Slovakia - my homeland
Slovakia is a country in the middle of Europe. Its capital city is Bratislava. Other main cities are Košice, Banská Bystrica, Žilina, Trenčín, Nitra, Prešov and Trnava. The area was a part of Czechoslovakia from 1918 to 1992. Czechoslovakia became independent in 1918 from Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The first Czechoslovakian president was Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Czechoslovakia split into two countries, Slovakia and Czech Republic, in 1993. Slovakia is a member of the European Union since 1st May 2004. About 5.5 milion people live in Slovakia.
The official language is Slovak. Most people speak Slovak, but in some regions people speak also Hungarian, Polish and Ukrainian. The majority of people living in Slovakia are ethnically Slovaks, 86 percent. Hungarians are the largest ethnic minority, 10 percent. Other ethnic groups are Romas, Czechs, Ukrainians and Germans. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic religion.
The money that we use in Slovakia is called the Slovak crown. Current president is Ivan Gašparovič. The prime minister is Robert Fico. The state symbols of the Slovak Republic are the national emblem, the flag, the seal and the anthem. The name of our national anthem is “Nad Tatrou sa blýska.” The national flag has three horizontal stripes: white, blue and red. On the left half of the flag there is the state emblem – a double cross with mountains.
Geography and climate
Slovakia is a landlocked republic in Central Europe, it doesn’t have any borders with sea. It borders with the Czech Republic and Austria in the west, Poland in the north, Ukraine in the east and Hungary in the south. The most important rivers of Slovakia are: the Danube, the Váh, the Moravia, the Hron, the Nitra, the Hornád, the Orava and others. The country has also many thermal springs. There are several national parks and protected regions in Slovakia for example the High Tatras, the Low Tatras, the Little Fatra, the Giant Fatra, the Muráň, the Slovak Paradise. The climate is a mix of continental and ocean climates with four seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter. The coldest month is January, the warmest is July.
There are over 270 castles in Slovakia. The most famous are Spišský, Oravský, Strečno and Bojnický. Slovakia has also many historical towns: Kremnica, Banská Štiavnica, Banská Bystrica. Many small towns and castles are in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List, for example the Spišský castle, Sppišské podhradie, Spišská Kapitula, Žehra, Vlkolínec, Banská Štiavnica. I recommend to visit our capital city Bratislava, the High Tatras, the Slovak Paradise and the spa town Piešťany.
Slovakia is a small country but it has a long history. In 833 The Great Moravian Empire was founded. In 863 Byzantine brothers Constatntine and Methodius came to Great Moravia and brought the oldest Slavic alphabet. In 907 The Great Moravian Empire broke up and Slovakia became a part of the Hungarian state. In 1843 Ľudovít Štúr codified the literary Slovak language. In 1918 the Czechoslovak Republic was founded. In 1944 The Slovak national uprising against the Nazi Germany started. In august 1968 was the invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia. In November 1989 was the Velvet Revolution. In 1st of January 1993 the independence of the Slovak Republic was declared.
On 1st January we celebrate the New Year. The next custom is Fasiangy. People are dressed in various costumes, singign, dancing and they have a party all night long. The next feast is Easter. In Slovakia there is an old custom of making easter eggs. Easter is also funny holiday. On easter Monday men and boys spring women and girls with water. Very nice and popular feast for children is Saing Nicolaus Day on 6th December. On this day children put their shoes on the window. They get sweets, fruits or small toys into their shoes. Adults dress a mask of St. Nicolaus, devil and angel. On Christmas we send Christmas cards, we buy and decorate the Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve many people go to church. Sauerkraut soup and fried carp with potato salad are the traditional meals.