The Slovak landscape is noted primarily for its mountainous nature, with the Carpathian Mountains extending across most of the northern half of the country. Amongst these mountain ranges are the high peaks of the Tatry. To the north, close to the Polish border, are the High Tatry which are a popular skiing destination and home to many scenic lakes and valleys as well as the highest point in Slovakia, the Gerlachovský štít at 2,655 meters (8,711 ft), and the country’s highly symbolic mountain Kriváň.
Approximately one third of the country extends into the Pannonian Basin, which is divided into three parts in Slovakia. The lowlands around the Morava River are part of the Vienna Basin, the Danubian Lowland in the south is part of the Little Hungarian Plain, the Eastern Slovak Lowland in the south-east is part of the Great Hungarian Plain.
Its total area is 48,845 sq km. Slovakia´s natural resources are: brown coal and lignite; small amounts of iron ore, copper and manganese ore; salt and arable land.
Due to its natural resouces, Slovakia is a popular tourist destination in all seasons.
Slovakia has mastered much of the difficult transition from a centrally planned economy to a modern market economy. The DZURINDA government made excellent progress during 2001-04 in macroeconomic stabilization and structural reform. Major privatizations are nearly complete, the banking sector is mainly in foreign hands, and the government has helped facilitate a foreign investment boom with business friendly policies such as labor market liberalization and a 19% flat tax. Foreign investment in the automotive sector has been strong. Slovakia’s economic growth exceeded expectations in 2001-07 despite the general European slowdown. Unemployment, at a high 18% in 2003-04, dropped to 8.6% in 2007 but remains the economy’s Achilles heel. Slovakia joined the EU on 1 May 2004 and will be the second of the new EU member states to adopt the euro in 2009 if it continues to meet euro adoption criteria in 2008. Despite its 2006 pre-election promises to loosen fiscal policy and reverse the previous DZURINDA government’s pro-market reforms, FICO’s cabinet has thus far been careful to keep a lid on spending in order to meet euro adoption criteria. The FICO government is pursuing a state-interventionist economic policy, however, and has pushed to regulate energy and food prices.
|Bratislava - source|
Fact table about Slovakia’s economy
|Population:||5,447,502 (July 2007 est.)|
|GDP (purchasing power parity):||$107.6 billion (2007 est.)|
|GDP (official exchange rate):||$71.57 billion (2007 est.)|
|GDP - real growth rate:||8.8% (2007 est.)|
|GDP - per capita (PPP):||$19,800 (2007 est.)|
|GDP - composition by sector:||agriculture: 3.4%|
|services:||63.8% (2007 est.)|
|Labor force:||2.661 million (2007 est.)|
|Labor force - by occupation:||agriculture 5.8%, industry 29.3%, construction 9%, services 55.9% (2003)|
|Unemployment rate:||8.6% (2007 est.)|
|Population below poverty line:||21% (2002)|
|Household income or consumption by percentage share:|
lowest 10%: 3.1%
highest 10%: 20.9% (1996)
|Distribution of family income - Gini index:|
|Inflation rate (consumer prices):||2.7% (2007 est.)|
|Investment (gross fixed):||26.3% of GDP (2007 est.)|
revenues: $33.07 billion
expenditures: $35.13 billion (2007 est.)
|Public debt:||34.8% of GDP (2007 est.)|
|Agriculture - products:||grains, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, cattle, poultry; forest products|
|Industries:||metal and metal products; food and beverages; electricity, gas, coke, oil, nuclear fuel; chemicals and manmade fibres; machinery; paper and printing; earthenware and ceramics; transport vehicles; textiles; electrical and optical apparatus; rubber products|
|Industrial production growth rate:||12% (2007 est.)|
|Electricity - production:||29.89 billion kWh (2005)|
|Electricity - production by source:|
fossil fuel: 30.3%
other: 0% (2001)
|Oil - consumption:||79,350 bbl/day (2005 est.)|
|Natural gas - consumption:||6.231 billion cu m (2005 est.)|
|Current account balance:||-$3.119 billion (2007 est.)|
|Exports:||$55.31 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)|
|Exports - commodities:|
vehicles 25.9%, machinery and electrical equipment 21.3%, base metals 14.6%, chemicals and minerals 10.1%, plastics 5.4% (2004)
|Exports - partners:||Germany 23.5%, Czech Republic 13.8%, Italy 6.5%, Poland 6.2%, Hungary 6.1%, Austria 6.1%, France 4.3%, Netherlands 4.3% (2006)|
|Imports:||$57.06 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)|
|Imports - commodities:||machinery and transport equipment 41.1%, intermediate manufactured goods 19.3%, fuels 12.3%, chemicals 9.8%, miscellaneous manufactured goods 10.2% (2003)|
|Imports - partners:||Germany 23%, Czech Republic 18.1%, Russia 11.2%, Hungary 6.1%, Austria 5.6%, Poland 4.9%, Italy 4.4% (2006)|
|Economic aid - recipient:||$235 million in available EU structural adjustment and cohesion funds (2004)|
|Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:|
$17.72 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
|Debt - external:||$36.66 billion (30 June 2007)|
|Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:|
$19.08 billion (2006 est.)
|Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:|
$987.1 million (2006 est.)
|Market value of publicly traded shares:|
$5.574 billion (2006)
According to archaeological findings, the first inhabitants were present in the territory of the present-day Slovak Republic in Early Palaeolithic. An imprint of a Neanderthal man’s skull was found in the village of Gánovce (in the north of Slovakia). A small statue of Venus made of a mammoth bone was found in the village of Moravany nad Váhom. In 179 A.D, the Roman legion inscribed the word "Laugaritio" on the rock of the Trenčín castle – the most northern point of their stay in Europe.
A Roman inscription at the castle hill of Trencín (178-179 AD) - source
The history of Slovakia has been affected by various struggles for gaining of control over the divine nature surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains and Danube lowlands. Therefore the history of Slovakia was often connected with history of bigger state formations for the whole centuries. In the 7th century, the first political formation of Slavs was created – the Samo’s empire. In the 9th century the Great Moravian Empire spread on the territory of the present-day Slovakia.
|Great Moravia - source|
Central Slovakia was very advanced, what is proved by gothic cathedrals and fortifications of rich towns, as well as by gold, silver and copper mining in Kremnica and other towns. Bratislava has entered the history in 1536 as the capital of Ugria, in which 19 kings and queens were crowned. In the 16th century Slovakia became a part of the Hapsburgs Monarchy and until 1918 it belonged to the Ugrian Kingdom. At the end of the First World War Slovakia became a part of the Czechoslovak Republic. The new chapters of the Slovak history started in 1968 and in 1989. January 1, 1993 has been the most important milestone in the history of Slovakia; so far independent Slovak Republic was established. In 2004, the Slovak Republic became a part of the European Union ant it acceded to NATO. Historic and sight enthusiasts will find many interesting historical objects in Slovakia which definitely worth visiting.
Roman Catholic 68.9%, Protestant 10.8%, Greek Catholic 4.1%, other or unspecified 3.2%, none 13%
Born in Pittsburgh, USA, in 1928, Andy Warhol was one of the most famous artists of the C20th. He introduced Pop Art to the world, and was the first artist to use a photographic silk-screen technique in his work.
The Slovak Robin Hood was born in the village of Terchova, in the North of Slovakia. He is Slovakia’s greatest folk hero, an outlaw who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.
|The Statue of Juraj Jarosik - source|
The communist leader of the Prague Spring in 1968 year
If you never heard about Elisabeth Bathory you should check this link. She is known as the most infamous serial killer in Central European history and is remembered as the "Blood Countess".
|Elisabeth Bathory - source|
Slovaks maintain a typically Western distance (about three feet) when conversing. Greetings are expected, and consist of "good morning," "good day," and "good evening." "Good night" is reserved for the last leave taking of the evening. Both men and women shake right hands with acquaintances and newly introduced strangers, and men and women may kiss close friends and relatives on both cheeks during greeting and leave taking. For business and other professional activities, men are expected to wear suits and ties, while women still adhere to a code that involves dresses or two-piece suits with skirts or skirts and blouses.
While direct communication is valued in Slovakia, there is also an emphasis placed on finessing what is being said so that information is delivered in a sensitive way. Often, the level of the relationship will determine how direct someone is. For newly established and more formal relationships, a great deal of emphasis will be placed on diplomacy. But once a relationship has passed through the initial phases, people feel more comfortable speaking frankly with each other. Since tradition is valued, it is often helpful to give a bit of historical background or context before starting a meeting or new program. Slovaks do not need a tremendous amount of background information to feel comfortable proceeding with a transaction, although they do require some information and may ask questions until they feel comfortable and are able to proceed satisfactorily. Body language, body posture and tonal delivery are important enhancements to the verbal message, adding emphasis or additional meaning to the words.
Overview: Slovakia has a small business community and s a very relationship based culture. People are informal and happy to work on a first name basis. They enjoy charm and good humor and tend to be indirect in public but frank in private. Slovaks prefer face-to-face meetings and telephone communication to faxes and emails but written communication, especially minutes and action points, are useful ways of cementing understanding.
Adaptability: The Slovakian population has proved its excellent ability to adapt to new market conditions, through its sense of enterprise, commercial talent, management skills and flexibility.
Relationship-building: It is not the custom to use a person’s first name on first addressing them. Instead, use a title such as: Doctor, Engineer, etc.
Personal relationships are crucial in successful business. Be prepared to spend time on this. Also be prepared for the introductory glass of Slivovice (plum brandy) at the start of the day’s meetings!
Centralised decision-making: Leadership is top down with decision making lying with a few, or one, senior manager. Teams are dominated by a senior figure who takes decisions and delegates tasks. Consensus is not seen to be necessary. People are on time for meetings and agendas and action plans are kept to. People follow deadlines without being reminded.
Meetings: It is recommended to start a business meeting with polite conversation of a general nature, accompanied by a toast with a local alcoholic drink. Only after that, should the conversation turn to business matters.
Gifts: Acceptable gifts for business meetings are items for the office, quality pens (including pens with your company logo) or specially selected wines. On receiving an invitation to a home, luxury chocolate, a scarf for the hostess or flowers are welcome gifts.
Holidays: Try to avoid business meetings in the months of July and August or around the times of national holidays.
Slovakia and mainly Bratislava is becoming well known in Europe for its hospitality, good restaurants and clubs. Partyslava is new name for Bratislava as capital city of SVK that was advertised on MTV and CNN last year. But if you want to see other parts of SVK, you may enjoy your stay in one of new sport areas, one is situated in Poprad. It is a modern aqua park with disco and the biggest laser show in central Europe. But it is really hard to speak about entertainment, because if you are interested in sports you would seek for different kind of amusement than person who prefers traditional culture. On the one hand you can spend a beautiful night in one of the operas or theatres; on the other hand you can visit Vysoke Tatry Mountain. It depends only on you and Slovakia has got a lot to offer. It is a "little big country".
|Slovak National Theatre - source|
For a small country, Slovakia has an amazing number of 300 castles. Take your choice from evocative ruins on a cliff overlooking a river (Devin and Orava), to fairy-tale perfect where knightly games are re-enacted (Bojnice), or ghostly remains of the largest walled fortress in Central Europe (Spis), and even refined chateaux/manor houses with elegant parks and gardens (Betliar, Strazky). Or explore perfectly preserved medieval and Renaissance towns, walk cobblestone streets and imagine the merchants and craftsmen who lived there hundreds of years ago. Many Slovak towns rose to wealth more than 500 years ago, then dropped out of sight and off the path of progress. Such was the fate of Bardejov, Banska Stiavnica, Levoca, Kezmarok, Spisska Sobota and others, places frozen in time. The mountains, and pristine natural areas of Slovakia have long been considered the nation’s main attraction by tourists from neighboring countries. The High Tatras are the Alps of the East; a chain of picturesque, snow-covered peaks. And the High Tatras are just the beginning. Whether you hike, ski, climb or simply gaze at them, the beauty of Slovakia’s mountains will remain with you after you return home.
|Spis Castle - source|
Main and minor maps of Slovakia contains interactive general map of country and other small maps of reservation mountains and national parks of this land. www.slovakia.travel
If you are interested in holiday resorts (spas, lakes, mountains), this is an essential source, with lots of famous places for relaxation and vacation.
|Panorama_High_Tatras_from_Poprad - source|
For virtual tours check this out:
Are you interested in lot of sport possibilities and other activities?
Slovakia has a lot to offer...
Here is a huge photo gallery of Slovakia, its famous places, spas, sport places and so on.
Here are home sites of general sites of Slovakia, the little big country.
The Slovakian government type is parliamentary democracy.
Constitution was ratified on the 1st September 1992, effective 1 January 1993; changed in September 1998 to allow direct election of the president; amended February 2001 to allow Slovakia to apply for NATO and EU membership
Legislative branch: unicameral National Council of the Slovak Republic or Narodna Rada Slovenskej Republiky (150 seats; members are elected on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms).
|National Council of the Slovak Republic - source|
Head of State: Ivan Gašparovič - President, Head of Government: Robert Fico (SMER-SD) - Prime Minister, Governing parties: SMER-SD, SNS, LS-HZDS
Elections: last held 17 June 2006 (next to be held in 2010)
Election results: percent of vote by party - Smer 29.1%, SDKU 18.4%, SMK 11.7%, SNS 11.7%, LS-HZDS 8.8%, KDH 8.3%, other 12%; seats by party - Smer 50, SDKU 31, SMK 20, SNS 19, LS-HZDS 16, KDH 14
Last national elections 2006
Last European Parliament election June 2009 See: • http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/archive/elections2009/en/slovakia_en.html • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009_(Slovakia)