Some things that you probably don’t know about Slovakia
- Andy Warhol’s parents born in Slovakia.
- Eugen Cernan, last man on the Moon is also Slovak emigrant.
- On the south of Slovakia is the most quality water in whole Europe.
- We have been part of more than 14 different nations through the history(from roman empire and pribina’s principality to slovak national socialist state and socialist czechoslovakia).
- We once declared war to USA.
- Became independent in 1993, with the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, in what was known as the ‘Velvet Divorce’.
- The capital Bratislava borders both Austria and Hungary – the only capital city in the world that borders two countries.
- The international anthem is called ‘Nad Tatrou sa blyska’ or ‘Lightning over the Tatras’.
- The country takes up 48,845 square miles – 1,501 less than England.
- Slovakiaonly adopted the Euro currency at the start of 2009 – the 16th European member to do so.
- Their national dish is ‘Bryndzove Halusky’ – a mixture of potato dumplings with sheep cheese and bacon.
- Dr Jozef Venglos, former Aston Villa and Celtic manager, is a native.
- Former France and Middlesbrough midfielder Christian Karembeu’s wife, and former Wonderbra model, Adriana, is also Slovakian-born.
- The country’s most famous club side is Slovan Bratislava – the only one to ever win a European competition (Cup Winners’ Cup in 1969).
- Ice Hockey is the most popular sport in Slovakia – they were world champions in 2002.
Official name: Slovak Republic (SR)
State formation date: 1 January 1993
State system: republic
Political system: parliamentary democracy (150 members of Parliament elected for 4 years)
President: Ivan Gašparovič (since 2009), elected for 5 years
Prime Minister: Robert Fico (since 2012)
State symbols: national coat of arms/ emblem, national flag, state seal and national anthem „Nad Tatrou sa blýska“
Membership in international organisations: EU (since 1 May 2004), NATO, UN, UNESCO, OECD, OBSE, CERN, WHO, INTERPOL, etc.
International codes: SK, SVK, bar code 858
Area: 49 035 km2
Location: Central Europe (17° – 22° E, 47° – 49° N)
The mid and the North of the country is mountainous (Carpathian curve), lowlands (important agricultural areas) are typical of the South and the East. The most important Slovak river the Danube connects the capital city of the SR Bratislava with two capital cities of the neighbour countries – Vienna and Budapest.
Time: Central European time (+ 1 hour from GMT)
Summer time/daylight- saving time from March to November is + 2 hours from GMT
Elevation: the highest point is Gerlach Peak (2655 m), the lowest point is the Bodrog river (95 m).
Climate: Moderate climatic zone, with changing four seasons, average temperature in winter -2°C (the coldest month January, the coldest area High Tatras), in summer 21°C (the warmest months July and August, the warmest area Danubian Lowland). In some mountain ranges the snow remains on average 130 days per year.
Border countries: Hungary (679 km), Poland (597.5 km), the Czech Republic (265 km), Austria (127,2 km), Ukraine (98 km)
Administrative divisions: 8 self-governing regions (Bratislava, Trnava, Trenčín, Nitra, Žilina, Banská Bystrica, Prešov, Košice region), 79 districts, 138 towns, 2891 municipalities (including towns)
Capital city: Bratislava (population 426 091 as at 31/12/2006)
Population: 5 397 036 as at 21/5/2011
Population density: 110/km2
Official language: Slovak
Nationalities / Ethnic groups: Slovak (80.7%), Hungarian (8.5%), Roma (Gipsy) (2%), Czech (0.6%), Ruthenian (0.6%), Ukrainian (0.1%), German (0.1%), Polish (0.1%) and other (7.3%)
– believers approximately 86.6% of which: Roman Catholic (62%), Evangelic (5.9%), Greek-Catholic (3.8%), Reformed Christians (1,8%), Orthodox (0.9%)
– other 1.6%, unspecified 10.6%
– without confession about 13.4%
Currency: EURO (from 1/1/2009)
Slavic tribes wandered west into what would become Slovakia around the 5th century; by the 9th, the territory was part of the short-lived Great Moravian Empire. Subsequently the Magyars (Hungarians) moved in next door and laid claim to the whole territory for the next 800 or so years.
In the 19th century Slovak intellectuals cultivated ties with the Czechs, and after WWI took the nation into the united Czechoslovakia. The day before Hitler’s troops invaded Czech territory in March 1939, a fascist puppet state set up the first independent Slovakia as a German ally. It was not a populist move, however, and in August 1944 Slovak partisans instigated the ill-fated Slovak National Uprising (Slovenské Národné Povstanie, or SNP), inspiring countless future street names.
After the communist takeover in 1948, power was again centralised in Prague until the 1989 Velvet Revolution brought down the curtains on communism. The 1992 elections saw Vladimír Mečiar and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) come to power, bringing with them antidemocratic laws, discrimination and nationalism. By July 1992 the parliament had voted to declare sovereignty and the Czechoslovak federation dissolved peacefully on 1 January 1993. In 1998 a new right-leaning prime minister, Mikuláš Dzurinda, launched a policy of economic and social reforms that got Slovakia into NATO and the EU by May 2004.
Elections in 2006 brought to power parties that have at times been antireform. The coalition is headed by Prime Minister Robert Fico of Smer, a left-wing party, but also includes Mečiar’s isolationist HZDS. For now, Fico is promising to keep Slovakia on track to Euro conversion in 2009. Time will tell which direction the government decides to go.
- Almost all banks have exchange desks and there are usually branches in or near a city’s old town square. ATMs are quite common even in smaller places. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Bratislava, less so in the rest of the country.
- Your Slovak friends will likely complain you’re spoiling the waiters if you don’t just round up, but tips of 5% to 10% are appreciated in restaurants.
- Most museums and castles are closed on Monday and tourist attractions outside the capital are sometimes only open from May to September.
- Open hours:
Banks 8am-5pm Mon-Thu, to 4pm Fri
Bars noon-midnight or 1am. Clubs stay open until 4am weekends
Post offices 8am-7pm Mon-Fri, to 11am Sat
Shops 9am-5pm or 6pm Mon-Fri, 9am-noon Sat. Department stores have longer hoursIf you are interested in Slovakia or in our tours or have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: +421 904 292-468.