1. Tiny Slovakia is a vibrant and diverse nation
Slovakia is a tiny country, measuring in at just over 18,000 square miles - that's less than a third of the size of Minnesota! In fact, you could fit Slovakia into Minnesota three times over, making it one of the smallest countries in Europe. Despite its small size, Slovakia is a vibrant and diverse nation, boasting a rich culture and stunning landscapes.
2. 300 Castles in Slovakia
The small country of Slovakia is home to an impressive 300 castles, which are scattered across its picturesque landscape. These majestic structures, some of which date back to the 12th century, are a reminder of the country's rich history and culture. From the imposing Bratislava Castle to the romantic ruins of Bojnice Castle, visitors to Slovakia can explore a variety of architectural styles and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
3. Slovaks: Highest Non-Gypsy Romani/Gypsy Gene %
In 2009, a chromosomal study revealed that Slovaks have the highest percentage of Romani or gypsy genes of any non-Gypsy population in the world. This finding was particularly remarkable given that Slovakia is a relatively small country, with a population of just over 5 million people. The study showed that approximately 8% of the Slovak population has Romani or gypsy genes, which is significantly higher than the average of other non-Gypsy populations. This suggests that the Romani or gypsy population has had a significant influence on the genetic makeup of the Slovak people.
4. Andy Warhol's Slovakian Roots Influence Art World
The world-renowned pop artist Andy Warhol had Slovakian roots, and in 1980, the tennis champion Martina Hingis was born in Slovakia to a Slovakian father and Czech mother. Warhol's influence on the art world is still felt today, while Hingis has gone on to become one of the most successful female tennis players of all time, winning five Grand Slam singles titles and nine Grand Slam women's doubles titles.
5. UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Slovakia
Slovakia is home to some of the most unique and remarkable caves in the world, with a large number of them being named UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These caves are particularly special due to the presence of rare Aragonite formations, which resemble delicate flowers and are rarely seen elsewhere.
6. Spis Castle: Home to Central Europe's Largest Fortified Castle
Slovakia is home to Central Europe's largest fortified castle, Spis Castle. Located in the Eastern Slovakian region of Spis, the castle is a remarkable example of medieval architecture, with its walls and towers still standing strong after over 800 years. It is one of the largest castle sites in Europe, covering an area of 41 acres and featuring a variety of structures, including a chapel, a palace, and a number of towers. The castle is a popular tourist destination, offering visitors a unique insight into the history and culture of Slovakia.
7. Vampire's Home: Slovakia's Cachtice Castle
The infamous Cachtice castle in Slovakia is the true source of inspiration for the classic horror novel, Dracula. But what many don't know is that the inspiration wasn't a man, but a woman! The castle was home to the 16th century countess Elizabeth Bathory, who was known for her cruel and unusual punishments. Her story of terror and bloodshed has been passed down through the centuries, and is now immortalized in the pages of Bram Stoker's classic novel.
8. Slovakian Cross Found in NYC's St. Patrick's Cathedral
The stunning Celtic cross that adorns the altar of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City was a gift from the Irish, but it was crafted in Slovakia. This exquisite cut-crystal cross is a testament to the skill of Slovakian artisans, who have been creating beautiful crystal pieces for centuries. The intricate details of the cross, from its intricate knotwork to its delicate beveled edges, are a testament to the craftsmanship of the Slovakian artisans who created it.
9. A Country of Many Cultures
Though Bratislava is the capital city of Slovakia, it was not until the mid-20th century that Slovaks began to make up a significant portion of the population. Prior to this, the city was largely populated by Czechs, Hungarians, Germans and Austrians, with very few Slovaks living in the area.
10. Wooden Churches in Slovakia
In Slovakia, there are many churches that are made entirely of wood, without a single nail. This is a rare phenomenon, as for centuries non-Roman Catholic churches were forbidden by law to use any hard materials such as metal or stone in their construction. Despite this, Slovakia has managed to preserve these wooden churches for centuries, making them a marvel to behold.
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