Slovakia is situated in the Central Europe. It borders with Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Ukraine. The population of Slovak Republic is about 5.5 million and area about 49,000 sq. km. The capital city of Slovakia is Bratislava. The other metropolises are Kosice, Zilina, Banska Bystrica, Nitra etc. Slovakia's climate is continental, summers are hot and winters cold.
The settlement of a mankind in the area of the Central Europe and Slovakia has started before thousands of years. The age of the oldest relic of decorative art related to Slovakia, Moravian Venus, is estimated to 22,800 years.
After the ancient Celtic settlement (since 4000 B.C.) the Roman period came. The inscription engraved on the base of the castle rock in Trencin dated to the year 179 A.D. is a well known monument of that era. It proves the presence of the Roman Emperor Marcus Antonius here.
In the 5th-6th centuries the Slavs came to the Slovak territory. Their first state formation in this region was Great Moravia (the 9th-10th centuries) and most known among its strongholds was Devin. One of the most important events for the Central Europe is also dated to the Great Moravian period: the arrival of Slavic Apostles Constantine and Method (863 A.D.). They started christianization of the country and its surroundings, bringing not only the religion, but also the culture and knowledge.
In the Middle Ages the area of Slovakia became a part of Hungarian and later Austro-Hungarian Empire. In almost two hundred Slovak towns and villages there are medieval castles and fortresses. It is not a surprise, since Slovakia had to survive the Tatar and Turkish invasion and the trade routes had to be protected as well. In almost every part of Slovakia the historical buildings can be seen. All building styles are represented in the architecture of houses, castles and churches which are many. You are welcome to see it by your own eyes.
In the end of the 18th and in the beginning of the 19th century the Slovak National Awakening began. This meant the awakening political and cultural developed under the conditions of Austro-Hungarian Empire. Slovak nation started to fight for its existence as a nation. Also the classical pearls of Slovak literature are dated to this period.
In 1918 Slovakia became a part of newly established Czechoslovak Republic. During World War II. Slovakia became known because of The Slovak National Uprising in 1944. Years 1948-1989 are the era of the communism. In 1969 Slovakia gained its new federative status within The Czecho-Slovak Federation and on January 1, 1993 souvereign Slovak Republic was established.
Geografically, the mountains of Slovakia belong to the western part of the Carpathian Bow. The main Slovak mountains are The High Tatras, The Low Tatras, Velka Fatra and Mala Fatra. The highest peak of Slovakia, Gerlachovsky stit (2655 m) lies in the High Tatras. Except mountains there are three lowlands in the southern part: Zahorska nizina, Podunajska nizina and Vychodoslovenska nizina. The main river of Slovakia is the River Danube streaming in the south and forming the border line with Hungary. The other rivers had formed the valleys when searching their paths across the mountains. These rivers are e.g. Vah, Hron or Hornad.
Slovak mountains offer the ideal places for winter sports (especially skiing) in winter and touristic opportunities in summer. There are five national parks in Slovakia: The National Park High Tatras, The National Park Low Tatras, The National Park Velka Fatra, The National Park Pieniny and The National Park Slovak Paradise. These are also touristically most attractive places in Slovakia. The first three of them are typical mountains. The National Park Slovak Paradise is a touristical pearl of Slovakia: it is known because of its canyons and ravines with fresh brooks and waterfalls.
In all these places one may find caves, too. The Slovakia's best are: Demanovska jaskyna in The Low Tatras (ice and karst cave), Dobsinska jaskyna in The Slovak Paradise (ice cave) and the unique Ochtinska aragonitova jaskyna (Ochtinska Aragonite Cave), since there are only three aragonite caves in the world. There are also many mineral and thermal springs in Slovakia.
Slovak national parks gained their status also because of their precious fauna and flora. But there are other places with precious fauna and flora as well. One of them is the State Natural Reservation Devinska Kobyla near Devin in Bratislava. It is an integrate fragment of an inland forest-steppe and several rare animal and plant species live only here. The castle hill bearing the ruins of the Devin Castle is also a part of this area.
The different kind of opportunities is offered to the tourists in summer by the Slovak dams, such as Zemplinska Sirava, Domasa, Liptovska Mara and others. There are beaches, possibilities of camping and water sports as yachting and windsurfing.
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