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The Slovak Republic (short form: Slovakia ; Slovak: , long form ) is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe with a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia borders the Czech Republicmarker and Austriamarker to the west, Polandmarker to the north, Ukrainemarker to the east and Hungarymarker to the south. The largest city is its capital, Bratislavamarker. Slovakia is a member state of the European Union, NATOmarker, UN, OECD, WTO, UNESCOmarker and other international organizations.

The Slavs arrived in the territory of present Slovakia between the fifth and sixth centuries AD during the Migration Period. In the course of history, various parts of today's Slovakia belonged to Samo's Empire (the first known political unit of Slavs), Great Moravia, Kingdom of Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Habsburg Empire, and Czechoslovakiamarker. An independent Slovak state was created for a brief period during World War II, during which Slovakia was a dependency of Nazi Germany 1939–1944. From 1945 Slovakia once again became a part of Czechoslovakia.The present-day Slovakia became an independent state on January 1, 1993 after the dissolution of its federation with the Czech Republic.

Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy with one of the fastest growth rates in the EU and OECD. It joined the European Union in 2004 and joined the Eurozone on the 1st of January, 2009.

History

Before the fifth century

Radiocarbon dating puts the oldest surviving archaeological artifacts from Slovakia – found near Nové Mesto nad Váhommarker – at 270,000 BC, in the Early Paleolithic era. These ancient tools, made by the Clactonian technique, bear witness to the ancient habitation of Slovakia.

Other stone tools from the Middle Paleolithic era (200,000 – 80,000 BC) come from the Prévôt cave near Bojnicemarker and from other nearby sites. The most important discovery from that era is a Neanderthal cranium (c. 200,000 BC), discovered near Gánovcemarker, a village in northern Slovakia.

Archaeologists have found prehistoric Homo sapiens skeletons in the region, as well as numerous objects and vestiges of the Gravettian culture, principally in the river valleys of Nitramarker, Hronmarker, Ipeľ, Váhmarker and as far as the city of Žilinamarker, and near the foot of the Vihorlatmarker, Inovec, and Tribečmarker mountains, as well as in the Myjavamarker Mountains. The most well-known finds include the oldest female statue made of mammoth-bone (22 800 BC), the famous Venus of Moravany. The statue was found in the 1940s in Moravany nad Váhommarker near Piešťanymarker. Numerous necklaces made of shells from Cypraca thermophile gastropods of the Tertiary period have come from the sites of Zákovská, Podkovice, Hubina, and Radošinare. These findings provide the most ancient evidence of commercial exchanges carried out between the Mediterraneanmarker and Central Europe.

From around 500 BC, the territory of modern-day Slovakia was settled by Celts, who built powerful oppida on the sites of modern-day Bratislavamarker and Havránokmarker. Biatecs, silver coins with the names of Celtic Kings, represent the first known use of writing in Slovakia. From 2 AD, the expanding Roman Empire established and maintained a series of outposts around and just north of the Danube, the largest of which were known as Carnuntummarker (whose remains are on the main road halfway between Vienna and Bratislava) and Brigetio (present-day Szönymarker at the Slovak-Hungarian border). Near the northernmost line of the Roman hinterlands, the Limes Romanus, there existed the winter camp of Laugariciomarker (modern-day Trenčínmarker) where the Auxiliary of Legion II fought and prevailed in a decisive battle over the Germanic Quadi tribe in 179 AD during the Marcomannic Wars. The Kingdom of Vannius, a barbarian kingdom founded by the Germanic Suebian tribes of Quadi and Marcomanni, as well as several small Germanic and Celtic tribes, including the Osi and Cotini, existed in Western and Central Slovakia from 8–6 BC to 179 AD.

The Bronze Age in Slovakia went through three stages of development, stretching from 2000 to 800 BC. Major cultural, economic, and political development can be attributed to the significant growth in production of copper, especially in central Slovakia (for example in Špania Dolinamarker) and north-west Slovakia. Copper became a stable source of prosperity for the local population. After the disappearance of the Čakany and Velaticemarker cultures, the Lusatian people expanded building of strong and complex fortifications, with the large permanent buildings and administrative centers. Excavations of Lusatian hill-forts document the substantial development of trade and agriculture at that period.The richness and the diversity of tombs increased considerably. The inhabitants of the area manufactured arms, shields, jewelry, dishes, and statues. The arrival of tribes from Thrace disrupted the people of the Calenderberg culture, who lived in the hamlets located on the plain (Sereďmarker), and also in the hill forts located on the summits (Smolenicemarker, Molpí). The local power of the "Princes" of the Hallstatt culture disappeared in Slovakia during the last period of the Iron Age after strife between the Scytho-Thracian people and the Celtic tribes, who advanced from the south towards the north, following the Slovak rivers.

The great invasions of the 4–7th centuries

In the second and third centuries AD the Huns began to leave the Central Asian steppes. They crossed the Danube in 377 AD and occupied Pannonia, which they used for 75 years as their base for launching looting-raids into Western Europe. However, Attila's death in 453 brought about the disappearance of the Hun tribe. In 568 a proto-Mongol tribe, the Avars, conducted their own invasion into the Middle Danube region. The Avars occupied the lowlands of the Pannonian Plain, established an empire dominating the Carpathian Basin.In 623, the Slavic population living in the western parts of Pannonia seceded from their empire after a revolution led by Samo, a Frankish merchant. After 626 the Avar power started to gradually decline.

Slavic states

The Slavic tribes settled in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th century. Nowadays western Slovakia was the centre of Samo's empire in the 7th century. A Slavic state known as the Principality of Nitra arose in the 8th century and its ruler Pribina had the first known Christian church of Slovakia consecrated by 828. Together with neighboring Moravia, the principality formed the core of the Great Moravian Empire from 833. The high point of this Slavonic empire came with the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in 863, during the reign of Prince Rastislav, and the territorial expansion under King Svätopluk I.

The era of Great Moravia (830–896)

Great Moravia arose around 830 when Moimír I unified the Slavic tribes settled north of the Danube and extended the Moravian supremacy over them. When Mojmír I endeavoured to secede from the supremacy of the king of East Francia in 846, King Louis the German deposed him and assisted Moimír's nephew, Rastislav (846–870) in acquiring the throne. The new monarch pursued an independent policy: after stopping a Frankish attack in 855, he also sought to weaken influence of Frankish priests preaching in his realm. Rastislav asked the Byzantine Emperor Michael III to send teachers who would interpret Christianity in the Slavic vernacular. Upon Rastislav's request, two brothers, Byzantine officials and missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius came in 863. Cyril developed the first Slavic alphabet and translated the Gospel into the Old Church Slavonic language. Rastislav was also preoccupied with the security and administration of his state. Numerous fortified castles built throughout the country are dated to his reign and some of them (e.g., Dowina, sometimes identified with Devín Castlemarker) are also mentioned in connection with Rastislav by Frankish chronicles.

During Rastislav's reign, the Principality of Nitra was given to his nephew Svatopluk as an appanage. The rebellious prince allied himself with the Franks and overthrew his uncle in 870. Similarly to his predecessor, Svatopluk I (871–894) assumed the title of the king (rex). During his reign, the Great Moravian Empire reached its greatest territorial extent, when not only present-day Moravia and Slovakia but also present-day northern and central Hungary, Lower Austriamarker, Bohemia, Silesia, Lusatia, southern Poland and northern Serbia belonged to the empire, but the exact borders of his domains are still disputed by modern authors.
Svatopluk also withstood attacks of the nomadic Magyar tribes and the Bulgarian Empire, although sometimes it was he who hired the Magyars when waging war against East Francia.


In 880, Pope John VIII set up an independent ecclesiastical province in Great Moravia with Archbishop Methodius as its head. He also named the German cleric Wiching the Bishop of Nitramarker.

After the death of King Svatopluk in 894, his sons Mojmír II (894–906?) and Svatopluk II succeeded him as the King of Great Moravia and the Prince of Nitra respectively. However, they started to quarrel for domination of the whole empire. Weakened by an internal conflict as well as by constant warfare with Eastern Francia, Great Moravia lost most of its peripheral territories.

In the meantime, the Magyar tribes, possibly having suffered defeat from the similarly nomadic Pechenegs, left their territories east of the Carpathian Mountains, invaded the Carpathian Basin and started to occupy the territory gradually around 896. Their armies' advance may have been promoted by continuous wars among the countries of the region whose rulers still hired them occasionally to intervene in their struggles.

Both Mojmír II and Svatopluk II probably died in battles with the Magyars between 904 and 907 because their names are not mentioned in written sources after 906. In three battles (July 4–5 and August 9, 907) near Bratislavamarker, the Magyars routed Bavarianmarker armies. Historians traditionally put this year as the date of the breakup of the Great Moravian Empire.

Great Moravia left behind a lasting legacy in Central and Eastern Europe. The Glagolitic script and its successor Cyrillic were disseminated to other Slavic countries, charting a new path in their cultural development. The administrative system of Great Moravia may have influenced the development of the administration of the Kingdom of Hungary.

Kingdom of Hungary (1000–1919)

Following the disintegration of the Great Moravian Empire in the early 10th century, the Hungarians gradually annexed the territory comprising modern Slovakia. In the late 10th century, south-western areas of the present-day Slovakia became part of the rising Hungarian principality, which became the Kingdom of Hungary after 1000. Thereafter the region became an integral part of the Hungarian state until the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. The ethnic composition became more diverse with the arrival of the Carpathian Germans in the 13th century, and in the 14th century the Jews.

A significant decline in the population resulted from the invasion of the Mongols in 1241 and the subsequent famine. However, in medieval times the area of the present-day Slovakia was characterized rather by burgeoning towns, construction of numerous stone castles, and the cultivation of the arts. In 1465, King Matthias Corvinus founded the Hungarian Kingdom's third university, in Pozsony (Bratislavamarker), but it was closed in 1490 after his death.

After the Ottoman Empire's expansion into Hungary and the occupation of Buda in the early 16th century, the centre of the Kingdom of Hungary (under the name of Royal Hungary) shifted to Pozsony ( in Slovakian: Prespork at that time, currently Bratislava) which became the capital city of Royal Hungary in 1536. But the Ottoman wars and frequent insurrections against the Habsburg Monarchy also inflicted a great deal of destruction, especially in rural areas. As the Turks withdrew from Hungary in the late 17th century, the importance of the territory comprising modern Slovakia decreased, although Bratislava retained its status as the capital of Hungary until 1848, when it was transferred to Buda.

During the revolution of 1848–49 the Slovaks supported the Austrian Emperor, hoping for independence from the Hungarian part of the Dual Monarchy, but they failed to achieve their aim. Thereafter relations between the nationalities deteriorated (see Magyarization), culminating in the secession of Slovakia from Hungary after World War I.

Interwar Czechoslovakia



In 1918, Slovakia and the regions of Bohemia and Moravia formed a common state, Czechoslovakiamarker, with the borders confirmed by the Treaty of Saint Germain and Treaty of Trianon. In 1919, during the chaos following the breakup of Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia was formed with numerous Germans and Hungarians within the newly set borders. A Slovak patriot Milan Rastislav Štefánik (1880–1919), who helped organize Czechoslovak regiments against Austria-Hungary during the First World War, died in a plane crash during this fighting. In the peace following the World War, Czechoslovakia emerged as a sovereign European nation.

During the Interwar period, democratic Czechoslovakia was allied with Francemarker, and also with Romaniamarker and Yugoslavia (Little Entente); however, the Locarno Treaties of 1925 left East European security open. Both Czechs and Slovaks enjoyed a period of relative prosperity. Not only was there progress in the development of the country's economy, but in culture and in educational opportunities as well. The minority Germans came to accept their role in the new country and relations with Austria were good. Yet the Great Depression caused a sharp economic downturn, followed by political disruption and insecurity in Europe.

Thereafter Czechoslovakia came under continuous pressure from the revisionist governments of Germany and Hungary. Eventually this led to the Munich Agreement of September 1938, which allowed Nazi Germany to partially dismember the country by occupying what was called the Sudetenland, a region with a German-speaking majority and bordering Germany and Austria. The remainder of "rump" Czechoslovakia was renamed Czecho-Slovakia and included a greater degree of Slovak political autonomy. Southern and eastern Slovakia, however, was claimed back by Hungary at the First Vienna Award of November 1938.

World War II

After the Munich Agreement and its Vienna Award, Nazi Germany threatened to annex part of Slovakia and to allow the remaining regions to be partitioned by Hungary or Poland unless independence is declared. Thus, Slovakia seceded from Czecho-Slovakia in March 1939 and allying itself, as demanded by Germany, with Hitler's coalition. The government of the First Slovak Republic, led by Jozef Tiso and Vojtech Tuka, was strongly influenced by Germany and gradually became a puppet regime in many respects. Most Jews were deported from the country and taken to German labour camps. Thousands of Jews, however, remained to labor in Slovak work camps in Sered, Vyhne, and Nováky. Tiso, through the granting of presidential exceptions, has been credited with saving as many as 40,000 Jews during the war, although other estimates place the figure closer to 4,000 or even 1,000.Nevertheless, under Tiso's government 83% of Slovakia's Jewish population, a total of 75,000 individuals, were murdered. Tiso became the only European leader to actually pay Nazi authorities to deport his country's Jews.After it became clear that the Sovietmarker Red Army was going to push the Nazis out of the eastern and central Europe, an anti-Nazi resistance movement launched a fierce armed insurrection, known as the Slovak National Uprising, in the end of summer 1944. A bloody German occupation and a guerilla war followed.

Rule of the Communist party

After World War II, Czechoslovakia was reconstituted and Jozef Tiso was hanged in 1947 for collaboration with the Nazis. More than 80,000 Hungarians and 32,000 Germans were forced to leave Slovakia, in a series of population transfers initiated by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference. This expulsion is still a source of tension between Slovakia and Hungary. Out of about 130,000 Carpathian Germans in Slovakia in 1938, by 1947 only some 20,000 remained.

Czechoslovakia came under the influence of the Soviet Unionmarker and its Warsaw Pact after a coup in 1948. The country was occupied by the Warsaw Pact forces (with the exception of Romaniamarker) in 1968, ending a period of liberalization under the leadership of Alexander Dubček. In 1969, Czechoslovakia became a federation of the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic.

Establishment of the Slovak Republic

The end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia in 1989, during the peaceful Velvet Revolution, was followed once again by the country's dissolution, this time into two successor states. In July 1992 Slovakia, led by Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar, declared itself a sovereign state, meaning that its laws took precedence over those of the federal government. Throughout the Autumn of 1992, Mečiar and Czech Prime Minister Václav Klaus negotiated the details for disbanding the federation. In November the federal parliament voted to dissolve the country officially on December 31, 1992. The Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic went their separate ways after January 1, 1993, an event sometimes called the Velvet Divorce. Slovakia has remained a close partner with the Czech Republic, both countries cooperate with Hungary and Poland in the Visegrád Group. Slovakia became a member of NATOmarker on March 29, 2004 and of the European Union on May 1, 2004. On January 1, 2009, Slovakia adopted the Euro as its national currency.

Geography



The Slovak landscape is noted primarily for its mountainous nature, with the Carpathian Mountainsmarker extending across most of the northern half of the country. Amongst these mountain ranges are the high peaks of the Tatra mountainsmarker. 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 štítmarker at 2,655 metres (8,711 ft), and the country's highly symbolic mountain Kriváňmarker.

Major Slovak rivers are the Danube, the Váhmarker and the Hronmarker. 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. The area of Slovakia can be divided into three kinds of climatic zones and the first zone can be divided into two sub-zones.

Climate of lowlands



The average annual temperature is about 9–10 °C. The average temperature of the hottest month is about 20 °C and the average temperature of the coldest month is greater than −3 °C. This kind of climate occurs at Záhorská nížina and Podunajská nížina. It is the typical climate of the capital city Bratislava.

The average annual temperature is about 8–9 °C. The average temperature of the hottest month is about 19 °C and the average temperature of the coldest month is less than −3 °C. This kind of climate can be found at Košická kotlina and Východoslovenská nížinamarker. It is the typical climate of the city of Košice.

Climate of basins

The average annual temperature is between 5 °C and 8.5 °C. The average temperature of the hottest month is between 15 °C and 18.5 °C and the average temperature of the coldest month is between −3 °C and −6 °C. This climate can be found in almost all basins in Slovakia. For example Podtatranská kotlina, Žilinská kotlina, Turčianska kotlina, Zvolenská kotlina. It is the typical climate for the towns of Popradmarker and Sliačmarker.

Mountain climate

The average annual temperature is less than 5 °C. The average temperature of the hottest month is less than 15 °C and the average temperature of the coldest month is less than −5 °C. This kind of climate occurs in mountains and in some villages in the valleys of Orava and Spiš.

Demographics

The majority of the inhabitants of Slovakia are ethnically Slovak (85.8%). Hungarians are the largest ethnic minority (9.5%). Other ethnic groups, as of the 2001 census, include Roma with 1.7%, Ruthenians or Ukrainians with 1%, and other or unspecified, 1.8%. Unofficial estimates on the number of Roma population are much higher, around 9%.

The official language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic language family. Hungarian is widely spoken in the southern regions and Ruthenian is used in some parts of the Northeast. Minority languages hold co-official status in the municipalities in which the size of the minority population meets the legal threshold of 20%.

In 2007 Slovakia was estimated to have a total fertility rate of 1.33. (i.e., the average woman will have 1.33 children in her lifetime), which is significantly below the replacement level and is one of the lowest rates among EU countries.

In the 1990 U.S. Census Slovak Americans made up the second-largest portion of Slavic ethnic groups. According to the 1990 Census figures about 1.8 million Americans are of Slovak descent.

Religion

The Slovak constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The majority of Slovak citizens (68.9%) identify themselves as Roman Catholics, or having Roman Catholic ancestry. Although, church attendance is much lower than this percentage. The country has a moderately non-theist percentage on the European stage, around 40% is currently Atheist or Agnostic according to the 2004 Eurobarometer published by the European commission. About 6.93% indentify as Lutherans, 4.1% Greek Catholic (affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church), and 2.0% Calvinists. Some 0.9% of the population are Eastern Orthodox, and members of other churches, including those non-registered, account for 1.1% of the population. While the country had an estimated pre-World War II Jewish population of 90,000, only about 2,300 Jews remain today.

Politics



Slovakia is a parliamentary democratic republic with a multi-party system. The last parliamentary elections were held on June 17, 2006 and two rounds of presidential elections took place on April 3, 2004 and April 17, 2004.

The Slovak head of state is the president (Ivan Gašparovič, 2004 – 2009), elected by direct popular vote for a five-year term. Most executive power lies with the head of government, the prime minister (Robert Fico, 2006 – 2010), who is usually the leader of the winning party, but he/she needs to form a majority coalition in the parliament. The prime minister is appointed by the president. The remainder of the cabinet is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister.

Slovakia's highest legislative body is the 150-seat unicameral National Council of the Slovak Republic (Národná rada Slovenskej republiky). Delegates are elected for a four-year term on the basis of proportional representation. Slovakia's highest judicial body is the Constitutional Court of Slovakia (Ústavný súd), which rules on constitutional issues. The 13 members of this court are appointed by the president from a slate of candidates nominated by parliament.

Slovakia has been a member state of the European Union and NATOmarker since 2004. As a member of the United Nations (since 1993), Slovakia was, on October 10, 2005, elected to a two-year term on the UN Security Council from 2006 to 2007. Slovakia is also a member of WTO, OECD, OSCE, and other international organizations.

Controversially, the Beneš Decrees, by which, after World War II, the German and Hungarian populations of Czechoslovakia were decreed collectively guilty of World War II, stripped of their citizenship, and many deported, have still not been repealed.

The Constitution of the Slovak Republic was ratified 1 September 1992, and became effective 1 January 1993). It was amended in September 1998 to allow direct election of the president and again in February 2001 due to EU admission requirements.The civil law system is based on Austro-Hungarian codes. The legal code was modified to comply with the obligations of Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and to expunge the Marxist-Leninist legal theory. Slovakia accepts the compulsory International Court of Justicemarker jurisdiction with reservations.

The president is the head of state and the formal head of the executive, though with very limited powers. The president is elected by direct, popular vote, under the two round system, for a five-year term.

Following National Council elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president. Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister has to receive the majority in the parliament. The government coalition as of July 2006 consists of Smer, SNS (known for its open racism and a strongly anti-minority stance) and HZDS.



Regions and districts

As for administrative division, Slovakia is subdivided into 8 krajov(singular – kraj, usually translated as "region", but actual meaning is "county"), each of which is named after its principal city. Regions have enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy since 2002. Their self-governingbodies are referred to as Self-governing (or autonomous) Regions (sg. samosprávny kraj, pl. samosprávne kraje) or Upper-Tier Territorial Units (sg. vyšší územný celok, pl. vyššie územné celky, abbr. VÚC).

  1. Bratislava Region (Bratislavský kraj) (capital Bratislavamarker)
  2. Trnava Region (Trnavský kraj) (capital Trnavamarker)
  3. Trenčín Region (Trenčiansky kraj) (capital Trenčínmarker)
  4. Nitra Region (Nitriansky kraj) (capital Nitramarker)
  5. Žilina Region (Žilinský kraj) (capital Žilinamarker)
  6. Banská Bystrica Region (Banskobystrický kraj) (capital Banská Bystricamarker)
  7. Prešov Region (Prešovský kraj) (capital Prešovmarker)
  8. Košice Region (Košický kraj) (capital Košicemarker)
(the word krajcan be replaced by samosprávny krajor by VÚCin each case)

The "kraje" are subdivided into many okresy(sg. okres, usually translated as districts). Slovakia currently has 79 districts.

In terms of economicsand unemployment rate, the western regions are richer than eastern regions; however the relative difference is no bigger than in most EU countries having regional differences.

Economy

The financial district
Slovak 1 € coin


The Slovak economy is considered an advanced economy, with the country dubbed the "Tatra Tiger". Slovakia transformed from a centrally planned economyto a market-driven economy. Major privatizationsare nearly complete, the bankingsector is almost completely in private hands, and foreign investment has risen.

Slovakia has recently been characterized by sustained high economic growth. In 2006, Slovakia achieved the highest growth of GDP(8.9%) among the members of the OECD. The annual GDP growth in 2007 is estimated at 10.4% with a record level of 14.3% reached in the fourth quarter. According to Eurostatdata, Slovak PPS GDP per capita stood at 72 percent of the EU average in 2008.

Unemployment, peaking at 19.2% at the end of 1999, decreased to 7.51% in October 2008 according to the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. In addition to economic growth, migration of workers to other EU countries also contributed to this reduction. According to Eurostat, which uses a calculation method different from that of the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, the unemployment rate is still the second highest after Spain in the EU-15 group, at 9.9%.

Inflationdropped from an average annual rate of 12.0% in 2000 to just 3.3% in 2002, the election year, but it rose again in 2003–2004 because of rising labor costs and excess taxes. It reached 3.7 % in 2005.

Slovakia adopted the eurocurrency on 1 January 2009 as the 16th member of the Eurozone. The euro in Slovakia was approved by the European commissionmarker on 7 May 2008.The Slovenská korunawas revalued on 28 May 2008 to 30.126 for 1 euro, which was also the exchange rate for the euro.

Slovakia is an attractive country for foreign investorsmainly because of its low wages, low tax rates and well educated labour force. In recent years, Slovakia has been pursuing a policy of encouraging foreign investment. FDIinflow grew more than 600% from 2000 and cumulatively reached an all-time high of $17.3 billion USD in 2006, or around $22,000 per capita by the end of 2008.

Despite a sufficient number of researchers and a decent secondary educational system, Slovakia, along with other post-communistcountries, still faces major challenges in the field of the knowledge economy. The business and public research and developmentexpenditures are well below the EU average. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Slovak secondary educationthe 30th in the world (placing it just below the United States and just above Spain).

In March 2008, the Ministry of Finance announced that Slovakia's economy is developed enough to stop being an aid receiver from the World Bank. Slovakia became an aid provider at the end of 2008.

Industry

Although Slovakia's GDP comes mainly from the tertiary (services) sector, the country's industry also plays an important role within its economy. The main industry sectors are carmanufacturing and electrical engineering. Since 2007, Slovakia has been the world's largest producer of cars per capita, with a total of 571,071 cars manufactured in the country in 2007 alone. There are currently three car manufacturers: Volkswagen in Bratislavamarker, PSA Peugeot Citroen in Trnavamarker and Kia Motors in Žilinamarker.

From electrical engineering companies, Sony has a factory at Nitramarker for LCD TV manufacturing, Samsung at Galantamarker for computer monitors and television sets manufacturing.

Bratislavamarker's geographical position in Central Europe has long made Bratislava a crossroads for international trade traffic.Various ancient trade routes, such as the Amber Roadand the Danubewaterway have crossed territory of today Bratislava. Today Bratislava is the road, railway, waterway and airway hub.

Infrastructure

Road

Highways on the New Bridge
Bratislava is a large international motorway junction: The D1 motorway connects Bratislava to Trnavamarker, Nitramarker, Trenčínmarker, Žilinamarker and beyond, while the D2 motorway, going in the north-south direction, connects it to Praguemarker, Brnomarker and Budapestmarker in the north-south direction.The D4 motorway(an outer bypass), which would ease the pressure on the city highway system, is mostly at the planning stage.

The A6 motorway to Viennamarker connects Slovakia directly to the Austrian motorway system and was opened on 19 November 2007.
Apollo bridge


Currently, five bridges stand over the Danube (ordered by the flow of the river): Lafranconi Bridgemarker, Nový Mostmarker (The New Bridge), Starý mostmarker (The Old Bridge), Most Apollomarker and Prístavný mostmarker (The Harbor Bridge).

The city's inner network of roadways is made on the radial-circular shape. Nowadays, Bratislava experiences a sharp increase in the road traffic, increasing pressure on the road network. There are about 200,000 registered cars in Bratislava, (approximately 2 inhabitants per car).

Ružomberok railway station


Air

Bratislava's M.markerR.markerŠtefánik Airportmarker is the main international airport in Slovakia.It is located 9 kilometres(5.59 mi) north-east of the city centre. It serves civil and governmental, scheduled and unscheduled domestic and international flights. The current runways support the landing of all common types of aircraft currently used. The airport has enjoyed rapidly growing passenger traffic in recent years; it served 279,028 passengers in 2000, 1,937,642 in 2006 and 2,024,142 in 2007. Smaller airports served by passenger airlines include those in Košicemarker and Popradmarker.

River

The Port of Bratislavais one of the two international river portsin Slovakia. The port connects Bratislava to international boat traffic, especially the interconnection from the North Seamarker to the Black Seamarker via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canalmarker.Additionally, tourist lines operate from Bratislava's passenger port, including routes to Devínmarker, Viennamarker and elsewhere.

Tourism

Slovakia features natural landscapes, mountains, caves, medieval castlesand 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 Bratislavamarker and the High Tatras.Most visitors come from the Czech Republic (about 26%), Poland (15%) and Germany (11%).Typical souvenirs from Slovakia are dolls dressed in folk costumes, ceramic objects, crystal glass, carved wooden figures, črpáks(wooden pitcher), fujaras(a folk instrumenton the UNESCO list) and valaškas(a decorated folk hatchet) and above all products made from corn husksand wire, notably human figures. Souvenirs can be bought in the shops run by the state organization ÚĽUV (Ústredie ľudovej umeleckej výroby– Center of Folk ArtProduction). Dieloshop chain sells works of Slovak artists and craftsmen. These shops are mostly found in towns and cities.Prices of imported products are generally the same as in the neighboring countries, whereas prices of local products and services, especially food, are usually lower.

Science

Some Slovaks have made notable technical contributions. Jozef Murgašcontributed to development of wireless telegraphy; Ján Bahýľconstructed one of the first motor-driven helicopters ; Štefan Baničconstructed the first actively-used parachute; Aurel Stodolacreated a bionic arm in 1916 and pioneered steam and gas turbines. More recently, John Dopyeraconstructed a resonator guitar, an important contribution to the development of acoustic string instruments.

American astronaut Eugene Cernan(Čerňan), the last man to visit the Moon, has Slovak heritage. Ivan Bellawas the first Slovak citizen in space , having participated in a 9-day joint Russian-French-Slovak mission on the space stationMirin 1999 .

Nobel prizewinners Daniel Gajdusekand David Politzerhave Slovak ancestors .

Culture

See also List of Slovaks


The national theater
The art of Slovakia can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when some of the greatest masterpieces of the country's history were created. Significant figures from this period included the many Masters, among them the Master Paul of Levočaand Master MS. More contemporary artcan be seen in the shadows of Koloman Sokol, Albín Brunovský, Martin Benka, Mikuláš Galanda, and Ľudovít Fulla. The most important Slovak composers have been Eugen Suchoň, Ján Cikker, and Alexander Moyzes, in the 21st century Vladimir Godarand Peter Machajdik.

Slovakia is also known for its polyhistors, of whom include Pavol Jozef Šafárik, Matej Bel, Ján Kollár, and its political revolutionaries and reformists, such Milan Rastislav Štefánikand Alexander Dubček.



There were two leading persons who codified the Slovak language. The first was Anton Bernolákwhose concept was based on the western Slovak dialectin 1787. It was the codification of the first ever literary language of Slovaks. The second was Ľudovít Štúr, whose formation of the Slovak language took principles from the central Slovak dialect in 1843.

The best known Slovak hero is Juraj Jánošík(the Slovak equivalent of Robin Hood). Famous globetrotter and explorer, count Móric Benyovszkyhad Slovak ancestors.

In terms of sport, the Slovaks are probably best known (in North America) for their hockey stars, especially Stan Mikita, Peter Šťastný, Peter Bondra, Žigmund Pálffyand Marián Hossa. For a list see List of Slovaks.


For a list of notable Slovak writers and poets, see List of Slovak authors.

Literature

Christian topics include: poem Proglasas a foreword to the four Gospels, partial translations of the Bibleinto Old Church Slavonic, Zakon sudnyj ljudem, etc.

Medieval literature, in the period from the 11th to the 15th centuries, was written in Latin, Czech and Slovakized Czech. Lyric (prayers, songs and formulas) was still controlled by the Church, while epic was concentrated on legends. Authors from this period include Johannes de Thurocz, author of the Chronica Hungarorumand Maurus, both of them Hungarians. The worldly literature also emerged and chronicles were written in this period.

Cuisine

Pork, beefand poultryare the main meats consumed in Slovakia, with pork being substantially the most popular. Chicken is the most widely eaten poultry, followed by duck, goose, and turkey. A blood sausagecalled jaternice, made from any and all parts of a butchered pig, also has a following. Game, especially boar, rabbit, and venison, are generally available throughout the year. Lamb and goat is eaten, but is not widely popular.

Wineis enjoyed throughout Slovakia. Slovak wine comes predominantly from the southern areas along the Danube and its tributaries; the northern half of the country is too cold and mountainous to grow grapevines. Traditionally, white wine was more popular than red or rosé (except in some regions), and sweet winemore popular than dry, but in recent years tastes seem to be changing. Beer(mainly of the pilsenerstyle, though dark lagersare also consumed) is also popular throughout the country.

Music

Popular music began to replace folk music beginning in the 1950s, when Slovakia was still part of Czechoslovakiamarker; American jazz, R&B, and rock and roll were popular, alongside waltzes, polkas, and czardas, among other folk forms.By the end of the '50s, radios were common household items, though only state stations were legal. Slovak popular music began as a mix of bossa nova, cool jazz, and rock, with propagandisticlyrics. Dissenters listened to ORF(Austrian Radio), Radio Luxembourg, or Slobodna Europa(Radio Free Europe), which played more rock. Due to Czechoslovak isolation, the domestic marketwas active and many original bands evolved. Slovakia had a very strong pop cultureduring 70's and 80's. This movement brought many original bands with their own unique interpretations of modern music. The quality of socialist music was very high. Stars such as Karel Gott, Olympic, Pražský výběr (from Czechia) or Elán, Modus, Tublatanka, Team (from Slovakia) and many others were highly acclaimed and many recorded their LP's in foreign languages.

After the Velvet Revolutionand the declaration of the Slovak state, domestic music dramatically diversified as free enterpriseencouraged the formation of new bands and the development of new genres of music. Soon, however, major labelsbrought pop musicto Slovakia and drove many of the small companies out of business. The 1990s, American grungeand alternative rock, and Britpophave a wide following, as well as a new found enthusiasm for musicals.

International rankings



See also

Culture



Holidays



Miscellaneous topics



References

  1. World Bank Country Classification, 2007
  2. Advanced economies - IMF
  3. ."
  4. Divided Memories: The Image of the First World War in the Historical Memory of Slovaks, Slovak Sociological Review , Issue 3 /2003 [1]
  5. J. V. Polisencky, History of Czechoslovakia in Outline (Prague: Bohemia International 1947) at 113–114.
  6. Gerhard L. Weinberg, The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany: Starting World War II, 1937-1939 (Chicago, 1980), pp. 470–481.
  7. Leni Yahil, The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945 (Oxford, 1990), pp. 402–403.
  8. For the higher figure, see Milan S. Ďurica, The Slovak Involvement in the Tragedy of the European Jews (Abano Terme: Piovan Editore, 1989), p. 12; for the lower figure, see Gila Fatran, "The Struggle for Jewish Survival During the Holocaust" in The Tragedy of the Jews of Slovakia (Banská Bystrica, 2002), p. 148.
  9. Dawidowicz, Lucy. The War Against the Jews, Bantam, 1986. p. 403
  10. Management of the Hungarian Issue in Slovak Politics
  11. German minority in Slovakia after 1918 (Nemecká menšina na Slovensku po roku 1918) (in Slovak)
  12. benes-decrees-implications-eu-enlargement
  13. Dr. Thomas Reimer, Carpathian Germans history
  14. Bratislava at euroWEATHER
  15. Košice at euroWEATHER
  16. Poprad at euroWEATHER
  17. Sliač at euroWEATHER
  18. Roma political and cultural activists estimate that the number of Roma in Slovakia is higher, citing a figure of 350,000 to 400,000 [2]
  19. M. Vašečka, “A Global Report on Roma in Slovakia”, (Institute of Public Affairs: Bratislava, 2002) + Minority Rights Group. See: Equality, Diversity and Enlargement. European Commission: Brussels, 2003 , p. 104
  20. The Slovaks in America. European Reading Room, Library of Congress.
  21. Slovak unemployment falls to 7.84 pct in Feb from Jan from Thomson Financial News Limited
  22. Eurozone unemployment up to 7.5%
  23. Slovakia revalues currency ahead of euro entry at Guardian.co.uk
  24. 'Slovak euro exchange rate is set' at BBC
  25. Range of rank on the PISA 2006 science scale at OECD
  26. Slovakia Is Sufficiently Developled to Offer Aid Within World Bank at TASR
  27. Slovak Car Industry Production Almost Doubled in 2007
  28. European countries (Slovakia) at europa.eu.int
  29. Fund of A.Stodola
  30. Slovak Cuisine


Further reading

  • Anton Spiesz and Dusan Caplovic: Illustrated Slovak History: A Struggle for Sovereignty in Central Europe ISBN 0-86516-426-6
  • Elena Mannová (ed.): A Concise History of Slovakia ISBN 80-88880-42-4
  • Pavel Dvorak: The Early History of Slovakia in Images ISBN 80-85501-34-1
  • Julius Bartl and Dusan Skvarna: Slovak History: Chronology & Lexicon ISBN 0-86516-444-4
  • Olga Drobna, Eduard Drobny and Magdalena Gocnikova: Slovakia: The Heart of Europe ISBN 0-86516-319-7
  • Karen Henderson: Slovakia: The Escape from Invisibility ISBN 0-415-27436-2
  • Stanislav Kirschbaum: A History of Slovakia : The Struggle for Survival ISBN 0-312-16125-5
  • Alfred Horn: Insight Guide: Czech & Slovak Republics ISBN 0-88729-655-6
  • Rob Humphreys: The Rough Guide to the Czech and Slovak Republics ISBN 1-85828-904-1
  • Michael Jacobs: Blue Guide: Czech and Slovak Republics ISBN 0-393-31932-6
  • Neil Wilson, Richard Nebesky: Lonely Planet World Guide: Czech & Slovak Republics ISBN 1-86450-212-6
  • Eugen Lazistan, Fedor Mikovič, Ivan Kučma and Anna Jurečková: Slovakia: A Photographic Odyssey ISBN 0-86516-517-3
  • Lil Junas: My Slovakia: An American's View ISBN 80-7090-622-7
  • Sharon Fisher: Political Change in Post-Communist Slovakia and Croatia: From Nationalist to Europeanist ISBN 1-4039-7286-9


External links

Government
General information


President
Ivan Gašparovič
Movement for Democracy
15 June 2004
Prime Minister
Robert Fico
Direction - Social Democracy
4 July 2006
Deputy prime ministers
Dušan Čaplovič

Štefan Harabin
Direction - Social Democracy

HZDS
4 July 2006

4 July 2006

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