Slovak Republic

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The quick travel guide to the Slovak Republic and Bratislava

Introduction

The Slovak Republic or Slovakia is a small country in central Europe. It covers an area of 49,035 sq km and has a population of around 5.1 million people. Slovakia has borders with the Czech Republic to the north west, Poland to the north east, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south and Austria to the west. The capital and largest city is Bratislava which has a population of around 450,000, and lies on the banks of the river Danube. 

Slovakia joined the EU in may 2004 and it is also a member of NATO, the United Nations, OECD and the WTO. The official language is Slovak and the currency is the Euro. It is part of the Schengen Area (open borders).

 

 The Slovak landscape is noted primarily for its mountainous nature, with the Carpathian Mountains extending across most of the northern half of the country. Amongst these mountain ranges are the high peaks of the Tatra mountains. To the north, close to the Polish border, are the High Tatras which are a popular skiing destination and home to many scenic lakes and valleys as well as the highest point in Slovakia, the Gerlachovský štít at 2,655 metres. Major Slovak rivers are the Danube, the Váh and the Hron. The Tisa marks the Slovak-Hungarian border for only 5 km.

 The Slovak climate lies between the temperate and continental climate zones with relatively warm summers and cold, cloudy and humid winters. Typical average temperatures in Bratislava are -3c in January and 20C in July. The mountain regions are considerably colder and wetter (snowy).  

Tourism - Slovakia features natural landscapes, mountains, caves, medieval castles and towns, folk architecture, spas and ski resorts. More than 1.6 million people visited Slovakia in 2006, and the most attractive destinations are the capital of Bratislava and the High Tatras. Most visitors come from the Czech Republic (about 26%), Poland (15%) and Germany (11%). 

Some 40% of Slovakia is covered with forests. Slovakia’s forests contain a wide biodiversity and animals include brown bears, wolves, foxes, wild boars, muskrats, chamois and lynxes. Slovakia features a high percentage of wildlife included in protected areas. There are hardly any mountain ranges and areas not under some form of protection.

Slovakia contains numerous mineral springs and spas. There were 94 destination spas in 2007, which contained more than 11,900 beds. In 2007, there were 276,200 visitors in Slovak spas. 

Bratislava is the capital of the Slovak Republic and, with a population of about 429,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries, Bratislava and Vienna are two of the closest European national capitals to each other, at less than 60 kilometres apart. Bratislava is the political, cultural, and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak president, the parliament, and the executive branch of the government. It is home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other important cultural and educational institutions. Many of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions are also headquartered there.

 

Location Map of Slovakia

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