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Slovakia

Visas
All Europen nations, USA, Canada ,Cyprus and Israel do not need a visa to Slovakia. Nations of Australia and Japan should check the visa requrements before they go. In many cases visa can be obtained at the border.

Getting to Slovakia
There is a big number of international flights that connect Bratislava with the most European capitals, Moscow, Istanbul and Tel-Aviv. Trains run between Bratislava and Budapest (daily), Wien (daily), Prague (several trains daily), Warsawa via Krakov (several times weekly), Moscow (two-three times weekly). Number of international trains run From Budapest to Warsaw via Kosice (Eastern Slovakia), the local trains from Kosice to Uzgorod (Ukraine). International buses departure from the central bus terminal of Bratislava to Budapest, Wien, Prague, Warsawa, Kiev, Moscow, Munchen, Amsterdam via Frankfurt.

Traveling in Slovakia
Communism's emphasis on community facilities combined with a relatively low level of private car ownership gave the country a wonderfully comprehensive if somewhat run-down system of public transport. The railway network of the former Czehoslovakia is one of the densiest in Europe and most placesof any size have have a railway station. Many lines are electrified, while the branches are operated by diesel railcars and railbuses. Fares are rasing, but are still very low in comparison with Western countries. The main railroads of Slovakia are between Bratislava and Kosice via Zilina and Poprad, Bratislava and Kosice via Roznava and Hungarian border. The bus service in Slovakia even more dansely that those of railway, and there are few settelments that can not be reached by bus.

Bratisalva
The town spreads like a fan on both banks of the Danube River, and at the foot of the Low Carpatians at. A major industrial center, Bratislava is known for shipbuilding and the manufacture of furniture, chemicals, tobacco products, musical instruments, woolen goods, and leather products. Many beautiful monuments survive in the old town to tell of its past under Hungarian rule, and Bratislava's numerous museums are surprisingly rich. Franz Lizst visited Bratislava 15 times, and the opera productions of the Slovak National Theatre rival anything in Europe. Bratislava isn't as swamped by Western tourism as are Budapest and Prague (except on weekends when the Austrians invade). The old city and the castle are the best parts of Bratislava. The old city is packed with museums (such as the Municipal Museum which comes complete with torture chambers and the Museum of Wine Production) and palaces (Primate's Palace and the Mirbach Palace). The castle, built above the Danube, was a frontier post of the Roman Empire from the 1st to the 5th century. Since the 9th century it has been rebuilt several times, most recently between 1953 and 1962. Climb up for the great views and to check out the very interesting Museum of Folk Music within. The Slovak National Museum and the Slovak National Gallery on the river are also worth a visit. Hviezdoslavovo námestie (square) is a convenient orientation point, with the old town to the north, the Danube to the south, and Bratislava Castle to the west. Bratislava's main train station, Hlavna stanica, is several km north of town. Most of the cheaper hostels and mid-priced hotels are north-east of the centre. The food market in the centre of town is a good place to eat; there are ritzier restaurants in the vicinity of the castle.

Trencin
Originally a Roman military colony, the city of Trencin was founded at the beginning of the second millennium. In 1412, it acquired the rights of a free royal city. The high point of Trencin is the fortified castle which overlooks the city. Its construction probably goes back to the 11th century and building continued until the 14th century.

Around Trencin
The areas around Trencin are also well-known for their fortified castles. The Beckov Castle, located southwest of Trencin, is particularly imposing. Constructed on a rock in the 13th century, this majestic castle towers above the surrounding hills and plains. The Cachtice Castle was the home of the Countess Elisabeth Bathory in the 17th century, who, according to legend, had more than 600 young women killed during the course of 20 years.

Kosice
Kosice is the center of East Slovakia. This city, the second largest in Slovakia, has a long and rich history. In the town center is the magnificent Gothic cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Elizabeth, as well as the Chapel of St. Michael, the Urban Tower and the Neo-Baroque State Theatre where famous orchestras perform. The Katova Citadel and the Mlynska Citadel are witnesses to the ancient system of fortifications for protecting the city against its enemies.

Around Kosice
The Jasov Monastery, the Betliar Castle and Krasna Horka are located in the surrounding areas of Kosice. The most splendid site is certainly that of the fortified castle of Spis (Spissky hrad). It is one of the biggest castles in Central Europe and it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Situated on top of a hill, it dominates a spectacularly beautiful region. It has been restored and contains several exhibitions. The Slovensi Raj narodni park (Slovak Paradise National Park) is a protected natural area which extends over 140 sq. km. It has an infinite variety of natural riches: a network of underground galleries, caves and animal and botanical reserves. Among the natural reserves which make up this group are the White Valley (Biela dolina) which has, notably a huge waterfall, the Lost Valley and its ice cave (one of the most precious elements of the Slovak Paradise), the Dobsinka Ice Cave (120,000 m3 of permanent ice), Kocurova, Sucha bela, the valley decorated with remarkable geo-morphological shapes, the small and large "Kysel", the large ravine with waterfalls and caves (bear caves).

Presov region
This is mostly a high mountainous region with the High Tatras Mountain range whose Gerlach Peak towers at 2655 meters. To the north is Poland and to the east is the Ukraine. To the south are the Low Tatras and the Slovak Paradise National Park. The most well-known area is the High Tatras which has excellent tourist infrastructures to welcome the visitors who come to contemplate its beauties and to take advantage of its slopes which favor skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. Spis, the Strazky Castle, the Cerveny Klastor Monastery, the wooden churches in Hranicne, Potoky and the historic center of Bardejov are the region's top tourist attractions. To the north of Presov are two fortified castles dating from the Middle Ages: the Saris Castle and the Kapusiansky Castle. Drienica and Lysa are two larger tourist centers connected by a funicular railway. There are several hotels here and a pool. It is also a large ski area, equipped, like all Slovak ski resorts, with snow-making machines



Levoca
A fortified town with its fine old houses, a Renaissance town hall and the parish church, the latter containg one of the great works of art of the Middle Ages, the limewood altar carved by Master Pavel.

The high Tatras
This mountainous massif which extends into Poland contains some of the highest summits in Slovakia (Gerlach Peak at 2,655 meters, Krivan at 2,494 meters and the Lomnica at 2,632 meters). Between the Krivan and the Lomnica Peak are 25 other peaks with an altitude of over 2,500 meters. The massif has several valleys which lend themselves to winter sports and hiking, or even mountain-climbing. The snow is abundant during the cold season and allows skiing up until the month of April and sometimes even later in the season.