Slovakia or the Slovak Republic,Slovak Slovensko [slô’venskô], republic (1995 est. pop. 5,432,000), 18,917 sq mi (48,995 sq km), central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic in the west, by Austria in the southwest, by Hungary in the south, by Ukraine in the east, and by Poland in the north. Bratislava is the capital. Slovakia is divided into four administrative departments. Slovakia became an independent nation on Jan. 1, 1993, when Czechoslovakia was dissolved.


Slovakia is located in central Europe. The land has rugged mountains, rich in mineral resources, with vast forests and pastures. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the topography of Slovakia, with lowland areas in the southern region. Slovakia is about twice the size of the state of Maryland.


A Slovak tradition is the Christmas Oplatky. The Oplatky is blessed by the Priest. They are eaten at the Christmas Eve Supper, according to tradition originating in Slovakia and Poland. The Catholics in these regions wished to begin their first meal, after the strict fast of Advent, with food which was blessed. These Christmas wafers are eaten with honey to remind them of the manna which God fed the chosen people in the desert following the Exodus. They are to to remind them also of the Sacred host, in which God, in a mysterious manner, is again born, as truly as He was born of the Virgin Mary in the stable at Bethlehem.

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