May 8 - Liberation of the Republic in Slovakia

Posted on May 8, 2017

Today will be celebrated in many different nations of Europe as the end of World War II in that continent (the war ground on in the Pacific, with the Allies fighting against Japan, for several more months). Whether it is called V-E Day, Victory in Europe Day, Armistice Day, Féte de la Victorie, Victory Day, or Liberation Day, this anniversary is an important one that marks the end of Nazi Germany's control on many countries.

In Slovakia, another name for the day is Victory Over Fascism Day.

In Russia and many Eastern European nations, Victory Day is celebrated on May 9, because the effect of the cease-fire treaty took place early on May 9 in Russia, rather than late on May 8. Slovakia is considered an Eastern European nation, and it used to celebrate the anniversary on May 9 but has since changed it to May 8.

I recently (and unexpectedly!) drove through a chunk of Slovakia without stopping except for gas and a restroom break.

I didn't have time to enjoy the wonders and beauties of Slovakia in the least; I decided to make up for this lack by posting a few here.

As I said in past write-ups, some consider Slovakia to have more castles per person than any other European nation. (It's not a hard-and-fast fact, because it depends on your definition of a castle!)

Like other nearby nations, Slovakia has some karst landscape (landforms made by the dissolving of portions of rocks like limestone, creating sinkholes, caves, waterfalls, and underground drainage). The Slovak Karst
National Park is a protected area with about 700 caves (!); it is a biosphere reserve (a place to protect wildlife), and 12 of its caves are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

There's even an ice cave!

Speaking of heritage, Slovakia has the first reservation of folk architecture in the world!

Even though I didn't see much of Slovakia, I did get to drive through its capital city, Bratislava. This city is the only capital in the world that borders on, not one, but TWO other countries! Bratislava, Slovakia, borders both Austria and Hungary. Not only that, the Danube River runs alongside Bratislava and also runs through both of these neighboring nations' capitals. Austria's capital, Vienna, lies on the Danube only about 60 km away, and Hungary's capital, Budapest, also ranges along he shores of the Danube.


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