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Chapter 1

General Information

Geography and Climate

The Slovak Republic (also referred to as 'Slovakia') is a country of 49,000 square kilometres, situated in the heart of Europe. Much of the border to the north of the country is made up of the Carpathian and Tatra mountains, with the River Danube to the south. Slovakia shares borders with Poland, the Ukraine, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Slovakia is a mountainous country with its highest peak, Gerlachovský štít (2,655m), situated in the High Tatras. The Danube is the largest Slovak river in terms of water volume, while the Váh is the longest (390km).

The country is not rich in natural resources, but has deposits of black coal, lignite, iron, non-ferrous ores, and gold.

The climate is varied with relatively hot summers and cold winters, especially in the mountains.

Bratislava (population 450 thousand), the capital city, is strategically situated on the River Danube downstream from Vienna close to the Austrian and Hungarian borders. The second largest city, Košice, is located in the east of the country near the Ukrainian border and is the most important banking and economic centre after Bratislava.


Slovakia has a long and important cultural and scientific history. Archaeological evidence suggests that, by the 5th century, the Slav tribes living in Western Slovakia had united under the rule of kings and moved to the East. At the start of the 11th century Slovakia was incorporated into the multinational Hungarian State. The Slovaks became subjects of the Polish Jagellonian dynasty at the end of the 15th century. Due to the Turkish military


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