Slovakia is a Central European country that boasts natural beauty, vibrant history, and relaxation options for the traveler. Due to the small size of the country, it is easy to combine all these.
In 1918 the Slovaks united with the closely related Czechs to form the republic of Czechoslovakia. After the chaos of World War II, Czechoslovakia became a communist country within the Eastern Bloc ruled by the Soviet Union. Soviet influence collapsed in 1989 and Czechoslovakia became independent again.
For many years overshadowed by their Czech neighbors, the Slovaks peacefully agreed with the Czechs in 1993 to separate their states and Slovakia became a separate country. Both countries remain in political and economic cooperation.
Historical, political and geographical factors have made Slovakia more difficult to develop a modern economy than some of its Central European neighbours, but it is now one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and a member of the European Union since 2004.
Slovakia has nine national parks, covering a relatively large part of the country and featuring the highest part of the Carpathian mountain range, the High Tatras, which offer opportunities for mountain and winter sports as well as great views. Due to its limestone geological features and combined with its springs and rivers, Slovakia has numerous caves, several of which are included in the UNESCO list, as well as impressive gorges and waterfalls. All of Slovakia is covered by well-marked hiking trails.
For history buffs, Slovakia has a large number of castles and towers, many of them well preserved. There are also examples of local architecture, such as churches made entirely of wood and the tallest wooden altar in the world.
There are many mineral and thermal springs with world-renowned thermal baths. Also the shores of many local lakes and pools offer the possibility of swimming and sunbathing. The capital Bratislava has a lively nightlife and is a popular party destination.
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