The Slovak Republic
Slovakia is a state in the east of Central Europe. The country is well known for its ski resorts and rich architectural heritage. Picturesque towns, wine districts, valleys at the foot of mighty mountains are in a harmonious combination there. It is a country of incredible natural contrasts, where mountains and healing springs can be seen next to unusual caves and craters of extinct volcanoes. Slovak restaurants accompanied by traditional music along with delicious cuisine and numerous wineries create unique atmosphere for a pleasant rest.
Slovakia had once been called Great Moravia, which was under the rule of Hungary between the early 10th century and the year of 1918. Over these years, the reign of Joseph II has appreciably influenced the development of Slovakia. During his reign the German language was forcibly spread in the Empire. This has contributed to national revival of the Slovaks and the Czechs. Thus, already during the First World War, they required to form a single state. In 1918, Prague was a place to declare the independence of Czechoslovakia that existed until the year of 1993, when they peacefully separated into two states – the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
Today, Slovakia is economically developed country, well known through the world for its unique nature and ski resorts. There are two picturesque resorts for winter rest: the Low and High Tatras. Here you can enjoy beautiful views of mountains Dumbier, Chopok, Dereshe, Chabenec and Kralova Hola, as well as impressive precipices Yavorov and Ponorkova. The third part of the country is covered by forests; however you can find deep lakes and mysterious caves in Slovakia. Morske Oko is the largest lake in the Tatras and the deepest lake is Velke Hincovo located in the Mengusovska Valley. About 12 caves of the Slovak Karst are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage. The most popular among tourists is Krasnohorska Cave, located in the Silicka Plateau, as well as unique Demanovska Ice Cave and Demanovska Cave of Liberty. These caves are rich in rare stalagmites, stalactites and unique lakes with stone roses and cave pearls in the Demanovska Valley. Domica-Baradla Cave of 25 kilometres long is well known as well. Moreover, today this cave often hosts concerts of organ music. And Silicka Ladnica Cave offers you to take a trip to a depth of 79 meters.
Moreover, the country has gained its fame due to healing springs, among which Bardejovske Kupele, located in 80 km from the city of Kosice, is the most popular. This spa town is located in the softwood forest and offers its visitors 13 sources of natural mineral water.
In such diversity of nature, be sure to find ski tracks for both beginners and professional skiers. Therefore, one of the most popular resorts in Slovakia is Strbske Pleso, where ski season is the longest. Stary Smokovec resort is well known among tourists for its best toboggan tracks, where it is allowed to ski at night and with music. In addition, Smokovec resembles an open air museum where you can see colourful houses of the last century.
Jasna is a resort with tracks of over 21 kilometres long, well known through the Europe. It often hosts competitions of the World Cup and Europe. Tatranska Lomnica is considered to be the best resort in the country, as Lomnicy Stit, the second highest peak of the High Tatras, rises in this resort. Moreover, this small town resort is home to golf, another popular Slovakian sport. Here you can find one of the best golf courses in the country. Others are also located in Bratislava, Kosice and Trencin.
Unique tours through cities with interesting architecture and historic streets will complete your active rest in Slovakia.
The most famous tourist destination of the country is its capital – the city of Bratislava, where best Slovakian architectural sights are situated. In Bratislava, there are 9 castles and palaces, 13 churches as well as 22 museums and galleries located within the walls of historic buildings. Here you can see ancient Franciscan Church built in 1297 and St Martin’s Cathedral C14th-15th, the place of the Hungarian monarchs’ coronation. The oldest town hall in the country dated back to the 15th century can be noted by you in the capital. Bratislava Castle built in the 10th century towers in the very centre of the city. Its architectural style ranges from Gothic to Renaissance. The History Museum within castle’s walls is one of most visited museums as it keeps the oldest and most interesting exhibits of the country’s history.
If you go 50 km eastwards from the capital, be sure to find yourself in the old Slavic town of Nitra, which abounds in architectural monuments. Here you can visit the ancient majestic castle and the monastery, as well as the palace of the 18th century, Kolonadovy Bridge and the magnificent Diocesan Library in the Grand Seminary.
Another interesting city is Poprad, a modern industrial centre of the country. The town of Spisska Kapitula is located not far from Poprad. It is well known for its fortified abbey dated back to the 13th century, as well as for medieval fortress gates and historic houses along a single street, and unique St Martin’s Cathedral built in 1273.
The town of Levoca is a great tourist attraction destination. The world's highest Gothic altar is located in this town. You can visit the town of Bardejov with its resort have been known since the 13th century for its mineral springs. Also be sure to visit Liptovsky Mikulas with its unique architecture. Not far from the town you will see Liptovska Mara, the largest reservoir in the country. Calvary Banska Stiavnica, an analogue of Golgotha, in the town of Banska Stiavnica shouldn’t be missed by you. It attracts pilgrims from all over Slovakia.
The city of Trencin is popular as well. The city has gained its fame due to the inscription that the Romans carved on the rock under the present-day castle. This inscription dates back to 179 AD and signifies the victory of the 2nd Roman Legion over the German tribes.
One may count over 180 castles in Slovakia and they are considered to be its important feature. Their majestic walls that rise among mountain ranges and green forests won’t leave any tourist indifferent. The largest medieval castle in the country is Spis Castle C13th-14th located in Poprad. This architectural monument is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage. It rises to a height of 200 meters on the dolomite rocks. Bojnice Castle with its gabled roof, chapels and towers is the oldest in Slovakia. There is a white limestone cave under the castle. You can see a unique collection of ancient furniture in L’ubovna Castle. Your attention will be attracted by its Gothic style, a high tower and a baroque bastion. Cherveny Kamen Castle, one of best preserved ones in Slovakia, is worthy of your attention. The museum within its walls presents more than 13,000 exhibits. You’ll be impressed with the castle’s main feature – the building’s irregular square shape.
The rich architecture and advanced ski resorts aren’t the only features of Slovakia. The country is also famous for its special tradition of winemaking and distinctive cuisine. The most popular national dishes are boiled corn and boiled dumplings with grated cheese, potatoes, fried cabbage, sheep cheese, onions or bacon. However, the most delicious dish is cheese with ham baked in batter. Talking about drinks, local wines and traditional Slovakian plum vodka – slivovitz – along with juniper vodka – borovichka – should be mentioned.
Severe but at the same time gentle beauty of Slovakia, its architectural grandeur, rich national traditions and unforgettable taste of wine will win your heart!
Administrative division — Slovakia
Bratislava Population: 462603
- Banská Bystrica Population: 78327
- Bardejov Population: 33625
- Levice Population: 34649
- Martin Population: 59449
- Michalovce Population: 39940
- Poprad Population: 55158
- Považská Bystrica Population: 41153
- Prievidza Population: 48866
- Trnava Population: 66219
- Zvolen Population: 43006