The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south. The largest city is the capital, Bratislava, and the second largest is Košice.
The people of Slovakia are descended from the Slavic people who settled around the Danube river basin in the 6th and 7th centuries. Under communism some industrialization was undertaken and today Slovak society includes both elements of folk traditions and modern society.
The political transformations of 1989 brought new freedoms that have considerably widened the societal outlook of the populace. On January 1, 1993 Slovakia became an independent nation-state.
Slovakia is a member state of the European Union, NATO, United Nations, OECD and WTO among others. Slovakia, Slovenia and Estonia are the only former Communist nations to be part of the European Union, Eurozone, Schengen Area and NATO simultaneously. The official language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic language family.
Slovakia is a parliamentary democratic republic with a multi-party system. The Slovak head of state is the president elected by direct popular vote for a five-year term. Most executive power lies with the head of government, the prime minister.
The Slovak economy is considered an advanced economy, with the country dubbed the “Tatra Tiger”. Slovakia has recently been characterized by sustained high economic growth by rising domestic demand which is also expected to remain the main driving force of economic growth. The gross domestic product grew 3.2 percent in fixed prices during the second quarter of 2015 year on year.
Although Slovakia’s GDP comes mainly from the tertiary (services) sector, the industrial sector also plays an important role within its economy. The main industry sectors are car manufacturing and electrical engineering. Since 2007, Slovakia has been the world’s largest producer of cars per capita.
Bratislava’s geographical position in Central Europe has long made Bratislava a crossroads for international trade traffic. Various ancient trade routes, such as the Amber Road and the Danube waterway, have crossed the territory of present-day Bratislava. Today, Bratislava is the road, railway, waterway and airway hub.