When it was announced that US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin were to meet in Bratislava, Slovak Republic on February 23, 2005, many asked the same question Where in the world is Bratislava The lack of available information is understandable. Slovakia was country in isolation behind iron curtain under the hard Russian communist dominance for more than 40 years. The freedom came in anti-communism velvet revolution in 1989 only.
Slovakia is a small (18,933 sq miles) central European country with only 5.4 million inhabitants. Slovak capital Bratislava has a population of approximately 500,000 up to a half of million. The parents of artist Andy, Hollywood movies director and producer Ivan Reitman, and a few National Hockey League players are Slovaks.
The country recently joined the NATO, and is one of 10 European young democracies invited to join the European Union in May of this year. Slovakia is a newcomer on the European map. It established its independent only in 1993. It was part of the Hungarian Kingdom for thousands years before it became part of eastern Czechoslovakia in 1918. Bratislava was the safe residence for Hungarian Kingdom when the Turks army battled under Budapest. There were 10 Hungarian kings and nine queens crowned in Bratislava between 1530 and 1830 years.
It has its own language, culture and rich history. The country, between High Tatras Mountains and Danube River, has been a crossroad of ancient merchant routes from the north to the southeast Europe and the routes from west to east Europe and Asia. There are more than a hundred fortified castles and settlements close to these routes.
Slovakia has the best chance to be one of the most popular tourism destinations in the year 2024, touted a special team of British top tourism trends experts. Their analysis shocked Slovak tourism experts were astonished because the country is virtually unknown. More than 28 million foreign visitors are coming a year, but the great number of them is transit visitors or one-day visitors. Most of tourists are coming from neighbor countries Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Austria.
Throughout Slovakia, a traveler will marvel on the beauty of nature. There are nine national parks, more than a hundred medieval castles, a lot of historical towns, and unique structures such as a folk wooden architecture, rural houses and wooden churches. More than four thousands caves are registered in Slovakia, twelve of them are opened for public. There are only three aragonite caves in the world and one of those mineralogy unique objects is in Ochtina, Slovakia.
Slovakia is an interesting country for family soft summer and active winter holiday. Slovak mountain ranges are dissected by thousand kilometers of tourist paths and tracks; long tracks for bicycling are along river Danube and under the mountains. There are opportunities for skiing, mountaineering, rafting, para gliding, yachting and some new golf places were opened last years.