World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
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Slovakia Travelling Guide
Slovakia Travelling Guide

General background: In 1918 the Slovaks joined the closely related Czechs to form Czechoslovakia. Following the chaos of World War II, Czechoslovakia became a Communist nation within Soviet-ruled Eastern Europe. Soviet influence collapsed in 1989 and Czechoslovakia once more became free. The Slovaks and the Czechs agreed to separate peacefully on 1 January 1993. 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.

Area comparative: About twice the size of New Hampshire.

Climate: Temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters.

Terrain: Rugged mountains in the central and northern part and lowlands in the south.

Population: 5,422,366 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Slovak 85.7%, Hungarian 10.6%, Roma 1.6% (the 1992 census figures underreport the Gypsy/Romany community, which is about 500,000), Czech, Moravian, Silesian 1.1%, Ruthenian and Ukrainian 0.6%, German 0.1%, Polish 0.1%, other 0.2% (1996)

Religions: Roman Catholic 60.3%, atheist 9.7%, Protestant 8.4%, Orthodox 4.1%, other 17.5%

Language: Slovak (official), Hungarian

Government type: Parliamentary democracy

Capital: Bratislava

Legal system: Civil law system based on Austro-Hungarian codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; legal code modified to comply with the obligations of Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and to expunge Marxist-Leninist legal theory.

Economic overview: Slovakia has mastered much of the difficult transition from a centrally planned economy to a modern market economy. The DZURINDA government made excellent progress in 2001 in macroeconomic stabilization 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 2001, despite recession in key export markets. Revival of domestic demand, 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 is expected to boost economic growth to 3.4% in 2002, and about 4% in 2003. Unemployment, rising to 19.8% at the end of 2001, remained the economy's Achilles' heel. The government faces other strong challenges in 2002, especially the maintenance of fiscal balance ahead of the September 2002 parliamentary election, cutting budget and current account deficits, and privatisation of the Slovak energy and power monopolies.

Communication/Telephone system: A modernization and privatization program is increasing accessibility to telephone service.

Places of interest: The capital, Bratislava, is small and cheerful with a surprisingly accomplished cultural life; the High Tatras are as rugged a range as any in Eastern Europe and the peasant traditions of rural Slovakia are still evident in the villages.

Travel tips: You'll find the Slovaks to be extremely warm, friendly people prepared to go out of their way to help you enjoy their country.