Slovakia (/sloʊˈvækiə, slə-, -ˈvɑː-/; Slovak: Slovensko [ˈsloʋensko]), officially the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east ankd Hungary to the south. Slovakia's territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi) and is mostly mountainous. The population is over 5 million and comprises mostly ethnic Slovaks. The capital and largest city is Bratislava. The official language is Slovak. Slovakia is both an agricultural and industrial country. Slovakia entered the European Union in 2004.
Slovak landscape is noted primarily for its mountainous nature, with the Carpathian Mountains extending across most of the northern half of the country. Amongst these mountain ranges are the high peaks of the Fatra-Tatra Area (including Tatra Mountains, Greater Fatra and Lesser Fatra), Slovak Ore Mountains, Slovak Central Mountains or Beskids. The largest lowland is the fertile Danubian Lowland in the southwest, followed by the Eastern Slovak Lowland in the southeast. Forests cover 41% of Slovak land surface.
Slovak climate lies between the temperate and continental climate zones with relatively warm summers and cold, cloudy and humid winters. Temperature extremes are between −41 to 40.3 °C (−41.8 to 104.5 °F) although temperatures below −30 °C (−22 °F) are rare. The weather differs from the mountainous North to the plain South. In Slovakia, there are four seasons, each season (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) lasts three months. The dry continental air brings in the summer heat and winter frosts. In contrast, oceanic air brings rainfalls and reduces summer temperatures. In the lowlands and valleys fog is often, especially in winter.
Košice (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈkoʃit͡se]) is the biggest city in eastern Slovakia and with a population of approximately 240,000, Košice is the second largest city in Slovakia after the capital Bratislava.
Being the economic and cultural centre of eastern Slovakia, Košice is the seat of the Košice Region and Košice Self-governing Region, the Slovak Constitutional Court, three universities, various dioceses, and many museums, galleries, and theatres. Košice is also an important industrial centre of Slovakia and the town has extensive railway connections and an international airport.
The city has a well-preserved historical centre, which is the largest among Slovak towns. There are many heritage protected buildings in Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau styles with Slovakia’s largest church: the St. Elisabeth Cathedral. The long main street, rimmed with aristocratic palaces, Catholic churches, and townsfolk’s houses, is a thriving pedestrian zone with many boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. The city is well known as the first settlement in Europe to be granted its own coat-of-arms.
In 2013, Košice was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture, in 2016 it received the title of European Capital of Sport, since 2016 it host prestigious international film festival Art Film Fest and in 2019 Košice will become European Capital of Volunteering. There is no time to be bored, as the cultural scene is always very exciting, with exhibitions, concerts, street entertainment, and arts to suit every season.
Public transport is most widely used means of transportation in towns. Schedules can be found at every bus/tram stop. Tickets can be bought at newsstands, ticket machines, some bus stations or public transport kiosks. In several towns, electronic SMS tickets are also available for clients of Slovak mobile operators. However, the possibilities vary from town to town.
Types of tickets differ, in Košice, there are available time-tickets (with them you can change means of transport within a given period), others single-use tickets (every time you change means of transport, you use a new ticket). If travelling with large pieces of luggage and/or animals you will need an extra ticket. Only a night ticket is valid at night lines.
In case of staying in a certain town for a longer period and if you know you'll be using public transport quite frequently, it is advisable to buy a travel pass, usually for 30, 90 or 365 days. To get a pass, you will normally need a completed application form, an up to date photograph (3 × 3.5 cm) and your ID card. Children, students and pensioners usually travel for reduced fares.
If you don’t have a ticket and you urgently need to use public transport, just send blank SMS at 1166. You will receive another SMS that is valid as a ticket (fee 0.80 EUR, ticket expiration is 60 min.).
In case of emergency you can use a taxi (e.g. EASY TAXI +421 907 234 263).
Schedules of all buses, trams, trolleybuses and night bus lines can be found at website Public transport Website - Košice
Where to have fun
Different discos and parties can be found in clubs around Košice. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually reserved for student’s parties. The most famous clubs are Viral Club (former Ibiza), Jazz Caffe, Irish Pub, Diamond People Club, 2Space, Boba and others. There are also many interesting pubs and clubs at Hlavná Street in the town centre. Don’t forget about the legendary F-klub (called Efko) under the stairs at yellow dormitory and there is also VET bar (called Vetko) situated near a parking place. Social events organized at the university are matriculation ball, breaking ball of veterinarians, breaking ball of pharmacists and Banquet (final ball of graduating veterinarians). The best tool to orientate in numbers of different parties is: www.kamdomesta.sk/kosice/.
Where to enjoy cultural events
Košice offers you many opportunities for cultural activities. Not only the State Theatre, but also very good theatre Cassia or Marionette Theatre, many philharmonic performances, concerts and exhibitions. Very popular are also cinemas in Košice and probably the most famous one is CINEMAX that is situated in Košice shopping centre Optima. More information about Košice’s cultural life can be found at www.visitkosice.eu.
Where to refresh
A suitable place for spending time in the fresh air near the university and dormitories is park Anička that provides many activities. Another option is the ZOO Košice which should not be bypassed by anyone. Hlavná Street is also a great “relax zone” because it breaths historical atmosphere combined with modern.
In Košice, there are three parks and you can find a fountain in each of them. The most famous one is so called “singing fountain” that is situated between the St Elizabeth Cathedral and the State Theatre.
In summer you can enjoy sitting in one of many summer terraces, in winter it is worth seeing a Christmas market where you can enjoy almost fairytale atmosphere.
Recommended is also a visit to the Botanical garden, a gazebo that offers you a beautiful overview of Košice and close neighbourhood with small villages. Not far from Košice, you can also visit Jasov cave, an amazing geyser in Herľany and go hiking in Zádiel valley. Other interesting tips for trips can be found at www.visitkosice.eu.
Where to do sport
There are many successful sport teams in Košice. The most famous are hockey team HC Košice and football team MFK Košice, whose home stadium is placed between the university and dormitories, basketball team Good Angels Košice and many others. The sport centre in Košice is Steel Aréna, where many sports and cultural events are carried out.
The university itself offers you some sport activities physical education classes that are provided at a gymnasium next to dormitories in the afternoon or in the evening. You can choose from many sports for women or for men. Just register at a particular sport and you automatically become a member of TJ Slávia UVMP in Košice. There is a gym at the first floor of blue dormitory and in the yellow one, there is a cardio gym. You can get into these rooms using a membership card of TJ Slávia UVMP in Košice. The sports card can be used for different sports, but there is some preference for those who initially registered for some particular sport (the gym card cannot be used for other sports). The tournaments in football, floorball, volleyball, table tennis, badminton and basketball are regularly organized at Christmas and Easter. If you are interested in aerobic, you don’t have to register for the whole semester, but you can come whenever you want and pay 1 EUR per one hour. Students with cards can use a gymnasium beyond a schedule (if it is free). You just have to agree in advance with the head of the Physical Education Institute. The university has a cynological and horseriding areas too.
Where to shop
If you live at a dormitory or somewhere around the university campus, and you need to do some shopping, you can go to a supermarket Klas, which is close to a church and bus stop Polianska. The shop is about 5 minutes from dormitories. On the way from the university you can do some shopping at Billa or Milk Agro. These shops are situated at Mier. Also you can’t miss Lidl at a railway station. If you look for a hypermarket, the nearest one is Tesco Džungľa, located in the direction of Ťahanovce. You can get there easily by bus from Mier. If you prefer to do shopping at shopping centres, you can choose from Aupark, Optima, Galéria, or Cassovia. The nearest shopping centre is Aupark, bus no. 16; tramcar no. 2, bus stop Námestie osloboditeľov. The biggest shopping centre is Optima.