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Summary: Slovakia is located in central Europe, south of Poland, and has rugged mountains in the central and northern regions and lowlands in the south. Freed from the Soviet Union in 1989, Czechoslovakia split peacefully in 1993, and since then, Slovakia has mastered much of the difficult transition from a centrally planned economy to a modern market economy, with progress to be made controlling unemployment and the budget deficit while improving foreign investment.

Capital: Bratislava
Time Zone: DST +0200 UTC
Population: 5,423,567
Languages: Slovak, Hungarian, German
Power: 230 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Slovak Koruna - Currently 1 SKK = 0.0440 USD $
Climate: Slovakia has a temperate climate with cool summers and cold, cloudy, humid winters

Bratislava: Off the well-worn Eastern European route, you can find Bratislava, once the capital of the Moravian kingdom and Slovakia's capital since 1969. Here is the home of Bratislava Castle, which dates its ruins back to the 1st century AD, the museums and walkways of the Old City area, and the Hviezdoslavovo namestie, or square, which makes for the easiest landmark to find yourself, to the north of the legendary Danube River.

Banska Bystrica: Located in central Slovakia, Banska Bystrica is a popular ski spot with a city whose history was as a silver and copper mining area in the middle ages. In its main square, it features a clock tower that, like the Tower of Pisa, leans and makes for an interesting site. In the surrounding area, you can find Slovakia's largest national park, the Low Tatras National Park, caves, and thermal springs.


Tourist Information: Look for a local tourist information office, as there are few signs to direct you to tourist destinations, so you may need some help.

No Clicking Please: Visitors should not photograph military installations or personnel.

Hydrofoil: Running from Bratislava to Vienna, you can take a quick trip across the Danube river in style and enjoy two capital cities in the same day.

When To Visit: Late spring to early fall are the best times to visit, as cities and towns are receiving tourists and students and the weather is warm and inviting. Most locals take their vacations during the high summer months of July and August.

Food: Local foods include black rye bread, veal and goose dishes, as well as excellent beer.

Tipping: A tip of 5 to 10 percent is customary in restaurants and hotels.

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