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Slovakia (/slˈvækiə, -ˈvɑːk-/ ; Slovak: Slovensko [ˈslɔʋenskɔ] ), officially the Slovak Republic (Slovak: Slovenská republika [ˈslɔʋenskaː ˈrepublika] ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the west, and the Czech Republic to the northwest. Slovakia's mostly mountainous territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi), hosting a population exceeding 5.4 million. The capital and largest city is Bratislava, while the second largest city is Košice.

The Slavs arrived in the territory of the present-day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th centuries. From the late 6th century, parts of modern Slovakia were incorporated in the Avar Khaghanate. In the 7th century, the Slavs played a significant role in the creation of Samo's Empire. In the 9th century, the Avar Khaghanate dissolved, and the Slavs established the Principality of Nitra, which was later conquered by the Principality of Moravia, leading to the formation of Great Moravia. In the 10th century, after the dissolution of Great Moravia, the territory was integrated into the Principality of Hungary, which then became the Kingdom of Hungary in 1000. In 1241 and 1242, after the Mongol invasion of Europe, much of the territory was destroyed, but was recovered largely thanks to Béla IV.

After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the state of Czechoslovakia was established, incorporating Slovakia. In the lead up to World War II, local fascist parties gradually came to power in the Slovak lands, and the first Slovak Republic was established as a client state under the control of Nazi Germany. The local Jewish population was heavily persecuted, with almost 70,000 Jews being murdered or deported. Internal opposition to the fascist government's policies culminated in the Slovak National Uprising, itself triggered by the Nazi German occupation of the country. Although the uprising was eventually suppressed, partisan resistance continued, and Czechoslovak independence was re-established after the country's liberation at the end of the war. (Full article...)

Stratenská píla tourist resort

Slovak Paradise National Park (Slovak: Národný park Slovenský raj) is one of the nine national parks in Slovakia, situated in East Slovakia. The National Park protects the area of the Slovak Paradise mountain range, which is located in the north of the Slovenské rudohorie Mountains (Slovak Ore Mountains).

The National Park covers an area of 197.63 km2 (76.3 mi2), and the buffer zone around the park covers an area of 130.11 km2 (50.2 mi2); 327.74 km2 together. Eleven national nature reserves and eight nature reserves are situated in the park. The park offers about 300 km of hiking trails, often equipped with ladders, chains and bridges. The Slovak Paradise contains about 350 caves, but only Dobšiná Ice Cave, which is since 2000 a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is open to the public. The headquarters of the park are located in Spišská Nová Ves. (Full article...)

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