Europe

Slovakia Travel Guide Information

The Slovak Republic lies in Central Europe. The central and northern Slovakia is a mountainous region – the Carpathian mountains cross this area. Southern and eastern Slovakia is a lowland region, being an important agricultural area of the country. The Danube river connects Slovakia with Vienna, the Rhine-Main channel, and harbours at the Black sea. In 1918 the Slovaks joined the closely related Czechs to form Czechoslovakia. Following the chaos of World War II, Czechoslovakia became a communist nation within Soviet-ruled Eastern Europe. Soviet influence collapsed in 1989 and Czechoslovakia once more became free. The Slovaks and the Czechs agreed to separate peacefully on 1 January 1993. Historic, political, and geographic factors have caused Slovakia to experience more difficulty in developing a modern market economy than some of its Central European neighbors.

The highest point is on the Gerlach peak (2655 m) located in Vysoke Tatry. The lowest point is on the Bodrog river, 95 m. The Slovak Republic has a border with Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria and Czech Republic. The capital of Slovakia is Bratislava. Other big cities are : Kosice, Zvolen, Trencin. The official language spoken in Slovakia is the Slovak language. Though many other countries boast of having nice natural environments, honestly, few in this region stack up to Slovakia’s magnificent Tatra mountain range, a brawny segment of the Carpathians that becomes a skiers paradise in winter and a nature enthusiast’s smorgasbord in summer.

Slovakia has many natural beauties, on small area you can find high mountains as well as lowlands. One third of the territory of the Slovak Republic is covered by forests and we have several beautiful natural parks. The TANAP park in Vysoke Tatry, NAPANT park in Nizke Tatry as well as in Pieniny on the Dunajec river, Slovensky Raj and Mala Fatra. Slovakia has many caves of which only a few are open to the public. Frequently are visited Demanovska cave, Jasovska cave, Domica and Dobsina. The Ochtina Aragonite Cave is very beautiful and there are only two aragonite caves in the world. Maybe, the most famous spas of Slovakia are Piestany are Piestany and Bardejov.The Slovak National Gallery is located in Bratislava. You can visit also the Andy Warhol gallery located in Eastern Slovakia in Medzilaborce. The Slovak national Theatre is located in Bratislava and offers opera and ballet. The most famous castles are the Spis castle and the Bojnice castle. The most famous Slovak Opera singer is Peter Dvorsky.

Bratislava City

Bratislava is the capital of the Slovak Republic. It is a very old city with a history of more than 17 centuries. Today it is a modern metropolis. The best view of the old city and city centre is from the Danube bridge from Bystrica cafe. Symbol of Bratislava is the Bratislava castle. Another spectacular building is the Slovak RADIO tower. Museums and galleries are open daily from 10 to five except Monday. Bratislava is a very young city because of the presence of many students who study at Comenius University, Slovak Technical University, Economic University and others located in Bratislava. In Bratislava not only Slovak but also German and Hungarian is spoken. Many families in the past were speaking at least two languages. Today, young people speak mainly English.

The city lies in the southwestern part of the country, on both sides of the Danube. The old center is on the left bank. It lies at the foot of the Low Carpates. Bratislava has about 430.000 inhabitants and lies relatively close to Austria (Vienna is only about 60 km away) and Hungary. These two neighboring countries have always played a large part in the city’s history. Even today Bratislava has a considerable Hungarian minority population.

Founded before the 10th century, the city was known originally as Pressburg. Strong fortifications erected during the 12th century gave it strategic importance; In 907 the city and its surroundings came under Hungarian control. As from the 13th century a lot of German (Bavarian) immigrants settled in Bratislava. King Matthias of Hungary founded here one of the first Middle-European universities in 1467, the Academia Istropolitana, which knew only a shortlived existence. In 1914 a new university was founded in Bratislava, but it moved to Budapest in 1921. After the city of Buda (today Budapest) had been conquered by the Turks, the kings of Hungary were crowned in Bratislava between 1563 and 1830. When Budapest regained its old importance, Bratislava turned again into a smaller provincial city. However, in the meantime it had become the centre of Slovak nationalism.

World War I ended with defeat for Austria-Hungary. The Treaty of Trianon gave Bratislava to the newly formed republic of Czechoslovakia. In 1939 Bratislava became the capital of the Slovak puppet republic under Josef Tiso, after the liquidation of Czecoslovakia. After WWII Bratislava found itself behind the iron curtain in the communist ruled Czecoslovakia. The city was expanded with typical large-scale socialist constructions and became the third city of the country after Prague and Brno.

In 1993 Bratislava received the status of capital city once again when the former Czecoslovak republic ceased to exist and the new Slovak Republic was proclaimed. The symbol of Bratislava is the fortification or “Hrad”. This rather square-looking building lies on the western side of the centre, on a hill above the Danube. The Main Square of the medieval town constitutes the center of the historical city. The most important events have happened here since the 14th century. Besides regular markets, all gatherings, celebrations and executions took place here. All the houses on the square have an older Gothic core, several of them were built prior to the fortification of the town as defensive houses with towers. The sandstone Renaissance Maximilian’s Fountain and circular reservoir stand in the centre of the square. The square is dominated by the Town Hall.

Bratislava is known for shipbuilding and the manufacture of furniture, chemicals, tobacco products, musical instruments, woolen goods, and leather products. Points of interest include an 11th-century Gothic cathedral that was restored in the second half of the 19th century; the ruins of the former royal palace of Hungary, on a hill overlooking the city; a 13th-century Franciscan church; the town hall, a 13th-century edifice; the Comenius University of Bratislava (1919); the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava (1938); and the Slovak Academy of Sciences (1953).

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