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Slovakia

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Continent:Europe National flag
National flag: Slovakia
Capital city:Bratislava
Area:49,035 km2 ( 126. )
Population:5,431,363 Person ( 108. )
People density:111 Person / km2
GDP per capita:2,420 $ / Person ( 69. )
GDP:13,143,898,460 $
Currency:euro
Official language:slovak

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"The only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned first-hand from your foreign minister, who came to Texas."

George W. Bush replying to a Slovak journalist. Bush had, in fact, met the leader of Slovenia. The complexities of central European politics can be baffling to outsiders. In fact, even those who knew their Slovaks from their Slovenes were surprised when, on New Year’s Day 1993, after seventy years of (sometimes turbulent) cohabitation, the Czechs and Slovaks went their separate ways and Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. To the outsider, at least, it had looked like a match made in heaven. Yet just three years after the Velvet Revolution – when true to their pacifist past, the Czechs and Slovaks shrugged off 41 years of Communist rule without so much as a shot being fired – came the Velvet Divorce.

Although the Slovak capital, Bratislava, can’t compare with Prague, it does have its virtues, not least its compact old town and its position on one of Europe’s great rivers, the Danube. The flat plain of the Danube basin is of little visual interest, but there are two historic towns that make worthwhile day-trips from the capital: Trnava, Slovakia’s most important ecclesiastical town, and Nitra, the spiritual centre of Slovak Catholicism.

In the central mountain regions, well-preserved medieval mining towns like Banská Stiavnica and Kremnica still smack of their German origins. Other towns, like those in the Váh valley, are mainly of interest as bases for exploring the chief attractions of the region, the mountains of the Malá Fatra, Low Tatras, and – tallest and most spectacular of the lot – the High Tatras. These jagged granite peaks are Slovakia’s most popular tourist destination, and justifiably so. Within easy reach, however, is the Spis region, the country’s architectural high point. The area is dotted with intriguing medieval towns, like Levoca, originally built by German settlers, now preserved almost untouched since the sixteenth century. And just a step away is the Slovensky raj, a thickly wooded region of verdant ravines and rocky outcrops.

Further east still is Presov the cultural centre of the Rusyn minority who inhabit the villages to the north and east. Here, you’ll find an extraordinary wealth of wooden churches. Finally, Kosice, Slovakia’s second largest city, boasts Europe’s easternmost Gothic cathedral and has a strongly Hungarian ambience. It’s also a good launch pad for exploring the Slovak karst region or Slovensky kras, and the beech forests of the Vihorlat region by the Ukrainian border.

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Map of country Slovakia

Map of country  Slovakia

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