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In its early history, the region of Slovakia saw many major migrations, including Germanic tribes, as well as Celts,
The Great Moravian Empire persisted until the 10th century, when it was overtaken by the Kingdom of Hungary and Poland. The Mongol Empire invaded parts of Slovakia in 1241, destroying many castles and towns, which were mostly rebuilt when they were driven out the following year. The Ottomans were the next to invade, establishing territory in the central Kingdom of Hungary, but regions of modern-day Slovakia were able to resist the Ottoman control, becoming the Habsburg Monarchy instead. Once the Ottomans were expelled from the region, it too joined the Habsburg administration.
A Slovak nationalist movement arose in the 18th century among the community of Slovaks within Hungary. In 1848, the Hungarian Revolution saw the division of Austrians and Hungarians, with the Slovaks on the side of Austria, but the uprising was defeated. Austria-Hungary dissolved in 1918, at the end of World War I, and Slovakia joined with other regions to form the sovereign state of Czechoslovakia. However, with the Great Depression and the rise of Nazi Germany, Czechoslovakia became influenced and even controlled by Germany, with parts of it claimed by Hungary. Under the pressure, Slovakia temporarily seceded from Czechoslovakia during World War II in 1939 to become the First Slovak Republic. They were reunited after the war in 1948, and became part of the Soviet Union. Czechoslovakia split once and for all after what became known as the Velvet Revolution, for the peaceful agreement of the states in 1989, forming the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic in 1993.
Slovakia shares borders with the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Ukraine, and Hungary.
- Bratislava (capital)
Slovakia is situated in the Carpathian Mountains, with major ranges including the Tatra Mountains, the Greater and Lesser Fatra, Slovak Ore Mountains, and the Slovak Central Mountains. The Tatras are the highest in the Carpathians, with the highest peak in Slovakia in the High Tatras, at Gerlachovsky stit, which stands 2,655 meters (8,711 feet) above sea level. Another geographic feature of Slovakia is its caves, which are situated beneath the mountains and are home to a variety of cave forms like stalagmites and stalactites.
Major rivers in Slovakia include the Vah, Dunajec, Danube, Morava, Myjava, Nitra, Orava, Hron, and the Ipel. Slovakia is entirely landlocked, and there are over 175 natural lakes.
Slovakia's capital, Bratislava is a center for architecture, ranging from Gothic to Baroque and Renaissance styles, with St. Martin's Cathedral, one of the country's oldest churches, and Bratislava Castle, and a charming historical center with cobblestone streets. Other historic cities include Banska Bystrica and Banska Stiavnica, both medieval mining towns with beautiful architecture, including churches and castles.
Slovakia has several tourist draws, including spa towns and UNESCO sites. Bardejov has both, along with spas and resorts among the medieval town, and is renowned for its well preserved cultural monuments. The castle in Bojnice is Slovakia's most popular, while Levoca, Spis Castle, and Vlkolinec are additional UNESCO sites for their castles and other architecture.
Outside of cities, there are many outdoor options for visitors to Slovakia, including the High Tatras, Slovakia's largest national park, and Slovak Paradise National Park with dramatic waterfalls.
The major airport in Slovakia is located in the capital, at Bratislava Milan Rastislav Stefanik Airport, offering service to destinations around Europe. Austria's Vienna International Airport is located very close to Slovakia, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Bratislava, and is a good option for international flights.
From Vienna, there are trains and airport buses to get to Bratislava. Other options are Brno Airport, Prague, or Budapest. Train is another potential way to get into Slovakia from Vienna, Pragua, Berlin, Budapest, Warsaw, Bulgaria, and Kiev. Train is the best way to get around the country, with good prices and quick transport. There are also long-distance buses between major cities in Europe and within Slovakia, as an inexpensive, but sometimes longer option. Getting around towns can be accomplished via local buses, trains, and car.
Last Updated On : June 19, 2014
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