork meat, poultry
(chicken is the most widely eaten, followed by duck, goose, and
turkey), flour, potatoes, cabbage, and milk products. It is relatively
closely related to Hungarian, Czech and Austrian cuisine. On the east
it is also influenced by Ukrainian and Polish cuisine. In comparison
with other European countries, "game meat" is more accessible in
Slovakia due to vast resources of forest and because hunting is
relatively popular. Boar, rabbit, and venison, are generally
available throughout the year. Lamb and goat are eaten but are not
The traditional Slovak meals are bryndzové halušky, bryndzové
pirohy and other meals with potato dough and bryndza.
Bryndza is a
salty cheese made of a sheep milk, characterised by a strong taste and
Bryndzové halušky must be on the menu of every traditional
A typical soup is a sauerkraut soup ("kapustnica"). A blood sausage
called "krvavnica", made from any and all parts of a butchered pig is
also a specific Slovak meal.
Wine is enjoyed throughout Slovakia.
Slovak wine comes predominantly
from the southern areas along the
Danube and its tributaries; the
northern half of the country is too cold and mountainous to grow
grapevines. Traditionally, white wine was more popular than red or
rosé (except in some regions), and sweet wine more popular than dry,
but in recent years tastes seem to be changing. Beer (mainly of
the pilsener style, though dark lagers are also consumed) is also
Main article: Sport in Slovakia
Sport activities are practised widely in Slovakia, many of them on a
Ice hockey and football have traditionally been
regarded as the most popular sports in Slovakia. Among the popular are
also tennis, handball, basketball, volleyball, whitewater slalom or
The Slovak national ice hockey team celebrating a victory against
Sweden at the 2010
One of the most popular team sports in
Slovakia is ice hockey.
Slovakia became the member of
IIHF on 2 February 1993 and ever
since has won 4 medals in Ice Hockey World Championships, consisting
of 1 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medal. The most recent success is a
silver medal from 2012
IIHF World Championship in Helsinki. Slovak
national hockey team made five appearances in the Olympic games too,
ended up 4th in the 2010
Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The country has
8280 registered players and is ranked 7th in the
IIHF World Ranking at
present. Prior to 2012, Slovak team HC Slovan
Bratislava joined the
Kontinental Hockey League, considered the strongest hockey league in
Europe, and the second-best in the world.
Slovakia organised the 2011
IIHF World Championship in ice hockey,
Finland won the gold medal. Competitions took place in
Bratislava and Košice.
Notable Slovak hockey players who played or are still playing in the
NHL are Stan Mikita, Peter Šťastný, Marián Šťastný, Anton
Šťastný, Peter Bondra, Žigmund Pálffy, Marián Gáborík, Marián
Hossa, Pavol Demitra, Zdeno Chára, Miroslav Šatan, Ľubomír
Višňovský, Tomáš Kopecký,
Andrej Sekera and Jaroslav Halák.
Football stadium City Arena in Trnava
Association football is the most popular sport in Slovakia, with over
400,000 registered players. Since 1993, Slovak national football team
has qualified only once to the
FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup in 2010, in which they
proceeded into the Last 16, where they were defeated by Netherlands.
The most notable result was the 3–2 victory over Italy. In 2016, the
Slovak national football team
Slovak national football team qualified to the UEFA
Euro 2016 under
head coach Ján Kozák which helped the team reach their best ever
position of 14th in the FIFA World Rankings.
In club competitions, only three teams have qualified to UEFA
Champions League Group Stage, namely MFK
Košice in 1997–98, FC
Bratislava in 2005–06 season, and MŠK
Žilina n 2010–11.
Bratislava has been the most successful team after
finishing 3rd at the Group Stage, therefore qualifying for the Round
of 32 of the UEFA Cup. They also remain the only Slovak club that has
won a match at the group stage.
Famous Slovak players include Marek Hamšík, Martin Škrtel, Juraj
Kucka, Peter Dubovský, Karol Dobiáš, Anton Ondruš, Marián Masný,
Ján Švehlík, Ján Pivarník, Jozef Čapkovič, Adolf Scherer,
Andrej Kvašňák and Jozef Adamec.
Cinema of Slovakia
Outline of Slovakia
Protected areas of Slovakia
Public holidays in Slovakia
Remembrance days in Slovakia
Telecommunications in Slovakia
LGBT rights in Slovakia
List of towns in Slovakia
List of football clubs in Slovakia
List of villages and municipalities in Slovakia
List of museums in Slovakia
List of tourism regions of Slovakia
List of traditional regions of Slovakia
Slovaks differentiate between Uhorsko (the historic state) and
Maďarsko (the modern state) while both tend to be rendered as Hungary
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