In January 1993, Slovakia gained complete independence after a thousand years, only to face even greater problems than within Czechoslovakia. Also, its advantageous geographical location would be significantly strengthened, especially in connection with the calming of the situation in the Balkans and in the republics of the former USSR.
More than half of Slovakia’s area is occupied by mountains. All mountain ranges belong to the Carpathian system of the Alpine-Himalayan mountain system. The Carpathians stretch in a large arc from Bratislava (Malé Karpaty) along the borders with the Czech Republic (Bílé Karpaty, Javorníky) and Poland to the border with Ukraine. To the east, the sedimentary Slovak Beskydy Mountains are enclosed by the granite High Tatras with distinctive glacial modeling.
To the south of them stretch another crystalline mountain range of the Low Tatras and the Slovak Red Mountains, surrounded by bizarre ranges of mountains built by limestone and dolomite and even more in the south by volcanic rocks. Between them lie mostly low-lying basins. The Slovak karst near the border with Hungary represents the largest karst area in Central Europe. From the vast Pannonian Plain in Hungary, the fertile Danubian Plain extends to the land of western Slovakia. In the east, its outcrop is the Východoslovak lowland in the Tisza river basin. The whole area is rich in mineral springs. The vast majority of Slovakia is drained by tributaries of the Danube (the Váh is the longest) into the Black Sea.
According to ALLCITYCODES, the climate in Slovakia is under the stronger influence of continentality than in the Czech Republic. Summers are on average warmer and winters colder, although the maximum range of absolute temperatures is even slightly lower. Altitude and ruggedness of the terrain are strongly applied. The highest temperatures (July average is higher than 20°C) and the lowest precipitation are between 1200-2000 mm (in the Tatras).
The more vulnerable Slovak economy has made the situation even more complicated with the division of Czechoslovakia and has fewer resources than before to solve serious problems.
Agriculture, which has half of the country’s surface at its disposal (a third is arable land), employs 11% of the workforce. Crop production, which is significantly concentrated in the Danubian or East Slovak Lowlands, mainly grows cereals (wheat, barley, corn), as well as sugarcane and potatoes. The production of vegetables (cabbage, tomatoes and peppers) and wine is significant, less fruit and tobacco.
Pig and cattle breeding is an important animal production, and sheep breeding has resumed. Very important is the extraction of wood from the forests, which cover the largest part of the country after Finland and Sweden.
The disadvantage is the lack of fuel. Only a limited amount of low-quality brown coal and lignite is mined. Oil, natural gas and some electricity must be imported. Half of the electricity production is provided by the older Jaslovské Bohunice nuclear power plant. This is also why Slovakia is clinging to the completion of the Gabčíkovo waterworks. Iron, copper, zinc and mercury ores are mined in small quantities. More significant is the mining of limestone and magnesite.
Thanks to post-war industrialization, the most important industry is iron metallurgy, concentrated in Košice. The largest consumer of steel was the vast arms industry, which undergoes a complex conversion process, but also the production of trucks and other heavy equipment. A large aluminum plant and non-ferrous metallurgy plants are in operation. The electrotechnical industry (production of televisions, washing machines and refrigerators), which worked for the Czechoslovak market, has problems. Petrochemistry in Bratislava and the subsequent production of artificial fertilizers, fibers and tires are very important. The production of cement, cellulose and paper is also significant. The production of clothing and footwear has a slightly better position.
Traffic is concentrated in the Danube Corridor and in the valley of large rivers. The Čierna nad Tisou-Ostrava railway line serves the international transport of raw materials. Bratislava is an important railway and road junction with a port and an airport. Tourism does not bring the expected income.