Slovakia Is a Castle Superpower
The smaller the country, the greater the number of its castles. It’s doubtful whether you would find another country that has as many castles as Slovakia. The first written mention of Devín, Slovakia’s oldest castle, dates back to 868. Spiš Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the ten largest castles in the world, based on the total land area. And the whole world knows the terrifying story of the bloody countess Elizabeth Bathory from Čachtice Castle.
In total, Slovakia has up to 220 castles and castle ruins as well as 425 manor houses.
First Folk Architecture Reserve in the World
Travel back in time and discover rural life, which was very characteristic of Slovakia for many centuries. The picturesque wooden village of Čičmany at the foothills of Strážovské vrchy (Strážovské Hills) is actually the first-ever folk architecture reserve in the world. How did Čičmany come into existence? How did Slovak ancestors live? How did they dress? How did they build painted wooden houses that resemble fairy-tale gingerbread cottages? This place has many interesting stories from the distant past to tell. After all, the first mention of the village dates back to 1272.
World Rock Rarity
Apaches once visited this place and said it even surpassed the uniqueness of their own cliff dwellings, because in Brhlovce, there are people who live all year round in caves, whereas Apaches use their caves only in summer. Can you believe that some people in Slovakia still live in stone “caves”? In the Brhlovce municipality, you can find unique houses carved into the rock. According to tradition, first such dwellings were made in the 16th century in response to the imminent danger during the Turkish wars.
Wolf Mountains – Wilderness and Lost Paradise
It is said that European wilderness ceased to exist centuries ago. But you can still find it in Slovakia. In the Poloniny National Park on the border with Poland and Ukraine lies pristine woodland called Vlčie hory (Wolf Mountains) with trees that are over a thousand years old. This proves that wild European nature can be just as amazing as that in Africa. In a single area, where there are no people far and wide, this beautiful wilderness is home to many endangered animal species, such as the lynx, wolf, bear, beaver, wild horse and the huge prehistoric European bison. A particularity of this place is that it is free from light pollution, so you can feast your eyes on the dark sky dotted with stars.
Forever Mysterious – Stone Balls in the Village of Megoňky
The largest one has a diameter of about 2.15 metres and has been named Mary. Such huge stone balls comparable to similar world-famous findings in Mexico and Costa Rica can be found in the Klokočovské skálie nature reserve in the Kysuce Region. It is in fact the largest known stone ball site in Europe. The secret of these stone balls is millions of years old. So far no one has been able to explain their origin.
Herľany Geyser – a World Rarity
The geyser in the spa village of Herľany has been shooting out water from under the Earth’s surface for over 140 years. Although the spring currently reaches a height of “only” 20 metres at regular intervals every 32 to 36 hours, in 1874 the water erupted continuously for 10 days to a height of 112 metres! What makes it different from other geysers? While the vast majority of geysers around the world gush hot water, Herľany Geyser is renowned for its low temperatures of 14-18°C. Between 1957 and 2006, it even was the only cold geyser in all of Europe. Today, similar geysers can be found only on Iceland.
The Only Horologe Showing True Solar Time
The only Slovak horologe in Stará Bystrica in the Kysuce Region is also the only horologe in the world to display the so-called true solar time. Since it is extremely complicated to build a horologe and explain how it works, suffice it to say that the one in Stará Bystrica is the only one in the world to show the exact solar time, because it is especially configured for the place where it is situated.
Kremnica Mint – A Seven-Hundred-Year-Old Enterprise
The Kremnica Mint has been minting coins since 1328 and is the oldest continuously-operating enterprise in the world. It also manufactures Slovak euro coins and is renowned within the field of numismatics as well as the history of art and technology. The Kremnica Mint reached its production peak during the reign of Maria Theresa.
The Equivalent of the Dead Sea right in the Heart of Europe – the Magic Waters of Podhájska
Did you know that the water from the hot springs in Podhájska village has even more beneficial effects than the world-famous Dead Sea water? The water of Podhájska is unique throughout Europe, and its composition is truly a world rarity.
These animals represent a completely unique species of chamois, as they evolved for thousands of years after the Ice Ages in a totally isolated environment and they also differ from the related chamois species of the Alps and the Apennines. There are only a thousand of them left. This endemic species cannot be found anywhere else on the planet but in the High Tatras.