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About Slovakia

The Slovak landscape is noted primarily for its mountainous nature, with the Carpathian Mountains extending across most of the northern half of the country. Amongst these mountain ranges are the high peaks of the Tatra mountains.[1] To the north, close to the Polish border, are the High Tatras which are a popular skiing destination and home to many scenic lakes and valleys as well as the highest point in Slovakia, the Gerlachovský štít at 2,655 metres (8,711 ft), and the country's highly symbolic mountain Kriváň.

Major Slovak rivers are the Danube, the Váh and the Hron. The Tisa marks the Slovak-Hungarian border for only 5 km (3.1 mi).

The Slovak climate lies between the temperate and continental climate zones with relatively warm summers and cold, cloudy and humid winters. The area of Slovakia can be divided into three kinds of climatic zones and the first zone can be divided into two sub-zones. Climate of lowlands Gerlachovský štít (2655 m), highest peak in Slovakia

The average annual temperature is about 9 to 10 °C (48 to 50 °F). The average temperature of the hottest month is about 20 °C (68 °F) and the average temperature of the coldest month is greater than ?3 °C (27 °F). This kind of climate occurs at Záhorská nížina and Podunajská nížina. It is the typical climate of the capital city Bratislava.[36]

The average annual temperature is about 8 to 9 °C (46 to 48 °F). The average temperature of the hottest month is about 19 °C (66 °F) and the average temperature of the coldest month is less than ?3 °C (27 °F). This kind of climate can be found at Košická kotlina and Východoslovenská nížina. It is the typical climate of the city of Košice.[37] Climate of basins

The average annual temperature is between 5 and 8.5 °C (41 and 47 °F). The average temperature of the hottest month is between 15 and 18.5 °C (59 and 65 °F) and the average temperature of the coldest month is between -6 to -3 °C (21 to 27 °F). This climate can be found in almost all basins in Slovakia. For example Podtatranská kotlina, Žilinská kotlina, Turčianska kotlina, Zvolenská kotlina. It is the typical climate for the towns of Poprad[38] and Sliač.[39]

Mountain climate

The average annual temperature is less than 5 °C (41 °F). The average temperature of the hottest month is less than 15 °C (59 °F) and the average temperature of the coldest month is less than ?5 °C (23 °F). This kind of climate occurs in mountains and in some villages in the valleys of Orava and Spiš. Demographics Main article: Demographics of Slovakia Hlavná ulica (Main street) in Košice.

The majority of the inhabitants of Slovakia are ethnically Slovak (85.8%). Hungarians are the largest ethnic minority (9.5%). Other ethnic groups, as of the 2001 census, include Roma with 1.7%,[40] Rusyns or Ukrainians with 1%, and other or unspecified, 1.8%.[1] Unofficial estimates on the number of Roma population are much higher, around 9%.[41] Before World War II,[42] 135,000 Jews lived in Slovakia.[43]

The official language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic language family. Hungarian is widely spoken in the southern regions and Rusyn is used in some parts of the Northeast. Minority languages hold co-official status in the municipalities in which the size of the minority population meets the legal threshold of 20%.[44]

In 2007 Slovakia was estimated to have a total fertility rate of 1.33.[1] (i.e., the average woman will have 1.33 children in her lifetime), which is significantly below the replacement level and is one of the lowest rates among EU countries. Religion Main article: Religion in Slovakia

The Slovak constitution guarantees freedom of religion. 60.4% of Slovaks identify themselves as Roman Catholics, 9.6% as nonreligious or atheist, 6% as Protestant, 5% as Eastern Orthodox; 19% chose "other" to identify themselves.[45] Generally only one third of church members regularly attend church services.[46] The pre-World War II population of the country included an estimated 90,000 Jews (1.6% of the population). After the genocidal policies of the Nazi era, only about 2,300 Jews remain today (0.04% of the population).[47]

Economy

The National Bank of Slovakia headquarters in Bratislava. The financial district. Main article: Economy of Slovakia

The Slovak economy is considered an advanced economy, with the country dubbed the "Tatra Tiger". Slovakia transformed from a centrally planned economy to a market-driven economy. Major privatizations are nearly complete, the banking sector is almost completely in private hands, and foreign investment has risen.

Slovakia has recently been characterized by sustained high economic growth. In 2006, Slovakia achieved the highest growth of GDP (8.9%) among the members of the OECD. The annual GDP growth in 2007 is estimated at 10.4% with a record level of 14.3% reached in the fourth quarter.[48] According to Eurostat data, Slovak PPS GDP per capita stood at 72 percent of the EU average in 2008.[49]

Unemployment, peaking at 19.2% at the end of 1999, decreased to 7.51% in October 2008 according to the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic.[50] In addition to economic growth, migration of workers to other EU countries also contributed to this reduction. According to Eurostat, which uses a calculation method different from that of the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic, the unemployment rate is still the second highest after Spain in the EU-15 group, at 9.9%.[51]

Inflation dropped from an average annual rate of 12.0% in 2000 to just 3.3% in 2002, the election year, but it rose again in 2003–2004 because of rising labor costs and excess taxes. It reached 3.7 % in 2005.

Slovakia adopted the euro currency on 1 January 2009 as the 16th member of the Eurozone. The euro in Slovakia was approved by the European commission on 7 May 2008. The Slovenská koruna was revalued on 28 May 2008 to 30.126 for 1 euro,[52] which was also the exchange rate for the euro.[53]

Slovakia is an attractive country for foreign investors mainly because of its low wages, low tax rates and well educated labour force. In recent years, Slovakia has been pursuing a policy of encouraging foreign investment. FDI inflow grew more than 600% from 2000 and cumulatively reached an all-time high of $17.3 billion USD in 2006, or around $22,000 per capita by the end of 2008.

Despite a sufficient number of researchers[citation needed] and a decent secondary educational system[citation needed], Slovakia, along with other post-communist countries, still faces major challenges in the field of the knowledge economy. The business and public research and development expenditures are well below the EU average. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks Slovak secondary education the 30th in the world (placing it just below the United States and just above Spain).[54]

In March 2008, the Ministry of Finance announced that Slovakia's economy is developed enough to stop being an aid receiver from the World Bank. Slovakia became an aid provider at the end of 2008.[55] Industry Kia cee'd, made at the Žilina Plant.

Although Slovakia's GDP comes mainly from the tertiary (services) sector, the country's industry also plays an important role within its economy. The main industry sectors are car manufacturing and electrical engineering. Since 2007, Slovakia has been the world's largest producer of cars per capita,[56] with a total of 571,071 cars manufactured in the country in 2007 alone.[56] There are currently three automobile assembly plants: Volkswagen's in Bratislava, PSA Peugeot Citroen's in Trnava and Kia Motors' Žilina Plant.

From electrical engineering companies, Sony has a factory at Nitra for LCD TV manufacturing, Samsung at Galanta for computer monitors and television sets manufacturing.

Bratislava's geographical position in Central Europe has long made Bratislava a crossroads for international trade traffic.[57][58] Various ancient trade routes, such as the Amber Road and the Danube waterway have crossed territory of today Bratislava. Today Bratislava is the road, railway, waterway and airway hub.[59] Infrastructure Main article: Transport in Slovakia Road Highways on the New Bridge. Ružomberok railway station.

Bratislava is a large international motorway junction: The D1 motorway connects Bratislava to Trnava, Nitra, Trenčín, Žilina and beyond, while the D2 motorway, going in the north-south direction, connects it to Prague, Brno and Budapest in the north-south direction. The D4 motorway (an outer bypass), which would ease the pressure on the city highway system, is mostly at the planning stage.

The A6 motorway to Vienna connects Slovakia directly to the Austrian motorway system and was opened on 19 November 2007.[60]

Currently, five bridges stand over the Danube (ordered by the flow of the river): Lafranconi Bridge, Nový Most (The New Bridge), Starý most (The Old Bridge), Most Apollo and Prístavný most (The Harbor Bridge).

The city's inner network of roadways is made on the radial-circular shape. Nowadays, Bratislava experiences a sharp increase in the road traffic, increasing pressure on the road network. There are about 200,000 registered cars in Bratislava, (approximately 2 inhabitants per car).[59] Air Bratislava International Airport.

Bratislava's M. R. Štefánik Airport is the main international airport in Slovakia. It is located 9 kilometres (5.59 mi) north-east of the city centre. It serves civil and governmental, scheduled and unscheduled domestic and international flights. The current runways support the landing of all common types of aircraft currently used. The airport has enjoyed rapidly growing passenger traffic in recent years; it served 279,028 passengers in 2000, 1,937,642 in 2006 and 2,024,142 in 2007.[61] Smaller airports served by passenger airlines include those in Košice and Poprad. River


The Port of Bratislava is one of the two international river ports in Slovakia. The port connects Bratislava to international boat traffic, especially the interconnection from the North Sea to the Black Sea via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. Additionally, tourist lines operate from Bratislava's passenger port, including routes to Devín, Vienna and elsewhere.

Tourism

Main article: Tourism in Slovakia Cableway Tatranská Lomnica – Lomnický štít.

Slovakia features natural landscapes, mountains, caves, medieval castles and towns, folk architecture, spas and ski resorts. More than 1.6 million people visited Slovakia in 2006, and the most attractive destinations are the capital of Bratislava and the High Tatras.[62] Most visitors come from the Czech Republic (about 26%), Poland (15%) and Germany (11%).[63]

Typical souvenirs from Slovakia are dolls dressed in folk costumes, ceramic objects, crystal glass, carved wooden figures, črpáks (wooden pitchers), fujaras (a folk instrument on the UNESCO list) and valaškas (a decorated folk hatchet) and above all products made from corn husks and wire, notably human figures.

Souvenirs can be bought in the shops run by the state organization ÚĽUV (Ústredie ľudovej umeleckej výroby – Center of Folk Art Production). Dielo shop chain sells works of Slovak artists and craftsmen. These shops are mostly found in towns and cities. Prices of imported products are generally the same as in the neighboring countries, whereas prices of local products and services, especially food, are usually lower. Science Jozef Murgaš

Some Slovaks have made notable technical contributions. Jozef Murgaš contributed to development of wireless telegraphy[citation needed]; Ján Bahýľ constructed one of the first motor-driven helicopters[citation needed]; Štefan Banič constructed the first actively used parachute;[64] Aurel Stodola created a bionic arm in 1916 and pioneered steam and gas turbines.[65] More recently, John Dopyera constructed a resonator guitar, an important contribution to the development of acoustic string instruments[citation needed].

American astronaut Eugene Cernan (Čerňan), the last man to visit the Moon, has Slovak heritage. Ivan Bella was the first Slovak citizen in space[citation needed], having participated in a 9-day joint Russian-French-Slovak mission on the space station Mir in 1999[citation needed].

Nobel prize winners Daniel Gajdusek and David Politzer have Slovak ancestors[citation needed].