Colours of the Slovak Flag
The flag of Slovakia consists of the Slovak tricolor and the Slovak coat of arms. The tricolor (from top to bottom – three equal horizontal stripes of white, blue and red) is derived from the original Slovak colours – red and white, and the Pan-Slavic tricolor – red, blue, white. Red, blue and white are the most used colors in flags and national emblems of Slavic countries.
History of the Slovak Flag
In the Middle Ages the original Slovak flag consisted of two stripes – red and white (red above the white). The oldest form of the “Slovak” flag is maintained in the town seal of Nitra from the period of King Béla IV. (1235-1270). It was a white double cross on a red background.
The blue stripe was taken from the Russian and Croatian flags – the Russians as patrons of Slavs, Croats as a fraternal nation in Hungary. Some of the flags from 1848 (when Slovakia was part of the Kingdom of Hungary) had also the Hungarian coat of arms and often the top colour was switched to blue (the colours of today’s Slovak coat of arms).
Meaning of the Flag
What does the Slovak Flag mean? The colors stand for Slavic unity and independence and can be seen in the flags of most Slavic nations.
Double silver cross allegedly symbolizes the tradition of St. Benedict, St. Cyril and St. Methodius, but in reality this is a Christian symbol for older resurrection of Jesus Christ, which was used in Byzantine Empire since the 9th century.
Three mountains represented on the coat of arms are – Matra, Tatra and Fatra, but it has an older heraldic origin. The original coat of arms of King Béla III. (1172-1196) was the double silver cross on a red field and nothing else. Later the double cross appears inserted to clay (1291), or the lower part has three or four roots. The form of triple rocks appear in the posterior coats of kings’ and queens’ arms, such as the Seal of Ladislaus V. (1305). Since the 14th century the today’s version of three hills has been used, originally gold or silver, then green, and blue since 1848.
Red Shield was the colour of many armorial attributes at the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century. It is not the bloody skies symbolizing the suffering Slovaks during Magyarization, as it is reported by some authors.