My Slovakia

Slovakia is a small country located in Central Europe, bordering Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine. But what else should one know one about my ‘home’?

During my travels, I met many people mixing up Slovakia with Slovenia or knowing only Czechoslovakia so I wanted to make sure that I present the country on all levels. My presentation began with some basic facts about the country and its history, however, my initial question if anyone can find Slovakia on a blind map of Europe was definitely an interesting start… ūüôā

The map of Slovakia

Yes, Slovakia is definitely a small country but there are several unique things one can find here, to mention only some I presented:

  • The capital, Bratislava, lies on the borders with Austria and Hungary which makes it the only capital in the world that borders two independent countries. Moreover, Austrian capital Vienna is distant only 60 km.
  • Slovakia has the highest number of castles and chateaux per capita. Just imagine an incredible number of 180 castles and 425 chateaux in a country with the entire population of 5.4 million people.
  • More than six thousand caves have been discovered in Slovakia.
  • Slovakia has more than 1300 mineral springs.
  • Near the village Kremnick√© Bane in Slovakia, right next to the St. John Baptist Church, is located the geographical midpoint of Europe.
  • Slovakia is a car-country. With more than 100 cars per 1000 people we are the largest producer of cars if counted per person.
The Tatra Mountains. Photo by Simon Trnka

My personal favourites and highlights are, however, these facts: Slovakia has developed significantly¬†since it joined the European Union in 2004: we not only switched to Euro in 2009, but also improved the country’s infrastructure and took many other important steps. ¬†Slovakia is also home to many innovative startup ideas and success stories such as the AeroMobil¬†or Eset.

One of the frequent questions was¬†the Velvet Divorce,¬†the event in which Czechoslovakia separated, creating two countries in 1991: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I haven’t been a witness of this important milestone but I find the fact that it was a peaceful separation very impressive. Some of the described reasons were different political ideas, religion, historical influences or a different level of industrialization.

Another interesting part of my presentation was speaking about minorities in Slovakia, a fact that comes from the country’s history. Being a Hungarian from Slovakia, I attended both the primary school and high school in Hungarian language.¬†This fact clearly caught the attention of the students who raised many questions, some of them being very interesting and unexpected:
– So, do you have a house both in Slovakia and in Hungary?
– No.
– So if you go to Hungary you stay in a hotel?!
– Well, yes.

If you still¬†can’t imagine what is Slovakia like – what else can show a country better than a video capturing its beauty? My choice was clear, enjoy this piece!

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