Slovakia, Slovak Slovensko, officially Slovak Republic, Slovak Slovenská republika, state in Eastern Central Europe with (2020) 5.4 million residents; The capital is Bratislava.
Population and Religion
Slovakia has a population of 5.4 million (2020). Slovaks make up the majority of the population (81%), the two largest minorities are Hungarians in the south of the country and Roma. Other small minorities are Czechs, Ukrainians, Germans and Poles. The country is about half as densely populated as Germany (111 residents / km 2). According to iamhigher, 54% of all residents live in cities, the largest are the capital Bratislava and Košice. The official language is Slovak, a language so closely related to Czech that Czechs and Slovaks understand each other very well. The minority languages Hungarian, Romani, German etc. are recognized as the second official language in some municipalities. The share of foreign nationals in the total population is 1.3%.
The constitution guarantees freedom of religion; Church and state are separate. 77% of the population are Christian, most of them Catholic. Around 8% of the population belong to Protestant churches. Jewish and Muslim denominations have few members. 13% of the population state that they do not belong to any denomination.
Regional differences in educational level, housing, economic power and income characterize the country. Well-trained, especially young skilled workers leave the country to work in other European countries, for example in the neighboring country of Austria. Housing prices have risen faster than wages in recent years. The condition of the education and health systems as well as the public institutions are criticized.
The Slovak Republic borders in the north on Poland, in the east on Ukraine, in the south on Hungary, in the south-west on Austria and in the west on the Czech Republic with the Morava (German March) as a border river in the southernmost section.
The Carpathian Mountains form the largest part of the country, especially the Western Carpathians (about 80% of the country is more than 750 m above sea level). The border with the Czech Republic runs across the outer flysch zone: the Bielé Karpaty (White Carpathians, up to 970 m) and Javorniky (Javornik Mountains, up to 1,071 m). Part of the border with Poland is formed by the Beskidy Mountains (Beskids, highest point Babia Góra, 1,725 m). Intramontaneous basins and, in some cases, wide valleys, including the rivers Váh (Waag), Nitra and Hron (Gran), divide the Western Carpathians into mountains and mountain ranges, some of which have the character of high mountains. This is especially true for the Vysoké Tatry (High Tatras) with the Gerlachovský štít (Gerlsdorfer Peak, with 2 655 m above sea level the highest elevation in the Carpathians and the Slovak Republic), Nizké Tatry (Low Tatras, 2 043 m), Vel’ká Fatra (Great Fatra, 1 592 m), Malá Fatra (Little Fatra, 1,709 m) and Slovenské Rudohorie (Slovak Ore Mountains, 1,476 m).
In the extreme east, east of the Duklapass and Ondava Plains (Eastern Slovak Plain), the Slovak part of the Poloniny National Park (the Forest Carpathians with Laborecká vrchovina (Labortzer Bergland) and the volcanically shaped Vihorlatské vrchy (Vihorlat Mountains, 1,076 m) lies Coming, the Danube flows through Bratislava and then forms the Slovak-Hungarian border as far as the Danube Bend. To the north of it, the South-Slovak Plain spreads out in the southwest of the country, with numerous tributaries of the Danube and the Žitný ostrov (the Great Schüttinsel, the landscape of which is already Hungarian Lowlands).
The climate is temperate continental, with increasing continentality to the east. Due to the relief, large climatic differences occur in a small space. The warmest and driest areas are the southern and eastern Slovak plains; here the annual average temperature reaches 10 ° C, the annual rainfall about 500 mm. In the high altitude of the mountains, temperatures range between 0 and 3 ° C and the total rainfall in the High Tatras is around 2,000 mm. In the valley of the Hron (German Gran) near Banská Bystrica the mean temperatures are -3.9 ° C in January and 18.2 ° C in July. With persistent high pressure weather in the winter months, a temperature reversal often occurs (temperatures in the mountain basins are colder than on the surrounding heights).
The mountains are mostly forested, in lower elevations with oak and beech forests, which are replaced by spruce forests with increasing altitude. The upper tree line is reached between 1,450 and 1,500 m above sea level. The mountain pine vegetation zone extends beyond them and merges into an alpine moss and grass landscape. Alluvial forests accompany the rivers in the lowlands. Slovakia has a total of nine national parks, all in the eastern mountains. Industrial emissions, especially from coal-fired power plants, have caused significant forest damage over the past few decades.
Slovakia is rich in animal and plant species. Over 44% of the territory is covered by mixed, coniferous and deciduous forests. In the foothills of the mountains, beech forests dominate, in the mountains oak and spruce forests and, at higher altitudes, stone pines and mountain pines. In addition to many other animal species, wolves, brown bears, chamois and marmots also live here. The upper tree line is between 1,450 and 1,500 m above sea level. Deciduous forests are characteristic of the broad river plains, e.g. B. from Danube, Váh, Hron and Nitra.