Slovakia became an independent state in January 1993 after Czechoslovakia split into its two constituent parts.
The country is in the heart of central Europe, linked to its neighbours by the River Danube. The Carpathian Mountains extend across the northern half of the country and include the High Tatras – a popular skiing destination and home to the country’s highest peak – the 2,655m Gerlachovsky. The lowlands of the Danube plain provide a fertile farming region producing wheat, barley, potatoes, sugar beet, fruit, tobacco and grapes.
Ethnically, the population is 86% Slovak; Hungarians are the largest minority. Perched on many hilltops are fortifications that bear witness to Slovakia’s long history of invasions. Bratislava, the coronation place for the kings of Hungary in the past, has a rich heritage of medieval and baroque architecture.
Among the best-known Slovaks are Štefan BaniÄ who invented the parachute in 1913, and Andy Warhol, the American-born pop artist, whose parents were from Slovakia.
Slovakia is a member of the European Union.