CULTURE: GENERAL INFORMATION
The evolution of Slovak culture is the result of a combination of the country’s rich folk traditions and wider European influences. Upon reaching independence, some components of the Slovak community already possessed a precise national identity (such as language), but most of the traditions were still influenced by a long history of foreign domination. If the traditions most rooted in the Slovak people, some of very ancient origin, continue to be the basis of the new cultural identity of the Slovak nation, the sign that centuries of cultural control and repression by foreign governments have left on the various expressions of art, literature and music. The country has numerous libraries, Bratislava which, founded in 1919, contains more than two million volumes. Also worth mentioning is the Slovak National Library located in Martín, which houses important documentation material on the culture of Slovakia. The country is also home to more than 50 museums. The best known is the Slovak National Museum, established in 1893, based in Bratislava, which offers various documents on the history, archeology and musical traditions of Slovakia. Locations of prestigious universities are the city of Košice and the capital Bratislava (Comenius University).
According to estatelearning, Slovakia is a region rich in traditions and folklore where it is possible to rediscover the ancient folk customs that still play an important role in rural life. Many of the villages with characteristic wooden houses, small Orthodox churches and Romanesque and Gothic buildings (including Vlkolínec, Banská Štiavnica, Spišský Hrad and Bardejov) have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Among the traditions handed down over the centuries, the most widespread, especially in rural areas, are woodworking, glass decoration and weaving. Activities protected and valued since 1954 by the Center for the production of local crafts. Among the events are the Folklore Festival, a meeting of all the folklore shows of the country, which takes place every year in July in the town of Krakovany, while in the months of June and July the dancers of folk dances from all over Slovakia meet to the Východná Folk Festival, 32 km west of Poprad. § Slovak cuisine is fundamentally Central European. Among the very popular traditional dishes are soups such as kapustnica, based on smoked pork and mushroom sauce and halàszle, based on fish. Typical dishes are also hovadzì gulàs (beef stewed with paprika, red and green peppercorns, onions and tomatoes), knedlo-zelo-vepro (stuffed dumplings, sauerkraut and roast pork) and brynzové halušky (dumplings potatoes topped with spicy sheep’s cheese and bacon). Wine, produced mainly in the areas of Modra, Pezinok and in the Tokaj region, along the Hungarian border, is preferred to beer.
In Slovakia, the Gothic style appears late in the cathedral of Bratislava and in the churches of Trnava and Levoča (14th century). The construction of numerous castles dates back to 1400 (Trenčín, Orava, Bratislava, Zvolen, Spiš). Of particular interest is the copious late Gothic sculpture of the late 1400s, of a realistic type, which in the early sixteenth century turned to Renaissance ways; painting had a similar development. The architecture of this period strictly depends on Hungary (Prešov municipality), until in the mid-16th century a characteristic Slovak style was formed, the so-called Eastern Slovak Renaissance, influenced by Venetian architecture (houses, churches and castles in Levoca, Prešov, Betlanovce, Velká Bytca, Fricovce, Micina; bell towers of the Spiš area). During the Baroque period the Austrian influence (also present in Bohemia and very much alive in Moravia) was almost exclusive in Slovakia, where the greatest exponents of the courtly architecture of Vienna worked (D. Martinelli in Nitra; CA Carlone and JL Hildebrandt in the castle of Bratislava; Conti and Torini in Trnava). From their example they moved the religious architecture and the new palaces of the Hungarian aristocracy of the time of Maria Theresa. Austrian is also the most important sculptor, Georg Donner, active in Bratislava in 1730-39. Also in the field of Baroque and Rococo painting Slovakia can be considered an artistic province of Austria (Bibiena and P. Troger in Bratislava, FA Maulpertsch in Bohuslavice etc.).
In Slovakia the first musical examples (Latin songs superimposed on the ancient Slavic song) date back, as in Bohemia, to the century. X, but activity and production were of much less quantity and resonance. Good development had in the sec. The seventeenth and eighteenth sacred music; towards the end of the eighteenth century, due to influences from Vienna, the symphonic production began; between the following century and the present JL Bella (1843-1936) produced neo- romantic music and essays aimed at forming a national style. In the generation that in the twentieth century also worked in Slovakia for a new music, the aforementioned V. Novák and E. Suchoň stood out., initiator of contemporary Slovakian opera. The musicological tradition is rich in Bohemia. The musical life of the country has its greatest expressions in the ensembles and activity of the theaters of Prague (National Theater, founded in 1881), Brno, Bratislava etc.
After the biblical dramas in German of the century. XV, the scholastic dramas of the century. XVI and the Jesuit theater in Latin and the sacred popular representations of the century. XVII, a fair activity of amateur dramatics companies, with mainly satirical texts, developed at the beginning of the nineteenth century. But Slovakia remained a province of Hungary and the theater was performed in German or Hungarian until 1920, when the Municipal Theater in Bratislava became the Slovak national theater and began organizing professional pictures. With the birth of the People’s Republic, the theaters were nationalized and their activity extended extensively to smaller centers as well. While the satirical tradition persisted, the influence of the research carried out on the Prague scenes extended to Bratislava.