The Culture and History of Slovakia
in the heart of the European continent, Slovakia is a land of approximately
19,000 square miles with about 5.2 million inhabitants. Its natural boundaries
are the Tatry or Carpathian Mountains (with a high peak, Gerlach, of 2655
meters) on the north and the Danube River on the south. The Tatras are a skier's
paradise. The beauty found in these mountains, along with Slovakia's landscapes
and countryside, is awesome.
There are several hundred
mineral and thermal springs and more than twenty spas in Slovakia. Thousands of
visitors from around the world each year utilize these resources for various
Also, dozens of castles dot the
country. Once used as residences for royalty, then later as places of refuge in
times of war, many of them are today used as educational, social, or recreation
centers, house museums, and gift shops. They are a main attraction for tourists.
Many of the castles, and especially the century-old churches, have a
breathtaking Gothic architecture which compares to no other. One will find the
churches' interiors lined in marble and trimmed in gold, all glistening through
The cultural and artistic
currents found in Slovakia have strongly prevailed through the centuries to the
present day. The people are known for their wood-carving, ceramics, crystal and
glass works, and beautifully handcrafted embroidered articles such as
tablecloths, napkins, doilies, etc.
Slovakia is a land of music,
dance and song. No visitor can or should resist and opportunity to attend one
of the hundreds of festivals or ethnic folk ensemble performances given each
year. This is a song or dance for nearly every facet of life for the Slovak.
Thus, music has become one of Slovakia's richest traditions.
their history dates back further, most Slovaks of the past millennium seem to
prefer to trace their roots to the ninth century and the apostolic work of
Saints Cyril and Methodius. Early rulers, such as Pribina, Mojmir and Rastislav,
laid the foundations for the first Slovak state and church (Pribina build the
first Christian church in Nitra, Slovakia in 833), yet turmoil and strife always
gave autonomy a short life. In fact, the only long lived eras in Slovakia's
history are those of invasion and oppression. The longest of these being when
Hungary invaded Europe and Slovakia became part of the Austro-Hugarian Empire in
the year 1100.
In 1848, Slovakia made its first
serious attempt at separation from Hungary. In 1861, Bishop Stefan Moyses of
Banska Bystrica submitted a "Memorandum of the Slovak Nation," which
demanded rights for the Slovak people and their language. A claim was also made
for territorial rights within Hungary.
At the end of World War I, the
Slovaks and Czechs decided to combine their efforts and separate from the
Austro-Hungarian Empire, creating the Republic of Czecho-Slovakia in 1918.
Unfortunately, this resulted in a Czech dominated regime, trying to impose the
Czech language and culture on the Slovaks and another fight on Slovakia's hand
1938, Slovakia received its independence and the Slovak Republic was formed
March 14, 1939. Msgr. Jozef Tiso was named its first president. In 1945, the
Slovak Republic fell again, this time into the hands of Soviet partisans who
were parachuted into central Slovakia together with Czech and foreign
In 1968, Alexander Dubcek came
on the scene and tried to give communism a "human face," but this,
too, ended when Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops invaded Slovakia. Determined,
15,000 demonstrated for religious freedom and human rights in Bratislava in
1988. This finally paved the way for the "Velvet Revolution," and
Slovakia declared independence on January 1, 1993.
The Slovaks are a hard-working,
culture-loving, family-oriented, God-fearing people, determined to pass a
heritage on to their children's children. Through prayer, toil and strife, they
have beaten the odds.
- The Guide to the Slovak Republic
Featuring Slovakia Today, a monthly review of current events
and other newsworthy articles. This site also contains a Slovakian history,
information on the economy and a focus on Slovakian art, as well as facts,
maps and details on tourism.
A one-stop guide to the Canadian based Slovak Cultural and
Information Center, whose mandate is to serve the Cultural and Information
needs of both Slovaks and Canadians.
complete guide to Slovakia with daily news, top stories, background
information, business related issues, essays, reviews, polls, and links to
other web sites dedicated to Slovakia, its people, culture, history and
and Carpatho-Rusyn Genealogy Research Pages
Discover your Slovak family history and ancestry.
Slovak League of America
A civic and cultural
federation of Americans of Slovak ancestry founded in Cleveland, Ohio.
Slovak Catholic Federation
Its purpose is to promote Slovak Catholic heritage and its awareness among
Slovak Catholics in the United States.
- Lucina Slovak Folklore Ensemble
Lucina Slovak Folklore Ensemble is a non-profit dance ensemble group based in Cleveland, Ohio. The dance ensemble travels throughout North America performing traditional Slovak dances. The website features links to various videos and photo galleries from performances.