Basic Facts about Slovakia

Quick facts:

  • Name of the country: Slovak Republic (Slovakia)
  • Form of government: parliamentary democracy
  • Member of the European Union and NATO since mid-2004
  • Land area: 49,035 km2
  • Mountainous: almost 80% is 720 m above sea level
  • Population: 5.4 million
  • Currency: 1 euro = 100 cents
  • Location: Central Europe, bordering with Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Czech Republic and Austria
  • Capital city: Bratislava, population 452,288, including about 60,000 university students
  • Language: Slovak, which belongs to the Slavic group of languages (includes Polish, Czech, Croatian and others). In Slovakia many people also speak Hungarian, German, Czech.
  • Religion: most are Roman Catholic(60%), with minorities of Protestants, Greek Catholic, Jews

Slovakia in a Nutshell

These you should know about Slovakia…

  • Very old, with evidence of settlement from 22,800 years ago, and very new, an independent democracy only since 1993.
  • Was the “other half” of Czechoslovakia, which split into two countries in 1993.
  • A melting pot of nationalities/ethnic groups: Slovaks (86%), Hungarians (10%), Czechs Rusyns/Ruthenians (related to Ukrainians but different), Romany (Gypsies), Polish, Gorals (from Tatra Mountain region near Polish border),Ukrainian, with heavy influence from Germans and Austrians.
  • Blessed with 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – both natural sites (caves) and cultural sites (castles, old towns and villages)
  • Well connected to other Central and Eastern European countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Ukraine).

Interesting Facts about Slovakia

Some interesting facts you might not know about Slovakia:

  • Slovakia is a car-country. With more than 100 cars per 1000 people we are the largest producer of cars if counted per person.
  • 90% of Slovaks have completed at least secondary education – the highest score in the EU (along with Poles, Czechs, and Slovenes).
  • Slovak women marry the youngest (average 24 years old) within the European Union, along with Lithuanian and Polish women.
  • The average Slovakian woman has 1.33 children in her lifetime. This is one of the lowest rates in Europe.

Famous Slovaks and Celebrities with Slovak Roots

Here are some people you might know, but you didn’t know they have Slovak roots or Slovaks you don’t know and you should:

  • Andy Warhol – American-born pop artist, whose parents were from Eastern Slovakia.
  • Štefan Banič – Slovak who invented the parachute in 1913. Štefan Banič was born about 10 kms north of Bratislava in a town called Neštich in 1870. He immigrated to the United States, where he worked as a coal miner for a while but then built a prototype for a harnessed umbrella-like parachute and tested it by jumping out of an airplane and surviving in 1914. He sold it to the US military but received very little money and next to no fame for what would go on to save the lives of countless individuals.
  • Adriana Sklenaříková (born in 1971) – Supermodel and former “Miss Wonderbra”, better known in many countries under her married name Adriana Karembeu, according to Guinness World Records she is the model with longest legs.
  • Ivan Bella – First Slovak in space, he was part of a nine day Russian-French-Slovak mission on the space station Mir in 1999.
  • Martina Hingis (born in 1980) – Tennis champion, former World No. 1 and winner of five Grand Slam singles titles and nine Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, was born in Slovakia to a Slovak father and a Czech mother.
  • Móric Beňovský (1746-1786) – One of the most colourful characters in Slovak history, a nobleman who during his relatively short life managed to be an adventurer, globetrotter, explorer, colonizer, writer, chess player, a French colonel, Polish military commander, and Austrian soldier. Above all, he managed to get himself elected as King of Madagascar (!) by the natives in 1776. His memoirs were a bestseller at the turn of the of 18th and 19th centuries. His life was a source of inspiration for many writers, poets, and composers.

Fun Facts about Slovakia

Most of the fun is when famous politicians don’t know the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia. Slovakia fun facts:

  • George W. Bush: “The only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned first-hand from your foreign minister, who came to Texas.” This is a quote from US president. He had actually met the leader from Slovenia, not Slovakia. :)
  • At a news conference in Rome, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, introduced Slovenian Prime Minister Anton Rop to the crowd of journalists. “I’m very happy to be here today with the Prime Minister of Slovakia.” :)
  • Staff of Slovak and Slovenian embassies meet once a month with their colleagues to exchange wrongly-addressed mail! :)
  • How to say “Hello sexy girl!” – “Ahoj sexica!” :)

Not such a funny fact about Slovakia: You might have heard about Slovakia sending bombs over the planes, we would like to ensure you that the bomb was not active and since then this kind of bomb testing was banned by the Ministry of Interior. Everybody in Slovakia was shocked, this is not how we do things over here!