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Slovakia


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Official Name Slovenska Republika (Slovak Republic)
Capital city Bratislava
Official Language Slovak
Money Basic unit - koruna (SKK)
Area 49,035 sq. km (18,933 sq. mi.)
Population

Estimated population--5,500,000
Density: 110 per sq. km (284 per sq. mi)

Elevation Highest: Gerlachovsky Peak - 2,655 m (8,711 ft.) above sea level
Lowest: 94 m (308 ft.) above sea level, near the Bodrog River on the Hungarian border.
Temperatures From a low of -10 C (14 F) in January to a high of 20 C (68 F) in July
Slovakia receives from 60 to 100 centimeters (24 to 40 inches) of rain, snow, and other forms of moisture annually.
Chief Products Agriculture: barley, corn, livestock, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat
Manufacturing: ceramics, chemical products, machinery, petroleum products, steel
Mining: coal



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Slovakia is a country in central Europe with the capital Bratislava, which is also the largest city of the country. Slovak neighbors are the countries Poland on the north, Ukraine on the east, Hungary on the south, and Austria and the Czech Republic on the west. A series of mountain ranges cover most of the country.

Slovaks make up most of the country's population and Hungarians are the second largest ethnic grouping. Smaller numbers of Gypsies, Czechs, Germans, Poles, Russians, and Ukrainians also live in Slovakia.
The official language is Slovak. Czech, German, Hungarian, and Polish languages are also spoken, and the Gypsies speak Romany.
Most people in Slovakia are Roman Catholics, but the Orthodox Church and most Protestant denominations are also active. The country has also a small Jewish population. More than half of Slovakia's people live in towns and cities. The largest cities are Bratislava, Kosice, Trnava, Nitra, Presov, and Zilina.

Slovakia has about 18,300 kilometers (11,400 miles) of roads and others are still building up. Railroads and busses link all the major cities and many smaller towns. Bratislava and Kosice have an international airport as well as Poprad and Sliac have airports.

Folk art has a long tradition in Slovakia. Tourists can buy many objects made by folk artists e.g. baskets, glass paintings, pottery, and woodcarvings. Painted wooden houses and other forms of folk architecture are in many regions.

A typical Slovak food is the Bryndzove halusky (noodles with sheep's cheese). A plum brandy called Slivovica is a national drink, but the wine and the beer are also quite popular.

In Slovakia, the standard of living is higher than it is in many other formerly Communist countries in Europe as most families own automobiles, refrigerators, televisions, and washing machines. Many city families own weekend cottages.
Slovaks enjoy a variety of leisure activities. Many people attend soccer and hockey matches. Skiing is also very popular. Families enjoy camping, hiking, and mountain climbing in their free time. City residents often spend their evenings socializing with friends or attending cinema, ballets, concerts, operas, or plays.

Almost all adults in Slovakia can read and write. Children are required to attend nine years of elementary school and one years of secondary school. Many towns have different universities, but the Comenius University in Bratislava is Slovakia's leading university. In Slovakia, there are also many private educational facilities, and there is also a private foreign university.

Slovakia has many daily newspapers, magazines, journals, and the country has both state-owned and privately owned television stations.

In the history, Slovakia formed part of larger states. For example, Hungary ruled Slovakia from the 900's until 1918. Then, the Slovaks joined with the Czechs and with other local groups to form Czechoslovakia. In 1948, a few years after the Second World War, Communists took over Czechoslovakia's government. In 1989, the Communist government resigned and non-Communists came to power. After a while, the Czechs and Slovaks began to disagree about important economic and political issues, that's why, in mid-1992, Czech and Slovak decided to split Czechoslovakia into two nations. On Jan. 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia was replaced by Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Now, Slovakia is a parliamentary democracy.

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