Slovakia is just south of Poland and measures about twice the size of New Hampshire. The Slovak language uses the Latin alphabet, with the additional usage of diacritics, small punctuation marks placed above certain characters (ˇ, ´, ¨, ^;); there are four basic groups of different dialects spoken throughout the country. Due to its location in Central Europe, Slovak culture has been influenced by its surrounding Austrian, German and Hungarian neighbors. Folk traditions rich in arts and crafts have been developed throughout Slovakia's history, and have been a direct result of its natural territory. Historically, music has been an integral part of Slovak culture.
Made from the milk of a lamb, Oštiepok cheese is first made into a sweet, smoked cheese, and its hand molded form is left to harden. Once it has a firm exterior, the cheese is submerged in warm salt water to absorb a savory flavor.
Slovakian young people are known to love sports. Hockey, skiing, basketball, cycling, running and hiking are common pastimes. American sports are starting to become more popular as well. Friday and Saturday nights are a popular time for seeing a movie, attending sporting events or concerts or simply meeting up with friends.
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- The division of Slovakia and the Czech Republic is called the “Velvet Divorce," as it was a bloodless, peaceful separation.
- The national language in Slovakia is not Slovakian, but Slovak.
- The first actively-used parachute was invented by Slovak, Štefan Baniè.
- In the USA, we cross our fingers when wishing for good luck, while Slovaks hold their thumbs inside their fists.