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Slovakia (slōvăˈkēə, slōväˈkēə) or the Slovak Republic, Slovak Slovensko (slôˈvĕnskô), republic (2015 est. pop. 5,439,000), 18,917 sq mi (48,995 sq km), central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic in the west, by Austria in the southwest, by Hungary in the south, by Ukraine in the east, and by Poland in the north. Bratislava is the capital. Slovakia became an independent nation on Jan. 1, 1993, when Czechoslovakia was dissolved.

Land and People

Most of Slovakia is traversed by the Carpathian Mts., including the Tatra and the Beskids. Gerlachovka (8,737 ft/2,663 m) in the High Tatra, is the highest peak. S Slovakia is a part of the Little Alföld, a plain. Its fertile soil is drained by the Danube and its tributaries, notably the Váh. Several of its rivers have been dammed for hydroelectric power. Major cities include Bratislava and Komárno, which are the major Danubian ports; and Košice, Trnava, and Nitra.

Slovaks comprise more than 85% of the population; other groups include Hungarians (about 10%), Romani (Gypsies), and Czechs (who are ethnically and linguistically related to the Slovaks, but have a separate history and cultural traditions). A law passed in 1995, and strongly opposed by Hungarians and other minorities, made Slovak the sole official language; additional minority language restrictions in 2009 led to new tensions (as have laws in Hungary granting ethnic Hungarians special rights). Hungarian is widely spoken in S Slovakia. About 70% of the population profess Roman Catholicism, and there are significant Protestant (mainly Lutheran), Eastern Orthodox, and Uniate minorities.


Farms, vineyards, orchards, and pastures for stock form the basis of S Slovakia's economy. The main crops are wheat, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, and fruit. Pigs, cattle, and poultry are raised. The mountainous part of Slovakia has vast forests and pastures, used for intensive sheep grazing, and is rich in mineral resources, including coal, high-grade iron ore, copper, manganese, lead, and zinc. There are also numerous mineral springs, notably at Piešt'any, and many popular resorts. Slovakia has undergone considerable industrialization and urbanization since World War II. Its industries produce metals and metal products, foods and beverages, electricity, oil and gas, coke, nuclear fuel, chemicals, synthetic fibers, machinery, paper, ceramics, motor vehicles, textiles, electrical and optical instruments, and rubber products. Exports include vehicles, machinery, electrical equipment, metals, chemicals, minerals, and plastics. The main imports are machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, and chemicals. Its main trading partners are Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, and Poland.


Slovakia is governed under the constitution of 1992 as amended. The president, who is the head of state, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The prime minister, who is the head of government, is appointed by the president with the approval of the legislature, as is the cabinet. The unicameral legislature, the National Council, has 150 members who are popularly elected by proportional representation for four-year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into 8 regions.


The Slovaks in History

The area now constituting Slovakia was settled by Slavic tribes in the 5th–6th cent. A.D. In the 9th cent. Slovakia formed part of the great empire of Moravia, under whose rulers Christianity was introduced by Saints Cyril and Methodius. From the Magyar conquest of Slovakia early in the 10th cent. until 1918, Slovakia was generally under Hungarian rule. German and Jewish settlements in Slovakian cities date from the Middle Ages; most of the Slovaks remained peasants in the countryside, although some became burghers. Czech-Slovak contacts, broken after the demise of the Moravian empire, were restored by the 14th cent.; and the 15th-century Hussite movement in Bohemia enjoyed influence in Slovakia.

After the Ottoman Turkish victory at Mohács in 1526 over Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia, Slovakia, along with western Hungary, fell under Hapsburg rule. It thus escaped Turkish domination but became a stronghold of the great Hungarian nobles, who owned most of the land and treated the Slovaks with contempt. Slovakia, however, played an important political role, with Bratislava serving as the Hapsburg capital, until all of Hungary was finally freed from the Turks in the late 17th cent. Slovakia also enjoyed more religious toleration than much of the Hapsburg empire, and Protestantism thrived.

In the 18th cent. Maria Theresa and Joseph II pursued religious freedom and social reform in Slovakia but greatly intensified Germanization. This policy spurred a Slovak national revival, which grew steadily in the 19th cent. The Catholic clergy, which constituted the only sizable body of Slovak intellectuals, exercised the main leadership of the nationalist movement. L'udovít Štúr became the father of the modern Slovak literary language. During the anti-Hapsburg revolutions of 1848, Štúr joined Czech representatives in a Pan-Slav congress at Prague. Also in 1848, the Slovaks formulated a set of demands for increased political and linguistic rights.

Some clashes between Slovaks and Hungarians occurred, and Magyarization lessened temporarily; but after the Ausgleich establishing the dual Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1867, Magyarization again intensified, thus further heightening Slovak nationalism. Large-scale immigration (1900–1910) of the landless Slovak peasants to America gave the Slovak independence movement considerable support in the United States during World War I, during which the Slovaks and other nationalities of the Hapsburg empire agitated for freedom.

The Birth of Czechoslovakia

The so-called Pittsburgh Declaration, signed by Czech and Slovak patriots in May, 1918, provided for a united Czechoslovak republic, in which Slovakia would retain broad autonomy, with its own governmental institutions and official language. On Oct. 30 the Slovak National Council formally proclaimed independence from Hungary and incorporation into Czechoslovakia. The new republic's boundaries, established in 1920 by the Treaty of Trianon, encompassed areas where more than one million Hungarians lived. Hungary, meanwhile, continued to claim at least part of Slovakia, while a large Slovak People's party, led by Monsignor Andrej Hlinka, accused the Czechoslovak government of denying Slovakia the autonomous rights promised. Indeed, from 1918 until 1938, Slovakia held the status of a simple province, although the Slovak language was official within its boundaries.

The minority problem was complicated by religion: the majority of Slovaks were Catholic, while the Prague government was distinctly anticlerical. Monsignor Hlinka and his successor as leader of the Slovak People's party, Father Jozef Tiso, demanded full autonomy for Slovakia on a basis of complete equality for both Czechs and Slovaks. After the Munich Pact of 1938, Slovakia became an autonomous state within reorganized Czecho-Slovakia, with Father Tiso as Slovak premier. At the same time a large part of S Slovakia was ceded to Hungary and some northern districts to Poland. When the Prague government dismissed (Mar., 1939) Tiso as premier, he appealed to Adolf Hitler, who used this appeal as a pretext for making Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia a German protectorate.

Slovakia became a nominally independent state under German protection and Tiso's one-party rule. Tiso allowed German troops to occupy Slovakia in Aug., 1939, and entered World War II as Germany's ally. A Slovak underground movement gained strength, however, and powerfully aided the Soviet troops who drove the Germans out of Slovakia late in 1944. The Allied victory in 1945 restored Slovakia to its territorial status before the Munich Pact, and the constitution of 1948 recognized Slovakia as one of the constituent states of a reestablished Czechoslovakia; the other state was composed of Bohemia, Moravia, and a small part of Silesia. The constitution also established separate government organs for Slovakia.

The Rise and Fall of Communism

The accession in 1948 of a Communist government in Czechoslovakia revived the old antagonism between Czechs and Slovaks. The Catholic clergy in Slovakia, militantly opposed to Communism, was persecuted, and the Slovak government came entirely under the control of the Czechoslovak Communist party, which began to transfer authority from Bratislava to Prague. In 1960 a new constitution seriously curtailed Slovakia's autonomy. The liberal Communist regime of Alexander Dubček, which came into power in 1967, responded to Slovak discontent by promising federalization of Czechoslovakia.

Despite the invasion (1968) of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union, the new Socialist Federal Republic came into being on Jan. 1, 1969; the constituent Czech and Slovak republics received autonomy over local affairs, with the federal government responsible for foreign relations, defense, and finance. The fall of the Communist regime at the end of 1989 revived Slovakia's drive for autonomy. Dissatisfied with their minority status in the federal government, many Slovaks called for a loose confederation of the Czech and Slovak Republics, while others advocated complete independence.

An Independent Slovakia

In 1992, as free-market reforms brought on economic problems and widespread dissatisfaction, nationalists led by Slovak premier Vladimír Mečiar came to power. A constitution for an independent Slovakia was approved and on Jan. 1, 1993, the country became independent. An inefficient and obsolete industrial base, rising inflation, and high unemployment were among the problems facing the republic. Mečiar was ousted in Mar., 1994, and Jozef Moravčík became prime minister. Following elections in Oct., 1994, Mečiar returned to power at the head of a coalition government.

A continuing stalemate between Mečiar and Slovakian president Michal Kováč hindered Slovakian efforts to win credibility abroad and join the Western community. The Mečiar government was criticized for its handling of the privatization of state-owned businesses and for its backing of controversial legislation, including a law making Slovak the sole official language. Slovakia's inefficient, defense-oriented industrial base contracted, and the country did not receive needed foreign investment. When Kováč's term was up in Mar., 1998, a divided parliament was unable to appoint a successor; the constitution was amended to allow for direct election of the president.

The Mečiar government was defeated in Sept., 1998, by a four-party center-right coalition, and Mikuláš Dzurinda became prime minister. Mečiar ran for president in 1999, but was defeated by Rudolf Schuster, who pledged to steer a more pro-European course. Dzurinda's government overhauled the tax and social welfare systems and worked to attract foreign investment; the economy subsequently experienced significant growth. Dzurinda's coalition retained power after the 2002 parliamentary elections.

Slovakia became a member of NATO in Mar., 2004, and of the European Union in May. In April, Ivan Gašparovič was elected as Schuster's successor. Mečiar again mounted a campaign for the presidency and won the first round of voting, but he was soundly defeated in the runoff. In the June, 2006, parliamentary elections the leftist party Smer [direction], led by Róbert Fico, won the largest number of seats, and the following month Fico became prime minister of a coalition government that included Mečiar's party and the right-wing Nationalist party. President Gašparovič was returned to office in Apr., 2009, following a runoff election.

The June, 2010, parliamentary elections resulted in an increase to Smer's share of the vote, but a coalition of conservative parties secured a majority of the seats and formed a government. Iveta Radičová became prime minister; she was the first woman to hold the post. Coalition divisions over the eurozone rescue fund led to the fall of the government in Oct., 2011 (though the rescue was then approved with opposition support). Early elections were called for Mar., 2012; Smer won a majority of the seats, and Fico again became prime minister. In the Mar., 2014, presidential election, Fico was a candidate and led after the first round, but he lost to businessman and political independent Andrej Kiska in the runoff.

Smer lost its majority in the Mar., 2016, parliamentary election, but remained the largest party, and Fico cobbled together a coalition with two smaller parties. The murder in Feb., 2018, of a journalist who had investigated government corruption and organized crime led to large protest demonstrations and forced Fico's resignation the following month. Peter Pellegrini, a deputy prime minister and member of Smer, succeeded him.

In the Mar., 2019, presidential election, political newcomer and liberal environmental activist Zuzana Čaputová easily won the office; she became the first woman to be elected president of the country. In the Feb., 2020, elections, the Ordinary People party won a quarter of the vote and more than a third of the seats in parliament; Smer placed second. Igor Matovič, Ordinary People's party leader, formed a four-party center-right government in March.


See J. Lettrich, History of Modern Slovakia (1955); G. L. Oddo, Slovakia and its People (1960); E. Steiner, The Slovak Dilemma (1973); S. J. Kirschbaum, Slovak Politics (1983); B. Chnoupek, A Breaking of Seals: The French Resistance in Slovakia (1988).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Slovensko), Slovak Socialist Republic, SSR (Slovenská Socialistická Republika), a republic in Czechoslovakia. Situated in the eastern part of the country, Slovakia has an area of 49,000 sq km and a population of 4.72 million (estimate, Jan. 1, 1975), or one-third of the country’s population. Slovaks constitute 85.5 percent of the population, Hungarians 12 percent, Czechs about 1 percent, and Ukrainians about 1 percent. About 40 percent of the inhabitants are urban dwellers. The capital is Bratislava. Other large cities include Košice, Prešov, Žilina, and Banská Bystrica. Administratively, it is divided into three regions: Western Slovakia, Central Slovakia, and Eastern Slovakia.

Slovakia is a socialist republic. Along with the Czech Socialist Republic, Slovakia is an equal and voluntary member of a federal state, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (CSR). The principles of the state system are set forth in the Constitution of the CSR of 1960 and the Constitutional Law of 1968 on the Czechoslovak Federation. The highest governmental organ and the sole legislative body is the Slovak National Council, whose members are elected to five-year terms by the republic’s citizens on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage and secret balloting. The republic’s government (ministers) is appointed by the Presidium of the National Council.

Much of Slovakia lies within the Western Carpathians, for the most part low- and middle-altitude mountains with gentle, rounded land forms. Only the High Tatra in the north have rocky peaks with alpine relief, snowcaps, and traces of ancient glaciation. The elevation reaches 2,655 m in Gerlachovský Štít, the highest peak in the Carpathians. To the south, the mountains are lower, forming several ridges that stretch either in a sublatitudinal direction (Low Tatra and Slovak Ore Mountains) or from southwest to northeast (Vel’ka and Mala Fatra). In the east rise the Vihorlat and other ridges of the Eastern Carpathians. Plains occupy small areas in the southwest (Danubian Lowland) and the southeast (Potisie Lowland).

The climate is moderately continental. On the plains, the average January temperature ranges from – 1° to –3°C and the average July temperature from 19° to 21°C. In the High Tatra, winter temperatures fall to - 12°C, and summer temperatures average 8°C. The precipitation averages 500-700 mm a year, with the mountains receiving as much as 1,000 mm. The snow cover on the plains is not stable; in the mountains, it lasts for up to three months. Most of Slovakia’s rivers are tributaries of the Danube, which runs along its southwestern border.

The valleys of the main rivers—the Váh, Nitra, Hron, and Ondava—are densely settled. The mountains are generally covered with woods, which occupy more than one-third of the territory of Slovakia. On the southern slopes the forests are for the most part broadleaf (oak, beech) or mixed; the northern slopes are covered with coniferous forests of spruce and fir. Most of the lowlands have been plowed up. Iron, manganese, and po-lymetallic ores and deposits of antimony and magnesite are found chiefly in the Slovak Ore Mountains.

Slovakia has been inhabited since the Middle Paleolithic, as shown by remains found at the site of Ganovce. In the fifth century B.C. it was settled by Thracian tribes, and in the third century B.C. by Celts. In the first century A.D. part of Slovakia was occupied by the Romans. In the middle of the first millennium A.D., Slavs became the dominant ethnic element. In the seventh century Slovakia became part of the Samo state, and in the ninth and early tenth centuries, it was included in the Great Moravian State.

In the 11th century, after a long struggle between the Přemyslides of Bohemia, the Piasts of Poland, and the Magyars, Slovakia was annexed by the Kingdom of Hungary, remaining under Hungarian rule until the formation of a unified Czechoslovak state in 1918. The Magyar conquest interrupted the formation of a single nationality through the amalgamation of Bohemian-Moravian and Slovak tribes. In 1241-42 a large part of Slovakia was invaded by the Mongol-Tatars. Feudal fragmentation in the Kingdom of Hungary enabled Slovak feudal magnates to carve out independent domains, such as that of Mathias Csak of Trenčin in western Slovakia (1301–21) and the Omodej holdings in eastern Slovakia (1301–12). The independence of these domains was ended by the Anjou kings, who pursued a policy of centralization. Slovakia was colonized by Germans in the 13th and 14th centuries. The personal dependence of the peasantry was reinforced in the mid-14th century.

The Hussite revolutionary movement of the first half of the 15th century had an impact on Slovakia, which was occupied by Taborite forces from 1428 to 1433 during their campaign against Hungary. An antifeudal movement known as the Brethren movement developed between 1445 and 1471. The spread of Hussite ideas in Slovakia promoted the strengthening of Bo-hemian-Slovakian linguistic and cultural ties. The Slovak peasantry took part in the antifeudal uprising led by György Dózsa in 1514, and after its suppression, they were bound to the land, along with the Hungarian peasantry, “for all time.” The Reformation spread to Slovakia in the 16th century. In the mid-16th century, southern Slovakia was seized by the Ottoman Turks, and the remaining territory became part of the multinational Hapsburg monarchy. After the Austro-Turkish War of 1683— 99, the Hapsburgs annexed the rest of Slovakia as well. In the 17th and early 18th centuries Slovakia was the scene of anti-Hapsburg uprisings led by Hungarian feudal lords; the rebellion headed by Ferenc II Rákóczy lasted from 1703 to 1711.

The growth of capitalist relations in the late 18th and early 19th centuries contributed to the rise of the national movement in Slovakia, which called for the development of Slovak culture and language and opposed the policy of Magyarization being carried out by the Hungarian nobility. The antifeudal struggle intensified in the first half of the 19th century, as reflected in the armed rebellions of Slovak peasants in 1818–20 and the peasant uprising in 1831. Bratislava became the center of the Slovak national movement, led by L. Štúr from the mid 1830’s. The first program of the Slovak nation, drawn up in 1842, included such demands as the right to publish Slovak newspapers and magazines and the use of Slovak as the language of instruction in schools.

The outbreak of the Revolution of 1848–49 in the Hapsburg Empire sparked a broad spontaneous popular movement in Slovakia. The revolutionary struggle of Slovak peasants, artisans, and miners reached its peak between late March and May 1848. Such leaders of the national movement as Štúr, J. M. Hur-ban, and M. Hodža advocated bourgeois-democratic reforms and national equality for the Slovaks. The programmatic Demands of the Slovak People adopted in Liptovský Mikuláš on May 10, 1848, were rejected by the Hungarian government, enabling the Hapsburgs to make use of the Slovaks in their struggle against revolutionary Hungary.

The Slovak national movement gained momentum in the early 1860’s. A national program called the Memorandum of the Slovak People was drawn up in 1861 by a congress convened in Turčianský Svätý Martin. Subsequently known as the Martin Declaration of 1861, the program demanded autonomy for Slovakia; it was rejected by the Hungarian government. The transformation of the Hapsburg Empire into Austria-Hungary in 1867 reinforced the oppression of Slovaks by Hungarian landlords. Magyarization was accompanied by the closing of Slovak Gymnasiums in 1874 and the Matice Slovenská (founded in 1863) in 1875.

Until the end of the 19th century, it was primarily the intelligentsia and the weak national bourgeoisie that headed the Slovak national movement. Class consciousness was slow to develop among the industrial proletariat in economically backward Slovakia. The industrial proletariat became an active political force only in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In June 1905 the Slovak Social Democratic Party was founded in Bratislava; the next year it merged with the Social Democratic Party of Hungary. Several distinct currents emerged in the Slovak bourgeois national movement in the early 20th century: conservative, liberal (led by V. Srobar), clerical (A. Hlinka), and agrarian (M. Hodža).

During World War I the movement for national and social liberation gathered force. Slovaks joined the Czechoslovak military units organized in the Entente countries by M. R. Štefánik and others. The victory of the Great October Revolution in Russia contributed to a further upsurge in the revolutionary and national liberation movement. The working people of Slovakia took part in the general political strike in Austria-Hungary in January 1918, and large demonstrations broke out in Slovakia on May 1, 1918. In October 1918, the Slovak National Council was formed from among representatives of the bourgeois and reformist parties. On October 30, after the proclamation of the Czechoslovak Republic by the National Committee in Prague, the Council promulgated the Martin Declaration on Slovakia’s inclusion in a unified Czechoslovak state. The dominant position in the newly created Czechoslovak state was held by the Czech bourgeoisie.

At the end of 1918, Hungarian troops were withdrawn from Slovakia, which came under control of the Czechoslovak bourgeois republic. With the formation of the Hungarian Soviet Republic on Mar. 21, 1919, the revolutionary upsurge in Slovakia intensified. The Slovak Soviet Republic, proclaimed in Prešov on June 16, was destroyed by interventionist forces on July 7. The working people of Slovakia took part in the general political strike of December 1920. In January 1921, a congress of Slovak and Transcarpathian Ukrainian left-wing Social Democrats was held in Lubochna, and in May the left-wing Social Democrats of Slovakia and Transcarpathia and the Czech left-wing Social Democrats united to form the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPC).

As part of the Czechoslovak bourgeois state, Slovakia remained an economically underdeveloped region. The Czech bourgeoisie regarded Slovakia as a source of agricultural produce and raw materials for the Czech industrial regions. The Slovak working people’s anger at social and national oppression was exploited by the Slovak Populist Party, founded in 1918 and headed by A. Hlinka until 1938, which sought to intensify the nationalist and separatist movement. After the Munich Agreement of 1938, Slovak fascists gained autonomy for Slovakia under a government headed by J. Tiso. A wave of chauvinism engulfed Slovakia. In October 1938 the CPC was banned and trade unions were dissolved. The Tiso government created the Hlinka Guard along the lines of the Nazi SS. By the Vienna Arbitration of 1938, southern Slovakia was transferred to Horthy’s Hungary.

On Mar. 14, 1939, fascist Germany inspired the proclamation of Slovakia as an “independent state” under the “protection” of Germany. Slovakia became a satellite of fascist Germany and joined the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1941. The clerical-fascist puppet government of Slovakia established a totalitarian regime. The conditions of underground work necessitated the formation of the Communist Party of Slovakia (CPS) as an independent organization operating under the direction of the CPC. From 1941 the antifascist movement in Slovakia spread under the leadership of the Communists. The Central National Revolutionary Committee was established in Bratislava in March 1942 to direct the national liberation struggle in Slovakia, and that summer the first partisan detachments were created. In 1943 the underground Slovak National Council was organized under the leadership of K. Schmidke. These events were an important step in the creation of the National Front of Czechs and Slovaks, later called the National Front of Czechoslovakia.

From the spring of 1944 the partisan movement in Slovakia intensified under the influence of the victories of the Soviet Army. On the initiative of the leaders of the CPS, notably K. Schmidke, G. Husák, and L. Novomeský, the Slovak National Council began making preparations for an armed uprising in Slovakia. The entry of Nazi troops into Slovakia on Aug. 29, 1944, served as a signal for the Slovak National Uprising, which culminated in the antifascist resistance in Slovakia and marked the beginning of the national democratic revolution in the country. The Soviet Army’s Eastern Carpathian Operation of 1944 tied up the bulk of the Nazi troops in Slovakia and allowed the Slovak people to continue their struggle for freedom. In January 1945, Soviet Army units liberated Prešov, Košice, and several other cities in Slovakia from the German fascist aggressors. The Slovak National Council took over the administration of the liberated territory. On April 4, Soviet troops liberated Bratislava.

The liberation of Slovakia from the German fascist aggressors created the preconditions for the reunification of the Czech lands and Slovakia within a people’s Czechoslovakia. The Košice Program, adopted Apr. 5, 1945, proclaimed, among other democratic principles, the equality of the Czech and Slovak peoples. With the restoration of Czechoslovakia’s independence through the liberation of Slovakia and the Czech lands from the German fascist aggressors, as well as the establishment of a people’s democratic system in Slovakia, far-reaching socioeconomic transformations (including the first stage of an agrarian reform) were initiated in both Slovakia and the Czech lands. The forces of reaction tried to hinder the implementation of further democratic reforms in Slovakia. After the May 1946 elections to the National Assembly, the Democratic Party, founded in 1945, gained control of the Slovak National Council and the Board of Commissioners. The Board was an agency of state power in liberated Slovakia until its merger with the Slovak National Council in 1960.

The decisive action of the Slovak people, led by the CPS, in the fall of 1947 averted the danger of Slovakia becoming a bridgehead of counterrevolution. In February 1948 the working people of Slovakia, along with the working class and the laboring peasantry of the entire country, inflicted a decisive defeat on the bourgeoisie, which was attempting to carry out a counterrevolutionary coup. The February victory opened the way for the construction of a socialist society.

The Slovak and Czech people embarked on the construction of socialism, the victory of which in Czechoslovakia was reinforced by law in the Constitution of July 11, 1960. The CPS and the working people of Slovakia contributed to the successful implementation of measures to eliminate the consequences of the activity of forces hostile to the socialist system who in 1968 sought to separate Czechoslovakia from the socialist community. The Constitutional Law, which was adopted by the National Assembly and went into effect on Jan. 1, 1969, transformed the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic into a federal state of two equal peoples, the Czechs and the Slovaks, and made the Slovak Socialist Republic one of two equal socialist republics in a federation.

During the years of socialist construction Slovakia became an industrially developed republic with a highly productive agriculture. An important role in this process was played by the policies of the CPC, aimed at raising Slovakia’s economy to the level found in Czech regions. The realization of this program depended not only on Slovakia’s resources but on the entire Czechoslovak economy and the aid of the Czech working class. A rapid rate of industrialization, the development of culture, science, and education, and a substantial rise in the people’s living standard have brought many of Slovakia’s economic indexes close to those of the Czech areas.

Slovakia has several political parties: the Communist Party of Slovakia, a regional organization of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia; the Slovak Reconstruction Party, founded in 1948; and the Slovak Freedom Party, established in 1946. Founded in September 1968, the National Front of the Slovak Socialist Republic belongs, on a federal basis, to the National Front of Czechoslovakia.


Slovakia is a developed industrial and agricultural republic. About 45 percent of its work force is employed in industry and construction and about 15 percent in agriculture. In 1973, Slovakia contributed 27 percent of Czechoslovakia’s national income (15 percent in 1937), 26 percent of its industrial output (7 percent), and 33 percent of its agricultural output (23 percent). The republic’s position on the main route between Czechoslovakia and the USSR exerts a considerable influence on the development of Slovakia’s economy and economic structure.

Under people’s rule, the socialist industrialization of Slovakia is being carried out at a rapid rate. Industrial production has increased by nearly 30 times since the prewar period, and its structure has changed markedly. There has been especially strong growth in machine building and metalworking, which now together account for about 30 percent of the value of Slovakia’s industrial output, in ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, which contribute about 13 percent, and in the chemical industry, which accounts for more than 10 percent.

Slovakia produced about 11 billion kilowatt hours of electrical energy in 1973. Most of the electricity was generated by a series of hydroelectric power plants on the Váh River, by the large Vojany and Nováky steam power plants, and by a nuclear power station at Jaslovské Bohunice (with a capacity of 150 megawatts). In 1973 more than 5 million tons of brown coal and lignite were extracted, chiefly near Handlová and Nováky, and 1.5 million tons of iron ore were mined in the Slovak Ore Mountains. That year Slovakia produced 2 million tons of iron, 3 million tons of steel, and 2 million tons of rolled iron, chiefly at the Eastern Slovakia Metallurgical Combine in Košice. About 48,000 tons of aluminum were produced at Žiar nad Hronom using Hungarian bauxites, and 16,000 tons of copper were smelted at Krompachy.

Slovakia produces about one-fourth of Czechoslovakia’s machine-building output (1973), including radios, television sets, refrigerators, motorcycles, ships, ball bearings, washing machines, some types of machine tools, and electrical engineering equipment. It also accounts for more than half of the national output of freight cars. The developing chemical industry is based on the processing of oil and natural gas. Bratislava’s large petrochemical combine, Slovnaft, refines oil coming from the USSR via the Druzhba pipeline, and the nitrogen fertilizer plant at Šal’a uses natural gas obtained from the USSR via the Bratstvo pipeline. Slovakia produces various types of mineral fertilizers (two-fifths of the national output), plastics, and synthetic fibers.

Forestry and woodworking are important. Slovakia’s large building-materials industry accounts for more than 30 percent of the national output, and its food industry contributes 27 percent of the country’s output. Textiles, leather footwear, and other branches of light industry are well developed. The main industrial centers and regions are Bratislava, Košice and its environs, the middle and upper Váh regions, the Hron region, the area around Handlová and Nováky, and Prešov and its environs.

The gross agricultural output doubled between 1936 and 1973, and the commercial output nearly quadrupled. The socialist sector owns 90 percent of the arable land. Livestock raising provides 52 percent of the value of the agricultural output and crop cultivation, 48 percent. In 1937 they accounted for 41 percent and 59 percent, respectively. Grain, chiefly wheat, barley, and corn, is a leading crop, and such industrial crops as oil-bearing plants, sugar beets, and tobacco are also grown. Fruit growing and viticulture are well developed. Hogs, dairy cows, and poultry are raised in the south, and sheep and beef cattle in the mountainous areas.

The transport system has been modernized during the years of socialist construction. The main line connecting Černá, Žilina, and Ostrava has been electrified. There is navigation on the Danube; the chief ports are Bratislava and Komárno.


In the 1973–74 school year, more than 133,000 children attended kindergarten, and about 717,000 were enrolled in compulsory nine-year primary schools. That year the secondary general schools (Gymnasiums), offering a four-year program, had an enrollment of some 53,000 students; the one-, two-, and three-year trade schools, about 121,500 students; the four-year secondary vocational schools, more than 104,000: and the 13 higher educational institutions, 55,600.

The major educational institutions are the J. A. Komenský Bratislava University (founded in 1919), the Slovak Technical College, the School of Economics, the Conservatory, and the Higher School of Fine Arts, all in Bratislava; the P. Šafařík University, the Technical University, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Conservatory in Košice; and the College of Transport Engineering in Žilina.

The highest scientific institution is the Slovak Academy of Sciences, which works with government bodies in planning scientific work and directing research in the republic. Located in Bratislava are the Virology Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and research institutions run by various government departments, including institutes of welding and pedagogy. Žilina has a hydrology center and geological survey, and Prešov has a branch of the research institute of soil science and crop cultivation. A number of research institutions function under the auspices of higher educational institutions, among them the institutes of chemical physics and hydraulic machinery under the Slovak Technical University and the Institute of Transportation Problems under the College of Transport Engineering. In all, more than 80 research institutes and 13 higher educational institutions conduct scientific research. Important work is also done by the Matice Slovenská and other learned and educational societies.

The largest libraries are the Matice Slovenská in Martin (founded in 1863), containing 1.85 million volumes, the university library in Bratislava (1919) with 1.2 million volumes, and state scientific libraries in Košice, Zvolen, and other cities.

The principal museums are the Slovak National Museum in Bratislava (founded in 1924) and Martin (1893), the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava, the Eastern Slovakia Museum in Košice (1872), and the Central Slovakia Museum and Museum of the Slovak National Uprising in Banksá Bystrica.

In 1975,11 dailies, 30 other newspapers, and a number of periodicals were published in Slovakia. The leading newspapers, issued in Bratislava, are the daily Pravda (since 1920), the organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovakia (circulation 270,000); the daily Práca (since 1946), the organ of the Slovak Revolutionary Trade Union Movement (circulation 189,000); the weekly Sloboda (since 1946), the central organ of the Slovak Freedom Party (circulation 5,500); the daily L’ud (since 1948), the organ of the Slovak Reconstruction Party (circulation 23,000); and Smena (since 1948), a young people’s daily published by the Central Committee of the Union of Slovak Youth (circluation 128,000).

Slovak Radio, a national organization in Czechoslovak Radio, has two main networks: Bratislava and Devín. Slovak Television, a national organization of Czechoslovak Television, broadcasts from Bratislava.

In 1971 there were 46,100 beds in hospitals and other medical institutions (101 beds for every 10,000 people). In 1973, Slovakia had 10,500 doctors, or one for every 442 inhabitants. Popular health resorts include the balneological resorts of Piešt’any and Sliač and the mountain climatic resort of Štrbské Pleso.

The origin of the written language is associated with the activity of the brothers Cyril and Methodius in the second half of the ninth century. After the Slovak lands were included in the Hungarian Kingdom, medieval Latin became dominant. The spread of Hussite ideas in the first half of the 15th century and of the Reformation in the first half of the 16th century contributed to the displacement of Latin by the Czech written language, which absorbed elements of Slovak popular speech.

The struggle against the Turks engendered such heroic epics as The Song of the Sighet Fortress (1566). The feudal-Catholic reaction that occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries hindered the development of a secular literature. Among the religious and didactic works of this period the poetry of P. Benický (1603-64), S. Pilárik (1615-93), and H. Gavlovič (1712–87) is noteworthy for its democratic sentiments. Antifeudal protest found expression in folk tales, ballads, and a song cycle about the people’s avenger Jánošík.

The democratization of culture began in the 1780’s and continued throughout the period of national awakening. J. I. Bajza (1755-1836) sought to establish the west Slovak folk dialect as the literary language. In 1787 the philologist A. Bernolák laid down the norms of a Slovak literary language that came to be called bernoláčina. J. Fándly (1750–1811) wrote learned didactic prose in bernoláčina. Concurrently, a Czech-language literature was developing, chiefly in Protestant circles (J. Palkovič, 1769-1850; A. Doležal, 1737-1802). Enlightenment poetry reached a high point in the works of B. Tablic (1769–1832) and P. J. Šafařík (1795–1861). The narrative poem Daughter of Sláva (1824) by J. Kollár (1793-1852) helped popularize the idea of Slavic unity in the 1820’s and 1830’s. Classical tendencies were reflected in the epics by J. Holly (1785–1849), who wrote in bernoláčina. The comedies of the first Slovak playwright, J. Chalupka (1791–1871), dealt with patriotic themes.

From the 1840’s to the 1870’s the dominant literary trend was “Štúr romanticism,” named after L. Štúr (1815–56), who propounded the idea of national literature and founded the modern Slovak literary language based on dialects spoken in central Slovakia. Revolutionary and patriotic themes recurred in the works of the romantic poets S. Chalupka (1812-83), A. Sládkovič (1820–72), and J. Botto (1829–81). In the poetry of J. Král’ (1822–76) patriotism blended with the idea of popular revolution. Historical and romantic novellas were written by J. Hurban (1817-88) and J. Kalinčiak (1822-71). Didactic realism distinguished the plays and satirical prose of J. Záborský (1812–76).

Realism gained ground in the 1880’s, partly owing to the strengthening of ties with Russian literature. The poetry of the versatile writer P. Hviezdoslav (1849–1921) was free of romantic pathos and allegory without losing its civic message. Romantic elements persisted in prose, which dealt with the theme of national liberation and moral questions (S. Vajanský, 1847-1916). The short stories and novellas of M. Kukučin (1860–1928) portrayed peasant life. The ascendancy of realism coincided with the development of literary criticism by Vajanský, J. Skultéty (1853-1947), and F. Votruba (1880-1953). J. VIček (1860-1930) made an important contribution to literary scholarship. From the 1890’s a growing social awareness and an analytical approach to contemporary life marked the writings of the realists B. Timrava (1867-1951), J. Jesenský (1874-1945), and J. Tajovský (1874–1940). Appearing in the early 20th century, Slovak modernism was a complex blend of realism, impressionism, and symbolism. Its leading exponents were I. Krasko (1876-1958), I. Gall (1885-1955), and V. Roy (1885-1936).

The formation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918 stimulated ideological, aesthetic, and thematic changes in literature. A group of writers who were influenced by revolutionary Czech and Soviet literature rallied around the Marxist journal Dav (1924–37), among them the poets J. Poničan (born 1902) and L. Novomeský (born 1904), the prose writer P. Jilemnický (1901–49), and the critic E. Urx (1903–42). Intensified social conflicts and the growing fascist threat in the 1930’s prompted the progressive intelligentsia to form a broad front. Novels of social analysis were written by M. Urban (born 1904), J. Cíger Hronský (1896-1962), M. Rázus (1888-1937), and G. Vámoš (1901-56). The social-revolutionary novel and realistic satire flourished (J. Jesenský’s poetry and prose and the plays of I. Stodola [born 1888]). Civic motifs became more prominent in the lyrics of E. B. Lukáč (born 1900), F. Král’ (1903-55), J. Smrek (born 1898), and M. Hal’amová (born 1908). The outstanding poetic achievement of this period was Novomeský’s anthology The Saint Outside the Town (1939). P. Jilemnický’s novels The Untilled Field (1932) and The Compass Within Us (1937) were an important contribution to socialist realism. Concurrently, neoromantic tendencies emerged in prose (lyric prose), and surrealistic currents appeared in poetry.

Under the Slovak puppet government (1939–45), Jesenský, Smrek, and Král’ wrote illegal antifascist poetry, and Poničan, L. Ondrejov (1901-62), D. Chrobák (1907–51), and F. Svantner (1912-50) produced “encoded” literature—analogy and allegory—as an expression of national resistance. The surrealists R. Fabry (born 1915), V. Reisel (born 1910), and P. Bunčák (born 1915) wrote antiwar poetry, and a sense of tragedy infused the lyrics of P. Horov (born 1914) and V. Beniak (1894-1973).

After the establishment of a people’s democratic system, Slovak literature matured in the course of socialist construction, striving for a fuller, more vigorous representation of life. The portrayal of the antifascist struggle acquired greater depth through an analysis of the path that had been traversed and an understanding of the changes that had occurred in the national consciousness. These qualities are best exemplified in the trilogy Generation (1958-61) by V. Mináč (born 1922), in the novel The Dead Don’t Sing (1961) by R. Jašík (1919-60), and in the novels of J. Horák (1907-74), F. Hečko (1905-60), and A. Bednár (born 1914). Outstanding socialist poetry was written by Novomeský, A. Plávka (born 1907), J. Kostra (born 1910), Š. Žary (born 1918), V. Mihálik (born 1926), and M. Válek (born 1927).

A number of gifted young writers emerged in the 1960’s, among them the poets M. Kováč (born 1934) and J. Mihalkovič (born 1935) and the prose writers J. Kot (born 1936), V. Šikula (born 1936), and P. Jaroš (born 1940). The playwrights I. Bukovčan (1921-75), J. Solovič (born 1934), and O. Zahradnik (born 1932) have contributed to the revival of drama. In recent years greater attention has been given to literary criticism and scholarship. The principal research center is the Institute for the Study of Literature of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, founded in 1953.


Works of primitive art that have survived on Slovak territory include Patheolithic female figurines, Neolithic linear pottery (Bandkeramik), objects found in the Bronze Age fortified hill settlement at Maďarovca, and artifacts belonging to the Lausitz and Hallstatt cultures. The Thracians, Scythians, Celts, Teutons, and ancient Slavs who inhabited the area also left behind various objects of artistic interest. Roman fortresses were built near Devín and Iža in the first and second centuries. Rich tombs dating from the fourth century contained bronze utensils and gold and silver objects.

The first Slovak architectural works are churches and castles built in the Romanesque style, which flourished in Slovakia between the 11th and 13th centuries. The apse of the Romanesque Basilica of St. Emeramus, built in Nitra in 1200, contains fragments of a Slovak church dating from 833. Other noteworthy Romanesque structures include a rotunda chapel with two tiers at Skalica, a rectangular single-aisled chapel at Dražovce, both dating from the 12th century, and a three-aisled basilica with two towers at Diakovce (1228). The majestic castles in Trenčin and Nitra and on the Orava River, as well as Bratislava Castle were later largely rebuilt. One of the few surviving examples of Romanesque architectural carving is the portal of St. Elijah’s Church at Sitno (1254); Romanesque painting is represented by the fresco Christ in Glory (after 1228) in the church at Diakovce.

The Gothic style spread to Slovakia relatively late and lasted from the 14th to the 16th century. This was a time of rapid urban growth, when fortifications, castles, and town halls were built, and a regular layout was introduced at Bardejov and Trenčin. Levoča acquired a grid layout and a rectangular square in the 14th century. Castles were transformed into extended complexes with living quarters, courtyards ringed by galleries, and chapels (Strečno, 14th and 15th centuries; Zvo-len, 1361). The Slovak Gothic churches that replaced the traditional basilicas were modest hall churches with three aisles (Church of St. James in Levoča, 14th and 15th centuries) or sometimes one or two aisles. The finest Gothic buildings are the Cathedral of St. Elizabeth in Košice (1382–1499), the Cathedral of St. Martin in Bratislava, both built in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Zápol’ský Chapel in Spišská Kapitula (1488–93), and the Old Town in Bratislava (13th to 15th centuries).

Slovak Gothic painting, reflecting the influence of Italian, Czech, Hungarian, and German culture, is represented by frescoes and altar paintings. Among the best works are the fresco depicting King Charles Robert of Anjou with his entourage (1317) in the Church of St. Martin at Spišska Kapitula, The Life of St. Dorothy (c. 1420) in the Church of St. James in Levoča, and the altar paintings in the Cathedral of St. Elizabeth in Košice (1477). Slovakia’s churches are noted for their carved wooden altars. The fine altar by Paul of Levoča (1508–15) in the Church of St. James in Levoča, with its realistic and harmonious images, anticipates the Renaissance.

Renaissance architecture is best exemplified in 16th- and 17th-century residences with attics, portals, courtyard galleries, and sgraffito paintings (Prešov, Levoča, Banská Bystrica), in the town halls at Bardejov (1508–09) and Levoča (1550–1615), and in the bell tower at Kežmarok (1525–86). In art, the Renaissance is represented by paintings executed by the master M. S., by funereal and decorative sculpture, and by metalwork. Closely linked to Austrian art, the baroque style was introduced in the 17th century. Baroque works include the University Church in Trnava (1637-1700, architect P. Spezzo), the Church of St. Elizabeth in Bratislava (1739–42, architect A. Pilgram), portraits by J. Kupecký, wall paintings by F. A. Maulbertsch, J. L. Kracker, and P. Troger, and sculpture by G. R. Donner. There are splendid palaces and public buildings in the baroque and early classical style, notably the Primate’s palace in Bratislava (1778–81, architect M. Hefele) and the town hall in Košice (1756).

During the 19th century cities grew rapidly. For a long time classicism dominated both urban and rural architecture. Historical styles came into vogue in the mid-19th century, as exemplified in the Matice Slovenská House in Martin (1864, architect J. Bobula). At the turn of the 20th century, D. Jurkovič turned to the traditions of folk architecture. In the first half of the 19th century, as the struggle for a national culture intensified, several Slovak painters emerged to depict the people of their native land (the portraitists J. Czausig and J. Rombauer) and Slovakia’s natural beauty (the landscape painter K. L. Li-bay). In the mid-19th century J. B. Klemens and P. Bohún painted Slovak freedom fighters and cultural figures. Genre painting flourished in the second half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries (V. Klimković, D. Skutecky, J. Hanula), as well as national romantic landscape painting (L. Čordák, K. M. Le-hotsky) and realistic sculpture (J. Koniarek, F. Úprka).

In the 20th century Slovak cities were to some extent modernized, acquiring art nouveau and neoclassical buildings. From the mid-1920’s progressive rationalistic methods became firmly established in architecture (E. Belluš). The innovative, distinctive art of the 20th-century painters M. Benka, G. Mallý, L’. Fulla, M. Bazovský, and J. Alexy and the sculptors F. Gibala, J. Kostka, and F. Štefunko was based on a profound knowledge of Slovakia’s folk life and natural environment, as well as on national folklore. An interest in the life of the common people marked the paintings and graphic art of M. Galanda and C. Majerník, both of whom were influenced by the Czech avant-garde movement. The graphic artist K. Sokol disseminated the ideas of the workers’ movement.

The industrial and urban construction that unfolded in the Slovak Socialist Republic changed the face of the land. In the newly built cities, industrial complexes, settlements, and urban districts the emphasis is on diversity, achieved by juxtaposing buildings of varying heights and lengths and informal grouping, and on providing a full range of amenities and services. Examples of this type of city planning may be found in Bratislava: February Victory Street (1957-64, principal architect Š. Svetko), Podhradý (1965-66, architect A. Daříček), and Ružinov (from 1959, architect D. Kedro). Noteworthy structures include the student dormitory in Nitra (1962, architects M. Šavlík and F. Sejak); the new building of the Technical University (1964, architect M. Kusý), the winter stadium (1963, architects J. Chovanec and I. Poštulka), and the bridge across the Danube (1972), all in Bratislava; and the monument to the Slovak National Uprising in Banská Bystrica (1970, principal architect D. Kuzma).

The daily life and history of the Slovak people, their struggle against the fascist aggressors, and their feats of labor were evoked in the canvases of M. Benka, L’. Fulla, L. Guderna, J. Mudroch, and M. Medvecká and in the monumental and other sculpture of J. Kostka, R. Pribiš, T. Bártfay, J. Kulich, and A. Trizuljak. A number of works are devoted to the friendship of peoples, which was strengthened during the revolutionary and antifascist struggle. Among the masters of graphic art, including book illustration, are O. Dubay, V. Hložník, A. Brunovský, V. Bombová, A. Klimo, J. Szabo, and R. Dúbravec. In decorative art, the carpets based on sketches by L’. Fulla and J. Alexy are outstanding. Monumental painting is being developed by F. Gajdoš, M. Šimurda, and L. Gandl.

Slovak folk architecture—frame and stone houses, and wooden churches—shares a number of features with Czech, Hungarian, and western Ukrainian architecture. Of special interest are the wooden churches in Trnava (15th and 16th centuries) and Bodružal’ (began in 1658). Popular folk crafts include wood carving, wall painting (sometimes on the facade, as in the village of Čičmany), embroidery, and pottery-making, which reached a high point in the 17th-century Habánská ceramics and in the work of the 20th-century master F. Kostka.

Slovak folk music is rich in song—ballads and lyric, epic, everyday, and ritual songs remarkable for their melodic quality (especially the trávnica song) and rhythmic diversity. Most of the songs are single-voiced, diatonic, and based on tetrachords. The shepherds’ songs that appeared later were based on pentachords, usually in a major key. Modal variations are discernible in the music of different regions. Songs about brigands, of whom Jánošík is the most famous, have existed from the 13th century; “brigands” was the name given to champions of the people. Spiritual songs appeared in the 14th century and spread in the 15th century under the influence of the Hussites. In the 16th century historical songs arose to describe the Turkish wars and Hapsburg domination, and in the 18th century kurucok songs emerged to glorify the anti-Hapsburg rebels. In the 19th century Slovak musicians helped create the “new Hungarian” song.

Popular folk dances include the frisky and odzemok. The frisky is a fast dance in duple meter resembling the krakowiak, and the odzemok is a male solo shepherd’s dance similar to the kazachok and kolomyika. Among widely used folk instruments are the fujara, shepherds’ pipes, and gayda (bagpipes). The texts of folk songs were first published in the 1820’s by the philologist and historian P. J. Šafařík and the poet J. Kollár. Among later collectors of folk music were L’. Vansy, J. Kadavý, and B. Bartók. The anthology Slovak Songs, compiled and edited by J. Kadavý, K. Ruppeldt, J. Meličko, and M. Ruppeldt, appeared in several volumes between 1880 and 1906. A second edition was published in 1972-73 by L. Galko.

Polyphonic music spread to Slovakia in the 15th century, stimulating the works of T. Lintner and J. Bánovský. In the 17th century Italian and German baroque music influenced the professional music of Slovakia. The leading composers of this period were S. Capricornus, J. Kusser, and J. Simbracký. Baroque religious and secular vocal music flourished in the early 18th century. Outstanding works include the cantatas and arias of J. Francisci, A. Škultéty, and F. Budinsky. French pastorales, inspired by folk music, were written by P. Bajan and E. Pascha in the latter half of the 18th century. The centers of musical life were Bratislava, Košice, Banská Bystrica, and the towns of the Spišský region (Levoča, Kežmarok, Bardejov).

Under the influence of Austrian and Czech classicism operatic performances were introduced in Bratislava at the royal court in 1648 and at the theater in 1776. Famous foreign singers performed in aristocratic salons. The development of national music was retarded by centuries of Austrian and Hungarian oppression.

A national musical renaissance began in the 1830’s. The founder of the national school was J. L. Bella, who wrote the opera Wieland the Blacksmith, the cantata Jánošik’s Wedding, various symphonic and chamber works, and songs. The choral and piano works of Bella’s contemporaries J. Kadavý, B. Bulla, A. H. Krčméry, and M. Laciak embody the ideas of the “awak-eners.” V. Figuš-Bystrý (the opera Detvan), M. Moyzes, M. Schneider-Trnavský, and F. Kafenda composed national romantic songs and chamber and symphonic works. The development of choral music in the second half of the 19th century was facilitated by the establishment of the Singing Society (1857) and Choral Group (1872) in Bratislava, as well as such workers’ choral groups as the Printers’ League (1872) and Free Song (1893).

After the formation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, many musical organizations, groups, and schools were founded. Among those established in Bratislava were the mixed chorus Zora (1919), the opera company of the Slovak National Theater (1920), the Academy Choral Society (1921), the Slovak Teachers’ Choir (1921), the Radio instrumental ensemble (1928), later reorganized as a symphony orchestra, and the Music School (1919), which became the Musical and Dramatic Academy in 1928 and the Conservatory in 1941. Between 1939 and 1945 a number of composers took part in the resistance movement, notably J. Cikker, J. Kresánek, and T. Andrašovan.

The democratization of musical culture that occurred after the formation of the people’s democratic republic led to the founding of many musical institutions. The East Slovak National Theater was organized in Košice in 1945; the Slovak Philharmonic Society, comprising a symphony orchestra and mixed chorus, was established in Bratislava in 1949; and the Bratislava Quartet, later renamed the Slovak Quartet, was formed in 1945. Also founded in Bratislava were the Lúčnica Ensemble, a folk song and dance group (1948), the SLUK (1949), the Army Art Ensemble (1951), the Mixed Chorus of Czechoslovak Radio (since 1957, the Philharmonic Chorus), and the Slovak Chamber Orchestra (1960). The opera company of the J. Tajovský Theater was organized in Banská Bystrica in 1959. Musicians are trained at the School of Fine Arts in Bratislava and at the music subdepartment of the philosophy department of the J. A. Komenský Bratislava University. The Institute of Musicology, founded in 1951 under the auspices of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, was later reorganized as the Institute of the Arts. The Slovak Composers’ Union was formed in Bratislava in 1955. The magazine Slovenská hudba appeared between 1957 and 1971, and the newspaper Hudobnýž život has been issued since 1966.

Prominent composers include E. Suchoň, J. Cikker, A. Moyzes (all active since the 1930’s), D. Kardoš, A. Očenáš, Ja. Zimmer, M. Novák, Z. Mikula, J. Zelinka, M. Bázlik, and T. Salva. The leading conductors are L. Slovák, L’. Rajter, B. Režucha, and O. Lenard. Outstanding performers include the pianists M. Karin, K. Havlíkova, R. Macudzinsky, S. Macudzinská, and G. Toperczer; the violinists A. Mózi, T. Gašparek, P. Michalica, and E. Špitková; and the singers M. Česanyova, J. Blaho, Š. Hoza, O. Malachovsky, P. Dvorský, L’. Baricová, E. Kittnarová, and G. Benjačková. Among musicologists are E. Zavarský, J. Šamko, J. Kresánek, Z. Nováček, L. Mokrý, and L. Burlas.


The first known theatrical presentation dates from 1439, when schoolboys performed the Passion Play in Bratislava. Folk theater—Easter and Christmas plays—flourished in the 17th and 18th centuries. Especially popular was the Play About the Holy Maid Dorothy. In 1830 an amateur drama group in Liptovský-Mikuláš gave the first public Slovak-language performance of J. Chalupka’s comedy Kocúrkovo, or How We Shouldn’t Be Fooled. Thereafter, amateur groups sprang up in various towns, contributing to the development of a professional theater and national dramaturgy. Their repertoire included Chalupka’s comedies All Is Turned Around, The Wagtail, and Old Plesnivec, J. Palárik’s comedies Incognito, The Tinker, and The Settlement, or an Adventure at the Harvest Festival, various Czech plays, and translations of world classics. The National House, built in Martin in 1890 with public funds, regularly staged amateur performances under the direction of A. Halaša.

After the formation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, the Slovak theater entered a new phase. The first professional theater, the Slovak National Theater, was founded in Bratislava in 1920 by J. Borodáč, A. Bagar, J. Kello, O. Orszčghova, and H. Meličková. The theater’s performances were in Czech until 1932, when a Slovak company was organized. Among outstanding productions betwen 1932 and 1939 were J. Tajovský’s Feminine Law and Confusion, Palárik’s The Settlement, or an Adventure at the Harvest Festival, V. Záborsky’s The Foundling, and P. Hviezdoslav’s Tyrant and Tyranny. The leading directors were Borodáč, Bagar, and J. Jamnický. An interest in Soviet theater was reflected in Borodáč’s productions of several Soviet plays: The Factory of Youth by A. N. Tolstoy (1931), Fear (1933) and Portrait (1935) by A. N. Afinogenov, The Lower Depths (1932) and Egor Bulychov (1934) by M. Gorky, and The Path of Flowers by V. P. Kataev (1936).

At the time of the fascist Slovak “state” created by the Hitlerites (1939–45), Slovak theatrical figures sought to express the people’s strong protest against the fascist regime by staging F. Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell and P. Zvon’s A Dance Over Crying. The Chamber Theater opened in Martin in 1944. From the first days of the Slovak National Uprising (August to October 1944) it was a frontline theater, and after the country’s liberation in 1945 it was named the Theater of the Slovak National Uprising.

In socialist Czechoslovakia, the Slovak theater is developing in every respect. The Slovak National Theater in Bratislava, still the leading theater group, includes a drama, an opera, and a ballet company. It gives performances in three buildings—the National Theater, the Hviezdoslav Theater, and the Little Stage. Among its finest productions have been I. F. Popov’s Family (1951), J. K. Tyl’s The Bloody Trial, or the Miners of Kutná Hora (1957), V. V. Vishnevskii’s An Optimistic Tragedy (1957), Palárik’s Incognito (1959), A. P. Chekhov’s Ivanov (1961), A. N. Arbuzov’s Irkutsk Story (1960), I. Rusnák’s Foxes, Good Night (1964), J. Záborský’s The Foundling (1966), M. Gorky’s Vassa Zheleznova (1967), L. Stroupe žnický’s Our Daredevils (1970), A. V. Vampilov’s Parting in July (1972), O. Zahradnik’s Solo for a Striking Clock (1972), and J. Solovič’s Meridian (1974).

The leading directors are J. Budský, P. Haspra, P. Mikulik, T. Rakovský, and K. Zachar. L. Vychodil is the foremost stage designer. The most popular performers are O. BorodáčCová, M. Královičová, Z. Grúberov, V. Strnisková, B. Turzonová, E. Vášáryová, M. Huba, V. Záborský, J. Pántik, L. Chudík, F. Dibarbora, M. Gregor, J. Paška, E. Romančik, J. Króner, I. Mistrík, and L. Haverl.

The most important of Slovakia’s 16 theatrical groups are the New Stage in Bratislava, the Tajovský Theater in Banská Bystrica and Zvolen, the State Theater in Košice, and the Zaborský Theater in Prešov. In addition, there are the Ukrainian National Theater in Pešov and the Hungarian Regional Theater in Komárno. Specialists are trained at the Higher Theatrical School in Bratislava. Theater people are members of the Union of Creative Theater, Cinema, and Television Workers of Slovakia. Articles on the theater and the art of acting are published in the journal Slovenskie divadlo, issued since 1952.



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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Slovak Republic

Capital city: Bratislava

Internet country code: .sk

Flag description: Three equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red superimposed with the coat of arms of Slovakia (consisting of a red shield bordered in white and bearing a white Cross of Lorraine surmounting three blue hills); the coat of arms is centered vertically and off­set slightly to the hoist side

National anthem: “Nad Tatrou sa blyska”

Geographical description: Central Europe, south of Poland

Total area: 18,859 sq. mi. (48,845 sq. km.)

Climate: Temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters

Nationality: noun: Slovak(s); adjective: Slovak

Population: 5,447,502 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Slovak 85.8%, Hungarian 9.7%, Roma 1.7%, Ruthenian/Ukrainian 1%, other and unspecified 1.8%

Languages spoken: Slovak (official) 83.9%, Hungarian 10.7%, Romany 1.8%, Ukrainian 1%, other or unspecified 2.6%

Religions: Roman Catholic 69%, Protestant 9%, Greek Catholic 4%, Orthodox 0.9%, other 0.6%, unknown 3.5%, none 13%

Legal Holidays:

All Saints' DayNov 1
Christmas DayDec 25
Christmas EveDec 24
Constitution DaySep 1
Day of the Fight for Freedom and DemocracyNov 17
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
EpiphanyJan 6
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Lady Mary of Sorrows, Patron of SlovakiaSep 15
May DayMay 1
Republic DayJan 1
Second Day of ChristmasDec 26
Slovak National Uprising DayAug 29
Sts. Cyril and Methodius DayJul 5
Victory DayMay 8
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a country in central Europe: part of Hungary from the 11th century until 1918, when it united with Bohemia and Moravia to form Czechoslovakia; it became independent in 1993 and joined the EU in 2004. Official language: Slovak. Religion: Roman Catholic majority. Currency: koruna. Capital: Bratislava. Pop.: 5 407 000 (2004 est.). Area: 49 036 sq. km (18 940 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Slovakia are second seeds in our Euro 2012 qualifying group behind Russia, but Trap won't be running scared ahead of Ireland's trip there on October 12.
Slovakia remembers the 1968 invasion by Soviet-led troops - among them Hungarians - on August 21 into then-Czechoslovakia, which ended the reform drive by the communist leadership, known as "Prague Spring".
My own experience visiting Slovakia during June's parliamentary elections cast doubt on the notion that economic reforms were the chief reason for the illiberal backlash.
This outlook was reversed during the late 1990s, after Slovakia had become independent of the Czech Republic and started focusing on becoming a member of the more quality-conscious EU.
Slovakia 4 (Reiter 19, Nemeth 50 & 64, Janocko 89)
For example, in 1997 the president of Slovakia officially dedicated the republic to the "Holy Virgin Mary." The current law governing the relationship between church and state favors the church.
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He was well known at AMERICAN FORESTS as the founder of Global ReLeaf Slovakia.
"Zmena is the only paper in Slovakia that tells the truth," he says.
At AmCham Slovakia we firmly believe that Slovakia is indeed a modern and successful country from almost all economic perspectives feasible.
7 million from the state and its companies between 2011 and 2018.The company runs the biggest racetrack in Slovakia, located in Orechova Pota' (Trnava Region).Two shell firmsTransparency International Slovakia turned to court last summer over the suspicion that five Cypriots and one Filipino own the Slovakia Ring Agency via two shell companies: Transform Finance Limited based in London and Cordero Foundation in Anguilla in the Caribbean.