Slovakia in numbers
- Area: 49 036 km2
- Population: 5 449 270 citizens
- Capital: Bratislava
- Language: Slovak
- Currency: Euro
- Number of scouts: Almost 8000
- Foundation of The Scouting Slovakia: 1918 / after 1989, the splitting of Czechoslovakia brought about the creation of a separate organization – Scouting Slovakia
Slovakia, officially known as the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country located in Central Europe. With a rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking natural landscapes, Slovakia offers a captivating blend of tradition and modernity. Let’s explore some key aspects of this fascinating country.
History: Slovakia’s history dates back thousands of years, with evidence of human habitation since the Paleolithic era. Over the centuries, the region witnessed the influence of various civilizations, including the Celts, Romans, and Slavic tribes. In the 10th century, Slovakia became part of the Kingdom of Hungary, forging close ties that lasted until the end of World War I when Czechoslovakia was established. In 1993, the country peacefully split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Culture: Slovak culture is a fusion of Slavic, Hungarian, and Austrian influences. The country takes pride in its folk traditions, including music, dance, and crafts. Traditional folk costumes, adorned with intricate embroidery and bright colors, are still worn during special events and celebrations. Slovak cuisine features hearty dishes like bryndzové halušky (potato dumplings with sheep cheese) and kapustnica (sauerkraut soup with sausage), along with delicious pastries like trdelník (a sweet pastry baked over an open fire).
Traditions: Slovaks celebrate various traditions throughout the year. Easter Monday that follows the Christian feast day of Easter Sunday, brings the unique custom of „šibačka” where young boys playfully whip girls with handmade cones and receive decorated eggs or treats in return. St. Nicholas, accompanied by an angel and a devil, visits households on December 6th rewarding well-behaved children with gifts. Christmas markets with their festive atmosphere and traditional crafts are also popular during the holiday season.
Fun facts about Slovakia:
1. Slovakia is home to stunning natural landscapes, including the High Tatras, the smallest alpine mountain range in the world, and numerous caves, such as the UNESCO-listed Domica Cave and the ice-filled Dobšinská Ice Cave.
2. Bratislava, the capital and largest city of Slovakia is situated on the banks of the Danube River and shares borders with both Austria and Hungary. It is known for its charming old town, historic castles and vibrant cultural scene.
3. Slovakia boasts a strong ice hockey tradition and has produced world-class players, including Peter Bondra and Marián Hossa.
4. The picturesque village of Čičmany is renowned for its distinctive wooden houses adorned with white geometric patterns making it a living open-air museum of folk architecture.
5. Slovakia is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites including the historic town of Banská Štiavnica and the wooden churches of the Slovak Carpathians.
Slovakia’s rich history, colorful traditions, and natural wonders make it a captivating destination for travelers seeking an authentic European experience. Whether you explore the vibrant cities or venture into the breathtaking countryside, Slovakia’s charm and hospitality are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Scouting in Slovakia:
- Scouting in Slovakia has a long and storied history dating back to the early 20th century. The first scout troops were established in the early 1910s, inspired by the global scouting movement founded by Lord Baden-Powell. However, due to the political turmoil and the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1939, scouting activities were interrupted during World War II and the subsequent communist regime.
- After the fall of communism in 1989 scouting experienced a revival in Slovakia. The Scout Association of Slovakia (Zväz skautov Slovenskej republiky) was officially established in 1990 with the aim of promoting character development, outdoor skills, and community service among young people. It became a full member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) in 1993.
- Today, scouting in Slovakia continues to thrive and engage young people across the country. The organization offers a wide range of programs and activities for different age groups, from Cub Scouts to Rover Scouts. These activities include camping, hiking, leadership development, environmental conservation and community service projects. Scouting in Slovakia emphasizes the values of teamwork, self-reliance, respect for nature and personal growth.
- While specific numbers may vary over time, the Scout Association of Slovakia has consistently attracted a significant number of members. As of September 2021, there were over 15,000 registered scouts in Slovakia. However, it is important to note that these figures may have changed since then as scouting organizations continue to evolve and grow.
- Scouting in Slovakia plays an essential role in fostering personal and social development of young people, providing them with valuable skills, lifelong friendships and a sense of belonging. Through their participation in scouting, Slovakian scouts have the opportunity to explore the country’s beautiful landscapes, engage in meaningful community projects and develop into responsible and compassionate citizens.