The national coat-of-arms is formed by an Early-Gothic shield. It displays three blue-colored hills against s red background; the hill in the middle carries a silver double cross.
The national flag shows three oblong stripes in white, blue and red. On the front part of the flag there is the national coat-of-arms.
The Slovak Republic was founded on January the 1st, 1993 as a sovereign democratic state with the parliamentary form of government. Head of state is the president who is elected for a 5-year term in direct election. The supreme body of the executive power is the government with the chairman at its head. Capital is Bratislava.
The shape of the territory is oblong, spreading in east-west direction with a length 428 km, the largest width is 196 km and the shortest width is 77 km.
Slovakia is situated in the moderate climate band. In addition, it lies at the border of two macro-climatic zones: the Atlantic climatic zone (wet weather) and the Continental climatic zone (drier, higher fluctuation of temperature). The lowest annual temperature –3, 7oC occurs at the highest elevations at Lomnicky Peak, the warmest region of Slovakia is the Podunajska Lowland 1O,3 oC.
Most of the territory is drained by the tributaries of the Danube River, which empties into the Black Sea. Because of the terrain Slovak rivers have their source here but flow further to neighboring countries. The longest Slovak river is Vah 403 km.
The country has large sources of underground water. Slovakia is also very rich in mineral water and thermal springs and belongs to the leading nations in Europe in this respect.
The most numerous group is the Slovak nationality – 85 %, followed by the Hungarian minority - 10,6 %. In East Slovakia live the Ruthenian and Ukrainian minorities. The Czech minority comprises about 1, 1 % and Roma represent about 1,6 % of the population. A minority of Germans and Poles also lives in the country.
Besides Bratislava – 430 000 the largest towns are Košice – 250 000, Prešov – 95 000, Nitra – 93 000, Banská Bystrica – 90 000, Žilina – 85 000.
Slovakia was a part of Hungary until 1918. At this time economy was dominated by the mining industry and agriculture. After 1918 the country was part of Czecho-Slovakia. During this period Slovakia’s economy more or less stagnated. A large scale industrialization of Slovakia took place after the end of World War II. Slovakia is an interesting and colorful tourist destination.
Central European Time – 1 hour in advance of Greenwich Time, during summer Central European summer time.
One Slovenska koruna (Sk) = 100 haler, bank notes with value of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 5000, and coins with a value 50 haler, 1, 2, 5, 10 Sk.
The highest Slovak mountains are the High Tatras. Across a small area about 300 peaks rise.
The warmest and driest area in Slovakia is the Danube Plain. The hottest summers are recorded in Hurbanovo.
There are about 3800 caves distributed relatively evenly throughout Slovakia. The highest cave density is in the Low Tatras, with more than 130 known caves.
The Demänovska Cave in the Low Tatras represents the largest cave system, measuring altogether 22 km in length. The tallest stalagmite, with a height of 32, 7 m is located in the Krasnohorska Cave in the Slovak Krast.
Slovakia is very rich in thermal waters, mostly located in the Danube Plain. The well with the highest temperature 92 oC was drilled in Velky Meder. In Slovakia is more than 1200 springs of thermal mineral water.
Twenty percent of tourists visit Bratislava, 18 % prefer the High Tatras.
The most visited spa is Piešťany.
Bojnice Castle is the most visited castle; the largest castle is Spiš Castle.
The Slovak National Parks
TANAP – High Tatras National Park - The first national park established in Slovakia in 1948. It is situated in the highest mountain range of the Carpathians, a unique landscape with destined traces of glacial activities and the largest number of glacier lakes – pleso. It is rich in indigenous plant and animal species. Here, one finds the largest number of alpine cottages, rehabilitation and recreation facilities. Part of the TANAP is the Polish – Slovak Biosphere Reserve Tatry, which has been added to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve List.
NAPANT – Low Tatras National Park - The landscape is shaped by alpine pastures, numerous caves and wooded valleys. Especially fascinating sights are the Demänovská Valley with its large cave system, and the peaks of Chopok and Ďumbier.
PIANAP – Pieniny National Park - A wonderful area of the clipped belt, with the outstanding carst canyon of the Dunajec River and the characteristic Zamagurie Region. Starting at the monastery Červený Kláštor, a national cultural monument, a ride on the timber rafts of the Goral people takes you down the Dunajec River.
Malá Fatra National Park - The national park is situated in the westernmost mountain range of the Carpathians. The park is also famous as the country of Janošík – Slovak national hero.
Slovak Paradise National Park - The canyons are passable with the support of iron and wooden ladders. Famous is the Tomašovský look-out, which offers an exciting view into the deep canyon of the Hornád River.
Murárska Planina National Park - Preserved plateau with karst caves, with traditional mining in Herehronie and horse breading of the indigenous Carpathian horse in Veľká Lúka.
Poloniny National Park - The national park borders Poland and he Ukraine, it has plant life and wildlife typical for the Eastern Carpathians. Typical views are the picturesque wooden churches of the orthodox faith.
Veľká Fatra National Park - There are primeval forests of fir and beech trees and alpine plant life. The rugged relief shows spectacular formations, the canyons of the Gaderská and Blatnická Valleys. The Limestone Mountains are rich in caves. There are many mineral sources.
Slovak Karst National Park - It excels with the largest occurrence of underground spaces in Slovakia. Brázda is the deepest chasm in Slovakia – around 200 m deep.
THE UNESCO WORLD CULTURAL HERITAGE
BANSKÁ ŠTIAVNICA and the technical monuments in the surroundings, which were established mainly in the course of mining rare metals during the 15th century.
SPIŠ CASTLE and the surrounding monuments is located in the centre of the Gothic Road.
VLKOLÍNEC, the village close to Ružomberok, represents the type of rural settlement with valuable wooden buildings, among them the outstanding wooden belfry, from 1770.
THE URBAN MONUMENT REVERSE OF BARDEJOV includes the protection zone of the urban monument reserve, and the Jewish suburb.
THE CAVES OF THE SLOVAK AND AGGTELEK KARST represent a coherent karst landscape with different kinds of crevices and caves. There are more than 700 caves in Slovakia.
FUJARA, the musical instrument and its music was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a verbal and non-material heritage.
CASTLES IN SLOVAKIA
Only a few countries can pride themselves of owning such a large number of castles like Slovakia. Because of its wealth and strategic location, Slovakia was the site of big conflicts between rules for more than 1000 years. Starting in the 11th century, a network of royal Hungarian castles was established in places of former Slavonic hill forts in Bratislava, Nitra, Tekov, Trencin, Gemer, Zemplin, Saris and Liptov. They became the centers of the Hungarian shires. When the Tatars invaded the country in 1241, the building of walled castles became necessary. The majority of almost 150 castles on Slovak territory were built during the 13th century; later on more than 300 fortresses, citadels and even fortified monasteries followed. When the nobles received the properties formerly owned by the king, also the function of the castles changed. After some reconstructions, beside the defense they also served as administrative and economic centers or became the magnificent seats of the noble families. The suppression of the revolt against the Habsburgs was the decisive turning point. Since the castles served as defense centers of Prince Ferenz Rakoczy, after their defeat in 1710 they were subsequently demolished. The generals of the Emperor blew up many of them. The castles have fulfilled their original purpose already long time ago. They protect no longer the borders of the country and also not the wealth of their owners. Today, the castles stand as symbols of the past adorning the valleys and hills of Slovakia. The castle ruins and their secrets have become a destination for outings.
Castles, which have been completely preserved, today house museums with rich collections, and offer their visitors information about the way of life in the Middle Ages.
GOLF IN SLOVAKIA
Golf course BERNOLÁKOVO - Is situated in the historic premises of the 18th century Baroque castle in a splendid park in the village Bernolákovo, 5km distant from Bratislava. Features: 9-hole course, practice ground to hove-in, driving range, putting green. Accessorial services: tennis courts, green for picnic, snack bar and outdoor terrace, golf school, rental and sale of golf equipment.
Golf course PIEŠŤANY - In the north of the Spa Island, a 9-hole course was established offering everything typical for a golf facility – club house, café and outdoor terrace, golf shop, golf academy and driving range, tennis courts, cricket, rental of golf equipment and electric car, golf school. Indoor golf centre is open year round.
Golf course GREY BEAR TÁLE - The first 18-hole championship course of Slovakia is located in the Low Tatras mountain range. The Grey Bear golf course is embedded in the natural setting of a mountain valley. The golf course is designed for walkers, where the tee shots are not so far from the previous holes.
Golf course BLACK STORK VEĽKÁ LOMNICA - Is located on the food of the High Tatras, between Veľká Lomnica and Tatranská Lomnica. Features: 2x 9-holes course, driving range, simulator, putting green, roofed tee shots for professional players. Accessorial services: rental of golf equipment, golf school, training lessons and newly built Hotel International.