is one of the youngest Central European members of European Union. The capital city: Bratislava (population: 452.288) Area: 49.035 sq. km (18.933 sq. miles) Population: 5.395.000 (ranks it in 22nd largest in Europe) Government: parliamentary democracy Bordering countries: Austria (127km), The Czech Republic (265km), Hungary (679km), Poland (597km), The Ukraine (98km) Official language: Slovak Other larger regional cities: Košice, Prešov, Nitra, Žilina, Banska Bystrica, Trnava, Martin, Trenčin, Poprad, Prievidza, Zvolen Administrative division: 8 regions and 79 districts Nationality: Slovak (86 %), Hungarian (10,8 %), Romany (1,8 %), Czech (1,2 %), and other (1 %) Religion: Roman-Catholic (60 %), Greek-Catholic (3,4 %), Lutheran-Augsburg denomination (7 %), Reformist (1,6 %), Orthodox (0,6 %) Holidays and Festivals 1.1.- Slovak Republic Day 6.1.- Epiphany (Twelfth Night and Christmas Day of the Orthodox Church). The last Friday before Easter – Good Friday. The First Monday following the vernal equinox – Easter Monday 1.5.- May Day – Labour Day 8.5.- Victory Over Fascism Day 29.8.- Slovak National Uprising Anniversary 1.9- The Slovak Republic constitution Day 15.9.- The Lady of Seven Sorrows Day 1.11.- All Saints Day (All Souls Day) 17.11.- Day of Struggle against Totalitarianism 24.12.- Christmas Eve 25.12.- Christmas Day 26.12.- Boxing Day Elevation above sea level: 95 m (river Bodrog) – 2.656 m (Gerlach peak in the High Tatras) Climate: The Slovak Republic lies in the temperate climate zone at the border between the Atlantic and the continental part of Europe, with distinctive rotation of seasons. The average daily temperature in the wintertime is -2 0C and in summertime 21 0C. The coldest month is January and the warmest months are July and August. In average the snow keeps up in the highest locations 130 days per year. Gastronomy shows the influence of a narrow contact with the neighbouring countries. European meals, home specialities and foreign meals are available. In Bratislava they offen unlimited choice, including kasher food, French meals, as well as the ”smorgasbord”. Motorests and original ”koliba” (chalet) and “tchardas” present all kinds of regional specialities – Slovak cooking from the north of the country to Hungarian and fish meals from the Danubian region to the southern part of the country. Traditional Slovak eating and drinking habits date back to the old Slavic period influenced later by Austrian, German and Hungarian cooking. Slovak food is based on many different kinds of soups, gruels, boiled and stewed vegetables, roast and smoked meats and dairy products. The style of cooking varies from region to region. Slovak specialties include both sweet and savoury dishes made with flour, including dumplings. Popular drinks include Slovak • Bryndzové haluisky (small potato beer, wine and mineral waters. are dumplings with sheep’s cheese). particular specialties, as are wine • Mutton with sauerkraut (flavored from the Tokay region and with prunes, mushrooms and sparkling wine from the apples). Bratislava region. • Cabbage leaves filled with minced meat (served with a milky Restaurants and other catering sauce). establishments are many and • Sulance (potato dough turnovers varied, including cafes, buffets, filled with plum jam snack bars, inns, ale houses and Nacional drink wine taverns. All restaurants are Borovicka (strong gin). graded according to quality. The • Slivovica (plum brandy) main meal of the day is usually lunch, comprising soup, a main meal and desert. The capital of Slovakia , Bratislava, is a pleasant and lively city,which has much to offer the visitor. It is a city with a celebrated past, where empresses lived and musicians like Mozart and Liszt performed. Dating back to 9th century, Bratislava became a centre of trade in the River Danube Basin.Bratislava rejoiced its glory days in 16th century, when it became a coronation city of the Kingdom of Hungary. Another heyday was the 1770s, when Maria Teresa, the Habsburgs’ Empress, made her home in a grand castle perched just above the blue Danube. Bratislava lies very close to both the Austrian and Hungarian frontiers and has a cosmopolitan atmosphere, but with none of the sightseeing crowds of Prague or Vienna. It is a city of contrast, where rococo palaces are neighbours to glass towers of bank headquarters, and a stunning suspension bridge. The best places to start a romantic stroll through Bratislavas medieval old town is the Hviezdoslavovo Square, at the Ganymede fountain, in front of the Slovak National Theatre and the Reduta concert hall. A little northeast of here is the adjoining Main Square a distinguished inlet of ornate building linked by a network of cobblestone pedestrian walkways. This is a cosy quarter edged with Baroque, Rococo and Gothic houses, some of witch have been converted into cafes, restaurants or wine bars. The east side of the square is dominated by the Old Town Hall, a lively blend of Gothic, Renaissance and nineteenth- century styles housing the main City Museum. Close to the Main Square is the Mirbach Palace, the finest of Bratislavas Rococo structure, preserving much of its original stucco decor. The Neoclassical Primates Palace is famous for its Hall of Mirrors, where Napoleon and the Austrian emperor signed the Peace of Pressburg in 1805. And other places: St.Martins Cathedral, Novy most bridge, Good Shepherd, Bratislava Castle, Spiš Castle, St. Catherines Church, Holy Trinity Square, Baroque plague column, The Outdoor Mining Museum, Pieniny National Park ... Leisure activities Hiking in Slovakia National Park, Children camps, Skiing trips, Spa stays, Golf packages, Sport programs, Hunting and fishing, The attraction of this area is suicing on wooden rafs on the biggest canyon in Central Europe on the Dunajec river from the float port Majere – Kvašne Luky – to Lesnica is 11km long, from the Červeny Klaštok port to Lesnica 9km or according to wishes. The cave is situated in the Spiš- gemer Karst, in the National Nature Reserve stratena in the territory of the Slovensky Raj National Park. The lenght is 1,232 m. Ice filling occurs in the forms of floor ice, icefalls, ice stalagmites and columns. The volumr of ice is 110,132 m3, and the greatest thickness of ice is 26,5m.