Discover with Timothy Tye
Discover Slovakia (Slovensko) with Timothy Tye

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Castle ruins in Beckov, SlovakiaCastle ruins in Beckov, Slovakia
photo source
authorshipPierre Bona
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Slovakia is a small, landlocked country in Central Europe. It covers 49,035 sq km (18,932 sq mi) and has a population of 5.5 million people (2011 estimate). Slovakia is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the southwest and the Czech Republic to the northwest. The capital and biggest city is Bratislava. The official language of Slovakia is Slovak. Over 85% of the population are ethnic Slovaks.

St Giles Basilica in Bardejov, SlovakiaSt Giles Basilica in Bardejov, Slovakia
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authorshipOndřej Žváček
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Slovakia observes Central European Time, which is an hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+1), and two hours ahead in summer. Traffic is driven on the right. Phone IDD code here is +421. The electricity is 230V/50Hz using European type-E plugs.

In 2010, Slovakia had an estimated nominal GDP of $86.262, equivalent to a per capita nominal GDP of $15,906. The per capita GDP at purchasing power parity is $22,267.

Today Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy. It has one of the fastest growth rates within the European Union. The country is part of the European Union since 2004 and adopted the Euro on 1 January 2009. It is a member of the Schengen Area and of NATO.

The village of Batizovce under the High Tatras in SlovakiaThe village of Batizovce under the High Tatras in Slovakia
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The land which is present-day Slovakia was part of the Great Moravian Empire until around 1000 AD, when it was annexed by Hungary. From then on, it was part of the Kingdom of Hungary, and then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, right up to 1918, when the empire collapsed. Slovakia then joined Bohemia and Moravia to form Czechoslovakia.

During World War II, Slovakia was forced by Nazi Germany to secede from Czechoslovakia and ally with Hitler's coalition - otherwise, it would be partitioned between Hungary and Poland. During that time, thousands of Jews living in Slovakia were deported to German labor camps. However the Slovak leader Jozef Tiso was instrumental in saving as many as thousands of Jews.

Czechoslovakia came under the orbit of the Soviet Union following a coup in 1948. In 1969, it was organized as a federation of the Czech Socialist Republic and Slovak Socialist Republic.

Park in Humenn&eeacute;, in eastern Slovakia, in winterPark in Humenn&eeacute;, in eastern Slovakia, in winter
photo source
authorshipPierre Bona
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The Velvet Revolution brought an end to Communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989, and led to the dissolution of the country, peacefully separating into two successor states. After the agreement underwent a period of fine tuning, the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic came into being on 1 January, 1993.

Preparing Money for Slovakia

The currency used in Slovakia is the Euro (EUR).

Planning your visit to Slovakia

Being a member of the Schengen Agreement, Slovakia only require visitors from EU and EFTA countries to bring an approved ID to enter. As of January 2011, you do not need a visa for entering Slovakia or any other Schengen member country if you are a citizen of Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, and Venezuela.

The Milan Rastislav Štefánik Airport is the airport serving Bratislava, and is the main international gateway to Slovakia. It is connected to many destinations in Western Europe by the budget carrier Ryanair.

The Primate's Palace, Bratislava, SlovakiaThe Primate's Palace, Bratislava, Slovakia
photo source
authorshipChristopher Walker
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In addition to taking the plane, you can also take the train to Slovakia from the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine and Russia.

Recommended Travel Guidebook

My favorite travel guidebook for further reading in preparation of your trip is the Czech and Slovak Republics Eyewitness Guide, because it follows a format that I find useful to users, not to mention I have also contributed to some of the titles in the Eyewitness series of guidebooks.

Cities, Towns & Sights in Slovakia

Places of Interest in Slovakia

  1. Slovak Paradise National Park

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