Slovakia is rich in ARCHAEOLOGY Sites. The oldest artefacts in the country date back to 270,000 BCE. Archaeological research shows the Jasovksa Cave dates to the Paleolithic era. The Slovak Academy of Science in Nitri specializes in archaeology in Slovakia. The earliest form of architecture in Slovakia dates from 1002 - the Romanesque remains of a Benedictine monastery at Diakovce. Terraces of Hornad river are famous archaeological localities of all the periods from the Prehistory to the Middle Ages
Slovakia has a variety of ARCHITECTURE. There are Gothic buildings in Spiš and Renaissance buildings in Sariš. Baroque and Rococo buildings can be found in Bratislava. There are castles and strongholds from before the Crusades. Elements of Slovak folk architecture can be found throughout the country. Slovakia has many churches including wooden churches. The biggest wooden altar in the world is a part of the church of St. Jacob in Levoca. The 1st churches were probably built in the time of the "Great Moravian Empire in the 9th century.
Slovakia has nearly 300 CASTLES. Spis Castle is the largest castle complex in Europe. Bojnicky Zamok Castle has medieval roots and was reconstructed at the end of 19th century. Bratislava Castle is perched high about the Danube. The city of Trencin is a classic Austro-Hungarian city and has a lovely white castle above it that is centuries old. Somoska Castle is in good condition and has an environmental trail. Filakovo Castle offers a walking tour. Orava Castle dates from 1267 and is one of the most complete castles in Slovakia.
Slovakia has many forms of COMMUNICATIONS including newspapers, magazines, radio stations, tv stations, and telephone. Internet access is available and there are several Internet Service Providers in the country. The Internet Code is .SK and the calling code is 421. The mailing code is SK.
The Slovak Koruna was the CURRENCY of Slovakia between February 1993 and December 2008. The country switched its currency from the koruna to the Euro on 1 January 2009. Since then, the official currency in Slovakia is the Euro. The National Bank of Slovakia has a museum of coins and medals. Kreminica Mint is one of the oldest continually producing companies in the world.
DINOSAURS lived in Slovakia during the Mesozoic Era when the region of the Tatra Mountains was an island. A footprint of one of them has been found by geologists in the Ticha Valley in the Western Tatras.
Slovakia has a free public EDUCATION system. The country also has private schools. Schooling is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15. Students can then continue on to schools of general education, vocational schools, or teacher-training institutes. Homeschooling is legal in Slovakia but is restricted to the 1st 4 years of primary education. Also, the child's tutor is required to have a degree with a major in primary school education.
The Slovak FLAG is composed of three equal horizontal bands of white, blue and red. A double cross can be seen in the middle-left position, above three mountains. The National Emblem has a red, early Gothic shield with a silver double cross mounted on the central peak of the blue three hill group. Many regions, districts, municipalities, and cities have their own flag. Municipal flags are swallowtailed and community flags are double Swallowtailed>.
Traditional Slovakia FOOD has been influenced by Slav, Hungarian, Austrian, and German cooking. The diet relies heavily on pork. Noodles with goat cheese and Hungarian dishes including goulash are widely enjoyed. Slovakia celebrates World Food Day. The selection of restaurants in Slovakia is excellent although European food prevails, and a lot is Austrian influenced. The country has Fast Food chains.
The GLOBAL POSITION of Slovakia is approximately 47 south latitude to 49 degrees north latitude, and 22 degrees east longitude to 18 degrees west longitude. The highest place is Gerlachovsky Stit a peak in the High Tatra Mountains. The lowest place is the Bodrog River. Slovakia is the geographic center of Europe. Geocaching using a Global Positioning System is a popular activity in Slovakia, and there are many Geocaches in the country.
The GOVERNMENT of the Slovak Republic is appointed by the President of the Slovak Republic on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. It is responsible to the Slovak parliament and has the authority to make major policy on the matters of national economy and social security. Other functions of the Government include making proposals on the state budget, issuing government regulations, and managing foreign policy. As established by law, the Government can discuss in its proceedings a confidence vote motion, cases of pardoning criminal offenders, and appointment or removal from office of senior civil servants.
The HISTORY of Slovakia dates back to about 400 a.d. when Slavic people settled near the Danube River. In recent history, Slovakia was considered part of Greater Hungary until 1918 when it united with other countries to form Czechoslovakia. In 1939 it declared its independence but was eventually reunited to Czechoslovakia. From 1948 until 1989 Czechoslovakia was ruled by a Soviet-style Communist regime. Slovakia became an independent country in 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
Slovakia has many Public HOLIDAYS and Remembrance Days. Several countries offer a working holiday to citizens Of Slovakia Between the ages of 18 and 30 years old to stay for up to one year. There are a variety of business, family or student visas, or work permits that may be available.
Slovakia has a variety of INSECTS including hundreds of species of butterflies and moths. In the 12th century bees began to be kept in households. Rational beekeepingactually started in the late 18th century and since then it has been integral part of modern agriculture.
Slovakia has ISLANDS in lakes and rivers. Slanicky Island was created when the Orava Dam was built. The very southern part of Slovakia is called Zitny Island and is bordered by the Danube River and Maly Dunaj (Little Danube). It is the biggest river island in Europe. This region has the biggest reservoir of fresh water in Central Europe. Benkove Ostrovy is a group of 12 islets in the Gabčíkovo water reservoir. Bird Island is part of a proposed special protected area for waterbirds. Sihot in Bratislava is the largest river island on the Danube.
Slovakia uses the metric system of measurement including KILOMETERS which is a unit that measures distance. Almost every country in the world uses this system except the United States and part of the United Kingdom.
The history of the Slovak LANGUAGE dates back to the 6th century. The official language of the country is Slovak. In 1994 a law was passed allowing the use of Hungarian as the official language in areas of the country where at least 20 percent of residents speak Hungarian. This was retracted by a subsequent law, passed in November 1995, which makes Slovak the only language that can be used in the civil service, on road signs, and in advertisements. Other languages spoken include Ukrainian, Romany, and Czech. Most people speak Slovak in addition to their own native language.
Slovakia has many LIBRARIES including scientific libraries, academic libraries, public libraries, special libraries. and school libraries. The University Library (1919), in Bratislava, is a Slovak, UN, NATO, and UNESCO depository library. The Slovak National Library (1863), located in Martin, includes a collection of materials relating to Slovak culture. It also has several museums.
Many MUSEUMS including Art Museums and Galleries. Each cultural region has its museums and exhibits. Most of the museums and galleries are housed in rare historical buildings, renovated castles, and manor houses. Exhibits at the Slovak National Gallery include Gothic and Baroque statuary, as well as a collection of modern paintings by local artists. There is an Air Museum in Kosice. Visiting exhibits in Slovakia are of a high quality, and recent shows have included the works of Andy Warhol (who was of Slovak ancestry). The Bibiana Museum is an International House of Art for Children. Kammerhoff Museum in Banská Štiavnica is devoted to mining and its history.
MUSIC of Slovakia has been influenced both by the native Slovak peoples and the music of neighboring regions. The Slovak National Theatre holds opera, ballet and drama performances. Trencin has medieval, classical, and folkloric concerts. A variety of musical instruments accompany Slovak song and dance including more than 100 types of flutes. A number of historical buildings are connected to great musicians and have exhibitions of musical instruments. Franz Schubert taught music in southern Slovakia, and there is a museum dedicated to his memory. In the early 19th century Beethoven stayed in the village of Dolná Krupá, where he composed his famous Moonlight Sonata. The extensive musical heritage of Slovakia is reflected in an exhibition of keyboard instruments in Markušovce.
The Slovak National Anthem was written in 1884 by Janko Matúšk. In December 1918, the first stanza became part of the national anthem of the Czechoslovak Republic. Since January 1993, the first two stanzas have constituted the national anthem of the Slovak Republic.
Slovakia is a member of several International ORGANIZATIONS including the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. Slovakia became a member of the UNITED Nations in 1993 as one of the successor states after the division of the former Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. Slovakia, as part of former Czechoslovakia, was one of the founding members of the UN in 1945. Czechoslovak diplomat and Slovak national, Ján Papánek, was one of the original drafters of the UN Charter.
Slovakia has a POPULATION of over 5 million people and they are called Slovaks. Over half of the people live in urban areas. Slovaks comprise about 86 percent of the inhabitants of the country. Most of the Hungarians live in the southern parts of Western and Central Slovakia. The Ruthenians and Ukrainians are concentrated in the northern regions of Eastern Slovakia. Many Famous People have called Slovakia their home. Slovakia has had a variety of rulers including dukes and emperors. Early rulers, such as a Slavic Prince, and Mojmir the first known ruler of the Moravian Slavs and laid the foundations for the first Slovak state.
Slovakia has a wide variety of REPTILES and amphibians including the European tree frog, field frog, Carpathian newt,and crested newt. The marsh tortoise is the only tortoise living in the country. On the stream banks, otter and returning beaver can sometime be seen. The basalt columns at Somoska Castle are a haven for snakes and lizards.
Many RIVERS flow through Slovakia. The Danube is the main navigable river in Slovakia and the 2nd longest waterway in Europe. The Vah is the longest river in the country. Other main rivers are the Hron, the Nitra, the Ondava, the Laborec, and the Nornad.
Slovakia has many species of TREES including fir, spruce, oaks, birches, and lindens. Nearly half of the country is forested and there are several Primal Forests. The research at the Institute of Forest Ecology covers both forests and adjacent ecosystems.
Slovakia has many institutions of higher education including UNIVERSITIES and colleges. Comenius University of Bratislava was founded in 1467 and is the oldest university in the country. Technical universities are located in Bratislava, Kosice, Zilina, and Nitra.
Slovakia does not have any active VOLCANOES but it has a volcanic past. A "stone sea" and "stone waterfall" are two of the interesting geological features on the way to Somoska castle. These is a wide sea of rocks deposited on the hillside by prehistoric upheavals, and a 4-million-year-old waterfall formed when lava from a volcano hardened on its descent from above. The Polana Biosphere Reserve is one of the biggest extinct volcanoes in Europe and the highest volcanic mountain in the country.
The WEATHER in Slovakia includes 4 distinct seasons. Springs are mild, Winters are cold and dry, Summers tend to be hot and humid, and Autumns are wonderful. In areas of high altitude, snow is often present for nearly half of the year.
Slovakia has a variety of WILDLIFE including foxes, rabbits, squirrels, weasels, wolves,and muskrats. Many species of wildlife that are rare in Europe are found in Slovakia including brown bears, wild boars, lynx, marmots, otters, and chamois. Many animals are endangered due to urbanization, deforestation, & pollution. The Slovak Wildlife Society helps endangered wildlife.
Slovakia has several Zoos. The Bratislava Zoo has been the habitat of hyenas for 25 years. The Bojnice Zoo has a variety of species including endangered animals. The Kosice Zoo is the largest in the country and the 3rd largest in Europe. It focuses on Euro-Asian species and has an aquarium. Bojnice Zoo is the oldest zoo in the country and as of 2011 it had 414 species of animals, with a total of 2268 specimens. The Stropkov Zoo has many attractions for children.
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