Slovakia - About the Country

Slovakia is a landlocked country located between Poland, Austria, Czech Republik and Hungary. The captal is Bratislava, which is located very close to the Austrian capital Vienna. The Alps end west of Vienna, but east of Bratislava the Carpathian Mountain Range starts. The Carpathians are most famous from Romania, through all the vampire books, but actually the most beautiful parts are located in Slovakia and at the border to Poland. The High Tatras have rocky mountains similar to the Alps, the Low Tatras are lower and have huge forests.

The name Slovakia is a result of the Slavs which arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th centuries. The area was Samo's Empire, the Principality of Nitra, the Principality of Moravia and then Great Moravia. In the 10th century was integrated into the Principality of Hungary since 1000 the Kingdom of Hungary. It was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I. After the war, the Empire was gone, it formed Czechoslovakia together with the modern Czech Republik. During World War II it was an independent country, but after the war it became part of the Warshaw Pact and was again a part of Czechoslovakia. After the end of the Cold War, the Slovaks were quite insistent on forming their own country. Th Czech were astonished, because industry and infrastructure were concentrated in the Czech lowlands, but obviously the economical benefits were not sufficient and Slavakia became indipendent in 1993.

The history of the country has some important effects. The country was ruled by the Hungarian Kings, and when the area was raided by the invasion of the Mongols in 1241, many towns were destroyed and the inhabitants killed. The Hungarian Kings invite German settlars, primarily miners from Saxony, which settled in areas with minerals and ores and brought bew mining technology. The mines were operated for centuries by Germans, the mining terms originate from German mining terms, the mining villages had German names. When the Ottoman conquered parts of Hungary during the 16th century nearly two-thirds of the Magyar nobility settled in Slovakia. As a result the mining history of the country is stongly connected to German miners and Hungarian nobility.

Another important time was the communist era. Caves and mines became the property of the state. Slovakia has 13 show caves maintained by the Slovak Caves Administration at Liptovský Mikuláš. This situation did not change with the end of the Cold War and the communist era, which was a great fortune for the caves. Slovakia was happy to join the EU and unlike Hungary and the Czech Republik they have the Euro. The show cave administration was extremely effective and used EU money to modernize all caves. Nevertheless four additional caves were opened to the public, and numerous show mines too. Old books tell about three mining museums in Slovakia, but today there about a dozen. Several were created with EU subventions, to create tourism infrastructure and provide jobs.