Blogging from A to Z
Theme: Languages of the World
Slovak (Slovenský jazyk), also called Slovakian, belongs to the West Slavic group of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is spoken by 4.75 million people in Slovakia. There are also expatriate Slovak communities in Canada, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine, and USA.The total number of Slovak speakers worldwide is 5.2 million. Slovak is close to Czech, and Slovak speakers in the western part of Slovakia and Czech speakers are able to understand each other. All Slovaks are able to understand Standard Czech thanks to the media. However, with the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the two languages have begun to drift apart with the differences between Czech and Slovak being primarily lexical and phonological.
Fascinating facts about Slovakia
Slovakia has the world’s highest number of castles and chateaux per capita: 180 castles and 425 chateaux in a country with the entire population far smaller than the city of New York. The real highlight amongst Slovak castles is undoubtedly medieval Spiš Castle, which belongs to the largest castles in the Central Europe and was included in the UNESCO List of World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage.
More than six thousand caves have been discovered in Slovakia so far. Most spectacular caves can be found in the national parks of Low Tatras, Slovak Paradise and Slovak Karst. Many of them represent unique natural wonders.
The capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, lies on the borders with Austria and Hungary. That makes the city the only one capital in the world that borders two independent countries.
Near the village Kremnické Bane in Slovakia, right next to the St. John Baptist Church, is located the geographical midpoint of Europe. Unfortunately, another 7 European villages claim to host this hypothetical midpoint as well.
Slovakia has incredible sources of mineral water and healing thermal springs. Most of them are actively used for therapeutic and recreation purposes within 21 spa resorts.
Old medieval town of Levoča is a home of the highest wooden altar in the world. This remarkable work was created by Master Paul. It is located in Church of St. James right in the historical centre of Levoča. 18,6 m high and 6 m wide altar was made without the use of a single nail! The entire town centre is also included in the List of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
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