The country is landlocked and borders to the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and Austria. The landscape is mostly mountainous, in the north the high Tatras, in the central and eastern part the low Tatras and in the west is the Carpathians. The highest point is Mt. Gerlachovka 2,655 masl. Numerous rivers cross the country, the Vah, Nitra and Hron are all tributaries to the Danube.
The climate is continental with cold dry winters and hot summers. About 40% of the country is covered by forests. The vegetation in the lowlands belong to the decidous forest type but grades to a boreal forest in the high mountains.
The Slovak is the largest ethnic group (86%). Hungarians is the largest minority group (11%) other groups are Czech, gypsies, ruthenian and ukrainians.
Urbanization is about 57% (1991)
The economic development since the dissolution of the Czechoslovakia and independent in 1993 has been relatively b with high growth and low inflation. However, unemployment is high, in 1996 it was 12% down only from 13% the year before.
Major industries include metal and metal products, food and beverages, electricity, gas, coke, oil, and nuclear fuel; chemicals and manmade fibers, machinery, paper and printing, earthenware and ceramics; transport vehicles; textiles, electrical and optical apparatus, rubber products.
Major import commodities: machinery, transport equipment and fuels. Major export commodities include: machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, miscellaneous manufactured goods and raw materials
Main trading partners are: EU, Czech Republic and FSU.
Economically important reserves of brown coal and lignite are located in the foothills near Handlová to the west and Modr Kamen to the south. The brown coal is used in thermal power stations, as fuel in the home, and as raw material in the chemical industry.
The chief energy source for industry is hydroelectric power, generated by a series of dams on the Váh, Orava, Hornád, Slan´ rivers. Nuclear power generation also is important.
Air pollution from metallurgical plants in Bratislava and Kosice presents human health risks. Acid rain is damaging forests especially in the eastern part of the country.