Currency: Eurp (EUR)
Calling Code: +421
Slovakia, the long form Slovak Republic, is a
landlocked country in Central Europe. It is a member state of the
European Union and NATO. It has an area of 49,036 km² and
approximately 5,449,265 inhabitants live here. It borders the Czech
Republic in the northwest, Austria in the southwest, Poland in the
north, Ukraine in the east, and Hungary in the south. The country is
predominantly mountainous, as most of the surface is occupied by
highlands. From the north, the Carpathians reach here from a massive
arch, and the Pannonian Basin stretches to the south. The capital is
Bratislava, the official language is Slovak.
The first state unit of the Slavs on the territory of today's Slovakia was the Samo Empire (7th century), later the Principality of Nitra (beginning of the 9th century), which was merged with the Principality of Moravia to form Great Moravia in 833. From the middle of the 10th to the end of the 11th century, the territory of Slovakia was gradually incorporated into Hungary, which in 1526 became part of the Habsburg monarchy, since 1867 called Austria-Hungary. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918, Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia until the end of 1992 (except for the wartime Slovak Republic). On January 1, 1993, the dissolution of the Czechoslovak Republic created the independent Slovak Republic. Slovakia has been a member of the European Union since May 1, 2004, and a member of the Schengen area since December 21, 2007. As of January 1, 2009, it is the 16th member of the Eurozone, the official currency is the euro.
Slovakia is a parliamentary democracy, more precisely a parliamentary-presidential republic. In the economy, it is characterized by a modernized industry and a developing service sector, which prevails in the share of both the gross domestic product and the labor force. Due to the geographical profile of the country, the transport infrastructure is sparsely distributed, but it is currently being expanded and modernized.
Among the neighboring countries, Slovakia has strong ties, especially with the Czech Republic. Previously conflictual relations with Hungary have improved in recent years. A strong Hungarian and Roma minority lives in Slovakia. Slovakia has a rich cultural tradition, as well as a number of natural and historical monuments.
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and its most visited city,
although if you limit yourself to the capital alone, you will get a
completely wrong idea about the country. Bratislava has a good
historical center, where truly medieval streets coexist with elegant
buildings reminiscent of Vienna from the beginning of the 20th century.
There is a castle on the hill above the Danube, and the most important
sight of the city is the bright and memorable Blue Church. Along with
this, Bratislava is famous for the largest array of prefabricated
residential buildings in Central Europe, and in general, areas outside
the historical center will hardly please architecture lovers. Prices in
Bratislava are significantly above average.
Banska Bystrica is located in the very center of Slovakia, southwest of the Low Tatras. The city owes its existence to old mines, and later to the woodworking industry, which led to a rather successful combination of historical buildings with Czechoslovak architecture of the 20th century. On the central square of Banska Bystrica, you can see the phenomenon of turning temples into defensive structures and vice versa, which is typical for all of central Slovakia, and besides, the city has historical significance: in 1944, the Slovak uprising against the Nazis began here, which is dedicated to a special museum. Not far from Banska Bystrica is the village of Hronsek with an 18th-century wooden church, an important monument of Slovak wooden architecture.
Kosice is the second largest city in Slovakia. It is known as the eastern border of the distribution of medieval Gothic architecture, and there are really more Gothic temples here than in the rest of the country combined.
Nitra is located not far from Bratislava, but stands apart from the main railway lines and is therefore relatively little known. By Slovak standards, the local castle is not the most impressive, but the old town descending the steep hillside is surprisingly good. As elsewhere in Slovakia, the second high-altitude dominant of Nitra after the castle is Kalvaria - a mountain with chapels symbolizing the stations of the cross way. In addition to a scattering of old temples and good buildings of the 18th century, it is worth visiting the agricultural museum in Nitra with one of the best ethnographic collections in the country. 10 kilometers from the city is the oldest Slovak temple - the Church of Michael the Archangel in Drazovets (XI century).
Trencin is located in the valley of the Vah river and is surrounded by hills on all sides. Unlike other Slovak cities, where castles rebuilt in the 16th century are ordinary square strongholds, Trencin boasts a full-fledged medieval stronghold, standing on a sheer cliff that literally hangs over the city. The historical part of Trencin is relatively small, but very cozy, and, leaving the city, you can visit other famous Slovak castles, including Beckov, conveniently located on the road to Bratislava, or the Trencianske Teplice balneological resort.
Trnava has retained a fairly large historical center, mostly from the 18th century, with remarkable baroque ensembles. The center is surrounded by a fortress wall, and inside, although the buildings were somewhat damaged during the war, there are still entire streets of historical buildings - and quite a few tourists. If Trnava is cleaned up a bit, it can also qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List, but for now it is just a pleasant city that can be explored in a few hours.
Banska Stiavnica is an old mining town in southern Slovakia.
Literally everything reminds of mining here: entrances to old adits
found right on the streets, ponds used for hydraulic drives and, of
course, several thematic museums, including an open-air museum, where
they show equipment from closed mines and organize excursions
underground. Banska Stiavnica is located on a mountainside, incredibly
picturesque, and the building of the central streets has not changed
much over the past two centuries. All this makes the city one of the
most interesting places in Slovakia, and Banska Stiavnica has only two
drawbacks: low transport accessibility and some oversaturation with
tourists during the high season.
Bardejov is considered the most preserved of the small towns in Slovakia
Zvolen is a railway junction in south-central Slovakia. Many travelers visit Zvolen on the way from Banska Bystrica to Banska Štiavnica and vice versa, but few people see the city itself, although it deserves to be. The main attraction of Zvolen is the completely preserved 16th century castle, inside which you can find much older Gothic fragments. Also in Zvolen there is a cozy pedestrian street and a modernist church of the 1920s.
Dobr Voda Castle
Slovakia has been part of the Schengen area since December 2007. This means that border controls are only in place at the EU's external border with Ukraine.
There are good international, partly
direct rail connections from the neighboring countries of Austria, the
Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and the Ukraine. The quickest route from
the Polish capital of Warsaw to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava runs
via the Czech Republic.
The most important international railway routes with the border crossings (Gr):
Austria: Vienna - Marchegg - Marchegg/Devínska Nová Ves(Gr) - Bratislava hl.st.; Vienna – Bruck a.d. Leitha - Kittsee - Kittsee(Gr) - Bratislava-Petržalka
Czech Republic: Prague - Brno - Břeclav - Lanžhot/Kúty(Gr) - Bratislava; Bohumín – Mosty u Jablunkova/Čadca(Gr) – Žilina
Poland: Warsaw - via the Czech Republic (Bohumín - Ostrava - Břeclav) - Bratislava; Katowice / Kraków – Zwardoń/Skalité(Gr) – Žilina
Hungary: Budapest – Szob/Chľaba(Gr) – Štúrovo – Bratislava; Miskolc – Hidasnémeti/Kechnec(Gr) – Košice
Ukraine: Čop (Chop) – Čierna nad Tisou(Gr) – Čierna nad Tisou – Košice
ZSSK (Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko) is the Slovak state railway company, it maintains the railway network and is the largest rail service provider in public passenger transport (ÖPV). All of the information is in English, but only occasionally in German.
RegioJet, a Czech alternative low-cost rail operator, operates in competition with ZSSK on some routes. From abroad, there are currently train connections with RegioJet only from the Czech Republic. The tickets are specific to a particular train and are primarily available online. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, they are also sold at RegioJet counters in some train stations. RegioJet only accepts its own tickets.
InterRail and Eurail passes as well as the European East Pass are valid on ZSSK trains, but not on RegioJet trains.
Tickets for domestic Slovak routes bought from ZSSK are
usually cheaper than buying them abroad. In individual cases, it should
be checked whether a train journey to the eastern parts of the country
is cheaper with separate tickets to Bratislava plus a domestic ticket.
Some foreign railway companies have limited savings offers for travel to Slovakia with a specific train. The CityStar ticket is available as a cheap return ticket for cross-border journeys between some East Central European and Southeast European countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine). They are also available from ZSSK for journeys to Austria and Switzerland, but not the other way around.
If you stay longer or more often in Slovakia, a ZSSK discount card can be advantageous, especially for children and seniors who are entitled to free transport.
From Vienna there are connections to Bratislava every half hour: a connection via Marchegg to Bratislava hl.st. (main train station) (journey time approx. 1:00 h), the other via Kittsee to Bratislava-Petržalka (journey time approx. 1:15 h). You can get to the center from the main train station by tram, from Petžalka by city bus (for details see Bratislava/Arrival by train and Petržalka/Arrival by train).
There are only two direct connections from Vienna via Bratislava: a day connection (journey time 6 hours) and a night train (EN 60406) to Košice in eastern Slovakia.
Bratislava-Ticket: For the journey between the capital cities of Vienna and Bratislava (only 60 km away) there is the cheap Bratislava-Ticket from the ÖBB, a return ticket that is valid for 4 days, but the journey must be started on the first day of the validity period and only on the first day it is also valid as a day pass for city transport in Bratislava. The ticket is valid on both routes: both via Marchegg and via Kittsee. The ÖBB ticket costs €16 (€8 for children) and is therefore even cheaper than the single ticket (normal price) Vienna – Kittsee – Bratislava-Petržalka! You can take a bicycle with you at no extra charge. The ticket is available from ÖBB counters and also from ÖBB ticket machines throughout Austria, but not via the usual destination selection, but you have to click on "Other offers" and then on "Tickets for neighboring countries". (The Bratislava ticket can be bought online, but it is not available as an online ticket, but must be "picked up" at an ÖBB ticket machine with the code sent, i.e. printed out.)
Sparschiene: The cheapest ÖBB Sparschiene prices in Slovakia are: to Bratislava from Linz and Graz €19, from Salzburg €24; from Vienna to Poprad €24, to Košice €29 (price as of January 1st, 2018).
In the absence of cheap Sparschiene tickets available, travelers traveling from Salzburg via Vienna should check the WESTbahn offers in combination with the Bratislava ticket.
From the north and east of Germany, the fastest connections run via Prague, from the center and south via Vienna. There is a direct day connection Hamburg – Berlin – Bratislava (EC 173 "Hungaria"), but no direct night connections; Night transfer connections from the north, partly via Munich and Vienna. From the south of Germany there are only transfer connections (day and night) via Vienna.
Saver fare: The cheapest DB saver fares to Slovakia are: Munich – Bratislava €39.90, Hamburg – Bratislava €49.90 (with the BahnCard 25 another 25% discount on all saver fares).
In the absence of cheap saver fare tickets, travelers from southern Germany via Salzburg and Vienna should check the WESTbahn offers in combination with a Bayern ticket and Bratislava ticket.
There are no direct connections, only transfer connections (day and night) via Vienna. It is unclear whether the SBB offer supersaver tickets for journeys to Slovakia.
In addition to other cities, there are mainly regular bus connections from Vienna, Prague and Budapest to Bratislava, including with the bus operators Postbus / line 1195 (in cooperation with Slovak Lines), Flixbus and RegioJet, also between Vienna Airport and Bratislava Airport.
If you want to go to the Tatra Mountains, you can also travel via Kraków. From there, buses go to various places in the Slovak Tatras and in the Polish-Slovak region of Orawa/Orava (German: Arwa).
From Užhorod (Uschhorod) in Ukraine there is a bus connection to Michalovce in eastern Slovakia.
Slovakia lies on the Danube and thus on the Vienna-Budapest Danube Cycle Route. There are also numerous signposted, regional cycle paths, especially in Austria and the Czech Republic.
The Danube is the navigable
river with the largest ports in Bratislava and Komárno. There is a boat
connection between Vienna and Bratislava: the TwinCityLiner.
Overall, Slovakia is quite well developed for road traffic, with the motorway network being expanded. There is also a well-developed network of trunk roads. In general, the trunk roads and motorways run alongside the railway connections. The four major highways are:
the D1 from Bratislava to Košice (80% completed, individual sections are still under construction (07/21))
the D2 from Bratislava to Brno (Czech Republic),
the D3 from Čadca to the Polish border, as well
the D4 from Bratislava to the Austrian border.
Bratislava has its own Bratislava Airport (IATA: BTS). Ryanair flies to Bratislava from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (IATA: HHN) and Berlin Brandenburg Airport (IATA: BER).
Scheduled airlines flying to Bratislava Airport (BTS) include Czech Airlines. Czech Airlines flies several times a day from Prague. There are also non-stop flights from Moscow and other Eastern European cities.
The other alternative is Vienna Airport (IATA: VIE), which is only 35 km from Bratislava. In contrast to Bratislava, this airport has more connections, but can also be correspondingly more expensive. Buses run every hour from Vienna Airport to Bratislava, including with the bus operators Postbus / line 1195 (in cooperation with Slovak Lines), Flixbus and RegioJet.
Czech Airlines also flies to Košice, Sliac and Žilina from Prague. You can also fly from Vienna to Košice and from Bratislava to Košice.
There are good domestic train connections,
supplemented by regional buses and some local trains. The travel speed
is a bit slower than in western countries, but the fares are sometimes
The railways in Slovakia leave a somewhat mixed impression. The local trains of the state railway company ZSSK often make a unkempt impression and are "decorated" with graffiti. Some of the ZSSK express trains run with rolling stock that has been partially refurbished and in this form offers a reasonable level of ride comfort. Partly, especially on the Bratislava–Košice route, the express trains are equipped with carriages that have been completely rebuilt from vehicles that originally come from the GDR (air-conditioning, chemical toilets, partly large space, every seat - at least in 1st carriage class - with socket) and offer a high level of driving comfort and leave a neat impression. Several express trains run daily on this route. They usually have a dining car with them, where you can eat relatively cheaply.
The Czech provider RegioJet offers an alternative to the state railway company ZSSK on some routes. RegioJet mainly uses very modern, well-equipped and clean rolling stock. In addition, the prices are usually a little cheaper than at the ZSSK. However, the route network is significantly smaller than that of the ZSSK. On the main Bratislava–Košice route, trains do not stop at all stations, but the travel time is about 50 minutes shorter.
The travel time between Bratislava and Košice is around 5 to 6 hours (approx. 450 km). Extensive construction work is underway on the route between Bratislava and Žilina. The route is to be upgraded for speeds of up to 200 km/h. Therefore, waiting times in front of the construction sites are to be expected. However, punctuality hardly suffers as a result.
ZSSK and RegioJet tickets are not mutually recognized.
Os (Osobný vlak): "Passenger train", local train with
stops in (mostly) all stations, only 2nd class.
REX (Regionalný Expres): "Regionalný Express", fast local train, usually only 2nd class, reservation possible on some trains
RR (Regionalný Rýchlik): "Regional express train", 1st class, 2nd class, reservation possible
R (Rýchlik): "Express train", long-distance train (national, international), 1st class and 2nd class, minibar or dining car, reservation possible
Ex (Express): long-distance train (national, international), 1st class and 2nd class, minibar or dining car, reservation possible
EN (EuroNight): international night train, 2nd class, 1st class (only in the sleeping car), seats only require reservations when traveling abroad
EC (EuroCity): international long-distance train; 1st class, 2nd class, dining car, reservation possible, subject to a surcharge
SC (SuperCity): long-distance train (Pendolino type) Prague – Čadca – Žilina – Košice; 1st class, 2nd class, subject to surcharge and reservation, dining car
IC (InterCity): Express train Bratislava – Košice (just under 5 hours), 1st class, 2nd class, reservation required, separate tariff with 3 price levels depending on the train and the time of day, dining car
RGJ (RegioJet): Trains from the alternative provider RegioJet (also referred to with the abbreviation RJ; risk of confusion with the Railjet, which is not used in Slovakia), 3 classes, prices are staggered according to contingent, tickets are specific to the train, reservation included in the fare
Here you will find further information on the ZSSK train categories.
Prices and timetable information
The prices are moderate for Western Europeans (ZSSK): Bratislava – Košice – Bratislava 1st class including seat reservation €54, 2nd class €36 (when booking online, as of January 2016), but booked in Slovakia!
Current ZSSK timetables and a route planner for trains and intercity buses (including the alternative provider RegioJet) are available online, also in German and English.
ZSSK offers the following
discount cards (as of June 2018):
Klasik Railplus (35 €): With this card you get a discount of 25% on the normal price 1st class. and 2nd class.
Junior Railplus (€16.50) for young people under the age of 26: With this card there is a discount of 25% in 1st class and 40% in 2nd class.
Senior Railplus (€9.90) for seniors over the age of 60: With this card there is a discount of 25% or more in 1st class and 40% in 2nd class.
Minor surcharges have to be paid for EC and SC trains. The discount rates mentioned do not apply to IC trains; a separate tariff applies to IC trains, whereby the discount varies depending on the distance and time of day.
The international supplement RailPlus is also included in all discount cards, which means that normal-price tickets for cross-border train journeys are cheaper by the RailPlus discount.
Free transport for children and seniors
Children up to the age of 15, students up to the age of 26 and pensioners under the age of 62 as well as seniors in general over the age of 62 are entitled to free transport on ZSSK trains. To do this, it is necessary to register once at a ZSSK ticket counter free of charge by presenting a photo ID and any other documents.
In order to be able to use a train for free, a free ticket for the desired route must be purchased at the ticket counter beforehand - please note: the free tickets are subject to quotas. Purchased free tickets are valid without restriction for all trains in the Os and REX categories, but are train-specific for the other train categories. Minor surcharges have to be paid for EC and SC trains. IC trains (InterCity) cannot be used free of charge, they have their own reduced tariff. Detailed information on the ZSSK website (in German).
The ID cards for free transport are free of charge and can be requested by all EU citizens.
There is an even less bureaucratic option for senior citizens aged 70 and over: If they do not have an ID card for free transport or the contingent of free tickets has been exhausted, they can purchase tickets at a symbolic price (€0.15 per 50 passengers) upon presentation of photo ID kilometers). In this case, too, small surcharges have to be paid for EC and SC trains. There are no tickets for the symbolic price for IC trains, they have their own reduced tariff.
Annual pass for the entire railway network
MAXI KLASIK allows unlimited rail travel in Slovakia on ZSSK trains. With the exception of SC and IC trains, all trains (including EC trains) can be used free of charge. For SC (SuperCity) trains a small surcharge applies. For IC trains (InterCity) you generally have to pay the lowest price level. The pass is available for 1st and 2nd class and can be purchased for 6 months or 1 year. In addition, you can choose between non-transferable and transferable for all passes. A pass is not worthwhile for tourists.
In the street
The current motorway network is not yet fully developed and the trunk roads are very busy, but construction work is going on in several places. The entrances and exits of the Autobahn are sometimes risky and simple with very short turning lanes. The lanes of country roads are often damaged at the edges and have ruts. However, this is subject to constant improvement. There is a high volume of transport on the country roads, often a truck pulls a long line of cars behind it. Caution is advised.
Gasoline prices are about the same as in Austria (approx. €1.20/l Super, €1.00/l Diesel, as of January 2016).
The traffic rules roughly correspond to those in Germany. The speed limits are 50 km/h in built-up areas, 90 km/h on country roads and 130 km/h on motorways. The 0.0 alcohol limit applies, which is strictly controlled, especially at night (caution: high penalties). Dipped headlights must also be used during the day.
An electronic vignette has been required to use the motorways since 2016. The prices are €10 (10 days), €14 (30 days) and €50 (1 year). Trailers with a permissible total weight (towing vehicle + trailer) of up to 3.5 t only require a vignette. Motorcycles do not require a vignette. The electronic vignettes replace the previous stickers. They can be bought online, at almost all petrol stations and at self-service machines.
bike and on foot
There are now many well-signposted and well-developed cycle routes throughout almost the entire country. In any case, there is very little traffic on side roads, which makes it easy to cycle. The only disturbing thing is that most of the country is mountainous.
There are also many well-signposted hiking routes in the Carpathians, which means that you could walk almost the entire country from west to east.
Air travel hardly plays a role in the small country. Only the domestic flight connections from Bratislava to Košice are reasonably usable, although due to the expansion of the road and rail network, the flight time from center to center is hardly any faster than by train or car.
Slovak and Hungarian (especially on the border with Hungary), but also Romanes in eastern Slovakia, other minority languages are e.g. B. German, Czech, Ruthenian, Polish. Younger people speak at least English or German, and in an emergency they try very hard to overcome the language barrier “with facial expressions or with hands and feet”.
Slovakia has been part of the euro zone since January 1st, 2009,
which means that the euro is the official means of payment from now on.
Payment cards are more widely accepted in Slovakia than in Germany. In
many cases it is even possible to make contactless payments with the
The prices in gastronomy - especially outside of Bratislava - are still a lot lower than in western Central Europe. There are hardly any price differences in retail. Nevertheless, numerous Eastern Austrians go to Bratislava to shop, but this is mainly due to the fact that opening hours in Slovakia are much more liberal: shops are sometimes open until late in the evening and also on Sundays.
Popular souvenirs from Slovakia are:
Wine - especially white wine like Riesling (Rízling) from the region around Bratislava
Beer - Slovak beer is hardly known internationally. But the Slovakian brewing tradition is in no way inferior to its big neighbors the Czech Republic and Austria!
Local handicrafts, especially woodwork, painted Easter eggs, glassblowing, etc. But beware: the majority of the offers in the tourist markets are mass-produced goods from China (and also identical to the offers in other countries).
There is a deposit of 15 cents on one-way beverage containers. Recognizable on the label by a red Z surrounded by two arrows.
Slovak cuisine is strongly influenced by the country's location in
the mountains and is hearty but tasty. Meat, cabbage and pastries, as
well as fatty milk products (cheese, sour cream, bryndza) are typical
components of Slovak dishes. Many dishes are similar to those from
Czech, Austrian or Hungarian cuisine. This can also be explained by the
time of the k.u.k. monarchy, when the cuisines of the ethnic groups
influenced each other.
Highly recommended are the traditional sauerkraut soup (kapustnica), which is also an integral part of Slovakian Christmas dinner, or the Brimser Nockerl (bryndzové halušky), a type of pasta, usually made of potato dough, eaten with a processed type of sheep's cheese (bryndza) and fried bacon . The bryndzové halušky are also considered the national dish of Slovakia. Furthermore, pierogi (pirohy), which can be filled with meat, cheese or jam, are very tasty. It is best to go to a Salaš (sk. for alpine dairyman's hut). They are usually furnished in a typically Slovak style, and they serve a large selection of Slovak specialties with Slovak music. Freshly tapped Kofola (čapovaná kofola), a counterpart to Cola/Pepsi, which is available in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, should not be missing with the meal.
In a country of meat dishes, as Slovakia certainly is, there is traditionally little choice for vegetarians. In the big cities, there is an extensive range of modern gastronomy that takes into account all types of diets (vegetarian, vegan, organic, etc.). In the provinces, however, you have to stick to fried cheese (vypražaný syr) or fried mushrooms (vypražané žampiony), served with potatoes (zemiaky), croquettes (krokety) or french fries (hranolky) and a nice helping of Slovak tartare sauce (tatarská omáčka), which are quite filling, but not very varied in the long run. Pure vegetable dishes are not very common, but you can easily put together a plate of side dishes. Sometimes as a vegetarian you have to be a bit more tolerant, because it can happen that you order bean soup because it is listed as a vegetarian soup, which was then cooked in beef broth or something similar. In small inns, vegetarian dishes are rarely specially marked, you should ask the waiter if necessary.
In Slovakia, to a lesser extent, there is viticulture (mostly white wines). On the other hand, the beer brewing tradition is widespread and the numerous local types of beer are definitely among the better in Europe.
The capital Bratislava, in particular, has a colorful nightlife, with
numerous bars and nightclubs for a wide variety of tastes, from cheap to
classy and from serious to wicked.
Finding a good pizzeria or restaurant is not a big problem in Slovakia.
Slovakia is now a safe holiday destination. The high level of crime
from the early 1990s has almost completely disappeared, but it still
tarnishes the country's image to this day. Tourists are most likely to
encounter pickpocketing and scams. Car theft or car break-ins also
occur. However, the situation is no worse than in other holiday
countries. In general, the usual safety precautions should be observed.
In the east of the country in particular, there is strong resentment among the Slovak population against Sinti and Roma as well as against homosexuals. Insults and violent assaults on dark-skinned people or people perceived as homosexual are common here.
Bars and clubs in the east of the country sometimes have signs at the entrance "Slovaks only". What is meant here is that Sinti and Roma in particular are undesirable. The considerate traveler will still avoid such places so as not to support racism and exclusion!
The following information was written by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany:
The Slovak Republic is basically a safe travel destination. However, travelers are advised of the increased risk of theft when traveling by car. In particular, newer BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW vehicles with foreign license plates are at risk, even if they are equipped with an electronic immobilizer. Petty crime in the form of pickpocketing and car break-ins are common. Thefts in hotels cannot be ruled out either.
The Slovaks are hospitable and obviously happy that tourists also show up in rural areas. In restaurants and hotels you are treated very friendly. Anyone who meets the Slovaks with a few fragments of their mother tongue can count on being treated even more kindly. The suddenly available knowledge of the German language is also amazing again and again.
There are four network operators based on size: Orange (France Télécom; cheap brand FunFón), Slovak Telekom (T-Mobile), O2 (Telefónica Slovakia) and SWAN (4G/LTE only). Buying a SIM card requires registration, which can be done either online or in-store. With the basic packages, Orange gives you the Prima card for €10 with the same amount of credit, the Easy package from Telekom costs €9. In contrast to the others, one offers fast data transfer and "unlimited" Internet, i. H. 100 GB (!) per month. Tesco mobile on the O2 network offers 250 MB per day for €0.50.
The origin of the name Slovakia and the ethnonym Slovaks is closely linked to the existence of the Hungarian state. The fact that the individual non-Slavic peoples of Hungary interacted to a greater extent with the original Slovak population led to the creation of the seeds of Slovak consciousness. In official sources, the inhabitants of today's Slovakia were called Slavus or Sclavus, in order to distinguish them from other Slavic peoples. This designation first appeared in 1029 and then in various variants and languages often from the 15th century. In the case of older occurrences of similar shapes, it is questionable whether Slavic or Slovak territory is meant. The modern Slovak form of Slovakia is first documented in 1675 in the request of the Broumov manor, addressed to the heytman of the region in Uhorské Hradiště.
Although the Slovak Republic belongs to the group of younger states in Europe, the territory of the country has a long and eventful history, which left many monuments. Few European countries have gone through a more complex historical and political development than Slovakia.
The first signs of the settlement of Slovakia come from the end of
the Paleolithic, approximately 250 thousand years ago. years. The
flourishing of human societies on the territory of Slovakia is evidenced
by many archaeological monuments, such as the discovery of a Neanderthal
skull in Gánovce. Richer documents about the life of prehistoric people
refer to the Neolithic. The remains of their dwellings, ceramics, but
also of their spiritual life were found in the form of sacrificial gifts
or cult objects, such as Venuses from Nitrańske Hrádek, Moravian nad
Váhom and other places. Approximately 5000-4000 years BC. the first
farmers appear (preserved finds of stone axes, wedges, scrapers and
containers - Domica cave). However, the ethnicity of these prehistoric
people is unclear.
From the end of the 4th century BC. the Celts arrive, who can be considered the first historically known ethnicity on the territory of today's Slovakia. There are written references to the presence of the Celts in Roman sources. In the 1st century BC the Dacians come to Slovakia, the Celts retreat further north, there is a mixing of the Celtic and Dacian population and culture. At the turn of the century, the Dacian and Celtic tribes are pushed out by Germanic tribes. For example, their Kingdom of Vanni was temporarily established on today's Slovak territory. The Danube formed the border with the Roman Empire. In the 2nd century AD, Roman military garrisons were stationed on the territory of Slovakia. Subsequently, the south-west of Slovakia became part of the Roman province of Pannonia.
At the end of the 4th century, the migration of peoples began, many peoples took turns in Slovakia. The formation of Slovakia and the Slovaks as a nation is mainly connected with the arrival of the Slavs. The first Slavic population inhabited the main territory of Slovakia around the 5th century. In the second half of the 6th century, the Slavs came under the sway of the nomadic tribes of the Avars, in the first half of the 7th century, the local territory was annexed to the Samo Empire.
The first state unit in most of Slovakia was the Principality of Nitra, which joined Great Moravia in 833. In 862, the Great Moravian ruler Rastislav asked Byzantium for Christian missionaries, the Byzantine emperor Michael III. to Great Moravia he sent a mission led by the Thessaloniki brothers Konstantin (monk name St. Cyril) and St. Using the method of those who compiled the Glagolitic script, they translated the Holy Scriptures, liturgical texts and other books into Old Slavonic and helped to organize ecclesiastical relations in Great Moravia.
After the demise of the Great Moravian Empire, the then territory of Slovakia was controlled by the Hungarians (end of the 9th century), who at that time moved to Central Europe. In the middle of the 10th century, a new feudal state gradually emerged - the Kingdom of Hungary (Hungary). Although it was originally founded by the Hungarian Arpád dynasty, the country remained multi-ethnic and multilingual, the language of the nobility and the royal court was Latin. After the Battle of Mohács in 1526, Slovakia and Western Hungary became part of the Habsburg Empire. In the years 1540-1541, the Hungarian Plain was occupied by the Turks and the south of Slovakia was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.
Following the Turkish expansion, the territory of the former Hungary in the 16th and 17th centuries was temporarily reduced practically only to Slovakia, today's Burgenland and western Croatia (the so-called Royal Hungary), making Slovakia the core of this Habsburg state. Bratislava became the main (1536 – 1784/1848), coronation (1563 – 1830) city and the seat of the Diet (1542 – 1848) of the Kingdom of Hungary or later Hungary. Trnava became the seat of the Ostrihom archbishop, making it the central place of the Hungarian Roman Catholic Church. The long-lasting wars with the Ottoman Empire were ended for a long time in 1711 by the Peace of Satmár. The most famous national hero we can find in Slovak mythology from this period is the bandit captain Juraj Jánošík (1688 – 1713) from Terchová. Legend has it that he took from the rich and gave to the poor.
During the 18th century, the Slovak national revival began. The priestly intelligentsia became the defender of Slovak rights, which was divided into two currents: Catholics (headed by Anton Bernolák) and Evangelicals (main representatives Ján Kollár and Pavol Jozef Šafárik). Evangelicals promoted the concept of Slavic unity. On the contrary, the Catholics held the opinion that the Slovaks are a unique nation and need their own language. In 1787, Anton Bernolák codified the first literary Slovak based on the West Slovak dialect (called Bernolák).
In the middle of the 19th century, the so-called Štúr generation. In 1843, Ľudovít Štúr codified literary Slovak on the basis of the Central Slovak dialect, which is still used today with minor modifications. The Štúrov family fought for Slovak individuality and the right of Slovaks to self-determination. In the revolution of 1848-1849, Autonomous Slovakia was declared within Hungary and the Slovaks joined the side of the Austrians in order to separate from Hungary as a separate part of the Austrian monarchy, which they unfortunately failed to do and the Slovak self-government disappeared in 1849. Slovaks faced the worst pressure of Magyarization after the Austro-Hungarian settlement in 1867-1918. Slovakia had a common fate with Austria-Hungary until the beginning of the 20th century.
In the 20th century, the situation began to change. The
representatives of the Slovak and Czech nations took advantage of the
defeat of Austria-Hungary in the First World War. In October 1918,
Czechoslovak Republic (Czechoslovak Republic) was formed by the union of
Slovakia, the Czech lands and Subcarpathian Rus, and the Slovak
politician Milan Rastislav Štefánik was also responsible for its
establishment. Slovaks signed up to the newly emerging state with the
Martin Declaration (October 30, 1918). After the conclusion of the peace
treaty in Trianon, Slovakia was singled out for the first time as an
independent territory, although within the framework of Czechoslovakia.
However, some of its inhabitants and politicians were not satisfied with
Slovakia's position in the new state. At the end of the 1930s,
separatist tendencies grew stronger in Slovakia.
Since 1918, the Catholic Slovak People's Party (Andrej Hlinka), which demanded the autonomy of Slovakia, had a great influence in Slovakia. The German dictator Adolf Hitler took advantage of the ethnic differences in the country, who first deprived the Czech Republic of its border territories and then negotiated with Slovak politicians. On November 19, 1938, the Act on the Autonomy of Slovakia within Czechoslovakia was approved. The territory of Slovakia was significantly reduced as part of the 1st Vienna Arbitration, by which the southern territories had to be ceded to Hungary. Under these circumstances, under pressure from Germany, an independent Slovak state (later officially the Slovak Republic) was finally proclaimed on March 14, 1939 - one of the satellites of Nazi Germany, in which a totalitarian political system was established.
Slovakia acted as an ally of the German Empire during World War II. The desire for their own statehood was soon overshadowed by resistance to fascism and Nazism, which intensified the persecution of the Jewish and Roma population. During the Holocaust, in which Slovakia took part by deporting the majority of Jews to Nazi concentration camps, approximately 75,000 Slovak Jews were killed. As a reaction to the entry of the German army into Slovakia, the Slovak National Uprising broke out in August 1944, the political and military center of which was Banská Bystrica. When the Germans defeated the insurrection, the insurgents switched to guerrilla warfare. At the beginning of 1945, the liberation of Slovakia by the Red Army, the army of Romania and the 1st Czecho-Slovak Army Corps ended the existence of the Slovak state.
After the Second World War, Slovakia was re-integrated into the restored Czechoslovak Republic (the restored republic already included only the territory of today's Czech Republic and Slovakia. Subcarpathian Rus was included in the territory of the Soviet Union). It gradually entered the sphere of influence of the USSR among the countries of the Eastern Bloc behind the Iron Curtain. On February 25, 1948, when the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia took power, private enterprises were nationalized, the Slovak peasant countryside was affected by the collectivization of agriculture. The communist regime introduced the leading role of the Communist Party of the Czech Republic, which was confirmed by the elections with the unified candidate of the National Front. Those who thought differently were persecuted by the ŠtB, imprisoned and executed. In 1968, due to economic backwardness and dissatisfaction with the policy of the Communist Party, politician Dubček made significant political changes. On August 21, 1968, these processes were suppressed by the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops. There was a so-called normalization and the onset of Brezhnev policy. From January 1, 1969, the Czechoslovakia consisted of two socialist republics, the Czechoslovakia and the SSR.
In 1989, the Gentle Revolution ended the communist regime and Czechoslovakia became a democratic state again. Slovakia was established on January 1, 1993 as one of the successor states of Czechoslovakia. This happened after 75 years of existence of the common state of Czechs and Slovaks, on the basis of the constitutional law approved by the Federal Assembly of Czechoslovakia. The country began to open up to the world, democratize and cooperate more with other states. Slovakia has been a member of the UN since January 19, 1993, a member of NATO since March 29, 2004, a member of the European Union since May 1, 2004, and a member of the Schengen area since December 21, 2007. and since January 1, 2009, it is the 16th member of the European Monetary Union - Eurozone, and the official currency became the euro, which replaced the Slovak crown.
The Slovak Republic is located in the northern hemisphere, a little
closer to the North Pole than to the equator. Central European time is
used in Slovakia, which is 1 hour ahead of world time (zero meridian
time). Slovakia is located in Central Europe, as if in the heart of
Europe. It is a landlocked country, not located on the shore of the sea.
The nearest sea is the Adriatic Sea, approximately 365 km away. Slovakia
borders five countries. In the east it borders Ukraine (97.8 km), in the
south with Hungary (654.8 km), in the southwest with Austria (106.7 km),
in the northwest with the Czech Republic (251.8 km) and in the north
with Poland ( 541.1 km). Slovak borders are mostly formed by natural
natural formations (rivers and mountain ridges). State borders also run
through lowlands and basins, especially on the border sections with
Hungary and Ukraine. The total length of the borders is 1,652.2 km.
The country is characterized by mountainous relief in the north and lowlands in the south. All surface units of Slovakia belong to the Pannonian Basin and the Carpathians. With its territorial area of 49,036 km2, Slovakia ranks among the smaller states of the European continent. The shape of the territory of Slovakia is oblong in the parallel direction (east - west). The main European watershed runs through Slovakia, the interface of territories from which rivers drain water into two seas (the Baltic and the Black Sea).
The surface of Slovakia is predominantly mountainous - mountains and
highlands occupy approximately three fifths of the territory. The
extensive mountain range of the Carpathians is filled with many mountain
ranges and basins. Individual groups of mountains differ according to
their origin and the rocks they are composed of. Around the middle
course of the Hron lies a group of volcanic mountains – Kremnické vrchy,
Vtáčnik, Poľana, Javorie, Štiavnické vrchy and others. The Slanské and
Vihorlatské hills in the east are also of volcanic origin. Bands of
folded mountains stretch from the Little Carpathians in the southwest
through central and northern Slovakia. The highest peaks are the Malá
Fatra, Veľká Fatra, Nízke Tatras and Vysoké Tatras. In the Tatras rises
the highest peak in Slovakia - Gerlachovský štít, 2,655 m above sea
level. m. Other famous hills are Lomnický štít (2632 m), the symbol of
Slovakia Kriváň (2492 m) and Rysy (2499 m). The most extensive mountain
range is the Slovak Ore Mountains.
Individual mountain ranges separate river valleys and basins. The largest are Košická, Juhoslovenská, Hornonitrianska, Turčianska, Žilinská and others. The lowlands extend to the southwest, south, and east. They belong to the vast depression of the Pannonian Basin. The largest and most fertile is the Danube Plain. Its southern part with Žitný ostrov, where the largest underground water reserves are, is the Danube Plain. Further north, it passes into the Danube uplands divided by the lower reaches of the rivers – Váh, Nitra, Žitava, Hron and Ipeľ. The second largest is the East Slovak Plain. Several rivers flow through it – Topľa, Ondava, Laborec, Uh, Latorica, whose waters are drained by Bodrog and Tisa. Between the Lesser Carpathians and the Morava River lies the smallest Záhorská lowland.
Slovakia has a moderate climate of a transitional type, with a more
frequent alternation of moist oceanic and dry land air (hot in summer,
cold in winter). Therefore, warm summers and cold, wet winters with high
cloud cover prevail in Slovakia. Differences in climate are primarily
caused by altitude. The warmest and driest are the lowlands (about 570
mm of precipitation per year) and the lower basins. As the altitude
increases, the temperature drops and it rains and snows more. The
coldest are the highest mountains, where the most precipitation falls
(Tatra over 2,000 mm per year). The windward sides of the mountains have
more precipitation. The average temperature at higher altitudes,
especially in the Tatras, is around -4°C and, on the contrary, in the
lowlands it is around 10°C. As for the wind, the westerly flow prevails
throughout the year.
There are three climatic regions in Slovakia: warm, moderately warm and cold. The warm area is in the lowlands and low-lying basins, approximately up to 350 m above sea level. m. The mildly warm area has a subcontinental character and consists of parts of Slovakia up to 800 m above sea level. m (lower mountain ranges and foothills of higher mountains). The cold area extends above 800 m above sea level. m. in the higher parts of the mountains.
Almost all rivers in Slovakia (96%) belong to the basin of the Black
Sea, where they are drained by the Danube River and its tributaries. The
rest of the territory is drained by the Poprad and Dunajec rivers into
the Baltic Sea. The longest rivers are Váh (403 km), Hron, Ipeľ, Nitra,
Hornád. The largest number of lakes on the territory of Slovakia are in
the Tatras (about 200) and are called plesá. They were formed after the
retreat of the glacier. The largest and deepest (53 m) is Veľké Hincovo
pleso, well-known are Štrbské, Popradské and Skalnaté pleso.
There are many artificial dam reservoirs located in the country. The most dams (19 in total) are on the Váh River, where they form the Váh Cascade. They are e.g. Liptovská Mara, Sĺňava, Kráľová, Nosice and others. The largest dam is Oravská dam with an area of 35 km², followed by Zemplínska šírava and Liptovská Mara. The purpose of dams is hydropower, anti-flooding, they are used for irrigation, recreation or drinking water supply. The largest water reservoirs include the Gabčíkovo Water Works on the Danube. In the past, ponds (fish farming), tajchy (mining activity) and clauses (wood rafting) were built in Slovakia.
The largest reserves of groundwater are in river sediments and especially on Žitno ostrov. Slovakia is rich in mineral and thermal waters (almost 1,500 springs). They are used as table water and for medicinal purposes in the spas of Piešťany, Trenčianske Teplice, Sliač, Dudince, Bojnice, Bardejov and others. The most famous table waters are Fatra, Slatina, Salvator, Cígeľka, Santovka, Mitická and Rajec. Underground water saturated with minerals is also of recreational importance (thermal swimming pools – Bešeňová, Podhájska, Dunajská Streda, Veľký Meder, etc.).
The soil cover in the territory of Slovakia is very diverse thanks to the varied geological structure and rugged relief. Soil is a decisive natural resource and one of the main natural potentials of Slovakia. Of the total land area, arable land makes up 39.5%, meadows and pastures 16.2%, and forests 44.3% of the territory. Brown forest soils are the most represented, in karst areas there are typical rendzins. The most fertile soils, black soil and brown soil, can be found in the lowlands. The problem is the threat of soil erosion and slope movements. Land losses in favor of built-up areas are also large.
northernmost point: Beskydok (village Oravská Polhora) on the state
border (49° 37' N, 19° 28' E)
southernmost point: Patince (47° 44' N, 18° 17' E)
westernmost point: Záhorská Ves (48° 23' N, 16° 50' E)
easternmost point: Kremenec (border triangle) (village Nová Sedlica) (49° 05' N, 22° 34' E)
highest point: Gerlachovský štít (2,654.4 m above sea level)
the lowest point: the level of the Bodrog river near Strede nad Bodrog (94 m above sea level)
the longest length: 428.8 km between the villages of Záhorská Ves and
shortest width: 77.6 km between the villages of Orlov and Hostůovce
The geological conditions are very diverse. The territory of Slovakia is mostly occupied by the Carpathians, which border the lowlands of the Pannonian Basin in the south. The Carpathians belong to the Alpine-Himalayan system. It was created by folds at the end of the Mesozoic and in the Tertiary, which is why they have a distinct canopy structure. The individual bands are pushed on top of each other, approximately from south to north.
The geological structure of Slovakia is diverse. The mountains of the
Carpathian mountain system have a distinct mantle geological structure
and are made up of diverse crystalline and sedimentary rocks, which
makes them significantly different from the lowlands of the Pannonian
basin (which mainly contain layers of sand, gravel and clay). On the
territory of Slovakia, the Carpathians form an extensive arc, which can
be divided into the Western and Eastern Carpathians. Most of the surface
is occupied by the Western Carpathians.
The Western Carpathians stretch in two zones: the outer and the inner. The Outer Carpathians are mainly formed by the flysch zone, which extends in the north and northwest of Slovakia. It consists mainly of border mountains, which are built of flysch (alternation of sandstones, clays and slates). It starts with the White Carpathians, continues through Kysuce and Orava to eastern Slovakia up to the Čergov Mountains. The border between the outer and inner Western Carpathians is represented by a ridge. It consists of resistant limestones (slabs) jutting out from less resistant clays and sandstones (e.g. Vršatské bralda).
The inner range of the Western Carpathians consists of many mountain ranges and basins. According to their structure and appearance, they can be divided into four groups: 1. nuclear mountains, 2. volcanic mountains, 3. Slovak Ore Mountains, 4. Carpathian basins and lowlands. Core mountains build hard cores (granites, gneisses, clasts) and cover rocks (limestones, sandstones and shale). These include the Malé Karpaty, Strážovské vrchy, Súľovské vrchy, Malá Fatra, Veľká Fatra, Chočské vrchy, Low Tatras and Tatry mountains. Volcanic mountains are located further south of the core mountains. Andesite and rhyolite, less basalt, are involved in their construction. The most important volcanic mountains in Slovakia are Poľana, Kremnické vrchy, Vtáčnik, Javorie, Štiavnické vrchy and Slanské vrchy. The Slovak Ore Mountains form a kind of arch of different composition (mainly weakly metamorphosed phyllite and metabasalt rocks), on which the core mountains from the north and the volcanic mountains from the west rest. The Slovak Ore Mountains also include the limestone mountains: Slovak Karst, Slovak Paradise and Muránska Planina. Many caves were created in them by the action of water. The Western Carpathian mountains are separated by valleys and basins. The largest are Košická, Juhoslovenská, Hornonitrianska, Turčianska kotlina, Horehronské podolie and others.
The Eastern Carpathians extend in the northeast of Slovakia. Their outer part (Nízke Beskydy and Poloniny - Bukovské vrchy) resembles the flysch Western Carpathians, but has lower altitudes. The inner part of the Eastern Carpathians is filled by the volcanic Vihorlat Hills.
Geological development took place in several stages long before the
first people appeared here in the Quaternary. In the primeval period
about 400 - 300 million years ago, they arose in the depths of the earth
during the so-called of the Variscan/Hercynian folds, metamorphosed
rocks of gneiss, clasts and amphibolites. Variscan granitoids intruded
in places. The territory of the future Slovakia was then part of the
Pangea continent. By the end of the Primordial Period, the old Hercynian
Mountains were gradually leveled and turned into a vast desert. At the
beginning of the Mesozoic, in the Triassic, the majority of today's
Slovakia was covered by a predominantly shallow sea. Only in the
southernmost areas are the remains of the Triassic-Jurassic so-called
Meliat ocean (part of the larger Tethys ocean). For millions of years,
the calcareous shells of animals have accumulated on the bottom of the
sea. Limestones and dolomites were deposited on most of the territory.
In the Jurassic and Cretaceous, mainly limestone. At the end of the
Mesozoic, the territory of the future Slovakia was affected by
large-scale mountain-forming movements (orogeny and tectogenesis). Inner
Carpathian blankets were formed, which moved from north to south. In the
younger Tertiary period, the earth's crust broke into ice sheets.
Mountains were formed from uplifted plates, Neogene basins and lowlands
were formed from subducted plates. The Paratethys Sea intervened here.
In the Tertiary, several volcanoes invaded the territory of today's
Slovenská. Volcanic activity was intense mainly in central and eastern
Slovakia. Examples of large volcanoes are the Štiavnický stratovolcano,
the largest volcano in Europe 15 million years ago, Poľana, or Vihorlat.
The last volcano that erupted in Slovakia is Putik's hill near Nova
Bani. Scientists estimate its age at 102 thousand years. The
mountain-forming process continued from the final stage of the Tertiary
with a gradual uplift of the entire area. The activity of Quaternary
glaciers and excessive erosion also contributed to the formation of
today's formability of the georelief. In the Quaternary, man appears and
volcanic activity gradually ceases.
Slovakia is located on the Eurasian lithospheric plate, or on the part marked Alcapa. The tectonic faults that cross the local territory are not very active at the moment. That is why earthquakes occur relatively rarely in Slovakia and have a low intensity. Overall, seismic activity is most pronounced in the vicinity of Komárno, in the area of the Lesser Carpathians from Bratislava to Vrbová, in the area of Horehronia east of Banská Bystrica and in eastern Slovakia approximately between Humenný and Užhorod. The source of earthquakes is also the area north of the Tatras on Polish territory around the city of Zakopane. The strongest historically documented earthquake hit Slovakia on June 28, 1763 near Komárno (see Komárno earthquake in 1763) and its magnitude was 5.8 (63 people died). Slovakia is a seismically and volcanically stable region.
Extraction of mineral raw materials is one of the foundations of
metallurgical production, chemical and construction industry and
significantly affects other industries as well. In 2009, the value of
mineral raw materials extraction in Slovakia reached €329.59 million in
current prices, which represents about 0.52% of GDP.
Among energy raw materials, oil, natural gas, brown coal and lignite are mined in Slovakia today. Oil production covers only about 1% and natural gas production 3% of domestic consumption. Lignite mining covers 80% of domestic consumption, the rest, like the entire black coal consumption, is ensured by imports from the Czech Republic. Other energy raw materials such as anthracite, bitumenous shale and non-vital gases are not suitable for profitable mining at today's prices. Economically interesting uranium reserves can be found e.g. on the Jahodná (Kurišková) deposit, but they have not yet been mined. Among the ores, only iron ore (siderite) was mined in Slovakia until recently, the extraction of which covered 11% of domestic consumption. During the summer of 2008, however, mining stopped. In Slovakia, unlike the surrounding countries, there are reserves of antimony, but it is not mined at the moment. In the past, important deposits of this semi-metal included Dúbrava in the Low Tatras and Pezinok in the Small Carpathians. The country has considerable reserves of non-ore raw materials, of which the mining of magnesite is of great importance, which is exported and represents around 6% of the world's mining of this raw material. The mining of perlite and zeolites is also significant on a global scale. The newly opened talc deposit near Gemerská Polom is also significant. Other non-ore raw materials mined in Slovakia include barite, bentonite, kaolin (covers about 26% of domestic consumption), ceramic clays, petrified basalt, building and facing stone, dolomite, limestone, rock salt (covers about 20% of domestic consumption), anhydrite ( covers about 45% of domestic consumption), feldspars, quartz sands and others. In the past, the country was an important producer of gold, silver, copper and other ores, whose deposits are currently mined. Only gold mining continues to a small extent in Banská Hodruša (Hodruša-Hámra).
Considering the geological structure, it is not surprising that here we can find developed karst formations, which rightfully belong to the great natural attractions. Karst and erosion activity created more than 7,500 caves, 13 of which are open to the public. Among the most important and valuable are the caves of the Slovak Karst and the Dobšinská ice cave, which were entered into the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Ochtinská aragonite cave, the only one of its kind in Europe, has a unique value. The caves appeal to the general public and experts of various fields with their remarkable features.
Due to its natural features, Slovakia can boast of untouched and wild nature. The geographical location of Slovakia determines the richness of the diversity of fauna and flora. More than 11,000 plant species, almost 29,000 animal species and over a thousand species of protozoa have been described on its entire territory. Endemic biodiversity is also common.
The territory of Slovakia extends in the area of deciduous and mixed forests of the temperate zone. As the altitude changes, the plant and animal communities that make up the altitude levels (oak, beech, spruce level, rhododendron, alpine meadows and snow-covered zone) change. Forests cover 44.3% of the territory of Slovakia (2.17 million hectares). Up to 60% of forest stands are deciduous and 40% conifers, 60- to 100-year-old stands predominate. Among the trees, oak is the most represented in the lowlands, beech at the foot of the mountains, and spruce at higher altitudes. Approximately 60% of the area of forest land is managed by state organizations. On prominent slopes in the warmest regions of Slovakia, there are so-called rocky steppes and forest steppes. Many rare types of herbs grow in them and rare thermophilic species of animals live there.
The occurrence of animal species is closely linked to suitable types of plant communities. In the territory of Slovakia, the animal communities of steppes (partridge, hare, pheasant, vole, bustard), deciduous forests (wild boar, grouse, deer, bear, wolf, fox, roe deer, squirrel, badger, lynx) and alpine areas (marmot , chamois), waters, marshes and their shores (carp, trout, 6 species of springtails, two species of toads, 6 species of heron). Of the birds, Slovakia is regularly inhabited by 10 species of owls, 3 species of eagles, 6 species of falcons, 3 species of buzzards, and 28 different species of bats live in caves, tree cavities and in buildings. Many species of fauna have adapted to conditions in multiple communities. In terms of species composition, the most diverse and numerous community is deciduous forests. The fewest animals have adapted to the cold alpine conditions.
In Slovakia, 9 national parks and 14 protected landscape areas (PLCs)
provide large-scale nature protection. The Tatra National Park is the
oldest and largest in area. Other national parks include Pieniny
National Park, Low Tatras, Slovak Paradise, Slovak Karst, Malá Fatra,
Veľká Fatra, Poloniny and Muránska Planina National Park. A total of
1,098 small-area protected areas, 41 protected bird areas and 642 areas
of European importance have been declared in Slovakia. Protected areas
occupy about 23% of the state area.
Environmental problems have been increasing in recent years. Through their activities, Slovaks change the environment both favorably and unfavorably. Thermal power plants and other heating devices burning solid fuels, the metallurgical and chemical industry, and automobile transport contribute the most to air pollution. They emit an increased amount of harmful substances into the air. Their action creates acid rain and, in windless conditions, urban smog. Slovak nature is also damaged by windstorms, snow disasters, landslides, pests, fires, floods and unauthorized logging (even in national parks). Wastewater from factories and housing estates pollutes surface and groundwater. In all cities, problems arise with waste removal. Gradually, however, the sorted collection of waste materials (plastics, glass, paper, metals, textiles, etc.) and their reprocessing and use – recycling. Part of the unprocessed waste is incinerated, the rest is concentrated in landfills.
Slovakia has over 5.4 million inhabitants. The regions of Prešovský,
Košický and Nitriansky have the highest number of inhabitants. The
number of inhabitants has increased only slightly in recent years,
because the number of births is low. The natural increase reaches -0.02%
(as of 2018). The biggest decrease in population is in Bratislava,
Myjava, Košice, Medzilabor and Sobranec districts. The largest increase
in population is in Spiš, Orava, Above and Zemplín.
The territory of Slovakia is unevenly populated, which is mainly related to natural conditions. The average population density is 110 inhabitants per km². The population is concentrated in densely populated cities located in the lowlands of western Slovakia (Bratislavský, Trenčínský and Trnava regions). The mountains are much less populated.
Demographic development is strongly influenced by migration. Above all, in the past waves of migration were directed to the USA, the Czech Republic, Serbia (Vojvodina), Hungary, Austria and some other countries. Currently, internal migration is characterized by movements from the east of the country to the west and the movement of the population over short distances - between the city and the hinterland, primarily for work. A negative phenomenon is the outflow of qualified labor, which persists to a lesser extent to this day.
The age structure of the population of Slovakia is favorable. The largest group consists of residents of productive age (women aged 15-59, men aged 15-61). On the contrary, the group of pre-productive residents (0- to 14-year-old residents) is the least numerous, which is not a favorable situation in the long term. The number of post-productive population (women over 60, men over 62) continues to grow in the country. That is why the average age of the Slovak population is increasing (38.7 years). The average life expectancy of the population at birth is higher for women (79 years) than for men (72 years). It is related to quality healthcare and a high standard of living.
At present, the population in the territory of Slovakia is ethnically
almost uniform. Up to 80% of the total population are ethnic Slovaks.
They are most prominently represented in the north of Slovakia. After
the Slovak, the most represented are the inhabitants of the Hungarian
nationality, who live mainly in the south near the border with Hungary.
The second largest minority are the Roma, who live mainly in the regions
of eastern Slovakia (Spiš, Šariš and Gemer). The share of the Roma
population is gradually increasing. Part of the population in the west
of Slovakia claims to be of Czech, Moravian and Silesian nationality.
Ruthenian and Ukrainian nationalities are also represented in large
numbers in the east and northeast, and Polish in the north near the
border with Poland. Germans in Slovakia, who called themselves
Carpathian Germans, once formed a significant national minority. In
1930, the German-speaking population was more than 4%. After 1945, 84%
of Germans from Slovakia were evacuated and partially forcibly deported
(as part of the Resettlement of Germans from Czechoslovakia), which
brought the German minority (in 2011, 4,690 claimed German nationality)
to the level of about one per thousand (0.1 %) of the population.
According to data from the 2021 census, the ethnic structure of Slovakia consists of:
Slovaks – 83.8%, Hungarians – 7.7%, Roma – 1.2%, others – 1.9%, unknown – 5.4%.
The official and educational language of Slovakia is Slovak, which belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. The codification of the literary Slovak language took place in 1843 on the basis of the Central Slovak dialect. Slovak uses an alphabet composed of 46 modified Latin letters. In addition to the written language, various dialects are used in individual regions of Slovakia. Of the traditional dialects, the most typical are Eastern Slovak (its several variants), Zahorác, Central Slovak and Western Slovak. Minority languages may be used in dealing with authorities in municipalities where the share of the population exceeds 20%. In practice, this concerns more than a hundred Hungarian municipalities, dozens of Ruthenian/Ukrainian and Roma municipalities and one German municipality.
Slovakia is a predominantly Christian country, the largest population
group is Roman Catholic. Christians live in almost all villages of
Slovakia, with the most prominent position in the north of the country
(Orava, Kysuce). Other churches are spatially concentrated in selected
regions (the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession, the Greek
Catholic Church and the Reformed Christian Church). In addition to these
churches, there are several others operating in Slovakia with a smaller
number of believers (the Orthodox Church, the Religious Society of
Jehovah's Witnesses, the Methodist Evangelical Church, etc.).
Innumerable minorities are made up of other faiths, including Islam and
Judaism. However, there is no public mosque in Slovakia. About a quarter
(23%) of the population did not declare themselves to any religion in
the 2021 census (they have no religion). The fewest believers live in
cities, especially in western Slovakia.
Christians – 68.8% (Catholics – 59.8%, Protestants – 7.6%, Orthodox – 0.9%, Other Christians – 0.5%), No religion – 23.8%, Others – 0.9 %, Undetected – 6.5%.
More than half of the working population is employed by services, more than a third by industry, and agriculture by only around 5%. Although jobs in Slovakia are not rare, wages are low. The minimum wage for 2019 is €520. Work is often done in shifts, a total of 48 hours a week. Unemployment is a problem in several areas (4.8% in 2018). It was created after the demise of many industrial plants, especially engineering plants. At the same time, the difference in living standards in larger cities and rural regions is deepening.
Slovakia has a relatively dense settlement network. There are about 7,000 residences here. These are grouped into 2,890 separate municipalities (including 3 military districts), of which 141 have city status. The largest number of municipalities are rural settlements (2,753 – 95%), less than half of the population lives in them. From a geographical point of view, we divide them into compact rural settlements (villages) and scattered settlements - solitudes (they have regional names such as kopanice, lazy, stables, rale). There are only 141 towns in Slovakia. The largest number of towns are in the Banskobystrica self-governing region (24), in Prešovský (23), in Žilina (19), in Trenčín (18), in Košice and in Trnava (17), in Nitra (16) and in Bratislava (7). Slovakia's urbanization is lower than the European average, but it is gradually increasing. About 54% of the population lives in cities. The largest city by population (based on data from the Slovak Office of the Slovak Republic as of December 31, 2021) is Bratislava, followed by Košice, Prešov, Žilina, Banská Bystrica and Nitra. In terms of area, Bratislava dominates, Vysoké Tatry is slightly smaller, and Košice is third. The capital is Bratislava.
In general, social welfare is a system whose task is to ensure a full life for the citizens of the state. The standard of living of the inhabitants is relatively high. The state constantly strives to create conditions for improving the conditions in which Slovak residents live. Every Slovak has access to high-quality drinking water and basic daily necessities. Services provided by the state include healthcare, education, science and research.
Healthcare and medical treatment are paid. The level, equipment and hygiene of the Slovak healthcare system reaches the European average. In addition to healthcare facilities, which are mostly managed by the state, healthcare is also provided by the private sector. In the health sector, inpatient care is provided by hospitals, polyclinics, sanatoriums, hospices, treatment centers, etc. The number of doctors is 246 per 100,000 inhabitants (as of 2016). The number of beds in medical facilities is 595.8 per 100,000 inhabitants (as of 2015). Expenditure on healthcare accounts for 8.1% of GDP.
The system of school facilities in Slovakia consists of a network of
pre-school facilities (nursery and kindergarten) and school facilities
(primary, secondary and higher schools). Various institutes,
laboratories and other institutions fulfill another educational role.
Education is provided free of charge, even in the languages of several
national minorities. Expenditure on education represents 4.6% of GDP.
Illiteracy of the population is around 0.6% of the population over 15
years of age.
Compulsory, originally 6-year school attendance was introduced in the territory of today's Slovakia in 1868. During the era of socialism, it was extended to 10 years of compulsory school attendance. The network of primary schools is evenly distributed throughout Slovakia, and secondary schools are mainly in cities. Elementary school is attended by children from 6 (or 7) to 14 (or 15) years old.
Higher education in 2010 consists of public (20), state (3) and private schools (10). Of them, only Comenius University has been among the 500 best universities in the world for longer. Among the best rated universities and colleges within the Eastern European region (according to the evaluation of scientific publishing on the Internet) in Slovakia are the Technical University in Košice, the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, the Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra and the University of Pavel Jozef Šafárik in Košice. Some foreign universities also have branches in Slovakia. The trend is to increase the number of university students. In 2006, 34,535 graduates completed university studies.
President: Zuzana Čaputová
Speaker of the Parliament: Boris Kollár (WE ARE A FAMILY)
Prime Minister: Eduard Heger (OĽANO)
Deputy Speakers of Parliament: Gábor Grendel, Milan Laurenčík, Juraj Blanár
Deputy Prime Ministers: Štefan Holý, Veronika Remišová, Igor Matovič
Composition of the government: OĽANO, WE ARE A FAMILY, FOR THE PEOPLE
Opposition parliamentary parties: SMER, ĽSNS, SaS
The Slovak Republic is a pluralist democracy of the parliamentary
type - a parliamentary republic. More precisely, according to
professional literature (Prusák, Jozef.: Teória práva. Bratislava: 1999,
p. 137) it is a hybrid, parliamentary-presidential republic, as it
adopted some elements of a presidential republic (administrative
judiciary, direct election of the president, veto power). The country
has the nature of a unitary state. The basic law of the state is the
constitution, which consists of a preamble, 9 chapters and 156 articles.
It anchors the structure and relations of state bodies, defines their
powers and competences. In the second chapter, it declares basic human
rights and freedoms. The Constitution of the Slovak Republic was adopted
on September 1, 1992, and entered into force on January 1, 1993. State
power is divided into: legislative power (legislature), executive power
(executive) and judicial power (justice).
The German foundation Bertelsmann Stiftung and the American organization Freedom House stated that free elections are held in Slovakia and the separation of state powers is functioning. In their opinion, however, strong corruption still persists in Slovak society.
The Parliament (NR SR) is the highest legislative body of the state. It determines the norms of the behavior of everything in the state. It has 150 members - deputies elected in democratic elections, which are held (except in the case of early elections) once every four years. The electoral system for the Elections to the National Council of the Slovak Republic is proportional, the results of the elections and the redistribution of votes to parliamentary seats thus largely copy the ratio of voters' votes. Deputies get their mandate as individuals on the candidate list, so it cannot be taken away from them if their opinions diverge from the party's line of opinion, i.e. j. there is no imperative mandate here. Slovakia has a unicameral parliament. Its basic powers include ruling on the constitution and laws, negotiating the government's program statement, controlling the government's activities, approving the state budget, electing and dismissing judges.
The government consists of ministers who emerged from the political
parties that formed the majority coalition, i.e. j. one that has more
than 75 deputies in the plenary session of the National Assembly of the
Slovak Republic. The government is headed by the prime minister, who
does not have his own ministerial agenda. The government is responsible
to the National Council. Its function is to draft laws, issue government
regulations and establish programmatic statements. A supermajority is
required for the approval of laws, and a 3/5 majority for amending the
constitution. The government is currently led by Eduard Heger for the
The President of the Slovak Republic, together with the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Parliament, is the highest constitutional official in the country. The president is the head of state and has a special status. He is elected in direct elections for 5 years. The function of the president is rather representative. His powers include, for example, authorizing the future prime minister to form a government, which he then appoints. It also has the so-called in a small sentence, it means that he can return the law for reconsideration by the National Council. The president is the commander of the armed forces, he also signs international treaties, appoints constitutional judges, appoints and dismisses the parliament, announces a referendum or grants amnesty. The current president of the republic is Zuzana Čaputová.
The judiciary controls the legislative and executive powers. It interprets the constitution and resolves conflicts. The judicial power of the Slovak Republic consists of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic and the system of courts: the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic, regional and district courts. The Constitutional Court, made up of 13 judges appointed by the president for 12 years, has the highest authority. It assesses whether the laws and decisions of the government are not in conflict with the constitution. Furthermore, it also checks whether the parliament and the executive authorities comply with the constitutionality. The judicial system as a whole is very overburdened, as a result of which many court processes take a disproportionately long time.
The administrative division of Slovakia has often changed over the
course of history. Despite the fact that a certain tradition of
administrative division persists, the separated territorial units are
subject to changes. The new territorial and administrative arrangement
is the result of several years of efforts to change the spatial
arrangement of state administration in the Slovak Republic.
Self-governing territorial units of the Slovak Republic are municipalities and higher territorial units (VÚC, self-governing regions). The number of municipalities is not stable, it changes due to territorial changes. In recent years, during the ongoing disintegration of municipalities, their number increased in Slovakia. A successful referendum in the village decided on territorial changes and name changes.
Administrative units in the Slovak Republic are regions and districts. Since 1996, Slovakia has been divided into eight regions and 79 districts. The regions have also been self-governing regions since 2002. They were named after the seat of the region.
The administrative division of Slovakia has often changed over the
course of history. Despite the fact that a certain tradition of
administrative division persists, the separated territorial units are
subject to changes. The new territorial and administrative arrangement
is the result of several years of efforts to change the spatial
arrangement of state administration in the Slovak Republic.
Self-governing territorial units of the Slovak Republic are municipalities and higher territorial units (VÚC, self-governing regions). The number of municipalities is not stable, it changes due to territorial changes. In recent years, during the ongoing disintegration of municipalities, their number increased in Slovakia. A successful referendum in the village decided on territorial changes and name changes.
Administrative units in the Slovak Republic are regions and districts. Since 1996, Slovakia has been divided into eight regions and 79 districts. The regions have also been self-governing regions since 2002. They were named after the seat of the region.
Slovakia has long been divided into smaller territorial units, which mostly consisted of individual basins, valleys or various mountain ranges. They maintained special customs, they differed from each other in terms of dialect and clothing (costumes). This also allowed the inhabitants to know that someone was from their region or from another region.
Distinct but unique territorial units were part of larger regions. In various periods in the past, they were called counties, committees or seats. To this day, regions separated in this way use either traditional or historical designations to distinguish them from other parts of Slovakia.
Historical counties in Slovakia
Counties in Czechoslovakia (1918–1928)
Land organization 1928–1938 and 1945–1948
Counties during the Slovak Republic (1939 – 1945)
Regional organization (1949–1960) and (1960–1990)
Famous historic tourism regions include:
in the east of Slovakia: Zemplín, Šariš, Abov, Spiš, Zamagurie
in the north of Slovakia: Liptov, Orava, Kysuce, Horné Považie
in the south of Slovakia: Gemer, Novohrad, Hont and Malohont, Pohronie
in the center of Slovakia: Turiec, Horehronie, Horná Nitra, Podpoľanie
in the west of Slovakia: Záhorie, Podunajsko, Ponitrie, Považie, Tekov
The Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic (until 2002 the Army of the
Slovak Republic) represent the country's armed forces. They primarily
serve to protect state security, freedom and sovereignty. Their
significant importance is help in eliminating the consequences of
natural disasters or other extraordinary events. Since January 2006,
when compulsory military service was abolished for peacetime, the Slovak
armed forces have been a fully professional army. The age for voluntary
entry into the army is for men from 18 to 30 years old. Women are also
allowed to serve in the army. Organizationally, the Slovak Armed Forces
are divided into Land and Air Forces. Slovakia spends less than 2% of
GDP annually on the armed forces for a long time (in 2011, about 1.1%).
In 2015, the armed forces had 15,996 members of the armed forces and
3,967 civilian employees.
The police is divided into local and state police and, as for example in the Czech Republic, it was heavily burdened by the development of crime during the country's democratization and liberalization. According to the Bertelsmann Stiftung, there is no influence on the government by the security forces - all important political actors respect the legitimacy of democratic institutions.
Slovakia has been a member of NATO and the European Union since 2004, and three years later it became part of the Schengen area. Also, for more than twenty years of existence, it has gained membership in many transnational communities such as the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In addition, the Slovak government engages in e.g. in the Vyšehrad Four, which unites the governments of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary with the aim of promoting common interests and deepening cooperation. Among its neighbors, the Slovak Republic maintains more or less correct relations with Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. The once conflicted relations with Hungary have recently improved. Relations with Ukraine have not played a significant role in Slovak foreign policy for a long time.
The Slovak Republic has a market economy, the country's economy is
mainly made up of services and industry, agriculture makes up 4% of GDP.
It belongs to the more economically developed countries. Like other
associated states of the European Union, it is trying to make economic
reforms. After the country joined the structures of the European Union,
the economy achieved the highest growth rates in the region thanks to
reforms and foreign investments. At the turn of the millennium, the
banking sector stabilized. The legally recognized currency unit is the
euro (€). In 2022, inflation reached a value of more than 14%.
The country's economy is divided into sectors: agriculture, industry, transport, trade, services and tourism. The annual gross domestic product per capita is $35,130 (as of 2018). The service sector (62%) and industry (35%) have the largest share in GDP creation, agriculture is of decreasing importance (4%). In recent years, the non-manufacturing sphere and tourism have had a very important position in the economy. One of Slovakia's biggest problems, which will be visible for many years to come, is the large differences between regions and the too one-sided focus on the automotive industry. The most important economic centers are in the metropolitan areas of Bratislava and Košice – Prešov, in the Považia region from Trenčín to Liptovský Mikuláš, Pohronia (Banská Bystrica – Zvolen) and the Podunajské nížiny region (Trnava – Nitra).
Foreign trade has an important position in the economy. In the structure of foreign trade, exports prevail over imports (positive balance of payments). Industrially processed products, machines and transport equipment (cars) are exported from Slovakia. Mainly industrial raw materials are imported. The openness of the market economy enables cooperation with foreign companies. The largest trading partners of Slovakia are the Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, Hungary, France, Poland, Austria and others. Overall, the local economy is very successful.
Slovakia has a developed agriculture that uses 19,350 km² of
agricultural land (39.5% of the country's surface). Even at the
beginning of the 20th century, it employed 60% of the population. Today,
agriculture, hunting and related industries employ about 4.9% of the
economically active population (about 100,050 employees). Fertile soils
are suitable for plant production. The largest acreage is occupied by
cereals (more than half), mainly wheat, corn and barley. The sown areas
of vegetables, legumes and oilseeds (sunflower, rapeseed) are expanding.
Potatoes, rye and one or more annual fodder crops are grown in the
higher basins. Slovakia has a long tradition of fruit growing and
viticulture, the products of which are also known abroad. Most grapes
and other fruits are grown in western Slovakia (Modra, Pezinok) and in
the East Slovak Lowland (Tokajská oblasť).
In animal production, the number of farm animals is gradually decreasing. The numbers of pigs and cattle are decreasing most significantly. Sheep breeding is already permanently low. Poultry farms are the most numerous. The greater part of livestock production is concentrated in the lowlands, where there are sufficient sources of fodder. Pastures and mountain meadows are also often used for cattle and sheep breeding. So far, fishing has only local importance, it is mainly carried out on local rivers and water reservoirs.
Industry is the basic sector of the economy. It developed mainly in
mining. However, Slovakia has small reserves of fuels, so they are
imported from other countries (hard coal from the Czech Republic, oil
and natural gas from Russia). More than half of the electricity is
supplied by nuclear power plants (Jaslovské Bohunice, Mochovce), then
thermal and hydroelectric power plants (of the hydropower plants, most
Gabčíkovo na Danube). The metallurgy also processed domestic, now only
imported raw materials (U.S. Steel Košice, Železiarne Podbrezová,
aluminum works Žiar nad Hronom - former SNP Plant) for the needs of
At the beginning of the 21st century, low labor costs and tax reform became attractive to foreign investors, especially from the automotive industry, which has a prominent position in the Slovak economy. Slovakia produces the most cars per capita in the world. Volkswagen plants in Bratislava, Stupava and Martina, PSA Peugeot-Citroën in Trnava, Jaguar in Nitra and Kia in Žilina are located here. In Slovakia, 926,555 cars were produced in 2011, which is the most cars in the world per capita, namely 171 cars per thousand inhabitants. In 2013, production rose slightly to around 980,000 vehicles. The country earned the epithet Detroit of Europe through the production of cars, and after the development of the economy, also the Tatra Tiger.
The second most important industry is the electrical engineering industry. Sony has a factory near Nitra, and Samsung has a factory near Galant. The production of machines in the middle and upper Považí is significant. The largest engineering companies are in Bratislava (automobiles), Galanta (televisions and household appliances), Poprad (wagons, washing machines), Tlmačy (machines for the energy industry). The largest chemical plants are in Bratislava (Slovnaft, Istrochem), Šala (Duslo) and Nováky (Fortischem). Other plants produce plastics and synthetic fibers, medicines and rubber products (Continental Matador Rubber).
The most evenly distributed industry in Slovakia is the food industry, which is mainly focused on domestic consumption. Agricultural products are processed in bakeries, dairies, meat factories, sugar factories, breweries and wineries. Wood processing (sawmills, woodworking plants, furniture), pulp and paper production (Ružomberok, Žilina, Štúrovo, Harmanec) have an important position in the Slovak economy. A lot of raw, i.e. unprocessed wood is exported.
The textile and clothing industry (plants in Trenčín and Púchov) experienced a significant slowdown. The reason is the import of cheaper products, mainly from Asian countries. Companies focusing on the production of textiles and the sewing of covers for the automotive industry are coming to the fore (eg in Liptovský Mikuláš). In addition, the footwear and glass industries are also represented. Handicrafts such as tinsmithing, pottery (majolica production in Modra), carving (production of rockers, musical instruments), weaving, etc., contribute to the state treasury. Many artifacts end up as tourist souvenirs.
Services, such as banking and finance, are important for Slovakia's economy. The finances and state budget of Slovakia are approved annually by the parliament. Issuing bank is a state bank that settles payments both between local organizations and abroad. The banking sector consists of the state-owned National Bank and several commercial banks. In the structure of the banking system in Slovakia, Národná banka Slovenska is at the head. Since 2009, the valid currency is the euro (€), divided into 100 cents. The flow of money is free but relatively stable.
Slovakia has very good prerequisites for tourism. Tourists are
attracted by beautiful mountains, caves, lakes, historic towns, spas,
castles and chateaux. Of the large number of cultural and natural
attractions in Slovakia, seven are included in the UNESCO World Heritage
List - two natural (caves of the Slovak Karst and the forests of the
Eastern Carpathians) and five cultural (monument reserve of folk
architecture Vlkolínec, urban monument reserve Bardejov, historical
center of Levoča and Spišský hrad, wooden churches of the Slovak part of
the Carpathians, Banská Štiavnica and its technical monuments in its
However, attendance is still limited to European standards by the slightly lower quality of services in some regions of the country. In 2013, a total of 4,048,505 people visited Slovakia, of which 169,484 were foreigners. The most foreign visitors come from the Czech Republic (about 26%), Poland (15%) and Germany (11%). Among the most visited destinations were the capital, the Tatra Mountains and the Liptov region. Greater development of tourism depends on increasing the overall level of services, including transport infrastructure.
In 2018, 5.6 million tourists visited Slovakia. In addition to the fact that most foreign tourists continue to come from the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany, there was also an increase in tourists from other countries, e.g. from Israel (+52%), Iceland (+50%), and Russia (+22%). Slovakia has a developed infrastructure for hiking. There are more than 15,000 km of marked hiking trails and more than 500 km for ski touring (as of 2019).
In Slovakia, science and research are mainly associated with
state-funded universities, professional institutes and the Slovak
Academy of Sciences (founded in 1953). The private sector is practically
non-existent in the sphere of science and research. Slovak scientists
are highly respected in Europe. Technical fields and physics have a
generally high quality level, comparable to the world level. Despite
efforts to increase it to 3% of GDP by 2010, spending on science and
research in Slovakia is not increasing and has been hovering around 0.5%
of GDP for several years, while the share is slightly decreasing and in
2008 it was 0.47%. Much attention is also paid to the support of
museology and the building of public libraries.
The first great scientist who can be considered Slovak was the doctor Ján Jesenský. The founder of modern Slovak education was the enlightener Matej Bel. Physicist and inventor Aurel Stodola, who developed steam turbine technology, achieved the greatest success. An important Slovak designer was Ján Bahýľ. Josef Maximilián Petzval made a significant contribution to the development of optics. Štefan Banič worked on the design of the parachute. The pioneer of wireless communication was Jozef Murgaš. Among the current researchers is the famous astronomer Peter Kušnirák, who discovered over 230 asteroids. Philipp Lenard, German winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and Nazi exponent, was born in Bratislava.
Telecommunications have been significantly modernized and developed since the beginning of the new millennium, especially the use of mobile phones. As of 2009, there were a total of 5.9 million mobile phones in use in the country and over 4 million people using the Internet. Overall, the expansion of these services is comparable to other countries in the region. A total of about 40 national, regional and local television stations, mostly privately owned, broadcast in Slovakia. Three national television programs are broadcast under the direction of Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska, which was established in January 2011. It has two organizational components: Slovak Radio and Slovak Television, which operated independently before the establishment of RTVS. Approximately 20 radio programs operate in Slovakia. Despite this, the analogue system is still used in the country, gradually switching to digital broadcasting. The use of optical fibers is also being introduced.
The most listened to radio stations in Slovakia are (2nd + 3rd
quarter 2017) Rádio Expres (19.25%), Rádio Slovensko (SRo 1, 17.03%),
Fun Rádio (11%), Rádio Jemné (7.3%) , Rádio Europa 2 (6.86%), Rádio
Regina (SRo 4, 6.26%), Rádio Vlna (5.34%), Rádio Anténa Rock (2.97%),
Rádio FM (SRo 3, 2, 56%) and Radio Lumen (2.5%).
Public Slovak Radio has been broadcasting for more than 85 years and has 9 channels. Terrestrial broadcasting: Rádio Slovensko, Rádio Regina, Rádio Devín, Rádio FM, Rádio Patria and Radio Slovakia International. It broadcasts digitally via the Internet and, since 2015, also in the DAB+ digital network: Rádio Klasika, Rádio Litera and Rádio Junior. The headquarters of Slovak Radio is on Mýtná Street in Bratislava.
Television broadcasts cover the entire territory of Slovakia. It is
provided by public and private media with different regional reach.
Since the demise of the Czech-Slovak Television, public broadcaster
Slovenská televížia has been broadcasting in Slovakia, which has three
channels: One, Dvojka and Trojka. The unit (until 2004 STV 1) has been
broadcasting a general program, films, series, shows and news since
1956. Dvojka (until 2004 STV 2) broadcasts mainly Slovak documentaries,
sports, programs for children, Slovak and non-commercial foreign films
since 1970. Trojka began broadcasting in 2008 as a sports channel until
2011. In 2019, it resumed broadcasting and currently broadcasts films
and shows from the archive.
In 1996, the commercial TV Markíza, which is the most watched TV, also started broadcasting. Its director is Matthias Settele. The television launched a second channel, TV Doma, intended for women, a third, for men, called TV Dajto, and a fourth channel, TV Foor, which closed in 2014.
TV JOJ was created in 2002 from Global TV, which started broadcasting the second channel Plus, and in 2013 two more programs TV WAU and TV Senzi. Later, children's channels Ťuki TV and TV RiK were added. The JOJ FAMILY program was launched for the Czech Republic and the premiere JOJ CINEMA channel for Slovakia. The CEO is Marcel Grega.
In addition to these televisions with terrestrial broadcasting, Slovakia also has news television TA3, monothematic TVA (business news), Nautik TV (originally underwater world, currently mainly interactive shows), Music Box (music station), as well as other regional and local televisions. Ranking of televisions according to viewership (October 2017): TV Markíza (19.5%), TV JOJ (16.2%), Jednotka (10.1%), TV Doma (4%), TV Dajto (3.1%) , Plus (3%), TV WAU (2.8%), Dvojka (2.2%) and TA3 (1.6%).
Television is an important social phenomenon in Slovakia today, it is a means of mass communication, it has a strategic importance for the economy and at the same time it also has a culture-creating character. It acts directly on the senses and this is one of the basic indicators of its communication function. It offers its listeners instruction and entertainment, information, an aesthetic experience, educates and educates. The broad scope of television's influence shapes the overall lifestyle of Slovaks. Television programs began to be broadcast regularly in Slovakia in 1953.
The Slovak press has a long tradition in publishing magazines and
books. Publishing houses and the press fulfill a great cultural and
educational role. They ensure the publication of newspapers, magazines,
books and other printed materials. The largest printers are in
Bratislava, Martina, Skalica, Komárno, Košice and other cities. The most
read periodicals in Slovakia are (as of 2016):
Daily newspapers – Novy Čas (15%), SME (6%), Pravda (6%), Plus ONE DAY (5%), Sport (4%), Korzár (3%) and Hospodárske noviny (3%).
Weekly newspapers – Plus 7 days (8%), Life (6%), Novy Čas for women (6%), Baječná Žena (6%), Eurotelevíža (4%), Slovenka (4%) and Katolícke noviny (4%) .
Monthly magazines – Gardener (8%), Zdravie (7%), Eva (5%), EMMA (5%), Novy čas Krížovky (4%), Auto motor and sport (3%) and Auto magazín (3%).
Slovakia belongs to the European cultural region. Although the local
culture developed in parallel with the culture of other Slavic peoples,
it retained its originality. Each Slovak region has varied folk customs
and traditions that were linked to the life and work of a person.
Christian and, in some cases, pre-Christian holidays and ceremonies are
common to all of them. The most important are the Christmas traditions,
Three Kings, Groundhog Day, Easter, All Saints and others. In individual
regions, typical foods and drinks were prepared, peculiar songs were
sung and unique dances were danced. Even today, in many places, we can
find folk costumes, which are usually worn mainly by older residents.
Today, folk traditions are also brought closer to us by folklore
festivals, e.g. in Vychodná, Detva, Myjava, Zuberec and elsewhere. Folk
ensembles such as SĽUK and Lúčnica have made Slovakia famous not only at
home, but also abroad.
The traditional folk culture of Slovakia is based on collective standards of taste. They developed slowly. They were handed down orally from generation to generation. Oral folk literature has its origins deep in the past, when it compensated to some extent for domestic written literature. Singing for various occasions such as weddings, the birth of a child, funerals and holiday celebrations was connected with everyday life. Slovak folk poetry contains heroic or love songs; proverbs, proverbs and riddles are recorded. In the epic, these are primarily fairy tales and ballads.
Buildings were built from various building materials with
characteristic architecture. In the more mountainous parts of Slovakia,
it was often wood, which is still plentiful there today. Buildings of
wooden architecture (wooden houses) are built like a log house, by
laying individual beams around the perimeter. The roofs were covered
with wooden shingles and decorated gables. Adobe clay with straw was
also used for the construction of simpler dwellings. Such buildings were
typical especially for the southern parts of Slovakia, Záhoria and
Považia. Clay buildings were built using the "charging" technology, when
fresh clay brought in was pressed, charged perpendicularly between the
board formwork, which created the perimeter and transverse walls of the
The typical architecture of individual regions is preserved in the monuments of folk architecture. The most famous are Veľké Leváre, Brhlovce, Sebechleby, Čičmany, Špania Dolina, Vlkolínec, Podbiel and Ždiar. Open-air museums and museums in nature are an example of preserving not only architectural monuments, but also the economic possibilities of our ancestors. There are currently 10 open-air museums in Slovakia that present monuments of folk building culture, people's life and, last but not least, technical monuments that were used in the past. They are located in various parts of our homeland: Museum of the Slovak Village in Martin na Turci, Vychylovka in Kysucia, Zuberec in Orava, Pribylina in Liptov, Svidník in Šariš, Humenné in Zemplín, Nitra in Podunajsk, etc.
There are also many castles, chateaux, churches, mansions and other cultural monuments in Slovakia. According to some sources, the country has the highest concentration of castles per inhabitant. A more durable stone was used in their construction. Also interesting are the urban conservation areas, which are in most of our historical cities - Bratislava, Banská Štiavnica, Košice, Bardejov, Levoča, Banská Bystrica and others. An integral part of Slovak architecture are wooden churches that have been built in the local area since the second half of the 15th century. They are an image of the perception of the religious life and practice of the faith of the village people. Currently, we can see around 40 wooden churches in Slovakia. Not all of them are accessible and some of them are part of open-air museums.
The roots of visual arts in Slovakia go back deep into the past. The
oldest works of art are, for example, Venuses from the Stone Age,
drawings of Neolithic people, jewelry and other found objects. The most
important medieval creator was Master Pavol from Levoča, creator of the
highest wooden altar in the world, which is located in Levoča's Church
of St. Jakub. At the beginning of the 20th century, a generation
oriented towards new artistic processes began to create in Slovakia.
Painter Gustáv Mallý and sculptor Ján Koniarek significantly influenced
Slovak artistic life. After the First World War, artists started from
domestic traditions and use new formal knowledge as a malleable means of
expression. Association life was taking off, creativity was more
Among dozens of artists, many achieved success. The pioneer of modernist painting was Martin Benka, Mikuláš Galanda, Ľudovít Fulla and Janko Alexy followed in his footsteps. Koloman Sokol and Albín Brunovský and the sculptor Arpád Račko became famous as graphic artists. The period of socialist realism cannot be bypassed. His principles were forcibly implanted into art, but personalities dealt with them differently. The most important visual artist, born to a Slovak emigrant in the USA, was undoubtedly the founder of pop art, Andy Warhol. In 1991, a museum dedicated to his work was opened near his parents' native village, in the city of Medzilaborce.
Contemporary art is created by hundreds of authors, mostly graduates of the Bratislava University of Fine Arts. The art event is mainly organized by the Slovak Art Union and, in addition to it, the Association of Artists of Slovakia and the Slovak Art Forum, which continues the traditions of one of the oldest associations in the country. The possibility of presenting contemporary fine art is provided by a network of galleries and exhibition halls. The picture of artistic activity in Slovakia is unusually varied. It combines the efforts of several generations. The qualities of hanging painting are thus developed by members of the older generation of artists, while the younger generation is looking for new possibilities of artistic transformation. Blažej Baláž, for example, works in the field of contemporary art. The fact remains that art is flourishing in Slovakia and can be compared with other countries.
Slovak literature has a rich history, stretching from the times of
Great Moravia with the first work Proglas by St. Cyril. The oldest
documented handwritten monument on the territory of Slovakia is the
Nitrian codex (1083), a Latin evangelist. In humanism and the
Renaissance, they created in the territory of today's Slovakia mainly in
Latin and Czech. In 1784, Jozef Ignác Bajza, René Mládenca events and
experiences, the first novel in Slovak literature written in a language
that the author himself created based on the West Slovak dialect.
Another very important period was romanticism, during which it was
basically possible to definitively codify literary Slovak, which is
still used today with minor modifications. The people of Štúr, led by
Ľudovít Štúr, were particularly deserving of this. They chose the
Central Slovak dialect as the basis, which was the language of the
people. Slovak authors mainly wrote poetry in romanticism – Ján Kollár,
Pavol Jozef Šafárik, Andrej Sládkovič, Samo Chalupka, Janko Kráľ, Ján
Botto, Janko Matúška and others. In realism, prose came to the fore.
Nevertheless, Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, one of the most famous Slovak
poets, wrote poetry during this period.
After the disintegration of Hungary, a period called Slovak modernity begins for Slovak literature, in which the real sociological and psychological dimension of literature is highlighted again. The interwar period reacted to the First World War in the creation of a plurality of new directions, authors: Ján Smrek, Laco Novomeský, Jozef Cíger-Hronský, Margita Figuli, František Švantner and others. In the second half of the 20th century, Ladislav Mňačko and Milan Rúfus made a significant impact. Contemporary Slovak literature includes e.g. Jana Bodnárová, Dušan Dušek, Daniel Hevier, Vincent Šikula or an important representative of detective literature Dominik Dán.
The development of Slovak music represents a thousand-year process,
directly related to historical events in Slovakia and their cultural and
social development. Among the oldest artistic expressions, we include
folk songs that are part of ceremonial folklore. These include various
winches, Christmas and Easter carols, carnival festivities,
incantations, chants, etc. Slovak ancestors made their hard life
pleasant with singing and dancing. In Slovak folklore, we talk about
several stylistic layers of folk songs. The songs of the so-called of
old culture, where we include ritual songs (melodies of wedding songs,
laments, etc.), songs of peasant and pastoral culture (e.g. lawns,
harvest songs). The new song culture is mainly represented by songs with
love and military themes. A typical element of musical traditions are
polyphonic male singing, which is unique in Slovakia. Interesting
musical instruments of the Slovaks are fujara, ozembuch and bagpipes.
The beginnings of Slovak modern music date back to the period of post-war Czechoslovakia (1918). The musical artists faced a difficult task, the goal of which was to overcome the traditional backwardness of the country in terms of musical art as well. Due to the creation of national modern music, Slovaks embarked on the path of professionalization of musical life. Music schools, conservatories and operas began to be created. Slovak composer Mikuláš Schneider-Trnavský was responsible for founding the Academy of Music and Drama in Bratislava. Gradually, the musical style changed from melodic-harmonic to sonic, rich in sound. The oldest representative of Slovak musical modernity was Alexander Moyzes, whose younger contemporaries were Eugen Suchoň and Ján Cikker. Among the pioneers of Slovak popular music were Gejza Dusík and František Krištof Veselý. The opera singers Edita Gruberová, Lucia Poppová, Gabriela Beňačková, and Peter Dvorský among the men also made a significant impact.
Hana Hegerová became the queen of the Czech-Slovak chanson. In the 1980s, a strong wave of Slovak pop music arrived: Karol Duchoň, Marika Gombitová, Miroslav Žbirka, Peter Nagy, Richard Müller, Pavol Hammel, the groups Elán (Vašo Patejdl, Jožo Ráž), Team (Pavol Habera) and Tublatanka . After the collapse of the federation, new stars appeared, such as singers Katarína Knechtová, Kristína, Zuzana Smatanová, Jana Kirschner, Nela Pocisková, Mária Čírová, Sima Martausová, singer Peter Cmorík, Marián Čekovský or the IMT groups Smile, No Name, Hex and Desmod.
The great variety of dances is related to the variety of music. In the past, dance was often part of religious ceremonies, but also a means of entertainment. In each village, there were approximately two or three dance entertainments during the year (so-called "music"). The dance performance is characterized by alternating fast and then slow tempo. Well-known folk dances include verbunk, odzemok, stick dance, hat dance, folk dances (e.g. with scythe, o vienok, grošové, etc.). Stomping dances are unique – women often dance in a circle, men are characterized by a shora dance in two rows facing each other.
Theatrical performance in the territory of Slovakia existed already
in the early Middle Ages in the form of religious drama. The oldest
theater activities are related to the activities of volunteer groups and
playwrights (eg Jozef Gregor Tajovský, Bozena Slančíková-Timrava). The
first professional theater was established in March 1920 in Bratislava.
The professional theater group performed most of its repertoire in
Czech. Slovak plays were rarely featured in the theater's repertoire,
and they were performed by Czech actors. A real breakthrough in Slovak
theater was the creation of the SND Slovak Drama (1932).
After 1945, the development of regional theater life was also noted, which culminated in the completion of a larger network of professional theaters, including theaters of national minorities and puppet theaters. Important personalities were Jozef Budský and Ján Jamnický. In 1979, the relevant places decided on the construction of a new SND building. The new building was opened on April 14, 2007. The current theater network in Slovakia consists of more than two dozen permanent theaters. In recent years, the sphere of independent theater groups has also begun to develop. Among the most important and longest-running non-state troupes is the Radošinské naivné divadlo in Bratislava. In Banská Bystrica, there is a non-state theater for mentally disabled actors - Divadlo z Pasáže.
As one of the youngest national cinematographies, film production in
Slovakia was born only after the Second World War. From the end of the
1940s, short reportage and documentary films were screened. The first
Slovak film was made by Eduard Schreiber even before 1910. The
culmination of Schreiber's filmmaking activity was a fictional adventure
anecdote called Kidnapping.
The new generation of directors and screenwriters contributed a great deal to today's successes. Ján Kadár is the first and so far the only Slovak to win an Oscar film award. To the so-called Štefan Uher belongs to the Czechoslovak new wave. Juraj Jakubisko successfully implements unconventional directorial procedures. Ivan Reitman, the director of many popular comedies (Ghostbusters, The Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Junior, etc.) has established himself in Hollywood.
In acting work, there are tendencies to identify the actor with the authentic behavior of a person in real life. Even during the era of the federation, a number of Slovak actors became famous: Marián Labuda, Emília Vášáryová, Milan Lasica, Július Satinský, Milan Kňažko, Ladislav Chudík, Michal Dočolomanský, Jozef Kroner, Štefan Kvietik, Zdena Studenková, Július Pántik, Božidara Turzonovová, Martin Huba, Kamila Magálová, Emil Horváth, Maroš Kramár, Miroslav Noga, Richard Stanke, Jana Oľhová, Marián Geišberg, Štefan Skrúcaný, Jozef Vajda and Táňa Radeva. After the dissolution of the federation, TV and theater actors such as Tatiana Pauhofová, Zuzana Mauréry, Tomáš Maštalír, Petra Polnišová, Vlado Kobielsky, Diana Mórová, Ján Koleník, Vica Kerekes, Michal Hudák, Helena Krajčiová, Zuzana Šebová, Dano Heriban, Branislav Deák stand out on the domestic scene. , Monika Hilmerová, Michal Kubovčík, Ján Jackuliak, Lukáš Latinák, Juraj Kemka, Karin Haydu, Marek Majeský, Zuzana Porubjaková and others. Barbora Bobuľová made her mark in foreign productions, Adriana Sklenaříková in modeling. The famous American actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has Slovak ancestors.
Slovak cuisine is relatively difficult and regionally diverse. The
rural population had to eat in accordance with heavy physical labor in
order to survive. She gave and received impulses from the surrounding
cuisines, especially Czech, Polish, Austrian and Hungarian. The daily
diet consists of local ingredients, in the past cereal porridge was
often eaten. For the northern regions of Slovakia, dishes of shepherd
origin such as bryndzé halúšky and potato pancakes are typical, in
contrast to the south of Slovakia, where dishes common to Hungarian and
Austrian cuisine are represented, such as goulash, lečo, stuffed
peppers, Vienna schnitzel. The most traditional soup in Slovakia is
kabustnica, usually made from sauerkraut, mushrooms and smoked meat.
The favorite drink of Slovak ancestors was žinčica, made from sheep's milk, which was added to bryndza dumplings. Among alcoholic beverages, the most traditional are red and white wine, beer, and distillates include plum and borivicka.
Slovak products include:
cheese products such as sausage, sheep's cheese (sheep's lump cheese - Salashnícky, sheep's Salashnícky smoked cheese), cheese sausages (Orava and Zázriv sausages), ščiepok, bryndza, Tekovský salami cheese
meat products such as Spiš sausages, spekáčiki, Liptov salami, hunting salami
bakery products such as Skalice trdelník, Bratislava roll
Due to the fact that Slovakia is located in a temperate climate zone, it is possible to practice sports with both a summer and winter focus. Stadiums, sports halls and playgrounds are being built in the country. Popular sports in Slovakia include football, ice hockey, tennis, athletics, swimming, handball, basketball, volleyball, water slalom, cycling, netball, hockey, floorball, skiing, biathlon and others.
The Slovak national football team did not belong to the absolute world or European top, but football is popular in Slovakia. The Slovak Football Association manages Slovak football and official football competitions in Slovakia such as Fortuna League, II. league and more. In 2010, the Slovak team reached the round of 16 at the World Cup in South Africa, for the first time in the era of independence. He qualified for the European Football Championship for the first time in 2016. Among the most famous Slovak football teams are ŠK Slovan Bratislava, AS Trenčín, MŠK Žilina and FC Spartak Trnava. Marek Hamšík, Martin Škrteľ, Milan Škriniar and Róbert Vittek made the most of the footballers. A number of athletes (Ján Popluhár, Adolf Scherer, Jozef Adamec, Viliam Schrojf, Titus Bubeník, Ladislav Kubala and others) also succeeded under the Czecho-Slovakian flag.
The Slovak national ice hockey team has achieved several successes (e.g. gold medal in 2002, silver medal at the World Championships in 2000 and 2012, or bronze in 2003). The Slovak Ice Hockey Association is the main governing body of Slovak ice hockey. Slovakia has several official men's hockey competitions, e.g. Tipsport league, 1st hockey league, women's hockey is also represented in the 1st women's league and junior and adolescent hockey in the respective leagues. In 2011 and 2019, the World Ice Hockey Championships were held in Bratislava and Košice. The 1925 European Ice Hockey Championships were held on natural rinks in the High Tatras. The best hockey player in Slovakia in the 20th century was Vladimír Dzurilla, Jozef Golonka, Vincent Lukáč, Marián Šťastný, Peter Šťastný and Stan Mikita were also famous. Among others, Miroslav Šatan, Peter Bondra, Žigmund Pálffy and Ján Lašák won the title of world champion in hockey, Zdeno Chára has two silver medals. Marián Hossa is a three-time Stanley Cup winner, Marián Gáborík and Pavol Demitra also succeeded in the NHL. Figure skater Ondrej Nepela won the Olympic gold medal.
Slovakia has good results in tennis, in 2002 Slovakia won the
Federation Cup. The best Slovak tennis players have been in the TOP 100
of the world rankings for a long time (e.g. Daniela Hantuchová, Dominika
Cibulková, Martin Kližan, Dominik Hrbatý, formerly Miloslav Mečíř). The
center of Slovak tennis is the National Tennis Center in Bratislava. In
recent years, road cycling has gained a lot of media popularity thanks
to the achievements of Peter Sagan. The most prominent figure in Slovak
track cycling was Anton Tkáč.
Slovakian water athletes also achieve significant success, especially in speed canoeing and water slalom. The championships in water slalom are organized on wild water in Čunov near Bratislava. Canoeists Pavol Hochschorner and Peter Hochschorner have three Olympic gold medals, their colleagues Michal Martikán and Elena Kaliská have two, and Ladislav Škantár and Peter Škantár also won Olympic gold. In the field of athletics, during the era of Czechoslovakia, the pedestrian Jozef Pribilinec won an Olympic gold medal. Today, the walker Matej Tóth, the Olympic champion in the 50 km walk at the 2016 Olympics, achieves significant achievements in athletics.
Winter sports are very popular in Slovakia, including skiing. In the Štrbské pleso ski area, there are two ski jumping bridges, where the Ski Jumping World Championships (1935, 1970) and several world cups were held. The center of biathlon is the small village of Osrblie, where the Biathlon World Championships were held in 1997. Skier Petra Vlhová, who followed the successes of slalom skier Veronika Velez-Zuzulova and biathlete Paulína Fialková, is an exemplary representative of Slovakia in winter sports. Paulína with her sister Ivona, Terézia Poliaková and Veronika Machyniaková form a biathlon team after the career of six-time Olympic medalist Anastasia Kuzminová ended.