Geography of Slovakia

Geography of Slovakia

Slovakia is a landlocked Central European country with mountainous regions in the north and flat terrain in the south.


Slovakia lies between 49°36'48" and 47°44'21" northern latitude and 16°50'56" and 22°33'53" eastern longitude.

The northernmost point is near Beskydok, a mountain on the border with Poland near the village of Oravská Polhora in the Beskides. The southernmost point is near the village of Patince on the Danube on the border with Hungary. The westernmost point is on the Morava River near Záhorská Ves on the Austrian border. The easternmost point is close to the summit of Kremenec, a mountain near the village of Nová Sedlica at the meeting point of Slovak, Polish, and Ukrainian borders.

The highest point is at the summit of Gerlachovský štít in the High Tatras, unit length|m|2655|1, the lowest point is the surface of the Bodrog River on the Hungarian border at unit length|m|94|1.

The country's area is 48,845 km² (18,859 sq. mi.). 31% is arable land, 17% pastures, 41% forests, 3% cultivated land. The remaining 8% is mostly covered with human structures and infrastructure, and partly with rocky mountain ridges and other unimproved land. [ [] ]

Slovakia borders Poland in the north - unit length|km|547|1, Ukraine in the east - unit length|km|98|1, Hungary in the south - unit length|km|669|1, Austria in the south-west - unit length|km|106|1, and the Czech Republic in the north-west - unit length|km|252|1 for a total border length of unit length|km|1672|1. [Slovak Wikipedia: [] ]

Physical geography

Geomorphological division

Slovak landscape is defined by two main geographic regions: the Carpathian Mountains and the Pannonian Basin.

Approximately two-thirds of the country is in the Carpathians, most of it in the Western Carpathians.

The Inner Western Carpathians begin in the south-west with the Little Carpathians and continue with the mountain ranges of the Fatra-Tatra Area including the Lesser Fatra, Greater Fatra, Tatras, and Low Tatras. South of this area are the Slovak Ore Mountains and Slovenské stredohorie (Slovak Medium Mountains). The Lučenec-Košice Depression to the south separates them from the Mátra-Slanec Area, which is mostly in Hungary.

The Outer Western Carpathians begin with the Slovak-Moravian Carpathians in the west. They continue with the Beskids along the Polish border, which are divided in Slovakia into the Western, Central, and Eastern Beskids. Between the Central and Eastern Beskids in the north and the Fatra-Tatra Area in the south lies the Podhale-Magura Area formed by small mountain ranges and relatively high basins. Slovakia also covers part of the Eastern Carpathians in the north-east. The Low Beskids and Bukovské vrchy are in the Outer Carpathians, the Vihorlat Mountains are in the Inner Eastern Carpathians.

Approximately one third of the country extends into the Pannonian Basin, which is divided into three parts in Slovakia. The lowlands around the Morava River are part of the Vienna Basin, the Danubian Lowland in the south is part of the Little Hungarian Plain, the Eastern Slovak Lowland in the south-east is part of the Great Hungarian Plain.


Slovakia is located in the temperate zone and has a continental climate with warm, relatively dry summers and cold, humid winters. The average daily temperature ranges from 0°C (32°F) in January to 21°C (70°F) in summer. The annual average temperature varies from 6°C (43°F) in northern Slovakia to 11°C (52°F) in the south. [ (German): [] ] Precipitation varies from 500 mm in the lowlands to 2000 mm in the mountains. [MSN (German): [] ]

For monthly temperature averages, see []

Protected areas

Many attractive, ecologically valuable regions are placed under various levels of protection. In 2003 around 23% of the country was protected: 9 national parks (12%), 14 protected landscape areas (10.5%), 181 protected sites, 383 nature reserves, 219 national nature reserves, 230 natural monuments, and 60 national natural monuments. [Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic: [] ]

Rivers and lakes

Most of the country is in the Danube River basin, which drains into the Black Sea. Only the areas within the Poprad and Dunajec River basins in the north drain into the Vistula, which flows into the Baltic Sea. The boundary between the Danube and Vistula basins is part of the European drainage divide.

The Danube is also the largest river in the country with the average flow of 2,025 m³ per second (71,512 cubic ft. per second) near Bratislava. [Slovak Wikipedia: [] ] It forms a segment of Slovakia's border with Hungary. The former main arm of the Danube, now its side arm, is the Little Danube. It leaves the main stream in Bratislava and flows back into the Danube in Komárno. The Danube and Little Danube form Žitný ostrov between them, one of the largest river islands in Europe with an area of ca. 1,900 km² (734 sq. mi.). The three major Slovak tributaries of the Danube are the Váh, Slovakia's longest river - unit length|km|413|1, and the Hron and Ipeľ Rivers. The Tisza forms around unit length|km|5|1 of Slovakia's border with Hungary in the extreme south-west. Its major tributaries from Slovakia are the Bodrog and Hornád (which flows into the Sajó first).

The largest natural lake is the glacial Veľké Hincovo pleso in the High Tatras with 0.2 km² (0.8 sq mi.). The largest man-made lakes are the Orava Reservoir (35 km², 13.5 sq. mi., on the Orava River), Zemplínska šírava (33 km², 12.7 sq. mi., on the Laborec), Liptovská Mara (22 km², 8.5 sq. mi., on the Váh), and Veľká Domaša (14 km², 5.4 sq. mi., on the Ondava).


Slovakia has only limited natural resources. They include copper, lead, zinc, salt, manganese, lignite, and iron. [ [ MSN Encarta] ] [ CIA World Factbook] ] Gold, silver, and other precious metals used to be a major source of wealth in Central Slovakia in past centuries.

Human geography

Economic geography

The gross domestic product was 1.66 trillion Slovak korunas in 2006, equal to around 50 billion euros or 71 billion USD, [Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic: [] ] which is around 8,800 Euro or 13,000 USD per capita.

GDP per sector:
*Agriculture 3.6%
*Industry (raw materials, production, energy, water) 31.6%
*Services 64.8%

The western regions are more developed than the eastern ones. As of 2004, the highest GDP per capita was 573,976 SK in the Bratislava Region, which was more than double of the national average (251,814 SK). That statistical area comprises only the city of Bratislava, which distorts Slovak regional and regional-international comparisons. The GDP per capita was 152,786 SK in the Prešov Region in the north-east, 60% of the national average. [ [ Regional Gross Domestic Product per head at the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic] ]


Cultivated fields occupy around 29% of Slovakia. Principal crops are wheat, barley, maize, sugar beets and potatoes. Viticulture is widespread in the southern areas, mainly around the Little Carpathians, Danubian Lowland and Tokaj area. The breeding of livestock, including pigs, cattle, sheep is also practised. [ [ Slovakia at MSN Encarta] ]


Slovakia was partly industrialized in the 19th century, but became an industrialized country in the second half of the 20th century. The Communist government emphasized heavy and arms industry. After Velvet Revolution and independence from Czechoslovakia in 1993 it somewhat declined; today, main sectors are manufacturing, electrotechnical, chemical, petrol, steel, textile and food processing industries. In recent years the car-making industry is on the rise, with car plants built in Bratislava, Trnava and Žilina. Other important industrial towns are Trenčín, Prešov and Košice.


Fossil fuels, particularly oil and gas, are imported. In 2004, the most important source of energy was from nuclear power plants (55.7%), located in Jaslovské Bohunice and Mochovce. Another source of energy was from hydroelectric plants (13,9%), with the main one being the Gabčíkovo Dam on the Danube and other on the Váh, Slaná, the Orava and the Hornád rivers; other sources were coal (10,9%), natural gas (7,9%), and oil (2,4%). [(German): [,MKT20070816123441,Google.html] ] In 2005 Slovakia consumed 24.93 billion kWh of electricity.


Road transport The road network in Slovakia is composed of 42,696 km roads (except highways and expressways), of which 3,341 km were first-class roads, 3,734 km second-class roads, 10,401 km third-class roads and 25,220 km local roads in 2000. [Slovak Roads Administration: [] ] As of December 2007, there were 368 km of highways and 135 km of expressways.

Rail transport The railway network includes as of 2006 3,662 km of railways, of which 3,512 km were in standard gauge (1435 mm), 100 km in broad gauge (1520 mm) and 50 km in narrow gauge (1000 or 750 mm). There are significant links from Bratislava to the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary and the most important line in the country is from Bratislava to Košice via Žilina.

Water transport The main Slovak waterway is the Danube, with 172 km. Other navigable rivers are lower parts of Váh, and few kilometres of Bodrog. Main ports are located in Bratislava and Komárno.

ocial geography

Around 5,391,000 people lived in Slovakia at the end of 2006. According to the 2001 census, 85.8% of the people were of Slovaks, 9.7% Hungarians, 1.7% Roma, 0.8% Czechs, 0.4% Rusyns, 0.2% Ukrainians and others. []

Approximately 5,600 people immigrated into Slovakia in 2006, while 1,700 emigrated from Slovakia. There were 53,904 live births (fertility rate 1.24) and 53,301 deaths (9.9 deaths per 1000 inhabitants) (2006). [Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic: [] ]

The average population density in Slovakia was 110/km². There are noticeable, but not extreme differences between regions. The most populated areas are Bratislava and vicinity, the Danubian Lowland, the lower and central Váh Valley, and the agglomeration around the cities of Košice and Prešov. The least populated areas are the mountainous regions of central Slovakia and the north-east. The density is below 50-70/km² in some districts.


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