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About Slovakia and Bratislava (Pressburg) history

The Slovak Republic is situated in Central Europe, bordering with the Ukraine,
Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. Mountains, lowlands, lakes,
caves, forests and meadows reveal Slovakia's natural beauty throughout the
year. Each historic period and century left its monuments here - enchanting
the entire world.

Slovakia's capital Bratislava is the political, economic and cultural centre of the state.
The Tatra National Park is the oldest national park in Slovakia, being the habitat of numerous species of fauna and alpine flora (13 000 species).

General information

Area: 49 035 km2
Population: 5 367 790
Capital Bratislava, population: 452 053
Large cities Košice, Nitra, Prešov, Banská Bystrica, Žilina and Trnava

Geography

In spite of being a rather small country, Slovakia's landscape changes from
lowlands up to the extensive mountain systems. The Carpathian Mountain Chain
in the North covers almost half of Slovakia's territory.

Climate

Slovakia lies in the temperate zone, having a continental sea climate with 4 seasons.
The average temperature in winter is –1 and in summer +21 Centigrade.

Language

The official language is Slovak. Slovakia has also ethnic minorities, speaking
Hungarian, Ukrainian, German and the Roma language.

Religion

Most of Slovakia's people (approx. 75 per cent) are Roman Catholic. The Protestant churches involve Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists (7 per cent). The Greek-Catholic Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church is present in the eastern part of
the country (5 per cent).

Time : GMT + 1
International dial prefix : +421

Currency

1 EUR = 100 Cents
Banknotes: 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 , 5 EUR 

Coins: 2, 1 EUR and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, 1 Cents

Official Holidays

January 1, – New Year's Day, constitution of the Slovak Republic
January 6, – Epiphany, Three Wisemen 
April 2. and 5. – Good Friday and Easter Monday
May 1, – Labour Day
May 8, – Defeat of Nazism
July 5, – St. Cyril and St. Methodius
August 29, – Anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising
September 1, – Constitution day
September 5, – Virgin Mary of the Seven Sorrows
November 1, – All Saints Day 

November 17, – Day of the fight for Freedom and Democracy

December 24, – Christmas Eve
December 25, – 1st Christmas holiday
December 26, – 2nd Christmas holiday

Government

Slovakia ratified its National Constitution in September 1992. In compliance with that Constitution, the executive power is held by the Prime Minister and the Ministers, being appointed by the republic's President and approved by the National Council of the Slovak Republic (the country's parliament), being also the highest legislative body of the state. The Council's is elected for 4 years.

Slovak Cuisine

The Slovak Cuisine is based on various soups, boiled and stewed veggies, roasted and smoked meat and dairy products. The cooking style depends on the particular region. The best known meal is tiny potato dumplings with roasted bacon and special sheep-cheese - called "bryndzové halušky" (pronounced: breendzowe halushki).
The best known hard beverages are Slovak beer, wine, borovička (pronounced: boroweetchka) (strong juniper gin) and slivovica (pronounced: sleewowitsa) (plum brandy).
A well known soft-beverage is Vinea (a kind of sparkling grapes cider).

Restaurants

All restaurants are categorised by quality. A tip of 5 to 10 percent is always welcome.

Bratislava (Pressburg) history

It is assumed that man lived on the territory of present-day Bratislava as early as in the Stone age. Prehistoric dwellings were scattered along the river Danube and on the hills of the Small Carpathians. Permanent settlement of the area began in the New Stone Age.

As it later transpired, to be settled on this territory was of strategic significance, since the two most important transcontinental routes in Central Europe - the Danube and the Amber - crossed this area. No wonder that the Celts, and later also the Romans, decided to settle here.  

The migration of nations caused, at the turn of the 5th and 6th centuries A.D., the ancestors of Slovaks - the Slavs, to start moving here. Later, under pressure from the militant nomads Avars, they became organized. Led by the Frankish merchant Samo, they conquered the Avars and established Samo´s empire. When Samo died, his empire disintegrated.

However, later on the Slavic tribal principalities were unified and in 833 Great Moravia was founded as a state entity, which later became a significant point in the process of shaping Slovak national pride.

At the end of the 10th century the Hungarian State was founded. During Stephen 1st´s rule the site of the present Bratislava also became a part of it. In 1241 the settlements around the Castle fell to the Tatars. As frequent clashes marred the settlement´s development, Hungarian kings invited Germans to settle in the town.

They gave it a name derived from the Slavic name of the Castle: "Braslav´s Castle", "Brezalauspurch", "Pressburg". Even if in a multilated form - "Prešporok". "Prešpurk" - it was also used by Slavs, who gradually ceased to use its original name.         

After the Battle of Mohacs, the greater part of Hungary was seized by the Turks. Bratislava took over the role of political, social and cultural centre of the country and managed to maintain this position until the end of the 18th century.

After the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, most central offices moved back to Buda by order of Josef II. Administrative officials and most of the aristocracy left the city. Soon after the last king, Ferdinand V, was crowned here in 1830, the only events reminiscent of the city´s faded glory were the sessions of the Hungarian Assembly.

It was the last session of the Assembly that started the revolutionary events in Hungary: new laws were adopted and the first Hungarian government was appointed.                      

In the aftermath of the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1918, Slovakia was integrated in a new state - the Czechoslovak Republic (ČSR).

Elections in 1946 had different results in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia. Whereas the Czech elections were dominated by the Communist party, Slovakia saw a strong victory for the Democrats. The vote count from both parts of the country resulted in a victory for the Communist, which brought about a unique situation: communism came to Slovakia from the west - from the Czech part of the republic.

The so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989 brought about an essential change not only in the life of the Slovak people, but also in the city´s development. At the beginning of the 1990s, visitors spoke of Bratislava as of a town in which a war had just ended. 

According to contemporary studies, Bratislava is one of the most promising regions in Europe.

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