The official name of our country is The Slovak Republic. It is situated in the Central Europe; we can say that it lies in the heart of Europe. With the size 49,036 km2 we can say that Slovakia ranks among small countries.
Slovakia has five neighbour states: In the north it is Poland, in the east Ukraine, in the south Hungary, in the west Austria and in the north-west it is Czech Republic. The shortest border is with Ukraine and the longest with Hungary.
Slovakia is very mountainous country. There are High Tatras in the south of the country, where is the highest peak of the Carpathian Mountains called Gerlach Peak with height 2655m. A few kilometres southern there are Low Tatras, that are not so high as High Tatras, but there is very nice nature and it is an ideal place for hiking. The most famous places of High Tatras are Gerlach Peak, Kriváň Peak and tarns, for example Štrbské, Popradské. These tarns are very popular about the beautiful nature. The most popular peaks in Low Tatras are Ďumbier, Zvolen, Chopok and Kráľová Hoľa. There are also other mountains in the country, but they are not as popular as Tatras are, especially for foreign tourists. In the west there is Big Fatra, Small Fatra and White Carpathian Mountains, Small Carpathian Mountains. In the east part of the central Slovakia there are mountains called Slovak Paradise, and Slovak Karst. In the east of Slovakia there are mountains, which are not very high. There are Slanske Hills and Vihorlat Mountains. The largest and the most important lowland for agriculture is Sub-Danube Plain, which is situated in the southwest of the country. In the west there is Zahorska Plain and in the southeast there is another large lowland called Eastern Slovakia Plain.
In the Slovakia we can find a lot of mountains and because of that there are many rivers and brooks. The biggest rivers are Moravia, Hron, Ipel, and Ondava in the east. The most important river is Danube. Many rivers disembogue into Danube, especially in west and central Slovakia. There is also a port in Bratislava. In Komarno, there is a factory, where new ships are constructed. The longest river is The Vah, that is 378km long. There are many lakes in Slovakia but they are not very large. According to the lakes in states like Finland, we can say they are very small. The most famous lakes are in High Tatras, where they are called tarns. The most important reservoirs are Orava Water Dam, Liptov Dam and Big Domaša Dam.
On the river Vah we can find many man-made water reservoirs for example: Slnava, Kralova, Nosice, which are important for water power stations. The largest dam is Zemplinska Sirava, which is called The Slovak Sea. The biggest water power station is Gabčíkovo.
What can we say about climate.. Slovakia is situated in temperate zone. It means there are four seasons during the year. The temperature can be around –20 degrees in winter, and in summer it is often about 30-35 degrees. In the north of the country it is much colder and wetter weather than in the south. During last years the weather is very crazy. Last year there were big floods in Europe in summer, especially in Czech republic. For a change there was very dry and hot summer this year. We can say that there will be a tropical weather in Slovakia in the future. I think we have to get used to the tropical weather, because every year is hotter and hotter summer.
Fourteen years ago there was the socialism economy system in the Central Europe. After the year 1989 the system has changed a lot. You can do your own business and you can travel to the all countries you want. This wasn't possible before the revolution.
The biggest and the most important factories for our economy are USS Kosice, VW Bratislava and Slovnaft. Other engineering industry we can find in Poprad, where railway trucks are constructed, Zlate Moravce, where the Calex factory is, then in Dubnica nad Vahom, Komarno, etc. Wood working industry is in Zvolen, B. Bystrica and Vranov nad Toplou. Food industry we can find fast in every town in Slovakia. The most important food industry factories are in Bratislava, B. Bystrica, Martin, Zvolen, Kosice, Presov, etc.
Important part of the industry is electricity production. We have two nuclear powers in Mochovce and Jaslovske Bohunice, coal powers are in Vojany and Novaky and water power stations are fast on every river, but they are not very big and they don't produce a lot of electricity. Most of the industry is situated in the west of Slovakia. This is very bad for people living in the east of the republic, especially northeast. There is the highest unemployment in the republic. For example Bratislava has unemployment just of 4 per cent, and for example Svidnik has about 30 per cent. This is very bad for people living there. The main reason of this situation is in the bad infrastructure. There are no highways in this part of Slovakia, no airports and there are many disadvantages for business.
When some businessman wants to build some factory there, he has so many problems, that he rather decides to build it in the west part of republic. The main advantage of the west part is, that there are highways and there also borders of states that are important for export, like Austria and Czech Republic.
Very important part of our economy is agriculture. In the north of the country are grown plants, which don't need very hot weather, like potatoes and sugar beets. Grain and corn are grown in the south and in the east. In the west, around Pezinok and Modra there is also grown vine. The most important part for agriculture is Zitny Island, which is bordered with two rivers, in the south it is Danube and in the north it is Small Danube. There is grown especially grain, but also fruit and vegetable. There are very good conditions for plants, because there is hot weather and good wet soil. Important part of agriculture is animal production. Sheep and goats are fed especially in the mountains. Hens are fed in hen farms, which are usually located near towns. Pigs and cows are fed in countryside near villages. The population of Slovakia is about 5 and half million inhabitants. The most of the people are classed to the Slovak nationality, but there also live foreign nationality people: Hungarians, Germans, Czechs, Ukrainian and Poles. There are many nice towns in our country. The capital is Bratislava, but we cannot say that it is a city. It has population just about 450 thousand. Sometimes it is called "The biggest Slovak village". However, Bratislava is the cultural, social and political centre of the republic. There are many important institutions of fast all fields. There is the Parliament House, the government seat, the Grasalkovic Palace, where the President's seat is and there are also seats of political parties. In Bratislava, there are also the main courts- the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court.
Important cultural institutions are the Slovak National Theatre and the Slovak National Gallery. There are many schools and Universities. For example the University of Jan Amos Komensky, the Technical University etc. The first University of Slovakia was founded by Mathias Corvinus in 1465 and it was called Academia Istropolitana. Bratislava is devided into two parts. One part is the Old Town, which is very nice historical part with a lot of old buildings. Second part is the New Town, where modern buildings and shops are built. The newest parts of the town are the housing estates. The biggest is Petrzalka, where you can see a lot of blocks of flat and many people live there.
Bratislava is a town with very rich history and you can find many historical buildings there. The most famous is the Bratislava Castle, which is situated above the river Danube. At present, it is a representative seat of our Government and there is the partial seat of the Slovak National Museum. Other famous building is St. Martin's Cathedral, which is situated below the castle. Above the confluence of the river Danube and Moravia we can find ruin of the castle Devin. Bratislava as the capital of Slovakia is very important for our economy. We can find there many factories and companies. The biggest are Slovnaft, VW, Palma, etc. The town has unemployment just about 3 per cent.
Bratislava has very good position on both banks of the Danube. It lies near the borders of Austria and Hungary, and because of this it is a big crossing of transport. We can find there the biggest Slovak airport, ship port and train station. The second biggest town is Kosice, which lies in the east of the republic and we can say that it is also a centre of this part. Other important towns are Zvolen, B. Bystrica, Zilina, Trnava, Nitra, Trencin, Presov, Poprad. Although our country is not very big, there is much to see. Foreign tourists especially like our nature, which is very beautiful. We have nine national parks where the nature is protected by law. You can do skiing in winter and hiking in summer in our mountains. You can also visit old towns and villages and you can see how people lived here in the past. For example, Vlkolinec, where you can see very old wooden houses. This village is classed among UNESCO monuments. There are very nice caves in Slovakia. The Dobsinska Ice Cave is the largest ice cave in the Europe. It is very interesting to see so much ice. I think it is impossible to speak about the caves. Everybody should see it! There is much to see in Slovakia, but foreign people don't know our country very much.
What can we say about history? The first empire of Slovak people was founded by French businessman Samo in the 6th century. When Samo died, the empire disintegrated. In 9th century, there was big empire of Slovak people. It was called The Great Moravia Empire. In 863 Byzantine brothers Constantine and Methodius were invited to come to Great Moravia. They invented an alphabet called Hlaholica and they taught Slovak people writing and Christian religion. They translated liturgical books into Old Church Slavonic. Because of this people could understand these books and they could learn new religion.
Because of the silly Svatopluk's sons the empire disintegrated and the Slovak territory became a part of Hungarian Kingdom until 1918. In 1843 Ludovit Stur codified the literary Slovak language. This was very important for Slovak literature. After this year Slovak language was the official language of Slovak people, although Hungarian clerks didn't want to admit it. New newspapers were printed and all people living in the Slovak territory can understand the texts. Many writers and poets started to use Stur's Slovak language. In the year 1918, after 1st W.W. Slovakia and the Czech Republic became one state called Czechoslovakia. The first president of this republic became Tomas Garikue Masarik. During the 2nd World War, Czech territory became a part of German state and independent Slovak Republic was declared as Slovakia. On 28th August 1944 Slovak many Slovak soldiers rebeled against German army to help Soviet army in liberating Slovakia. This is very important point in our history and it is known as Slovak National Uprising.
In 1945, after the W.W. 2nd Slovakia became a part of Czechoslovakia again. From 1947 till 1989 there were only communist governments. In 1968 the Prime Minister Alexander Dubcek tried to make different politics than Soviet Goverment wanted. He wanted the state to be more democratic and he wanted to make "The Socialism with a human face". This is known as The Prague Spring. Because of these reforms there was big invasion of the Warsaw pakt troops into Czechoslovakia. After 1968 the life in the republic became undemocratic and people had to do, what the Government said. If someone did something against the rules, he went to gaol. In 1989 there was big revolution in Czechoslovakia and the system changed to capitalism. On January 1st 1993 Slovakia and the Czech Republic became two independent republics.
At present, the Slovak Republic ranks among the modern states with parliamentary democracy. The republic is headed by the President, elected by people for a period of five years. The executive power in Slovakia is in the hands of the President, Prime Minister and the Government. The Parliament has the legislative power in the country. It has 150 members. Their office period is 4 years. The Government is constituted by Prime Minister, Vice-Prime Ministers and Ministers. Some of the ministries are Ministry of Defence, Interior, Health, Education,...
The state's symbols are The National Emblem, the Flag, the Seal and the Anthem. The school system of Slovakia. Little kids go to the nursery and then to the kindergarten.
When they are 6 years old they can go to basic school. All basic schools have 9 classes. After the basic school, children have to go to the secondary school, because we have 10 years compulsory education. At the last class of the secondary school, every student can do the Maturita exams. After passing the exams you can go to the University, which takes 5 or 6 years of studying.
Slovak people are very friendly and hospitable, although they are not very rich. They like traditional music and dancing. Because of this there are folklore festivals annually– one in Detva and one in Vychodna. These festivals are also visited by foreign tourists.
We also have a typical food. Very good are bryndza cheese, ostiepok or parenica. These are made from milk and they taste very well. Slovak people ale Christians and because of this the most important holidays are Christmas and Easter. People cook traditional meals, and it is the time of family meetings.
I appologize about all grammar mistakes!!.