Friday, June 27, 2014

Religion & Weather in Slovakia

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Most Slovaks are very religious and predominately Christian with a few thousand Jews. The Christian majority are mostly Roman Catholics; however, you will also find large groups of Evangelicals and Protestants. Greek Catholics and Orthodox Christians are mostly found in Eastern Slovakia.

Slovaks don't just claim a religious affiliation, they live it every day. You will find a saint's feast day, virtually every other day and it is easy to find a local religious festival. Most Slovaks attend church weekly and are very devout. It should come as no surprise that most of the important works of architecture are churches.


The Slovakian climate varies across the country; however, it tends to be a more temperate continental climate zone leading to a beautiful Spring, warm Summer, crisp Autumn and cold Winter with an abundance of snow. As you would expect the mountainous area is cooler and the South and Western areas tend to be warmer. 
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Spring and Autumn the best time to visit with less rain, clearer skies, milder weather and fewer crowds. July temperatures average 21°C (70°F) in the lowlands such as along the Danube and January averages -2°C (28°F).  Remember, if you are going to the mountains prepare for temperatures below freezing.

While Spring sees the lowest rainfall, generally the weather is damp and travelers would be advise to prepare for sudden heavy storms. In addition, the lower regions are subject to heavy fog, so driving can be treacherous.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Language, Capitol & Currency in Slovakia


Approximately 5 million people speak “Slovakian”, the Slovak language. It's origins come from West Slavic languages similar to Czech, Polish and Serbian. It has also been influenced by German and Hungarian.  Here are some examples:
Thank you – Ďakujem
Please – Prosím
It is nice to meet you – Teší ma
Welcome – Vítajte
How are you? – Ako sa máš?

Many others who speak languages based on standard Slavic can understand basic Slovakian.
The  speakers of different varieties have a long history of interaction and mutual influence, However, often significant variation among Slovak dialects will confuse the speaker of another dialect. For example, eastern varieties differ significantly from the central and western varieties. As usual, the written form is more consistent than the verbal form which have phonetic differences. The German and Hungarian influence can be seen mostly in vocabulary. For example the German word for "coins," is “Munzen“ in Slovak it is “mince”.


Bratislava the largest city in Slovakia, it also serves as the state capitol. There you will find the National Council of the Slovak Republic, the Government of the Slovak Republic and the national administrative offices of the republic. Bratislava is situated a little east of Vienna and northwest of Budapest, close the center of Eastern and Western Europe.The town spreads like a fan on both banks of the Danube river and at the foot of the Low Carpathian mountains.

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Bratislava is the largest city in the Slovak Republic with a  population is some 450, 000. A major industrial center, Bratislava is known for producing:
  • VW cars
  • Furniture
  • Chemicals
  • Tobacco products
  • Musical instruments
  • Woolen goods
  • Leather products

Visitors will also find the:
  • Restored 11th century Gothic cathedral 
  • Former Hungarian Royal Palace overlooking the city
  • Franciscan church from the 13th century
  • Town hall, also from the 13th century
  • Comenius University in Bratislava (1919)
  • Slovak Technical University in Bratislava (1938)
  • Slovak Academy of Sciences (1953)
Founded as Press-burg before the 10th century, the city expanded to include strong fortifications erected during the 12th century and located on the Danube, it held a strategic importance in the area and was the capital of Hungary from 1541 to 1784. In 1805 at Austerlitz (Slavkov), when Napoleon's army defeated the armies of Francis I, the Austrian emperor and Alexander I, the Russian Tsar, the peace of Bratislava was signed in the Primate's Palace. Then in 1919, when Czechoslovakia was created in 1919 after World War I, the city was renamed Bratislava and made capital of the province of Slovakia.


In the Czechoslovak federation (prior to 1993) the Czechoslovak Koruna (= 100 halierov / hellers) was used. As the country split in 1993, two new currencies were introduced: Czech Koruna and Slovak Koruna. Both Korunas had initially the same value as the old Czechoslovak Koruna. Due to different economic performances of the two countries, the Czech Koruna became about 20-30% more valuable the the Slovak one.
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By May 1, 2004  when both countries joined the European Union the migration to the Euro started. The Euro replaced the Slovak crown (koruna) in 2009. In the Czech Republic the Czech crown is still in use.

You are strongly advised not to deal with moneychangers in the street even though they may be offering you a favorable rate.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Introdution to Slovakia ( Slovak Republic)

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Slovakia is a beautiful country, full of gorgeous mountains, rivers and incredible castles. Mostly landlocked, it does have access to the Danube River on the southwestern border with Austria and Hungry. It also shares borders with the Czech Republic in the Northwest, Poland to the North, Ukraine to the East and Hungary also to the South.

Slovakia has a total area of 18,928 square miles (49,035 square kilometers).

Elevations rise from a low of 308 feet (94 meters) at the Bodrok River to a high of 8,711 feet (2,655 meters) at Gerlachovsky peak, in the vicinity of Poprad to the North. Areas range from rugged mountains to rich, agricultural plains.

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Bratislava, the capital, is a city of 441,453 people, in the Southwest on Danube.
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The total population of Slovakia
is 5,488,339 (July 2013 est.)

The people of Slovakia have had a tumultuous past, being combined with The Check Republic, occupied first by Nazis, then controlled as a satellite state of the Soviet Union. And finally an independent country in 1993. Today it is a member of the European Union, uses the euro for currency and is governed with a Parliamentary Democracy.