Slovakia: Travel Information
Slovakia, situated in Central Europe, is bordered by Austria in the west, Czech Republic in the north-west, Hungary in the south, Poland in the north and Ukraine in the east. The north and central areas are mountainous whereas the south is low lying. It is a country with beautiful landscapes and includes the highest part of the Carpathian Mountains known here as the Tatras. The highest point is 2655 metres/8710 feet. Slovakia offers natural landscapes, mountains, caves, medieval castles and towns, folk architecture, spas and ski resorts. In all, there are 9 national parks, 12 limestone caves open to the public some of which are UNESCO World heritage Sites, the highest per capita number of castles in the world and numerous mineral and thermal springs resulting in many spa centres.
The capital of Slovakia, Bratislava with its beautifully restored centre, is full of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance churches, houses and palaces. It also has many cobblestone streets, fountains, pleasant cafes and a lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere. A historical city known for its old world charm and interesting architecture, it has been part of the Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary and the Hapsburg Monarchy at different periods.
Kosice is the second largest city in the country with the easternmost situated Gothic Cathedral in the World, the oldest European coat of arms, a great historical city centre with a Cathedral Complex plus numerous churches, palaces and interesting museums.
Presov is another historical city whose wealth and influence arrived in the 15th to 17th centuries, the periods most remarkably represented in the historical buildings in and around the town square. The church here in the centre dates from the 13th century. Its prize feature is the slightly later Crucifixion carved by Master Paul of Levoca. There are several museums, mainly those dedicated to Judaism and salt mining.
Banska Bystrica was one of the most important mining towns during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It has a beautifully restored square, many churches, castles and museums and a memorial to the Slovak National Uprising.
Bardejov is a spa town in north-eastern Slovakia. It has numerous cultural monuments in the completely intact medieval town centre and is a UNESCO's World Heritage Site.
Bojnice has the most visited castle in Slovakia which is almost intact with its beautifully preserved interiors. It is reminiscent in style of a French chateau.
Banska Stiavnica is a medieval mining town in central Slovakia and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town has Renaissance palaces, 16th-century churches plus elegant squares and castles. The urban centre blends into the surrounding landscape which contains vital relics of the mining and metallurgical activities of its past.
Levoca is a magnificent medieval town surrounded by walls with a unique renaissance town hall, burgers’ houses, numerous churches and St. James Cathedral where the biggest Gothic wooden altar in the world is located.
The High Tatras contain the largest national park in the country which is a centre for winter sports and hiking. Slovak Paradise National Park is known for beautiful canyons and ravines with many waterfalls and rocky formations created by streams.
Typical souvenirs from Slovakia are dolls dressed in folk costumes, ceramic objects, crystal glass, carved wooden figures, wooden pitchers, fujaras (a folk instrument) and valaskas (a decorated folk hatchet).
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