The one minute summary on
This is it: one minute to the best info on Slovakia. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Slovakia, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.
Slovakia’s roots can be traced to the 9th century state of Great Moravia. Subsequently, the Slovaks became part of the Hungarian Kingdom, where they remained for the next 1,000 years. Following the formation of the dual Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1867, language and education policies favoring the use of Hungarian (Magyarization) resulted in a strengthening of Slovak nationalism and a cultivation of cultural ties with the closely related Czechs, who were under Austrian rule.
After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the close of World War I, the Slovaks joined the Czechs to form Czechoslovakia. During the interwar period, Slovak nationalist leaders pushed for autonomy within Czechoslovakia, and in 1939 Slovakia became an independent state allied with Nazi Germany. Following World War II, Czechoslovakia was reconstituted and came under communist rule within Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country’s leaders to liberalize communist rule and create “socialism with a human face,” ushering in a period of repression known as “normalization.” The peaceful “Velvet Revolution” swept the Communist Party from power at the end of 1989 and inaugurated a return to democratic rule and a market economy. On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a nonviolent “velvet divorce” into its two national components, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Slovakia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004 and the euro zone on 1 January 2009.
That was it. I promised one minute.
For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.
- Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in Slovakia
- Does my current phone work in Slovakia ? Tips to cell phone usage in Slovakia
- Local food you should try in Slovakia and No miss drinks in Slovakia
Now, cheers to the most Slovakia aware person at the cocktail party.
What are the key history moments for Slovakia?
The area that is present-day Slovakia has been settled since early Paleolithic era. Before the inward migration of Slavs and Huns, the most important cultures were the Celts, Germanic tribes (Quadi) and partially also the Roman Empire which had its limes (border) established right on Danube River and sometimes raided the north, deep into the modern Slovak territory. To this day, artefacts and evidence of the presence of these cultures can be found.
The Slavic tribes, that invaded the area in the 6th century created a succession of influential kingdoms here. During this era, lasting until the early 10th century when the Great Moravian Empire disintegrated and disappeared under the onslaught of the Magyar tribes, local Slavs adopted Christianity initially that of Eastern (Byzantine) rite but finally in the Western (Catholic) form. Since 10th century region of present Slovakia became a part of the Kingdom of Hungary which situation subsequently lasted for a thousand years. During medieval times many fort castles have been built, ruins of some of which remain to this day. In 1526 throne of Hungary was acquired by the German-Austrian House of Habsburg and since this year Hungary including Slovakia has shared its fate with Austrian and Bohemian (Czech) lands. This personal union gradually evolved into the Austrian Empire (1804), after 1867 transformed into a dual state: the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
This “Danubian Monarchy”, lasting until 1918, was a multinational state with many cultures and languages living together which had a great influence on the shaping of the entire region and forms a common cultural history shared by many Central European nations. Castle in Levice Similarly to other European nations, Slovaks also experienced their own “national awakening” during the 19th century.
From year 1848 onward Slovak intellectuals and politicians repeatedly have raised demands for autonomy but without positive result. Slovak-Hungarian tensions were finally solved after WWI when Slovaks broke up Hungarian supremacy and joined the closely related Czechs to form new Czechoslovak Republic (1918). During WWII, Czechoslovakia briefly split, with the Czechia being occupied (Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia) by the Nazis while Slovaks forming their own war state (Slovak Republic), close ally of Nazi Germany.
Following the chaos of World War II, restored Czechoslovakia became a communist country (1948) within Soviet-ruled Eastern Block. An attempt (led by politician of Slovak origin) to create more liberal “socialism with human face”, the so-called Prague Spring, was crushed in August 1968 by Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.
The only remaining result of that liberal era was federalization of Czechoslovakia, i.e. creating of the Slovak Socialistic Republic formed in contemporary borders. Soviet influence collapsed in 1989 and Czechoslovakia once again became free. But newly acquired political freedom also brought a new rise of nationalism and quarrels between the two parts of the federation. For many years overshadowed by their north-western Czech neighbors, political representatives of Slovaks decided to strike out on their own. The Slovaks and the Czechs agreed to separate peacefully on 1 January 1993 and Slovakia (Slovak Republic) became a country in its own right.
This dissolution is known as Velvet Divorce. Nevertheless, both countries remain close culturally and after 1998 there is a high level of political and economical cooperation. Historic, political, and geographic factors have caused Slovakia to experience more difficulty in developing a modern market economy than some of its Central European neighbors, but now it boasts one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and has been a member of the European Union and the NATO since 2004. Slovakia is now a member of the Schengen agreement, and the country has adopted the Euro on 1 January 2009.
The one minute summary for Slovakia geography
Best places to see in Slovakia
Slovakia features a record-high number of castles and chateaux . Some of them are little more than a pile of stones hidden in a deep forest, others are luxurious baroque mansions or citadels in the middle of towns. Especially worthwhile for tourists are the Spi Castle, reported to be the largest castle in Central Europe, the Bojnice Castle built in the 19th century in a pseudo-romanesque style, and Devín Castle, an ancient archeological site and a sacred place for all Slavs Vlkolínec, a hamlet high in the mountains, where time stopped in the 19th century Countless wooden churches in northern and north-eastern Slovakia Medieval mining towns of Kremnica and Banská tiavnica Ochtinska aragonite cave – truly unique and one of the few such caves open to the public in the world, aragonite is a needle-like crystal that forms flower-like patterns on the walls Ochtinska Aragonite Cave Slovak Paradise National Park – smaller mountain range famous beautiful canyons and ravines with many waterfalls and rocky formations created by the streams you can hike along. High Tatras – a mountain range featuring a variety of terrain and beautiful vistas offers great opportunities for hiking and winter sports.