The Slovak Republic (Slovakia) is a country with a population of about 5.5 million people larger than the population of the European countries of Norway, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland. It is located in central Europe and bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south.
Slovakia has rugged mountains, rich mineral resources, and large areas of forests and pastures. The Carpathian Mountains cover most of the northern half of Slovakia with lowland areas in the southern region. The Tatras have 29 peaks higher than 2,500 meters (8,202 feet). .
In area, Slovakia is about twice the size of the state of Maryland, an eastern state in the US with its area of about 49,999 square kilometers (19,999 square miles). Slovakia has hundreds of caves and caverns under its mountains, out of which 15 are open to the public. Most of the caves have stalagmites rising from the ground and stalactites hanging from above. There are many rivers in Slovakia. Most of these begin as mountain streams. The longest river in Slovakia is the Vah at 403 kilometers (250 miles) long. The Danube is the largest river that flows through Slovakia. There are nine national parks in Slovakia.
The Slovak climate has warm summers and cold, cloudy and humid winters. The temperatures range from -20°C (-4°F) to +37°C (+99°F). The weather differs from the mountains in the north to the plains in the south.