Coat of Arms
President Andrej Kiska
»49,035 km2 (129th)
» Per capita -$29,209
» Per capita -$16,138
»Euro (€) (EURO)
Slovakia is a country in Central Europe.
It has a population of over five million and an area of about 49,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi). Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south.
The largest city is the capital, Bratislava. Slovakia is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD and the WTO. The official language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic language family.
The Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th centuries. In the 7th century, they played a significant role in the creation of Samo’s Empire and in the 9th century established the Principality of Nitra.
In the 10th century, the territory of today’s Slovakia was integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary, which itself became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Habsburg Empire.
After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Slovaks and Czechs established Czechoslovakia. A separate Slovak Republic (1939–1945) existed in World War II as a client state of Nazi Germany. In 1945, Czechoslovakia was reestablished.
Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy with one of the fastest growth rates in the European Union and the OECD. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone on 1 January 2009.
The Slovak economy is a developed, high-income economy, with the GDP per capita equaling to 76% of the average of the European Union in 2014.
The country used to be dubbed the “Tatra Tiger” before the recent global economic crisis. Slovakia successfully transformed from a centrally planned economy to a market-driven economy.
Major privatizations are nearly complete, the banking sector is almost completely in private hands, and foreign investment has risen.
In 2011 and 2012, Slovakia was the 2nd fastest growing Eurozone member after Estonia. Slovakia’s GDP growth in 2015 still remains one of the highest in the Eurozone.
Inflation dropped from an average annual rate of 12% in 2000 to just 3.3% in 2002, an election year, but it rose again in 2003–2004 because of rising labor costs and taxes. It reached only 1% in 2010 which is the lowest recorded rate since 1993. The rate was at 4% in 2011.
Slovakia adopted the Euro currency on 1 January 2009 as the 16th member of the Eurozone. The euro in Slovakia was approved by the European commission on 7 May 2008. The Slovak koruna was revalued on 28 May 2008 to 30.126 for 1 euro, which was also the exchange rate for the euro.
The business and public research and development expenditures are well below the EU average. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Slovak secondary education the 30th in the world (placing it just below the United States and just above Spain).
In March 2008, the Ministry of Finance announced that Slovakia’s economy is developed enough to stop being an aid receiver from the World Bank. Slovakia became an aid provider at the end of 2008.
Top 5 Products exported by Slovakia
- Cars (18%),
- Video Displays (8.0%),
- Vehicle Parts (5.3%),
- Refined Petroleum (4.7%),
- Vehicle Bodies (3.1%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Slovakia
- Germany (22%),
- Czech Republic (12%),
- Poland (6.7%),
- Austria (6.1%),
- Hungary (5.8%)
Going strong over two decades as an independent state after the breakup of Czechoslovakia, Slovakia.
Europe’s most castellated country is a bastion of untrammelled wildernesses, where some of the continent’s densest forest coverage gives way to dramatic fortresses and craggy mountains harbouring outstanding hiking.
It savours wine over beer and, in its tradition-steeped hinterland, cradles an entrancing folk culture most European nations have lost.
Slovakia’s small size is possibly its biggest attraction. You can traipse woodsy waterfall-filled gorges one day and yodel from 2500m-plus peaks the next.
Dinky capital Bratislava is awash with quirky museums and backed by thick forests. With its rabbit-warren old town, it might just win world prize for most cafes per city resident.
Don’t leave without heading east, where fortresses tower over tradition-rich medieval towns such as Levoča or Bardejov and hiking trails lace the hills.
- Slovakia combines all the typical features of a grand European history with highly attractive nature and a traveller-friendly modern atmosphere.
- Its fairly small capitalBratislava may not have the majestic sights you’ll find in some other Eastern European capitals, but it has an energetic vibe to it, a lovely Old Town and endless options to have a great time.
- The city as a whole is a quaint mix of 18th-century rococo and concrete Communist building blocks. An afternoon coffee in one of the countles sstreet cafés along the famous Danube river is an absolute must and a good chance to people-watch and absorb the ambience.
- For a touch of grandeur, take a river tour down to Devin Castle, an excellent example of Slovakia’s record-high number of castles and chateaux. Some of them are little more than a pile of stones hidden in a deep forest, others are luxurious baroque mansions or citadels in the middle of towns.
- Other worthwhile examples are Spiš Castle (one of the largest castle sites in all of Europe) and the 19th century Bojnice Castle, a favourite tourist destination for the Slovaks.
- Almost equally popular is the beautiful Orava Castle near Tvrdošín, high up on a rock overlooking the Orava river. Other good picks for large historic city centres include the old towns of Košice, Trnava and Levoča.
- Banská Štiavnica is a fabulously preserved medieval mining town and one of the country’s World Heritage Sites. Where Banská Štiavnica mined for silver ore, the smaller but equally well-preserved medieval town of Kremnica was built above gold mines and boasts the oldest still-working mint in the world.
- If you love nature, Slovakia will be great for you. Large parts of the country are covered with dense forests and the abundance of wildlife includes brown bears, wolves, and lynxes.
- The Tatra Mountains, more specifically the High Tatras, are a prime attraction and offer impressive mountainous panoramas as well as great opportunities for skiing and other outdoor sports. In the large karst areas throughout the country there’s an impressive number of caves.
- A dozen or so are accessible for tourists. The Ochtinská Aragonite Cave near Rožňava stands out, as it is one of the only three aragyonite caves in the world. Together with other caves of the Slovak Karst, it is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
- If you enjoy hiking, try the Slovak Paradise National Park, famous for its beautiful canyons and ravines with many waterfalls and rocky formations.
- For a more relaxing encounter with Slovakia’s natural environments, head to one of the many mineral springs and spas. Piešťany is one of the best-known ones, but your options are countless.