Coordinates : 48°40′N 19°30′E / 48.667°N 19.500°E /
_Slovenská republika_ (Slovak )
Flag Coat of arms
Nad Tatrou sa blýska "
"Lightning Over the Tatras"
Slovakia (dark green)
Europe (green "> (green) –
and largest city
48°09′N 17°07′E / 48.150°N 17.117°E / 48.150; 17.117
ETHNIC GROUPS (2011 )
* 2.0% Roma
* 7.2% unspecified
• PRIME MINISTER
(as part of
Czechoslovakia ) 28 October 1918
• AUTONOMOUS LAND OF SLOVAKIA (CS) (WITHIN SECOND CZECHOSLOVAK
23 November 1938
• FIRST SLOVAK REPUBLIC (CLIENT STATE OF NAZI GERMANY )
14 March 1939
• SLOVAK SOCIALIST REPUBLIC (WITHIN CZECHOSLOVAK FEDERATION )
1 January 1969
• SLOVAK REPUBLIC (CHANGE OF NAME WITHIN CZECHOSLOVAK FEDERATION
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 )
GDP (PPP )
• PER CAPITA
$33,054 (39th )
• PER CAPITA
$16,412 (40th )
low · 8th
very high · 40th
Euro (€ )b (EURb )
CET (UTC +1)
• SUMMER (DST )
CEST (UTC +2)
DRIVES ON THE
Saints Cyril and Methodius
Our Lady of Sorrows
ISO 3166 CODE
Czechoslovakia split into the
Czech Republic and Slovakia; see
Velvet Divorce .
Slovak koruna before 2009.
* Shared code 42 with
Czech Republic until 1997.
SLOVAKIA (/sloʊˈvækiə, slə-, -ˈvɑː-/ (_ listen ); Slovak :
Slovensko_ (_ listen )), officially the SLOVAK REPUBLIC (Slovak :
Slovenská republika_, listen (help ·info )), is a landlocked
country in Central
Europe . It is bordered by the
Czech Republic and
Austria to the west,
Poland to the north,
Ukraine to the east and
Hungary to the south. Slovakia's territory spans about 49,000 square
kilometres (19,000 sq mi) and is mostly mountainous. The population is
over 5 million and comprises mostly ethnic
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
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 . A separate (First) Slovak Republic
(1939–1945) existed in
World War II
World War II as a client state of Nazi
Germany . In 1945,
Czechoslovakia was re-established under Communist
rule as 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
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 and the
Eurozone on 1 January 2009.
Slovakia is also a member
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 29th 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
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 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
* 2.5 Great
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 Geography
* 3.1 Tatra mountains
* 3.2 National parks
* 3.3 Caves
* 3.4 Rivers
* 3.5 Lakes
* 3.6 Climate
* 4 Biodiversity
* 4.1 Fungi
* 5 Politics and government
* 5.1 Foreign relations
* 5.2 Military
* 5.3 Human rights
* 5.4 Administrative divisions
* 6 Economy
* 6.1 Industry
* 6.2 Energy
* 6.3 Transportation
* 6.4 Tourism
* 6.5 Science
* 7 Demographics
* 7.1 Languages
* 7.2 Religion
* 8 Education
* 9 Culture
* 9.2 Art
* 9.3 Literature
* 9.4 Music
* 9.5 Cuisine
* 9.6 Sport
* 10 See also
* 11 Notes
* 12 References
* 13 Bibliography
* 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_, _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 and did not form a separate
administrative unit in this period.
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History of Slovakia A Venus from Moravany nad
Váhom , which dates back to 22,800 BC.
Radiocarbon dating puts the oldest surviving archaeological artefacts
Slovakia – found near
Nové Mesto nad Váhom – at 270,000 BC,
in the Early Paleolithic era. These ancient tools, made by the
Clactonian technique, bear witness to the ancient habitation of
Other stone tools from the
Middle Paleolithic era (200,000 – 80,000
BC) 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 BC), 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
Váh and as
far as the city of
Žilina , and near the foot of the Vihorlat ,
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 BC), the famous
Venus of Moravany . The statue was found
in the 1940s in
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
BC. 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 BC, the territory of modern-day
Slovakia was settled
Celts , who built powerful oppida on the sites of modern-day
Devín . Biatecs , silver coins with inscriptions in
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
From 2 AD , 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
Szöny 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
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 Devin castle
(present-day downtown Bratislava), the suburbs of Dúbravka and
Bratislava Castle Hill. A Roman inscription at the
castle hill of
Trenčín (178–179 AD).
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 AD during the
Marcomannic Wars . The Kingdom of
Vannius , a kingdom founded by the
Germanic Suebian tribes of
Marcomanni , as well as several
small Germanic and Celtic tribes , including the Osi and
existed in Western and Central
Slovakia from 8–6 BC to 179 AD.
GREAT INVASIONS FROM THE 4TH TO 7TH CENTURIES
In the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, the
Huns began to leave the Central
Asian steppes. They crossed the
Danube in 377 AD 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
Carpathian Basin .
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 from 833. The high point of this
Slavonic empire came with the arrival of
Saints Cyril and Methodius in
863, during the reign of
Duke Rastislav , and the territorial
Svätopluk I .
GREAT MORAVIA (830–BEFORE 907)
Main article: Great
Moravia A statue of Saint Cyril and Saint
Žilina . In 863, they introduced Christianity to what is
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 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 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
Devín Castle ) are also
mentioned in connection with Rastislav by Frankish chronicles. _
Scire vos volumus_, a letter written in 879 by
Pope John VIII to
During Rastislav's reign, the
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 reached its
greatest territorial extent, when not only present-day
Slovakia but also present-day northern and central
Hungary , Lower
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.
Pope John VIII set up an independent ecclesiastical province
Moravia with Archbishop Methodius as its head. He also named
the German cleric
Wiching the Bishop of
After the death of Prince Svatopluk in 894, his sons Mojmír II
Svatopluk II succeeded him as the Prince of Great
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 , Great
Moravia lost most of its peripheral territories. Certain and
disputed borders of Great
Svatopluk I (according to
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
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 (1000–1918)
Main article: Kingdom of
Hungary Stephen I , King of
Following the disintegration of the
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
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 Wars .
Royal Hungary, Principality of Upper
Hungary , Principality of
Transylvania and Ottoman eyalets around 1683.
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
Slovaks studying under
Martin Luther , the region then experienced
a growth in
Protestants . For a short period in the 17th century,
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 border wars and changes to the frontier, which was on a
constant state of military alert and heavily fortified by castles and
citadels often manned by German and Italian troops on the Habsburg
side. The Ottoman wars , rivalry between
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
Hungary fought alongside the Turks against the Austrians at the
Battle of Vienna
Battle of Vienna of 1683. As the Turks withdrew from
Hungary in the
late 17th century, the importance of the territory comprising modern
Slovakia decreased, although
Pressburg retained its status as the
Hungary until 1848, when it was transferred back to Buda.
A Slovak volunteers' corp during the fight for independence from
the Kingdom of
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
culminating in the secession of
Hungary after World War
Czechoslovakia A monument to Tomáš Garrigue
Masaryk and Milan Štefánik – both key figures in early
Slovakia and the regions of
Moravia , Czech
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.
Interwar period , democratic
Czechoslovakia was allied
with France, and also with
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 of November 1938.
WORLD WAR II (1939–1945)
Slovak Republic (1939–1945) Adolf Hitler
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
Germany and gradually became
a puppet regime in many respects. German map of the First Slovak
Republic in 1943
Czechoslovak government-in-exile , sought to reverse
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.
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
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
(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
Troops of Slovak anti-Nazi resistance movement in 1944.
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
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. The
Velvet Revolution ended 41 years of authoritarian Communist rule in
Czechoslovakia in 1989.
After World War II,
Czechoslovakia was reconstituted and Jozef Tiso
was executed in 1947 for collaboration with the Nazis. More than
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
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
Warsaw Pact , after a coup in 1948. The country was invaded by the
Warsaw Pact forces (with the exception of
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 Republic .
Czechoslovakia was never part of the Soviet Union and remained
independent to a degree.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC (AFTER 1993)
The end of Communist rule in
Czechoslovakia in 1989, during the
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 Socialist 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.
Slovakia became a member of the
European Union in 2004 and signed the
Lisbon Treaty in 2007.
The Slovak Republic and the
Czech Republic went their separate ways
after 1 January 1993, an event sometimes called the
Velvet Divorce .
Slovakia has remained a close partner with the Czech Republic. Both
countries co-operate with
Poland in the
Visegrád Group .
Slovakia became a member of
NATO on 29 March 2004 and of the European
Union on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2009,
Slovakia adopted the
its national currency.
Geography of Slovakia See also: Geomorphological
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. Amongst these mountain ranges are the high peaks
Fatra-Tatra Area (including
Tatra Mountains , Greater Fatra and
Lesser Fatra ),
Slovak Ore Mountains ,
Slovak Central Mountains or
Beskids . The largest lowland is the fertile
Danubian Lowland in the
southwest, followed by the
Eastern Slovak Lowland in the southeast.
Tatra Mountains Panorama of the
Gerlachovský štít (2,655 metres or 8,711 feet), the highest peak
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 (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
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
List of national parks of Slovakia A topographic
There are 9 national parks in Slovakia:
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
Domica Cave Main article:
List of caves in Slovakia
Slovakia has hundreds of caves and caverns under its mountains, of
which 15 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 ,
Gombasek Cave ,
Jasovská Cave and
Ochtinská Aragonite Cave . Other caves open to the
Belianska Cave ,
Demänovská Cave of Liberty ,
Demänovská Ice Cave or
Bystrianska Cave .
Belá River 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
Myjava , the
Nitra (197 kilometres (122 mi)), the Orava , the Hron
(298 kilometres (185 mi)), the
Hornád (193 kilometres (120 mi)), the
Slaná (110 kilometres (68 mi)), the
Ipeľ (232 kilometres (144 mi),
forming the border with Hungary), the
Bodrog , the
Laborec , the
Latorica and the
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
Žabie pleso in the
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 (174 ft),
Veľké Hincovo pleso is the largest and the deepest tarn in Slovakia.
Other tarns in the
High Tatras include
Štrbské pleso , Popradské
Skalnaté pleso , Zbojnícke pleso , Velické pleso , Žabie
pleso , Krivánske zelené pleso or Roháčske plesá . Other than in
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 types of
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 plain 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.
Fields in the summer in the
Winter in Banská
Štiavnica , the town is a
UNESCO World Heritage Site .
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
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 Summer).
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.
_ Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica_ in the
Slovakia signed the Rio
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 (
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
Slovakia is not well documented, but there is a red list for
its larger fungi.
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
Politics of Slovakia and
Law of Slovakia See also:
Prime Minister of Slovakia and
List of Presidents of Slovakia
Grassalkovich Palace in
Bratislava is the seat of the President of
Slovakia The National Council building in
Summer Palace , the seat of the government of
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 is the president (currently
Andrej Kiska ),
elected by direct popular vote for a five-year term. Most executive
power lies with the head of government , the prime minister (currently
Robert Fico ), 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
Slovakia's 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 proportional representation . Slovakia's highest judicial body is
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.
Slovakia has been a member state of the
European Union and
2004. As a member of the
United Nations (since 1993),
Slovakia was, on
10 October 2005, elected to a two-year term on the UN Security Council
from 2006 to 2007.
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
The president is the head of state and the formal head of the
executive, though with very limited powers. The president is elected
by direct, popular vote under the two-round system for a five-year
Following National Council elections, the leader of the majority
party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed
prime minister by the president. Cabinet appointed by the president on
the recommendation of the prime minister has to receive the majority
in the parliament.
Main office holders
15 June 2014
4 April 2012
Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic
23 March 2016
Deputy Speakers of the National Council of the Slovak Republic
Freedom and Solidarity 23 March 2016
23 March 2016
23 March 2016
23 March 2016
Foreign relations of Slovakia See also: List of
diplomatic missions of
Slovakia Embassy of
Slovak Embassy in
Slovakia joined the
European Union and
NATO in 2004 and the Eurozone
in 2009. The country has been an active participant in US- and
NATO-led military actions. There is a joint Czech-Slovak peacekeeping
force in Kosovo.
Slovakia is a member of the
United Nations and participates in its
specialised agencies. It is also a member of the
Schengen Area ,
Europe , the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE), the
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
Hungary , the
Czech Republic , and
The Slovak 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.
diplomatic relations with 134 countries, primarily through its
Ministry of Foreign Affairs . As of December 2013,
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
Military of Slovakia
Slovak Air Force
upgrade Slovak 5th
Special Forces Regiment operating in eastern
The Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic number 14,000 uniformed
NATO in March 2004. 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
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
Regions of Slovakia ,
Districts of Slovakia , and List
of municipalities and towns in
Bratislava , capital and
largest city of
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
Economy of Slovakia
National Bank of Slovakia in
The Slovak economy is a developed, high-income economy, with the
GDP per capita equalling 76% of the average of the
European Union in
2014. The country has had 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: "The Slovak 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 investment."
Slovakia was ranked as the 40th richest country in the world
, with a nominal per capita GDP of $16,499. 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 nearly complete, 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 2009, the
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 7.3% in
June 2017, lowest recorded rate in Slovak history. In addition to
economic growth, migration of workers to other EU countries also
contributed to this reduction.
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% in
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
Slovakia is an attractive country for foreign investors mainly
because of its low wages, low tax rates and well educated labour force
. In recent years,
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.
Programme for International Student Assessment , coordinated by
OECD , currently ranks Slovak secondary education the 30th in the
world (placing it just below the
United States and just above Spain).
In March 2008, the Ministry of Finance announced that Slovakia's
economy is developed enough to stop being an aid receiver from the
World Bank .
Slovakia became an aid provider at the end of 2008.
Automotive industry in Slovakia
ESET headquarters in
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
Volkswagen Up ,
Volkswagen Touareg ,
Audi Q7 ,
Porsche Cayenne ), PSA
Peugeot Citroën 's in
Peugeot 208 , Citroën C3
Picasso ) and
Kia Motors '
Žilina Plant (models: Kia Cee\'d , Kia
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
Ireland , United Kingdom,
Argentina , the
Czech Republic ,
Poland . A graphical depiction of Slovakia's
product exports in 28 colour-coded categories.
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
have crossed territory of present-day Bratislava. Today,
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
Slovakia sometimes draws attention to
Austrian green-energy activists who occasionally organise protests and
block the borders between the two countries.
Transport in Slovakia A tram in the northern town
Vysoké Tatry D1 motorway
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
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
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
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
Tourism in Slovakia See also: List of castles in
Bojnice Castle The centre of
Bardejov – a UNESCO
World Heritage Site Cable cars at
Jasná in the
The Old Town in
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%),
Poland (15%) and
Slovakia contains many castles, most of which are in ruins. The best
known castles include
Bojnice Castle (often used as a filming
Spiš Castle , on the
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
Czech Republic (such as
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
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
Banská Bystrica ,
Spišská Kapitula . The St.
James Church 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
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.
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
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
Demographics of Slovakia Further information: List of
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 5.6%.
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.
Slovak language See also: History of the Slovak
Slovak alphabet has 46 characters, of which 3 are
digraphs and 18 contain diacritics .
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 .
Religion in Slovakia See also: History of Christianity
Basilica of St. Giles in
The Slovak constitution guarantees freedom of religion . In 2011,
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
Catholic Church is an Eastern rite sui iuris Catholic
Church. The pre–
World War II
World War II population of the country included an
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-recognized
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
less than 0.1% of the country's population.
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 specialized 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
specialized 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
subjects. 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.
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
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 the UNESCO
list too, in Bodružal, Hervartov, Ladomirová and Ruská Bystrá.
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 in 1949. Medieval time
The Visitation is a 1506
panel painting by Majster M. S.
Well-known sculptor of the 15th century Late Gothic era in Slovakia
is 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
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 (1822–1879) was represented in the portrait
paintings of Slovak national protagonists of that time (Štefan
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
(1879–1940). 20th century _
Mikuláš Galanda – Mother_
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 in
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. 21st century
Notable Slovak artists of the 21st century include Cyril Blažo
Martin Vargic and
Viliam Loviska (1964)
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 Slovakized Czech. Lyric
(prayers, songs and formulas) was still controlled by the Church,
while epic was concentrated on legends. Authors from this period
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 and
Alexander Dubček .
Famous globetrotter and explorer, count Móric Benyovszky had Slovak
Music of Slovakia The new Slovak National Theatre
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in
Bratislava State Theatre
Košice Classical music
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
Peter Machajdík . Pop music
Popular music began to replace folk music beginning in the 1950s,
Slovakia was still part of
Czechoslovakia ; American jazz , R">
Halušky with bryndza cheese, kapustnica soup and Zlatý Bažant dark
beer – examples of
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
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 widely popular.
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 popular.
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 athletics . Ice Hockey The Slovak national ice hockey team
celebrating a victory against
Sweden at the 2010
One of the most popular collective 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 in
which the team of
Finland won the gold medal. The venue took place in
The most notable Slovak hockey players who played or are still
playing in the NHL are
Stan Mikita ,
Peter Šťastný , Marián
Anton Šťastný ,
Peter Bondra ,
Žigmund Pálffy ,
Marián Gáborík ,
Marián Hossa ,
Pavol Demitra ,
Zdeno Chára ,
Miroslav Šatan ,
Ľubomír Višňovský ,
Tomáš Kopecký , Andrej
Jaroslav Halák . Football Football stadium City
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
The most notable result was the 3–2 victory over
Italy . In 2016
Slovak national football team has qualified to the UEFA
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 in Group Stage and therefore qualifying to Round of 32
of UEFA Cup . They also remain as the only Slovak club that has won a
match in Group stage.
The most famous Slovak players are:
Marek Hamšík ,
Martin Škrtel ,
Juraj Kucka , Peter Dubovský 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
List of football clubs in Slovakia
* List of villages and municipalities in
List of museums in Slovakia
List of tourism regions of Slovakia
List of traditional regions of Slovakia
* Geography portal
European Union portal
Slovaks differentiate between _Uhorsko_ (the historic state)
and _Maďarsko_ (the modern state) while both tend to be rendered as
_Hungary_ in English.
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