Slovakia: holidays, national customs, climate
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday.
The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. Corpus Christi is celebrated on the second Thursday after Pentecost.
All Saints' Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the first Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||Independence day|
|6th January||Holy 3 Kings|
|March April||Good Friday|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|5th July||Day of Saints Cyril and Methodius|
|29th August||Day of the Slovak National Uprising|
|September 1||Constitution Day|
|September 15||Mary's seven sufferings|
|November||All Saints Day|
|November 17||Day of the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy
(Memorial Day of the Velvet Revolution)
|December 24th, 25th, 26||Christmas|
Source: Countryaah - Slovakia Holidays
The international music festival in Bratislava, the castle festival in Zvolen, the folklore festivals in Detva and Východná and numerous other cultural events take place annually and testify to the rich Slovak culture.
Ice hockey is very popular in Slovakia. Other winter sports are also very popular, the high and low mountain ranges of the country offer ideal opportunities, for example for ski jumping and skiing.
There are good climbing and hiking opportunities in Slovakia.
In addition, tennis is held high in Slovakia.
Special national customs
New Year's Day in Slovakia goes hand in hand with numerous legends and superstitions. It is celebrated differently from region to region. Overall, New Year's Day is seen as a reflection of the following year in many ways.
The Slovaks are very hospitable. Drinks are always refilled. If you are no longer thirsty, you can leave some of the drink in the glass.
When entering the apartment, one should take off one's shoes without asking. This is common in Slovakia. Slippers are mostly offered.
The best time to travel to Slovakia
The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. Pure cultural travelers certainly see the climate differently than people who want to spend a pure beach holiday, for example. The state of health or age can also play an important role. A visit to Slovakia is highly recommended in spring, summer and autumn. But also the winter with snow-covered forests invites you to hike or walk. But winter sports enthusiasts, both cross-country skiers and downhill skiers, can get their money's worth here.
The following table shows a range of climate data for the country. It should be noted, however, that the climatic conditions in different regions of the country can differ considerably from one another and thus also from the values shown. In addition, such monthly temperature averages say little about the possible current minimum or maximum temperatures. It is not uncommon for average temperatures of around 30 °C to reach maximum values of 40 °C or even more on a number of days. The table therefore only provides a general overview of the climatic conditions in the country.
|Month||Average number of rainy days||Mean maximum temperatures in (°C)||Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)|
The town of Bardejov (Bartfeld) with around 35,000 residents is located in the north-east of the country - approx. 15 km south of the border with Poland and approx. 125 km south-east of Krakow.
The historical center of Bardejov was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000. For more information on the city, see "UNESCO World Heritage Sites" above
Bratislava has around 435,000 residents and is the capital of Slovakia and also the political, cultural and economic center of the country. The city is located in the extreme southwest of the country - at the border triangle of Austria, Hungary and Slovakia and only around 55 km from Vienna.
A detailed and richly illustrated representation of Bratislava can be found at Goruma here >>>
With around 241,000, the city is the second largest city in Slovakia after Bratislava. It is located in eastern Slovakia, around 30 km north of the border with Hungary. Košice was European Capital of Culture 2013.
You can find a detailed and richly illustrated representation of the city at Goruma here >>>
The city with around 15,000 residents is located in northeast Slovakia - around 35 km south of the border with Poland and around 125 south-southeast of Krakow. It is approx. 275 km as the crow flies to Bratislava.
Due to its almost completely preserved historic old town, Levoča and the works of Paul von Leutschau (1460-1542) were included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2009.
Further information can be found above under "UNESCO World Heritage Sites"
The Brammer House is located on Žižkovagasse, in the Zuckermandel district of Bratislava. Today the Museum of Hungarian Culture in Slovakia is located in this building.
The Mirbachpalais is a typical Rococo building. The Bratislava City Gallery has been located in its renovated premises since 1975.
De Pauli Palace
The De Pauli Palace in Bratislava was built between 1775 and 1776. Franz Liszt performed in the salon in 1820.
Hungarian Royal Chamber
The Hungarian Royal Chamber in Bratislava was built between 1753 and 1756. Since 1953 the palace has been the seat of the university library.
The Redoute is adorned with neo-baroque building decoration. It is the seat of the Slovak Philharmonic.
Palaces and castles
Bratislava Castle (Bratislavský hrad)
The central castle of Bratislava - also called Bratislava Castle - extends in the southern part of the Little Carpathians on a rock on the Danube. The castle, mentioned for the first time in 805, did not get its current four-winged floor plan until the 15th century. The castle, which was destroyed after a fire in 1811, was renovated between 1953 and 1968 and today functions as a museum and representative building.
The castle represents one of the motifs of the Slovak euro coins.
Bojnice Castle - also known as Weinitz Castle - is located in the village of the same name, Bojnice, with a population of 5,000 - around 130 km (as the crow flies) northeast of Bratislava. It looks like a castle from a fairy tale. A previous wooden building was first mentioned in 1113. Over the decades, wood has increasingly been replaced by stones. In 1302, the nobleman Matthäus Csák (1260-1321) - de facto ruler of western and central Slovakia - received the castle from the Hungarian King Wenceslaus III. (1289-1306) as a fief. In the 15th century the castle was owned by King Matthias Corvinus (1443-1490). After his death, the castle passed into the possession of the wealthy Thurzos family in 1528, who had rebuilt the castle in the Renaissance style. In 1646 the castle became the property of the Pálffys,
The castle was given its current appearance between 1888 and 1909 by Johann Pálffy (1829–1908). After his death, Jan Antonín Baťa bought the castle from the shoe manufacturer Bata. After 1945, Bata's property was confiscated by the communists and the castle became the seat of a number of state institutions. A fire on May 9, 1950 had caused considerable damage. After the reconstruction of the castle, a branch of the Slovak National Museum is located here, which documents and presents historicism with numerous artefacts. In 1970 the castle was declared a national cultural monument.
In the Primatialpalais, built in 1781, the "Peace of Pressburg" between France (Napoleon I) and the Habsburg monarchy (Franz II) was signed in 1805
A castle was built in Devín (Thebes) in the 13th century. In 1809 Napoleon's soldiers blew up the castle. Archaeological excavations and partial reconstruction of the castle ruins have been taking place here since 1965 under the auspices of the Bratislava City Museum. Devín Castle is a national cultural monument.
The Zipser Burg is located in the Zip area. Today the castle is one of the largest castle complexes in Europe. Almost all stylistic epochs are represented in it, as it has undergone additions and modifications over the centuries. The castle has been a UNESCO cultural monument since 1993.
For more details see under "UNESCO World Heritage Sites"
Churches and monasteries
St. Martin's Cathedral (also St. Martin's Cathedral)
(Katedrála svätého Martina)
The Gothic St. Martin's Cathedral is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Bratislava and was dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. The cathedral, which extends on the western edge of the old town, is the largest church building in the city. It has an 85 meter high tower, which used to be part of the medieval city fortifications.
The Gothic church was built in the 14th and 15th centuries. From 1563 to 1830 the cathedral was the coronation church of the kings of Hungary, including Maria Theresa. Numerous secular and ecclesiastical dignitaries are buried in the crypt of St. Martin's Cathedral.
A gold-plated parade cushion with a copy of the Hungarian crown of St. Stephen can be seen on its tip. This is to remind of the earlier role of the cathedral as a coronation church. In addition to the impressive interior of the sacred structure, the catacombs under the Anna chapel are also worth seeing.
Baroque Church of the Elizabethine Sisters
The single-nave Baroque Church of the Elizabethine Sisters in Bratislava was built together with the women's hospital and monastery between 1739 and 1743.
The Ursuline Church of the Bratislava Protestants was built in 1659 for Slovaks and Hungarians on the site of the medieval ghetto. The Ursulines took care of the Catholic education of the town girls. The monastery was built in the last quarter of the 17th century.
Church of St. Ladislav
The Church of St. Ladislav and the four-winged city hospital in Bratislava was built with the church from 1828 to 1830 on the place of the destroyed medieval city hospital.
Church The Franciscan Church was built in Bratislava at the end of the 13th century. The single-nave church has a romantic-Gothic portal. The church tower was added at the end of the 14th century. Since it had become dilapidated, it was demolished and set up as a garden pavilion in the Petržalka Aupark. The current tower is a copy of the original.
Church The Capuchin Church in Bratislava is a single-nave Baroque church from the first quarter of the 18th century and was built according to the order's plans, like other Capuchin churches in Central Europe. The patron saint of the church is Saint Stephen, as evidenced by his statue in the central portal niche.
Poor Clares Church
The Poor Clares Church in Bratislava is a Gothic single-nave church from the first half of the 14th century. Today exhibitions and concerts are held in the church.
Saint Elizabeth Church
The Saint Elizabeth Church, the so-called "Blue Church" in Bratislava was built by Lechner from 1910 to 1913 in the Hungarian Art Nouveau style and belongs to the grammar school and the Roman Catholic rectory. Blue majolica and blue glazed shingles were used for construction.
The Trinity Church in Bratislava was built between 1717 and 1725 based on the model of St. Peter's Church in Vienna. Beautiful baroque ornaments have been preserved inside. The vault fresco was painted by the Italian painter Antonio Galli Bibiena.
St. Elisabeth Cathedral in Košice
This early Gothic cathedral (Košice), the construction of which began in 1378 on the site of a parish church that burned down in 1370, is the easternmost cathedral that was built in the "western" style. It is also the largest church in Slovakia.
The roughly 60 m high church tower can be climbed and offers a fantastic view of the city from above. Interesting are the 52 gargoyles on the cathedral, which - with one exception with a woman's face - have an animal shape. Inside the church, the church visitor will find the St. Elisabeth altar, a Gothic double spiral staircase and the tomb of Franz II. Rakoszi (1676-1735), who led the uprising of Hungarian nobles against the Habsburgs named after him between 1703 and 1711.
A sundial from 1477 is also noteworthy.
Church of the Brothers of Mercy
The baroque building complex of the Brothers of Mercy, monastery and hospital in Bratislava dates from 1728. The hospital played an important role during the plague epidemic in 1710-1713 and also during the civil revolution in 1848-1849.
Church of St. Jacob
The Church of St. Jacob is one of the largest Gothic churches in Slovakia. For more than 700 years it has been a parish church in the former free royal city of Leutschau.
In 1330 the construction of the Red Monastery began, initially out of wood, in the second half of the 14th century it was rebuilt in stone. The popular name "Cervený" ("red") goes back to the rain gutters made of exposed, red bricks on the roofs of the church and the chapel.
University of Bratislava
University of Academia Istropolitana
The medieval University of Academia Istropolitana in Bratislava was founded in 1465 by the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus as the first Hungarian university. Today the Academy of Performing Arts is located in the building. Students are enrolled at the university.
National parks and other natural beauties
National Park Slovenský raj
The National Park Slovenský raj (Slovak Paradise) is located in the eastern part of Slovakia. In 1964 it was declared a nature reserve and in 1988 a national park. It extends over an area of 19,763 ha = 197.63 km². The protected area is 13,011 hectares.
Pieninen National Park The Pieninen
National Park is the smallest national park in Slovakia with an area of 21.25 km². It was founded in 1967.
The park is located in the north of the Okres Kežmarok and in the northwest of the Okres Stará Ľubovňa on the border with Poland, where there is also a national park.
The caves in the Aggtelek and Slovak Karst have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. See above for details.
The approximately 19.8 ha = 198,000 m² large Tschirmer See (Štrbské pleso) - also known as Zirbener See - is a glacial lake in the High Tatras, which was named after the village Štrba. The later winter sports and health resort on the lake is also called Štrbské Pleso.
The lake is located at an altitude of 1,345 m and was created by the meltwater of a glacier that no longer exists today. With a maximum depth of approx. 20 m, it has a water volume of 1.3 million m³. It is interesting that the lake has neither an inlet nor an outlet. At the end of the 19th century, fish were released in the lake. At that time, the ice from the lake was also transported to Berlin, Vienna and Budapest because of its great cleanliness.
The Nordic World Ski Championships took place in the village of Štrbské pleso in 1970, for which the place had been massively expanded, so new hotels, a cable car and two ski jumps were built.
In the years that followed, the region was expanded into a skiing center with numerous lifts. The Nordic Junior World Ski Championships took place here in 1990, 2000 and 2009 and the Winter Universiade in 1999 and 2015.
The electric cogwheel railway from Štrba with a track width of 1.00 mm and a length of 4.7 km ends here in the common station with the “Electric Tatra Railway, which continues to Poprad-Tatry and also has a track width of 1,000 mm.
Štrbské Pleso lies at an altitude of 1,346 m, making it one of the highest health resorts in Central Europe. Above all, diseases of the respiratory tract are treated.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Farming village Vlkolinec
The village of Vlkolinec is located at an altitude of 700-800 m in eastern Slovakia between the Low and High Tatras with a view of the Sidorovo mountain cone. It was first mentioned in a document in 1376. Bears and wolves
still live in the original area. There are no roads, no electricity and no water pipes in the village. The approximately 50 colorfully painted buildings of the village, carved entirely from wood, have been preserved without major changes. The wooden church was built in 1775. The farming village was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.
Levoča is a city in northeastern Slovakia with around 15,000 residents. Due to its almost completely preserved historic old town, Levoča and the works of Paul von Leutschau (1460-1542) were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009.
The first permanent settlement in the region of today's city goes back to the younger Stone Age.
The city was mentioned for the first time in a document from King Béla IV. From 1249 as Leucha. As a result of the increasing German settlement, the then Leuchau became the capital of the province of the Spiš Saxons as early as 1271.
The city's heyday came to an end at the end of the 16th and then during the 17th century - not least because of the Hungarian uprisings.
The main architectural monuments of the city are:
- Town houses on the main square
- Church of St. James, built in the 14th century. The church has the
world's highest Gothic wooden altar with a height of 18.62 m.
The altar comes from Paul von Leutschau, who lived with Tilman Riemenschneider and Veit Stoss.
- Classicist Protestant Church
- Renaissance houses
- Parts of the city fortifications with the Kaschau and Polish gates
- Thurzo house
Also worth mentioning is the pilgrimage site Mariánska hora (Marienberg) located 780 m high above the city, where on July 3, 1995 the Polish Pope John Paul II celebrated a mass in the presence of around 650,000 pilgrims.
Historic center of Bardejov
The town of Bardejov (Bartfeld), with a population of around 35,000, is located in the northeast of the country, where German settlers moved in the 13th century. In 1241 Bardejov was first mentioned with its Cistercian monastery. In 1405 the city became a royal free city.
In the city you can visit a number of medieval cultural monuments, such as the St. Aegidius Basilica from 1247 and the town hall, built in 1505, which has lost its original character because it has been rebuilt many times. Nowadays the city museum is located here.
The mostly preserved fortifications also fascinate the visitor.
The historic center of Bardejov was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000. The St. Aegidius Basilica is at the northern end of the square and is considered an example of Bardejov's former prosperity. It was built on the site of a Cistercian monastery from the 13th century. We recommend climbing the 180 steps to the tower to enjoy a fantastic view of the city from above.
Wooden churches in the Carpathian Mountains
The following wooden churches were built between the 16th and 18th centuries. These wooden churches in Slovakia are also known as articulated churches:
The wooden Roman Catholic church in the village of Hervartov was built around 500 years ago in the Gothic style and was consecrated to Francis of Assisi. In the 19th century a women's prayer room was set up with a paved floor. The tower of the church tapers towards the top. Inside the tower there is a cross. The murals there are from different eras. So the pictures - the Gothic image of Francis of Assisi, St. Christopher and St. Catherine of Siena - were painted around the end of the 15th century. The brightly painted altar of the church is particularly interesting, it was completed in 1470 after 10 years of construction.
In the town of Tvrdošín there is the Roman Catholic wooden church "All Saints", which was built in the second half of the 15th century.
A very well-preserved wooden church is the Protestant "wooden church" in Kežmarok. The town of Kežmarok lies at the foot of the High Tatras. The church was added in 1717 to a stone structure built in 1593. Inside the church there is baroque seating and an organ with wooden pipes.
Leštiny The Protestant wooden church, which was built in 1689, is
worth seeing in Leštiny.
In the village of Hronsek there is a large wooden Protestant church from 1726.
In the village of Bodružal The three-aisled Greek-Catholic wooden church "St. Nicholas" was built in 1658. The church has onion domes and inside a partition wall hung with icons, which separates the Holy of Holies from the parish
In Ladomirová is the Greek-Catholic wooden church "Michael “From the year 1742. Here, too, there is a partition between the Holy of Holies and the parish room, which dates from the 18th century.
The wooden Greek-Catholic church of "Holy Bishop Nicholas" dates from the 18th century. The church has three aisles. The interior of the church is in the Rococo style.
The wooden churches were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008.