Travel Guides: Slovakia
Slovakia is a landlocked country in Central Europe with a population of over five million inhabitants and an area of approximately 49,000 km².
The neighboring countries are Ukraine in east, Poland to the north-east, Czech Republic to the north-western, Austria and Hungary to the south west. The capital and the largest city is Bratislava, in the south-west. Slovakia is a member of the European Union, NATO, OECD, WTO and other international organizations. The Slavic people arrived in the territory of current Slovakia between V and VI centuries AC, during the Age of Migration. Several regions of Slovakia belonged to Samo’s Empire, the first Slavic political entity, then to the Great Moravia, the Kingdom of Hungary, Habsburg Empire, Austria-Hungary and then Czechoslovakia. Slovakia gained independence on 1 January 1993, following the Velvet Divorce.
From about 450 BC, on the territory of Slovakia have settled Celts, who built strong oppida in Havránok and Bratislava. Biatecs, silver coins with the names of Celtic kings, represent the oldest known form of writing in Slovakia. From the year 6 AC the Roman Empire was in full expansion, built and maintained a chain of outposts around the Danube. Vannius Kingdom, a barbarian kingdom founded by the Germanic tribe Quad, existed in western and central Slovakia from 20 to 50 AC. The Slavic population settled in the territory of Slovakia in the fifth century AC. Western Slovakia was the center of Samo’s Empire in the seventh century.
A Slovak state, known as the Principality of Nitra, arose in the eighth century, and its leader, Pribina, consecrated the first Christian church in the territory of Slovakia in 828. Together with neighboring Moravia, was the core of the Great Moravian Empire from 833. The pinnacle of this Slavonic empire was the hosting of the Saints Cyril and Methodius in 863, during the reign of Prince Rastislav, and territorial expansion during King Svatopluk I. After the disintegration of the Great Moravian Empire in the early tenth century, the Magyars gradually annexed the territory of Slovakia. At the end of the tenth century, southwestern Slovakia was incorporated into the Principality of Hungary, who was then in full expansion (after 1000 became the Kingdom of Hungary).
Most of Slovakia was integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary until 1100, and northeastern regions until 1300. Due to its high level of economic development and culture, Slovakia has maintained a prominent place in the new state. For nearly two centuries, the Principality of Nitra enjoyed autonomy within the Kingdom of Hungary. Slovak settlements were extended to the northern and southeastern of present Hungary, while Magyars started to settle in southern Slovakia today. The ethnic composition has diversified by placing Carpathian Germans (XIII century), the Vlahs (XIV century), and Jews. The result of the Mongol invasion of 1241, hunger and derivatives, has been a massive loss of population.
However, medieval Slovakia was characterized rather by active cities, construction of many stone castles, and the development of the arts. In 1467, King Matthias Corvinus founded the first university in Bratislava, but the institution was abolished after his death.
After the Ottoman Empire began its expansion in the Kingdom of Hungary, serving Buda in the early sixteenth century, the center moved to the Kingdom to Slovakia, and Bratislava (known as Pressburg, Pozsony, or Posonium Pressporek then) became the capital of Royal Hungary in 1536. But the Ottoman wars and frequent uprisings against the Habsburg monarchy caused great damage, especially in rural areas. As the Turks retreated from Hungary in the eighteenth century, Slovakia’s importance within the kingdom declined, although it maintained the status of Bratislava as the capital of Hungary until 1848, when Budapest was declared the new capital.
During the Revolution of 1848-49 the Slovaks were with the Austrian Emperor, because their goal was the separation of the Austrian Hungarian monarchy, but they could not achieve the objective. During the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy (1867-1918), Slovaks suffer from harsh government policy of Magyarization. Slovakia and Czech Republic were from November 1918 to December 1992 Czechoslovakia (except during 1939-1945 when there was the Slovak Republic (1939-1945)). Again became an independent country in 1993, by separating the Czech Republic, three years after the Revolution of 1989, which ended the authoritarian communist regime imposed by the Soviets after the Prague Spring in 1968.
Prague Spring meant by referring to “thaw” that occurred in the democratic movement in the consciousness of the Czechs and Slovaks on an attempt to democratize the country and, then premature naive that they can escape from Soviet influence. Slovakia is part of the European Union on 1 May 2004 and NATO. Slovakia is a republic headed by a president elected by universal direct suffrage every five years. Executive power is exercised by the prime minister, who is usually the head of the party or coalition in parliament, named by the president. The rest of government is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
The legislative power consists of the Slovak National Council (Rada Slovenskej Republiky Národná), unicameral parliament composed of 150 members. The members of the Parliament are delegated for a term of four years in proportion to the votes obtained. The judicial power is represented by the Constitutional Court (South Ústavný), which decides constitutional issues. The 13 members are appointed by the President from a list of candidates made by the Parliament. Slovakia is divided into eight regions (krajs, singular kraj), named after their capital: Banská Bystrica; Bratislava; Košice; Nitra; Prešov; Trenčín; Trnava; Žilina. There are also 79 districts (okres), with no administrative role, being used only for statistical purposes.
Its capital is Bratislava (old Presburg), with a population of 430,000 inhabitants. Other important cities are Košice (Caşovia), Prešov, Nitra, Žilina, Banská Bystrica, Trnava and Martin. The Slovak landscape is very contrasting to the relief. Carpathians (which are located at the foot of Bratislava) are spread over most of the north of the country. Among them, there are the Tatra Mountains (Tatry), which are a very popular destination for skiing and also contain numerous lakes and valleys, and the highest points of Slovakia, Gerlach (2655 m) and Krivan, symbol of the country. Fields are located in south-west (along the Danube) and south-east. The largest Slovak rivers other than the Danube (Dunaj) are its tributaries, Vah and Hron, Morava forming the border with Austria. Slovak climate is temperate, with relatively cool summers and cold winters, cloudy and wet (snow rainfall).
Most inhabitants of Slovakia are Slovak (86%). Hungarians are the largest ethnic minority (9.7%) and are concentrated in southern and eastern highlands on the border with Hungary. The other ethnic groups include Gypsies, Czechs, Ruthenians, Ukrainians, Germans and Poles. Religious structure, according to the census of 2001, was: Roman Catholic Church: 68.9%; Lutheran Church: 6.9%; Greek-Catholic Church in Slovakia: 4.09%; Reformed Church: 2.04%; Orthodox Church in Slovakia: 0.94%. 12.9% of the total population declared themselves with no confession, and 2.99% did not want to declare religious beliefs.
Slovakia has rich and varied subsoil resources: iron, coal, uranium, bauxite, mercury, copper, lead, zinc, building stone, silver and gold. Manufacturing is mainly based on own resources, resulting in about 55% of the employed population. Building materials industry (producing cement, lime, plaster), chemical industry (plastics, synthetic fibers and yarns, synthetic rubber, nitrogen fertilizers), machine industry – Liptov metallurgy (steel, cast iron, rolled) in Košice, Martin, Žilina, food (milk, beer, sugar, oil). Agriculture is particularly focused on crop production (resulting in only 8.8% of population): wheat, maize, sugar beet, potatoes, vine, and fruit. They grow pigs, sheep and cattle. Tourism has grown in recent years. Slovakia features a rich and diversified tourism potential.
In 2005, almost a year and a half after joining the European Union (May 2004), the present economic situation of Slovakia looked promising for 2006. Economic growth in 2001-2005 has exceeded expectations, despite the general European regress. Income per capita has reached $ 15.700 in 2005. National sport is ice hockey. Slovakia won the world championship in 2002. A rare and interesting tourist curiosity in Eastern Slovakia (near Kosice) is the large number of rural churches made of wood from the forest, bringing the so-called Stavkirke in Norway.
UNESCO World Heritage List included the following facilities in Slovakia: Vlkolinec Village (1993); Spišský Hrad and associated cultural monuments (1993); mining town Banská Štiavnica (1993); Cave and karst Aggtelek (1995, 2000); historic old town Bardejov (2000); old birch forests of the Carpathians (2007). A primary function of tourism is the capital. In 2006, Bratislava had 77 commercial accommodation facilities (of which 45 were for hotels), with a total capacity of 9940 beds. A total of 686,201 visitors, of whom 454,870 were foreigners, stayed at least one night there. However, most of the tourists visit Bratislava one day, and their exact number is unknown. Most foreign tourists are from the Czech Republic, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Austria, France, United States, Japan and Hungary. In Slovakia are various mountain destinations for skiing and spa destinations.
Famous Slovaks: Alexander Dubcek, Milan Rastislav, Stefanik, Richard Müller (singer), Daniela Hantuchova. If you longs for peace and relaxation in nature, if you always wanted to climb the mountain with the highest elevation in Europe, you can discover the unseen corners of nature, to give you the opportunity to create your set of images revealing the sky and earth to blend in perfect harmony, or are advocates of a modern life, beauty attracted tourism, culture thirsty and curious to discover the evolutionary steps of a long existing hospitable people, point your eyes to Slovakia. Slovak Republic (Slovenska Republika) is one of the most recently formed European states, whose independence has been won on 1 January 1993, following the new Constitution adopted by the Federal Parliament on 1 September 1992.
The new Constitution stated that, from 1 January 1993, the existence of the Czechoslovak Republic international has to be replaced by the appearance of two independent and sovereign states, the Slovak Republic and Czech Republic, countries that would be recognized by all countries throughout the world. Slovakia occupies a central position in Europe, and very near the town of Kremnica, Krabule hill, is the geometric center of Europe. The importance of this city is not only due to this but for the existence of several mines and one of the oldest mints in the entire world. Endless chains of mountains are part of history, culture and daily life of Slovakia. Carpathian Mountains begin at the confluence of the Danube (Dunaj) with the Morava River, climb to the north of Slovakia, western Ukraine enters comprises a small part of eastern Hungary, and later to enter the Romanian territory in the north and arch form Romanian Carpathians, where is the second largest solid Moldoveanu.
Tatra Mountains, the High Tatras (Vysoke Tatry) and Tatra Minor (Low Tatras), especially prevalent in the northern part of the country, provide the appearance of their natural and pure alpine air, a wide range of possibilities for relaxation. The most famous are massive Matra, Tatra and Fatra, as three bumps found on the blue coat of arms. Other known peaks are Chopok, Dumbier, Krivan, at the foot of which activated during the 18th century a group of outlaws, led by Juro Janosik. Syria reaches maximum altitude mountain in the Tatra Mountains, the highest peak of Carpathian mountain, Gerlachovsky 2655 m. Economically, the mountain is very important for Slovakia. Hardwood and softwood forests, to an altitude of 1600-1800 m, has a rich tourism potential, and the basement houses the deposits of gold, silver, magnesium, aluminum.
From north to south, the mountains continue with the hills, where you can meet, unlike other movements formed by the folded mountains, volcanic mountains and in the south, to the Danube, lies the plain. In addition to the Carpathians, Dunaj River is another avenue of connection between Slovakia and Romania, and even a bridge to the Black Sea and through it, the Ocean Dome. Cross the river valleys of the mountains, down along the hills, go through stretches of plains and tributaries of a river are either larger or have their direct origin of the mountains, almost all flows into the Danube. Besides these valleys formed by water courses there are valleys formed by glaciers, the most famous being: Velická Valley (Dolina Velická), Mengusovska Valley (Dolina Mengusovska). This has many tourist centers-one each side of the valleys in Slovakia is the third state, after Switzerland and Austria, as important in terms of length of cable transport (lifts, cable cars, etc.).
The beauty of mountain scenery is complemented by the creations of nature, incurred as a result of collapse of some mountainous areas located at altitudes of lakes that have driven this called Plesa. Such lakes are Strbske Pleso and Rohacske Pleso. Famous for their natural beauty are the Reservation Tatras National Park and Slovensky Raj (TANAP-Tatransky Narodny Park). Other important monuments of Europe, located in the UNESCO cultural heritage and national, are Spissky Hrad (the city with the largest area in Europe), Spiskke Podhradie (sub-city from Spišská), Spišská Kapitula, the monastery of Zehra (Early Gothic), the largest shrine in Europe (in Levoca, made by sculptor Masster Levoca Pavol), another altar at Krka, a nature museum, monument world (at Vlkolinec), wooden churches (in Eastern Slovakia), numerous caves in the karst-cave Demanovska Slovensky Kras (the largest glacier cave), Jaskyna Slobody, Dobsinska Jaskyna, Ochtinska Aragonitova (aragonite cave).
From a climate perspective, Slovakia belongs to the type of continental climate, where the hottest month of the year is July and the coldest, January on ridges of the Tatra mountains, snow lies up to 130 days / year. It is bordered by Poland in the north, Ukraine in the east, Hungary and Austria and the Czech Republic to the south west, it has an area of 49,036 square kilometers, a population totaling 5.4 million Slovak population predominantly women in a percentage of 51.3%. In terms of ethnic population it is composed largely of Slovak citizens 85.6%, 10.6% Hungarian, Czech 1%, the remaining 2.8% representing the Roma, Ruthenians, Germans, Poles, Croats.
The capital is located in Bratislava, a city with a population of 465,000 inhabitants, situated at the confluence of the Morava River with Danube, on the border with Austria and Hungary. Not far from this place is the supposed capital formation of the first Slavic state, Kievan Samo’s later Kievan’s Dowina, Devin today. Other major cities are: Kosice (the second largest city, largest in Europe), Banska Bystrica, Zilina, Nitra, Bribina, Trencin (seat of one of pretenders to the throne of Slovakia, namely Matus Cak, very powerful person in the first century the 17th century, because his family owned a large number of territories).
Predominant religion is Roman Catholic, about 400000 Lutheran, 300000 Greek Catholics, Reformed 85,000, 34,000 Orthodox. The official language is Slovak (Slovensky jazyk) and the territorial division of Slovakia’s eight regions resulted in the emergence of several dialects of the language. The official coin is the Slovakian Crown and its division is “halier”. The Slovak Republic is a democratic state with a unicameral parliament composed of 150 members, and head of state is the president. The rupture of Slovakia from the Czech Republic in 1993 had negative influences on Slovakia because of the maintaining in Czech Republic the most important tourist areas and business opportunities while In Slovakia remained the heavy industry, with massive non-performing structures.
Slovakia, although with a modest tourism has kept its charm with the beauty of rural landscapes and the Carpathians. Low prices are intended to encourage tourism in this country and their offerings deserve consideration by tourists who had planned a long trip along the European continent. Flag: The flag consists of three horizontal lines (white, blue, red) and the state emblem on the left. Although it is a predominantly mountainous country and has a low stretch, Slovakia is well populated with about 6 million inhabitants (107 inhab/ sq km). The greatest concentration is in Western Slovakia (150 inhab/sq km) followed by the cities of Basnska Bystrica and Kosice and their surrounding area. The lowest densities, well below the average of Slovakia, are in the Tatra Mountains.
The population is ethnically comprised of mostly of Slovaks (85%) plus, with a significant share of the Hungarians (over 10%). Birth rate is 15 0 / 00, mortality 10.3 0 / 00. Urban population accounts for 78%. Kosice has 238 000 inhabitants, 212,000 inhabitants in Nitra, 183,000 inhabitants in Zilina, and Presov has 88 000 inhabitants. The state parliamentary republic according to the Constitution entered into force on 01.01.1993 (became a free state on January 1 when Czechoslovakia split into two countries: Slovakia and the Czech Republic). Legislative activity is exerted by the National Council and the Executive Council of Ministers appointed by the president.
There are political parties: 10 parties including the Civic Democratic Union-Public Against Violence (founded in 1989), Democratic Left Party of Slovakia (1991 designation of the Communist Party), Slovak National Party, Freedom Party of Slovakia (founded in 1946). Relief: It is mostly mountainous, given the Small Carpathians in the west (maximum elevation 768 m) taller than the White Carpathians (approx. 1000 m) and wider development, including numerous limestone. In the north is High Tatras, the highest crystalline solid the whole system of the Carpathian Mountains (top Gerlachovska, 2655 m) with well developed and preserved glacial forms. South of the High Tatra between rivers Vah and Hron, there is Low Tatra crystalline massif (the highest elevation is at the top of Dumbier, 2043 m).
A tectonic corridor oriented EV drained by the river Hron separates the mountains of Northern Ore Mountains of Slovakia (maximum altitude 1477 m) of volcanic origin. In the South are plain areas of the Danube and Tisza Plain. Krasnohorska cave in Eastern countries are the largest stalagmite in the world (32 m height). Hydrographic network: The main watercourse is the Danube (172 km in Slovakia), which receives a number of tributaries (Nitra, Hron). Rainfall exceeds 750 mm in the high areas (over 2000 mm in Tatra) and reaches 600-800 mm in the lowlands. Vegetation: Forest especially conifers (spruce, pine, fir) and deciduous, alpine pastures (pastures and natural meadows). Fauna: It is characteristic of Central Europe, many protected areas including the High Tatra Natural Park, one of the largest in Europe.
After the proclamation of the Czechoslovak at Prague 28.10.1918 on 30.10.1918 Slovakia joins it. In the new state created Slovakia hoped to achieve autonomy, the Czechoslovak Constitution being considered in Bratislava 29/02/1920 too centralist. After the Munich Agreement (30/09/1938), Slovakia gained at 6/10/1938 internal autonomy, the Catholic Archbishop Jozef Tiso became head of government. In terms of dissolution of the Czechoslovak state from Germany, Slovakia is proclaimed an independent republic (03/14/1939 to 04/04/1945, in reality a satellite state of the Third Reich).
Following the “First Vienna Award” (02/11/1938) Southern Slovakia and Hungary annexed southern Carpathian Ukraine, and occupies the whole territory of Ukraine on 15-17.03.1939. In August-October 1944 in Slovakia has been a strong anti-German uprising, attended by 60,000 soldiers and 12,000 supporters, the uprising being suppressed by the Wehrmacht. After the release of Czechoslovakia under German domination (09/05/1945) the coalition government established under Soviet patronage (1945) monopolized gradually to full power in 1948, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the coming decades knowing the fate of Eastern European entrants in the Soviet sphere of influence.
Reformist policy initiated during the “Prague Spring” is brutally disrupted by the intervention of tanks of Treaty of Warsaw (20-21.08.1968), ordered by Soviet leader Brezhnev Leoni. On 01/01/1969 Czechoslovakia federal republic is composed of two equal in rights, Slovak Socialist Republic and the Czech Socialist Republic. In the context of radical transformations that occur in Eastern Europe in 1989, after popular demonstrations in October-November in Prague, “Velvet Revolution” is therefore the establishment of a national unity government, the election of former dissident Vaclav Havel as president of Republic (12/29/1989) and removal from power of the communist regime. Parliamentary elections (05-06.12.1989) in Slovakia are won by the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, led by Vladimir Meciar.
Following bilateral talks to take the decision of the Czech and Slovak separation of Czechoslovakia into two states, which would enter into force on 01.01.1993, with the Slovak Republic was proclaimed an independent state. The economy is based on industry and is one of the most developed of the former communist countries, but with a reduced participation (approx. 30%) in the production of the former Czechoslovakia. Mineral resources have varied, but generally without significant reserves and production (coal production which placed Czechoslovakia on one of the first places in the world, was provided in most of the Czech Republic). Manufacturing, diversified (metallurgy, machine building, chemical, light, food), but less developed than in the Czech Republic is in the process of restructuring, knowing in recent years, as in the Czech Republic, a decreased production due to reduction in orders from the Soviet Union and poor competitiveness in the Western market. Agriculture: Unlike the Czech Republic, Slovakia is mainly focused on crop production: cereals (wheat, maize), sugar beets, potatoes, wine and fruit growing.
Slovakia starts from the Tatra Mountains and is spread over the plains, canyons, caves and meadows. The country became independent in 1993 as a result of the famous Velvet Divorce, and today is one of the most popular tourist regions of Central Europe. Family vacations, resorts and sports are part of Slovakia’s tourism offer. Main cities are the capital Bratislava, Koshi, Zilina and Poprad, and they give you a variety of attractions. Summer and winter camps in the Tatra Mountains and other regions of the country receive thousands of children and parents from all over Europe. Slovakia attractive offer convenience and comfort – from small and quiet trains with two or three compartments to Alpine villages, ancient settlements, Vlkolinec miners and quiet streets of the medieval city Bardeiov, Slovakia is a “domestic” destination.
Almost every ruined castle in Slovakia has its own legend. One of these is the story of the castle Csejte – a countess merciless kills three young girls and bathes in their blood to rejuvenate. Moreover, in many areas still persist beliefs in evil eye, witches and other supernatural beings. Main attractions: Explore the historic capital and Bratislava (Stave Mesto), the fifteenth-century Bratislava Castle and the Slovak National Gallery on the waterfront. Admire the famous castle ruins, Devin, located 9 km north-west of the capital. Near this place the Germans had suffered painful defeats in 864 and 871, the area being very important for Slovakia. Look at almost intact medieval city walls of Trnava, which was the administrative center of the Hungarian church between XVI and XVIII.
Visit Nitra, Slovakia agricultural capital. Go up to the castle ruins. Gothic Cathedral in the castle contains the relics of a saint in the tenth century, and with the baroque palace of the bishop of Nitra. Go to hilly lands – High Tatras, Low Tatras National Park Mala Fatra that offers an abundant wildlife, the slopes of mountains and lakes. Visit the Spis region, where there are many religious sites, including the Gothic church of St James and St Martin Romanesque cathedral. Walk around the Spis Castle, which dates from the twelfth century and is the largest medieval castle in Eastern Europe. Nearby, the city became the rich capital city of Levoca of Spis Saxons Union in 1271. Bathe in the resort of Popran Aqua City, which offers many thermal pools, spa treatments and cryo-therapy, in which the body is cooled in a room with -121 ° C.
Admire the most beautiful art nouveau building of Slovakia – the Mausoleum Andrassy Horka Krasna. Visit Geyser Herlany, north-east of Kosice, which blows cold mineral water up to 30 every 33 hours. Celebrate with locals popular parties taking place in several villages and towns during the summer months until September. Ride on the longest course in Europe, Danube Bike Trail, which stretches along the river, through Vienna, Bratislava and Štúrovo. If you cross the Danube you get in Hungary. The landscape of glacial lakes and rivers you will find that you can swim and fish. The best seats are Liptovska Mara, Orava and Zemplínska Sirava. Dunajec River in Pieniny National Park you can do rafting. Discover the ski slopes of the centers of the 30 mountainous regions. The best is in the Tatra Mountains. Other popular destinations are Bardejovské Kúpele, Dudince and Piestany.
Gastronomy: Bryndzové halusky is national dish of Slovakia, potato dumplings made of sheep’s cheese and salt. They place ham slices on top of toast. Slovakia is one of the three countries in the world where Coca-Cola is not the first non-alcoholic drinks. Slovaks prefer Vinea, grape juice and Kofola, which is like Coca-cola. Local wines are similar to the German Riesling, but there are sweet wines, called Tokaj, produced in the regions south of the border. Slovakia produces strong drinks – Slivovice (plum brandy), Hruskovica (perry) and Demanovka (liquor). The most popular drink is some kind of gin called Borovicka.
Standard phrases – dobry den (good day), Velmi ma tesi (pleased to meet you). If you ask with the formula of respect – Pan to Mr Pan and Pani to Mrs. If you are invited to dine go barefoot in the house and bring flowers to the host. The gesture by which you wish someone good luck is hand made fist with the thumb inside. Local time is GMT+1. One of the most prominent structures in the city is Bratislava Castle, on a plateau 85 m above the Danube. The Castle hill site has been inhabited since the transition period between the Stone Age and Bronze Age, and the acropolis of a Celtic town, took part in the Roman limes was a large Slavic settlement, then a political, military and Great Moravian religious.
A stone castle was not built until the tenth century, when the region came under the influence of the Kingdom of Hungary. The castle was transformed into a Gothic anti-Hussite fortress during the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg, in 1430, then became Renaissance castle in 1562, and was rebuilt in Baroque style in 1649. During the reign of Maria Theresa, the castle became a prestigious royal seat. In 1811 the castle was destroyed and remained in ruins until the 50s when it was largely rebuilt in the style Theresan. The natural environment of great tourist attraction and cultural-historical values (castles, churches, museums, folk elements) is the tourist heritage of Slovakia, which is outlined in three areas of interest.
Western Slovakia – includes the Small Plain of the Medium Danube, Small and White Carpathians, where are found major European resorts with resonance: Peištani, Bezovec, Nimnica, Smrdáki, Luilacovice, Zilina; natural attractions are complemented by the cultural-historical value, namely, medieval castles and Bratislava. Central Slovakia – High Tatra Mountains (2250 m) and the Low Tatras (2043 m) in the west, and Little and Big Fatra (1700-1592 m), Metalifers of Slovakia (1459 m) and Krupina Plateau in the south, and various landscapes picturesque, spas, castles, gothic, medieval fortifications and historic cities. Eastern Slovakia – with the massive Metalifers of Tatra and Slovaks in the west, east Ondava Plateau, the Eastern Beskizii, Slovakia Eastern Plains, and volcanic mountains Slanske Virkolat of crystalline rocks.
Slovakia’s main tourist attractions are: National Parks, caves and mountainous terrain – High Tatras National Park (TANAP) has an area of 70,000 ha and is the most spectacular mountain range in Slovakia and the scientific aspect of tourism. It has over 20 peaks exceeding 2,500 meters, about 100 glacial lakes, karst forms, special flora and fauna elements. It is arranged for tourism, there is a dense network of marked trails to the most attractive places. Besides hiking in High Tatras resources are favorable for winter sports – here is the country’s ski center – spa treatment, water sports, fishing and hunting sports.
Low Tatras National Park (Napant) – also includes ski areas, resorts, and you can practice rafting. Here is the Red Monastery – built in Gothic style. Low Tatras includes a part of Slovak Paradise, which displays unique karst landscape: caves – including Dobšiná, the oldest cave in Europe – keys, gorges, waterfalls, karst plateaus with specific flower species. Pieniny National Park (Pienap) where is the Dunajec Canyon with a length of 9 km. Slovak Ore Mountains, ski resorts, vast areas arranged for this purpose, funicular railway, near the town of Kosice. Glacial rivers and lakes or man-made trips compensate the absence of exit to the sea of Slovakia. They are designed for leisure and recreation tourism so as to interest both internally and internationally as Lake Domaša on Ondava River, for example, 36 m high, favored the development of six recreation centers, recreation and leisure water in Plateau Ondava.
Spas are another tourist offer with international resonance. Slovakia is a country with a large number of springs and curative mud deposits of the highest quality that people use to cure a variety of diseases. This country, though small, has no less than 1,160 mineral springs, thermal and bicarbonate recorded. Resorts are only part of the potential for regeneration, healing and health preservation of Slovakia, the potential corresponding healthy environment in this country. One of the most prevalent of these resorts, and also the historic city, dates from the twelfth century, Bardejov – designed to treat respiratory and digestive diseases and considered to be “an urban monument reserve”. Medieval cities, religious buildings, castles, mansions and fortresses are proof of the existence of Slovakia as a crossroads of Europe since ancient times, trade routes passing through this country and many invasions have resulted in the construction of these settlements.
In Slovakia there are 18 historic towns, known for vintage buildings, fortifications, towers, churches, hotels, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque or Renaissance. These include: Levoca, Trnava, Prešov, Košice, Kremnica, Nitra, Spišská-Kapitula, Sobota, Bardejov, Banska Bystrica, Banská Štiavnica – the latter being part of a UNESCO program to preserve the natural and cultural values, like many other anthropogenic and natural monuments of the same country. Capital – Bratislava – is also an old city with 461,616 inhabitants, situated on both sides of the Danube at the foot of the Small Carpathians. It is a powerful cultural and industrial center with numerous attractions: the fort, castle, medieval castle Devin, museums, Slovak National Theatre, the Old Tower, St. Martin’s Cathedral – where was crowned Empress Maria Theresa, Zytny Island – closed the two branches of Danube.
Wildlife fund – made up of bears, deer, wolves, lynx, chamois, grouse and others – and the fish stock lakes and rivers. Folk treasure is a great wealth, here being kept folk architecture – the villages with wooden houses in the region of Spis, the museums of folk art, wooden churches – but also traditions – wood carving, ceramics processing, Easter eggs, making the embroidery and lace. In Slovakia there are more than 1,000 hotels, past the hotel guide, and the number of private housing units is constantly growing. Hotels are classified according to international standards – 1 * 5 * – depending on owned equipment and services. There are 31 hotels of 4 *, including: Danube, Devin, Forum, 329 hotels of 3 * and 1 *.
Tourists can stay in private homes, with the host, guest houses, or in campsites. In mountain areas there are many villages with well-equipped houses, many of them serving to accommodate tourists, as rural locations. In holiday resorts and villas can be rented, with individual cottages. In 1996, the accommodation capacity in hotels and similar establishments in Slovakia was: 25 264 rooms and 58,433 seats. Rail transport has a long tradition in Slovakia, which was one of the first Central European countries with a railway network. Currently, they are spread over a length of 3,600 km, of which only 1400 km are electrified.
The system measures 17 880 km of roads. When you travel by car, drivers must have the label that proves road tax. Transport by air is carried through airports in Bratislava, Košice, Poprad-Tatry, Sliač, Piestany, Nitra. International flights are provided by Vienna Airport – located 60 km from Bratislava. Shipping was developed by the entry into operation of the Canal Rhine – Main – Danube. Tourism is undoubtedly one of the most promising sectors of the Slovak economy. Position of the country – in Central Europe at the crossroads of trade routes – cultural resources, historical and natural and favorable weather conditions create the possibility of developing tourism in this country.
Slovak Tourism Council Foundation contributes to the success of product launch tour of Slovakia on the international tourist market. Slovak Tourist Board was established by the Ministry of Economy, which is part of a Department of Tourism, 1 September 1995 as a non-commercial use. The main tasks of the Council are supporting the development of tourism in Slovakia for economic prosperity and creating awareness of the host country, with enough attractions. This process takes into account the need for environmental protection and promotes the population’s living standard.
The main activities of this Council include: Marketing research and evaluations; distribution of promotional materials printed and audio-video; participation in the creation of the tourism product; meetings with the media, organizing press conferences and trips and tours for foreign journalists specialized in tourism; organizing and coordinating national interest and assistance in the presentation of the tourism product in foreign markets; cooperation with the private sector and state authorities involved in tourism; support for various tourism organizations on international fairs and exhibitions; cooperation with international tourism organizations (from January 1997 is a member of ASTA).
In the future they want to create comprehensive tourist information, using the items collected at each visitor center or landmark in the Slovak Republic. For now, the international promotion of tourism is done both by Slovak and brochures distributed leaflets, and through Internet sites – one at national level, the Slovak Tourism Council and several local, for those interested in details and wishing to travel in this country. Tourism products offered by the aforementioned exploit potential sources of natural and anthropogenic Slovakia, cover different themes: the charm of old cities; mystery of castles, mansions and fortresses; cultural events; Slovako-therapy – a health product, including: natural color therapy, speo-therapy, aromatherapy and, last but not least, balneotherapy, all practiced in spas; charming landscape; hidden beauty of the caves; village architecture; keeping the old traditions; multiple opportunities to practice sports: skiing, hiking, rafting, biking, etc..
The climate is temperate with four seasons. Slovakia is known for mountains, valleys, forests and rivers, beautiful national parks, for its castles, churches and ruins. The geographical position of Slovakia, between the two superpowers of the Middle Ages, Austria-Hungary and Russia, has left its mark on the historical architecture. Austro-Hungarian traditions dominate, linked to the Catholic faith with some traces of Protestantism. However, in Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Russia and other Eastern European cultures have played an important role in landscape architecture.
Bratislava Zoo, located in Valley Mlynská is located near the Slovak television. It has about 152 species of animals, including white lion, a very rare species. On the Danube are the Botanical Gardens which belong to Comenius University, which hosts over 120 species of domestic, exotic or foreign. Piestany Trnava region is a city and a famous spa. The spa specializes in treating rheumatic diseases, using sulfurous mineral waters and mud combined with hydrotherapy, massage therapy, carbon and other relaxation treatments. The city offers facilities for sports such as horse riding, skiing, tennis and travel routes for hiking, hunting and extreme sports. The spa complex is located near downtown, being located here treatment rooms, hotels, swimming pools, natural springs and vegetation in abundance.
Bojnice is the city where was one of the oldest spas, and the oldest zoo in Slovakia. The therapy center treats musculoskeletal diseases, post-traumatic diseases, neurological diseases and professional. Thermal waters are between 28 and 52 degrees and they also offer patients therapeutically mud. The Zoo was founded in 1955, collecting over time more than 250 species including condor royal mandarin ducks, chimpanzees, polar bears, kangaroos Australian and African elephants.