Slovakia, officially named the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe with a population of over five million and an area
of about 49,000 square
kilometres. The largest
city is Bratislava,
Slovakia is divided into 8 regions, each of which is named after its regional capital. The regions are subdivided into many districts. In the past, Slovakia had 79 districts, which are no longer part of the official administrative system, but the country has maintained them for different purposes.
In terms of economy and unemployment rate, the western regions are more prosperous than the east. Slovakia is best known for its pistine nature in the countryside: mountains make up two-thirds of its land, 40 percent of which is covered by forests.
The region of Bratislava is the country's smallest in terms of area, but its most densely settled and urbanised, with 296 inhabitants per square kilometre, about three times the Slovak average. Bratislava, the capital, had a population of 426,091, or 70 percent of the total inhabitants of the region. The Bratislava region is bordered by the Danube to the south and the Morava to the west. It consists of the Záhorie lowlands in the far west of the country and the Podunajská nížina (Danube lowlands) towards the Hungarian south, divided by the heavily forested Malé Karpaty (Small Carpathian mountains) range.
The south-west Trnava region is a strangely shaped body of land that encloses Bratislava region and borders on the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. It is the second smallest region after Bratislava, and the smallest in terms of area.
The south-central Nitra region is Slovakia's agricultural heartland. Flatter and warmer than the rest of the country, its soil and terrain are best suited to farming.
The north-west Žilina region is a rugged area that borders on the Czech Republic and Poland. It includes no fewer than seven mountain ranges: the Tatry and Nízke tatry (Tatras and the Low Tatras), the Veľká and Malá Fatra (Greater and Lesser Fatras), the Chočské vrchy (Choč Mountains), the Javorníky and the Strážovské vrchy (Strážov Mountains). The region is also dominated by national parks
Banská Bystrica region, the country's largest in terms of area, lies in the southern part of Central Slovakia. With its extensive forests and hilly terrain, it is the least densely settled region.
The north-east Prešov region is Slovakia's most physically spectacular, but poor and sparsely settled as well. It borders on Poland and Ukraine, and contains five national parks. Less than half of the inhabitants of the region live in urban settings.
Košice region is a largely flat and poor area in the southeast of Slovakia bordering on Ukraine and Hungary. With a population of 773,000, it is the second largest region while with about one third of the total inhabitants of the region, the capital Košice is Slovakia's second largest city and is the industrial anchor of the east of the country.
The north-west Trenčín region is a relatively wealthy and developed part of Slovakia, bordering on the Czech Republic. It is hilly but not rugged, and has an unusually high (55 percent) proportion of inhabitants employed in industry, making it the second most heavily industrialised region after Bratislava.
THE AVERAGE price of residential real estates in Slovakia dropped in the second quarter of this year. Compared to the first three months of 2014, when prices increased slightly, they fell by €10 per square metre to €1,211 between April and June, which represents a 0.8-percent drop quarter-on-quarter. In annual terms, prices fell by 1.5 percent, according to the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS), the country’s central bank.
ONE OF the youngest and most visited shopping centres in Bratislava, Eurovea, changed hands in July. Its new owner is Peter Korbačka, one of the shareholders of the J&T Real Estate group, the Hospodárske Noviny economic daily wrote.
AFTER several years of inactivity, the first construction project has finally started in the Pharos Park complex near Bratislava airport. German company Bauhaus will invest €40 million in the building of its first specialised shop in Slovakia for workrooms, houses and gardens. It will create 150 direct jobs and another 400 jobs in related services.
THE DEMAND for office space in Slovakia’s two biggest cities did not change in the second quarter of 2014. Most offers come from small companies employing less than five employees, according to an analysis by Kancelarie.sk.
THE NUMBER of flats sold in new buildings in the second quarter of 2014 has reached pre-crisis numbers. Altogether 802 flats have been sold in Bratislava, the most since the end of 2008. Many of these flats were sold “on paper”, meaning that they have not been built yet, the survey carried out by Bencont Investments showed.
THE AVERAGE Slovak can afford to buy a flat that is twice as big as six years ago. The housing affordability index is at a record high in Slovakia as a result of decreasing mortgage interest rates and real estate prices, as well as rising salaries.