About Slovakia [ Country ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Slovakia; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this country.

Location

Central Europe, south of Poland

Climate

Temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters

Terrain

Rugged mountains in the central and northern part and lowlands in the south

Elevation

lowest point: Bodrok River 94 m
highest point: Gerlachovsky Stit 2,655 m

Geo Notes

Landlocked; most of the country is rugged and mountainous; the Tatra Mountains in the north are interspersed with many scenic lakes and valleys

Approved Official Names

conventional long form: Slovak Republic
conventional short form: Slovakia
local long form: Slovenska Republika
local short form: Slovensko

Capital City

name: Bratislava
geographic coordinates: 48 09 N, 17 07 E
time difference: UTC+1
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative Divisions

8 regions (kraje, singular - kraj); Banskobystricky, Bratislavsky, Kosicky, Nitriansky, Presovsky, Trenciansky, Trnavsky, Zilinsky

Natuaral Hazards

NA

Environmental Issues

Air pollution from metallurgical plants presents human health risks; acid rain damaging forests

Life Expectancy

total population: 75.62 years
male: 71.7 years
female: 79.74 years (2010 est.)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.051 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Languages Spoken

Slovak (official) 83.9%, Hungarian 10.7%, Roma 1.8%, Ukrainian 1%, other or unspecified 2.6% (2001 census)

Religions Practiced

Roman Catholic 68.9%, Protestant 10.8%, Greek Catholic 4.1%, other or unspecified 3.2%, none 13% (2001 census)

Legal System

Civil law system based on Austro-Hungarian codes; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; legal code modified to comply with the obligations of Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and to expunge Marxist-Leninist legal theory

National Holiday

Constitution Day, 1 September (1992)

Illicit Drugs

Transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin bound for Western Europe; producer of synthetic drugs for regional market; consumer of ecstasy

Telephone System

general assessment: Slovakia has a modern telecommunications system that has expanded dramatically in recent years with the growth in cellular services
domestic: analog system is now receiving digital equipment and is being enlarged with fiber-optic cable, especially in the larger cities; 3 companies provide nationwide cellular services
international: country code - 421; 3 international exchanges (1 in Bratislava and 2 in Banska Bystrica) are available; Slovakia is participating in several international telecommunications projects that will increase the availability of external services

Broadcast Media

State-owned public broadcaster, Slovak Television (STV), operates 3 national TV stations; roughly 35 privately-owned television broadcast stations operating nationally, regionally, and locally; about 40% of households are connected to multi-channel cable or satellite TV systems; channels from the Czech Republic and Hungary are widely viewed; state-owned public radio operates multiple national and regional networks; more than 20 privately-owned radio stations (2008)

Background

The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the close of World War I allowed the Slovaks to join the closely related Czechs to form Czechoslovakia. Following the chaos of World War II, Czechoslovakia became a Communist nation within Soviet-dominated 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. Slovakia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004 and the euro area on 1 January 2009.

Economy Overview

Slovakia has made significant economic reforms since its separation from the Czech Republic in 1993. Reforms to the taxation, healthcare, pension, and social welfare systems helped Slovakia to consolidate its budget and get on track to join the EU in 2004 and to adopt the euro in January 2009. Major privatizations are nearly complete, the banking sector is almost entirely in foreign hands, and the government has helped facilitate a foreign investment boom with business friendly policies such as labor market liberalization and a 19% flat tax. Foreign investment in the automotive and electronic sectors has been strong. Slovakia's economic growth exceeded expectations in 2001-08 despite the general European slowdown. Unemployment, at an unacceptable 18% in 2003-04, dropped to 7.7% in 2008 but remains the economy's Achilles heel. Despite its 2006 pre-election promises to loosen fiscal policy and reverse the previous DZURINDA government's pro-market reforms, FICO's cabinet has thus far been careful to keep a lid on spending in order to meet euro adoption criteria and has focused on regulating energy and food prices instead. To maintain a stable operating environment for investors, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development advised the Slovak government to refrain from intervening in important sectors of the economy. However, Bratislava's approach to mitigating the economic slowdown includes substantial government intervention and the option to nationalize strategic companies. GDP fell nearly 5% in 2009 and unemployment rose above 12%, as the global recession impacted many segments of the economy.

National Anthem

name: "Nad Tatrou sa blyska" (Storm Over the Tatras)
lyrics/music: Janko MATUSKA/traditional
note: adopted 1993, in use since 1844; the anthem"s music is based on the Slovak folk song "Kopala studienku"

Slovakia location map
Size

total: 49,035 sq km
land: 48,105 sq km
water: 930 sq km

Slovakia flag
Population

5,470,306 (July 2010 est.)

Nationality

noun: Slovak(s)
adjective: Slovak

Ethnic Groups

Slovak 85.8%, Hungarian 9.7%, Roma 1.7%, Ruthenian/Ukrainian 1%, other and unspecified 1.8% (2001 census)

HIV/AIDS Rate

Less than 0.1% (2007 est.)

Independence Date

1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia)

Government Type

Parliamentary democracy

Voting Rights

18 years of age; universal

Internet Users

3.566 million (2008)

Internet Hosts

1.133 million (2010)

Internet Country Code

.sk

Number Airports

36 (2010)

Number Paved Airports

total: 20
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 10 (2010)

Number Heliports

1 (2010)

Railways

total: 3,622 km
broad gauge: 99 km 1.520-m gauge
standard gauge: 3,473 km 1.435-m gauge (1,577 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 50 km (1.000-m or 0.750-m gauge) (2008)

Roadways

total: 43,761 km
paved: 38,085 km (includes 384 km of expressways)
unpaved: 5,676 km (2008)

Inland Waterways

172 km (on Danube River) (2008)

Ports & Terminals

Bratislava, Komarno

National Budget

revenues: $30.01 billion
expenditures: $35.99 billion (2009 est.)

Account Balance

-$2.819 billion (2009 est.)
-$6.43 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange Rates

Slovak koruny (SKK) per US dollar - 0.734 (2009), 21.05 (2008), 24.919 (2007), 29.611 (2006), 31.018 (2005)
note: on 1 January 2009 Slovakia adopted the euro as legal tender

Inflation Rate

1.6% (2009 est.)
4.6% (2008 est.)

Main Industries

Metal and metal products; food and beverages; electricity, gas, coke, oil, nuclear fuel; chemicals and manmade fibers; machinery; paper and printing; earthenware and ceramics; transport vehicles; textiles; electrical and optical apparatus; rubber products

Agricultural Products

Grains, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit; pigs, cattle, poultry; forest products

Labor Force

2.632 million (2009 est.)

Main Occupations

agriculture: 3.5%
industry: 27%
services: 69.4% (December 2009)

Unemployment Rate

11.4% (2009 est.)
7.7% (2008 est.)

GDP (USD Parity)

$114.9 billion (2009 est.)
$120.6 billion (2008 est.)
$113.6 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP Per Capita

$21,000 (2009 est.)
$22,100 (2008 est.)
$20,800 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Family Income Percent

lowest 10%: 3.1%
highest 10%: 20.9% (1996)

Family Income Gini

26 (2005)
26.3 (1996)

Below Poverty

21% (2002)