Slovakia (formerly the eastern half of Czechoslovakia) is in Central Europe, directly east of Austria, south of Poland, north of Hungary, and west of Ukraine.

Slovakia's official language is Slovak, a Slavic language. In the southern regions, however, Hungarian is also spoken and is considered a co-official language in some towns. Slovakia was ruled over by the Kingdom of Hungary for over nine hundred years. Slovakia formed a common state with what is now the Czech Republic in 1918, becoming Czechoslovakia. This nation disbanded on New Year's Day 1993 into their own separate stations. Slovakia joined the European Union in 2004 and adapted the Euro as its currency in 2009.

Slovak Culture

Slovak art flourished during the Middle Ages with the contributors of the Master Paul of Levoča and the Master MS. Some national heroes include Milan Rastislav Štefánik, who worked toward Czechoslovak sovereignty; Ľudovít Štúr, one of the codifiers of the Slovak language; and Juraj Jánošík, the Slovak version of Robin Hood.

Slovaks are very proud of their athletes that remain in their native country and those that play on teams in other countries. Some of the most famous Slovak athletes include ice hockey player Marian Hossa, football player Marek Hamšík, and tennis player Daniela Hantuchová,

Food and Drink

The national dish is bryndzové halušky, which consists of lumps of boiled potato dough with sheep's cheese and bacon on the top. Pork is the most popular form of meat in the country. Concerning beverages, Slovak wine mainly comes from the southern regions and areas around the Danube. Also, pilsener style beer is popular. Slovaks like to produce their own liquor and there are numerous types of these especially plum brandy (Slivovica). For non-alcoholic beverages, Kofola, a carbonated soft drink native the Slovakia and the Czech Republic, is widely consumed and is a competitor of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in the country.

Things to See and Do

Slovakia has a number of natural areas including mountains, ski resorts, caves, castles, and spas which attract tourists every year. The most commonly visited destinations are the capital, which is Bratislava, and the High Tatras. In the fall, tourists are recommended to attend various local festivals, such as the wine festivals in towns around Bratislava. The Christmas market in the winter is also festive place in many cities and towns. Bratislava is only an hour train ride from Vienna and provides for a great day trip from this neighboring city.