Slovakia

Slovakia (in Slovak: Slovensko), officially also called the Slovak Republic (in Slovak: Slovenská republika), is a landlocked republic in Central Europe, bounded on the northwest by the Czech Republic, on the north by Poland, on the east by Ukraine, on the south by Hungary, and on the southwest by Austria.

Slovenská Republika

(In Detail)

National motto: None
Official language Slovak
Capital Bratislava
President Rudolf Schuster
Prime minister Mikulas Dzurinda
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 126th
48,845 km˛
Negligible
Population
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 103rd
5,414,937
111/km˛
Independence
 - Date
Division of Czechoslovakia
January 1, 1993
Currency Slovak koruna
Time zone UTC +1
National anthem Nad Tatrou sa blýska
Internet TLD.SK
Calling Code421

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Regions
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Holidays
9 Miscellaneous topics
10 External Links

History

Main article: History of Slovakia

Slovakia became a part of the Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages and as such was later part of Austria-Hungary prior to 1918. In that year Slovakia joined with the regions of Bohemia and neighbouring Moravia to form Czechoslovakia. Following the break-up of that country after the Munich Agreement of 1938, Slovakia became a separate republic that would be tightly controlled by Nazi Germany.

Post World War II Czechoslovakia was reinstated and came under the influence of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact from 1945 onward. The end of communist Czechoslovakia in 1989 during the peaceful Velvet Revolution also meant the end for Czechoslovakia as a whole and a creation of two successor states; Slovakia and the Czech Republic went their separate ways after January 1, 1993. Slovakia is expected to become a member of the European Union in May 2004.

See also: Bratislava - History, and History of Bratislava

Politics

Main article: Politics of Slovakia

The Slovak head of state is the president, elected by direct popular vote for a five-year term. Most executive power lies with the head of government, the prime minister, who is usually the leader of the major party or a majority coalition in parliament and appointed by the president. The remainder of the cabinet is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister.

Slovakia's highest legislative body is the 150-seat unicameral National Council of the Slovak Republic (Národná Rada Slovenskej Republiky). Delegates are elected for 4-year terms on the basis of proportional representation. Slovakia highest judicial body is the Constitutional Court (Ústavný súd), which rules on constitutional issues. The 13 members of this court are appointed by the president from a slate of candidates nominated by parliament.

Regions

Main article: Regions of Slovakia

As for administrative division, Slovakia is subdivided into 8 "kraje" (singular - kraj, usually translated as regions, but actually meaning rather county), each of which is named after their principal city. As for territorial division and the definition of self-governing entities, since 2002, Slovakia is divided into 8 "vyššie územné celky" abbr. VÚC (Higher Territorial Units) and 8 "samosprávne kraje" (Self-governing (or: autonomous) Regions), both of which are presently identical with the 8 "kraje":

(the word "kraj" can be replaced by "VÚC" or "samosprávny kraj" in each case)

The "kraje" are - and have always been - subdivided into many "okresy" (singular - okres, usually translated as districts)

See also: List of traditional regions of Slovakia


Map

Geography

Main article: Geography of Slovakia

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 them are the high peaks of the Tatra mountains, which are a popular skiing destination and home to many scenic lakes and valleys as well as the highest point in Slovakia, the Gerlachovský at 2,655 m. Lowlands are found in the southwestern (along the Danube) and southeastern parts of Slovakia. Major Slovak rivers, besides the Danube, are the Váh and the Hron.

The Slovak climate is temperate, with relatively cool summers and cold, cloudy and humid winters.

Economy

Main article: Economy of Slovakia

Slovakia has mastered much of the difficult transition from a centrally planned economy to a modern market economy. The Dzurinda government made progress in 2001 in macroeconomic stabilisation and structural reform. Major privatisations are nearly complete, the banking sector is almost completely in foreign hands, and foreign investment has picked up. Slovakia's economy exceeded expectations in the early 2000's, despite recession in key export markets.

Revival of domestic demand in 2002, partly due to a rise in real wages, offset slowing export growth to help drive the economy to its strongest expansion since 1998.Solid domestic demand boosted economic growth to 4.4% in 2002. Strong export growth,in turn, will boost economic growth to about 4% in 2003. Unemployment, rising to 19.8% at the end of 2001, decreased considerably in 2003. Slovakia will become a member of the European Union in May 2004.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Slovakia

The majority of the inhabitants of the Slovak Republic are ethnically Slovak (86%). Hungarians are the largest ethnic minority (10%) and are concentrated in the southern and eastern regions of Slovakia.
Other ethnic groups include Roma, Czechs, Ruthenians, Ukrainians, Germanss, and Poles.

The Slovak constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The majority of Slovak citizens (69%) practice Roman Catholicism; the second-largest group are Protestants (9%). About 2,300 Jews remain of the estimated pre-WWII population of 120,000. The official state language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic languages, but Hungarian is also widely spoken in the south and enjoys a co-official status in some regions.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Slovakia

Holidays

see also:
Remembrance days in Slovakia

National Holidays (as of 2003)
Date English Name Local Name Remarks
1 January (1993)Day of the Creation of the Slovak RepublicDeň vzniku Slovenskej republikyindependent Slovakia arose through dissolution of Czecho-Slovakia.
6 January Epiphany (The Three Magi and Christmas Day of Orthododox Christians)Zjavenie Pána (Traja králi a vianočný sviatok pravoslávnych kresťanov)religious
March, AprilEaster FridayVeľkonočný piatokreligious
March, AprilEaster MondayVeľkonočný pondelokreligious
1 May (1886)Labor DaySviatok prácestrike and mass demonstrations of workers in Chicago
8 May (1945)Victory over Fascism DayDeň víťazstva nad fašizmomthe end of World War II; earlier celebrated one day later
5 July (863) St. Cyril and Metod Day Sviatok svätého Cyrila a Metodareligious; Slavic missionaries Cyril (Constantine) and Metod (Methodius) came to Great Moravia (see also Glagolitic alphabet)
29 August (1944)Slovak National Uprising anniversaryVýročie SNP The Slovaks rose against Nazi Germany
1 September (1992)Constitution of the Slovak Republic DayDeň Ústavy Slovenskej republikyThe constitution of (future) independent Slovakia has been adopted in Bratislava
15 SeptemberDay of Our Lady of Sorrows, patron saint of SlovakiaSviatok Panny Márie Sedembolestnej, patrónky Slovenskareligious; Assumption of the Virgin Mary, who is a patron saint of Slovakia
1 NovemberAll Saints’ DaySviatok všetkých svätýchreligious; Cementeries are visited on or around this day
17 November (1989/1939)Struggle for Freedom and Democracy DayDeň boja za slobodu a demokraciuCommemorating the student demonstration against Nazi occupation in 1939, and especially the demonstration in 1989 in Prague considered to mark the beginning of the Velvet Revolution.
24 December Christmas EveŠtedrý deňChristmas presents are opened in the evening on Christmas Eve in Slovakia
25 DecemberChristmas Day1. sviatok vianočnýin Slovak literally: 1st Christmas Day
26 DecemberSt. Stephen's Day 2. sviatok vianočnýin Slovak literally: 2nd Christmas Day

Miscellaneous topics

External Links


European Union:
Austria  |  Belgium  |  Denmark  |  Finland  |  France  |  Germany  |  Greece  |  Ireland
Italy  |  Luxembourg  |  Netherlands  |  Portugal  |  Spain  |  Sweden  |  United Kingdom

Countries acceding to membership on May 1, 2004:
Cyprus  |  Czech Republic  |  Estonia  |  Hungary  |  Latvia  |  Lithuania  |  Malta  |  Poland  |  Slovakia  |  Slovenia


Countries of the world  |  Europe  |  Council of Europe
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