Slovakia: Europe’s Cultural Center
Slovakia is the hidden gem of Europe. The nation is ripe with various cultures that existed, melded, and created unique communities. Several cultures invaded the fertile farmlands and settled amongst those already present — two locations in Slovakia exhibit the mix of the old and new that create this unique holiday playground.
Bratislava is the capital city of Slovakia. As such, the city is a microcosm of Slovakian cultures. Hugging the banks of the Danube River, the city is noted for its two fortresses, medieval areas, and spectacular views. The city and its surrounding area present a resounding display of architecture, twisting streets, and diverse colors.
Bratislava Castle is an iconic fortress initially built in the 11th Century and expanded and repeatedly renovated every 100 years. Family members of all ages find delight in a large section of the castle that currently houses a museum.
Children dance along the hike up the hill to the castle while adults slog along, which says something about the reason for its location on a hilltop overlooking what used to be one of the few fords of the Danube. Rich floral scents arise from the Baroque garden installed by the legendary Maris Theresa—one of the most spectacular botanical gardens in Europe.
At the other end of the city is Devin Castle which overlooks the confluence of the Danube and Morava Rivers. Built by the Moravian Empire in the 12th Century, Devin Castle is a medieval wonder that draws families with its informational and visual surprises. The sight from the castle’s height of a shining sun reflecting off the Danube is a lifetime memory for adults and children alike. A family can take all day exploring the caves, ruins, and sites of this beautiful piece of medieval history.
Returning from Devin Castle, family members can wander the narrow and twisted streets of Bratislava Old Town. In Old Town, you get a feel for life during the Medieval Age. The tight setting, the overhanging balconies, and roofs bring a warmth of memory that you do not find elsewhere. At night. Modern tunes ooze from basement arenas providing a counterpunch to the visual effects of Medieval Europe.
A little over 100 miles to the northwest of Bratislava lies the Liptov Region. Bordering on Poland, the region offers a natural year-round playground along with distinctive towns, manors, and monuments in fertile valleys, most of which are inscribed in the UNESCO list of the World Natural and Cultural Heritage.
The ski slopes are a modern addition to the culture of this area. Skiing of every type, snowboarding, and the clean air bring wonderland seekers to the area during the winter. Hiking trails, unique architectural finds, and thermal waters bring adventurers during the warm months.
Most of the monuments are ruined fortresses, examples of the effects of repeated invasion and migration of peoples. Several stood against the Mongols, Moslems, and the Germans in wars across the ages.
These are just a couple of the multiple opportunity’s visitors find in Slovakia to explore. For many, the idea of a holiday home in Slovakia makes sense. With so many adventures in store that appeal to all ages, families flock to Slovakia to spend vacations in Europe’s Cultural Center year after year exploring a different part of this incredible land with each visit.
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