Slovakia: the charm of the old province

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Main facts:

  • Capital city: Bratislava

  • Language(s): Slovak

  • Currency: Euro, EUR

  • Population: 5,443,000

  • Timezone: UTC+1

  • Main religion: Catholicism (70%)

  • Standard of living (subjectively): medium

  • Information will be updated

Top 10 interesting places and activities:

Approximate costs (person/day):

~€ 10-45

~€ 1-5

~€ 5-10

~€ 3-12

Sights map of Slovakia

Travel around Slovakia

Slovakia is a European country with an ancient culture and traditions dating back to dozens of centuries. Since the arrival of the Slavic tribes in these lands, the country has flourished, especially with the rule of Svyatopolk I as part of Great Moravia. However, frequent wars with the German and Hungarian people eventually led to the weakening of the country, which eventually became part of the Hungarian state in the 6th century and remained under their rule (for rare periods) until the early 20th century! An interesting fact: during the invasion of the Ottoman Empire, the capital of Hungary was in Bratislava (after the capture of Buda Castle), but later returned to Buda.

After the collapse of Austria-Hungary, Slovakia merged with the neighboring Czechs and Carpathian Ukrainians into a single state of Czechoslovakia, which existed until the beginning of World War II. From the mid-30s, the state was forced to transfer part of its land to neighboring countries: Germany, Hungary and Austria. As a result, Nazi Germany fully occupied the country in 1939, and Czechoslovakia remained under its control until the end of the war. In 1945, the idea arose to return the union of the Czech Republic and Slovakia to its former territorial borders, but the strong influence of the Soviet Union eventually returned Czechoslovakia in its previous form, but with a strong communist ideology, a planned economy and a socialist orientation. Attempts to escape from this influence ends in tragedy ("Prague Spring", suppressed by Soviet troops and their allies). In 1989, the Velvet Revolution took place in Czechoslovakia, ending in the separation from the USSR and the disintegration of a single state into two independent states: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Today, Slovakia is a peaceful developing country, which has a balanced economy and an average (compared to rich European countries) standard of living. Local residents are engaged in the agricultural, industrial and metallurgical sectors, as well as in the service sector. When visiting a country, it may seem that it is very similar to Russia in its economic situation, but this is not true: here, the average wages are higher and the people have more social guarantees. For example, the minimum wage in Slovakia is 480 euros, while in Russia it is only 150 euros. Since 2004, Slovakia has been a member of the European Union and NATO, and since 2009, the European currency has come into circulation here. Over the past decades, many sights and beautiful places have been restored in the country, which anyone can enjoy today! The same can be said for the spacious national parks in the mountains and river valleys, where you can spend time calmly and with pleasure.

Slovakia pleases with interesting and beautiful sights, low prices and a calm pace of life. Here you will not meet the vibrant life of Rotterdam or Berlin, you will not faint from the high prices of neighboring Austria, but you will also not admire luxurious architectural masterpieces. Slovakia has never been a particularly rich country; throughout history it has withstood many wars and dependencies on its neighbors. Instead, there are many ancient castles and fortresses, small cozy towns and villages with national flavour here that are worth seeing with your own eyes.

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One of the most beautiful cities in the country is its capital Bratislava. This city, small by European standards, is decorated with bright houses, quiet streets and ancient palaces. Although strong winds blow in the winter and often rain here, its romance and well-groomed streets leave a very pleasant impression - as if from a real Slavic fairy tale. A large Bratislava Castle rises above the city, from which a panorama of the entire town and the Danube River opens. On the opposite bank, the UFO restaurant has an observation point over the castle and the Old Town, which is worth visiting for its breathtaking views (but only in clear weather!). Of particular note is the St. Martin's Cathedral in the form of a rocket, as well as the incredibly beautiful Blue Church of St. Elizabeth. During a tour of the city, you can repeatedly walk along the quiet and cozy streets of the Old Town. Bratislava is a county town with houses from the late 19th century, with tiled red roofs, very reminiscent of the architecture of neighboring Czech Republic. An interesting fact: the smallest distance between European capitals lies between Bratislava and Vienna (55 km), which is located literally on the other side of the Danube! Many locals drive there to the international airport (both from Moscow to Domodedovo), and the Austrians to Bratislava - for shopping and recreation (prices differ greatly).

However, to explore Slovakia only in the capital means to skipe the bulk of the country's national heritage. In fact, there were much less significant events for the country in Bratislava than in other places. Therefore, for real natural, architectural and historical beauties, go outside the capital, fortunately, public transport here works very well. Slovakia is famous for its ancient military fortresses and castles, which (unlike most German ones) withstood more than one siege and military battle. Among the most significant are Devin Castle, not so far from Bratislava Castle, Trenčín Castle and Bojnice Castle, Orava Castle and the remains of Spis Castle, built back in the days of Great Moravia! In Slovakia, several old settlements have survived, where the national architecture and the ancient way of life allow you to learn a lot about the ancient times of Moravia. In Bardejov it is worth visiting the unique square of the old town, and in the villages of Vlkolinec and Čičmany you can get acquainted with folk customs and traditional Slovak houses, whose history goes back more than one hundred years! Visit the ancient capital of Slovakia - the city of Banska Štiavnice, filled with national architecture and historical places. Finally, on the way from Bratislava to castles and settlements, you will not be able to drive past the Tatra National Mountain Park, where amazingly beautiful nature and breathtaking landscapes invite you to go camping and hiking.

During our short trip, we visited only Bratislava, but with great anticipation we look forward to the next soon visit to the country and the exploring of its beautiful province. If possible, be sure to visit Slovakia - this is a country that will turn your idea of Slavic peoples upside down!

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