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Slovakia
Slovak caves more popular in 2006

ALMOST 686,800 people visited the 12 caves that are open to the public in Slovakia last year, which makes 1,800 more visitors than in 2005.
Demänovská Jaskyňa Slobody, located in the Low Tatra mountains between the towns of Liptovský Mikuláš and Brezno, was the most popular among tourists with over 162,900 visitors, the head of the cave operation and marketing department at the Slovak Cave Administration, Ľubica Nudziková, told the SITA news wire.
The second most popular was the High Tatra mountains' Belianska Jaskyňa with almost 128,300 visitors last year, followed by the Demänovská Ľadová Jaskyňa ice cave in the Low Tatras with 106,100 tourists, and the Dobšinská Ľadová Jaskyňa ice cave in Slovenský Raj (Slovak Paradise) with more than 98,300 visitors.
Gombasecká Jaskyňa in the Košice region reported the lowest number of tourists, receiving only 14,700 for all of 2006. Belianska Jaskyňa reported the largest increase in visitors over the year before, with 13,200 more tourists coming in 2006 than in 2005. The number of visitors to Demänovská Jaskyňa Slobody increased by 2,800 over the past year, while Dobšinská Ľadová Jaskyňa had 6,200 less visitors than last year.
All of the country's caves that are accessible to the public have been declared national natural heritage sites. Five of them, Jasovská, Domica, Gombasecká, Ochtinská Aragonitová, and Dobšinská Ľadová Jaskyňa, are listed by UNESCO as world heritage sites.


Rajka
Slovak-Hungarian police station opened in Rajka

THE FIRST Slovak-Hungarian common border police station was opened in Rajka-Čuňovo in western Slovakia's Bratislava region, the police reported on January 31.
At the event, top police officials from both countries signed a Workplace Status agreement and took a tour of the new joint workplace, the TASR news wire wrote.
The Slovak-Hungarian common police station focuses on the rapid communication of information related to border protection and illegal immigration, as well as the co-ordination of joint police patrols and wider mutual co-operation in fighting crime. Slovak and Hungarian policemen will have direct access to national police databases and information systems, and will also cooperate with national police forces.
In 2007, a further two joint contact stations will be opened on the Slovak-Hungarian border between Slovenské Ďarmoty in central Slovakia's Banská Bystrica region and the Hungarian town of Balassygyrmat, and between Satoralajujhely in Hungary and Slovenské Nové Mesto in eastern Slovakia's Košice region.


Bardejov
Polish-Slovak house

THICK snow and wind accompanied the fifth annual European Dogsled Cup and the second Central European Dogsled Championships, which took place in Donovaly (Žilina region) on February 2 and 3. Slovak mushers won in seven categories out of nine.
photo: Sme - Ján Krošlák

THE RECENTLY reconstructed Polish-Slovak House in Bardejov in eastern Slovakia's Prešov region that was opened on January 31 aims to increase the attractiveness of the border region between Bardejov and its partner Polish towns of Gorlice and Krynica.
The renovation project was supported by the EU. As part of the Interreg III programme between Slovakia and Poland, the Bardejov municipality was given Sk13 million (€370,000) for the project. During the ceremonial opening of the house, Bardejov Mayor Boris Hanuščák announced that another Sk2 million had been provided by the local municipality.
Hanuščák sees the opening of the house as a necessity to preserve the area's cultural, natural, and historical identity. Co-operation between Bardejov, Gorlice and Krynica dates back to the Middle Ages, when they were connected by the 'Amber Road', a trade route linking countries on the Baltic Sea with southern Europe.
Activities at the house should begin in earnest in a month. Representatives of all three towns have formed a seven-member co-ordination commission that will prepare a yearly schedule of events.


Trenčín
Marco Polo wins a dog show

A TWO-YEAR old Bearded Collie called Marco Polo has won the two-day International Dog Show in Trenčín.
The winning dog belongs to Alexandra Bugárová from Veľké Úľany in the western Slovak Trenčín region.
In all, 2,366 dogs representing 229 breeds were entered for the event, including Yorkshire Terriers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Staffordshire Bullterriers, and Labrador Retrievers.
Twenty-three judges, coming from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland, judged dogs from 12 countries.
The event, which ended on January 28, was held by the Slovak Cynological Association in association with Trenčín's local branch of the Slovak Hunting Union.


Komárno
Komárno's Jewish community celebrates Remembrance Day

THE JEWISH community in Komárno, a town in the south western Nitra region, remembered those sent to Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War in a ceremony held on January 28 to mark the UN-designated International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust.
Hungarian historian Tamás Kovács made a speech in front of a crowd of around fifty people, in which he spoke about the events that took place during the "time of bloodshed", which also affected Komárno.
"We are staging this event in Komárno for the first time. It's important for the residents of Komárno to hear about the history of the town, the atrocities that impacted the Jewish and non-Jewish population, the deportations to concentration camps," local Jewish religious community co-ordinator Tamás Paszternak told the TASR news wire.
He continued that all of Komárno's Jewish residents (around 2,000 people) were sent to concentration camps. Most of them never returned.
"The Jewish community in Komárno continues on... and we are still trying to ensure its continued existence. It has around 65 members, mainly old people," Paszternak said.
The participants ended the commemorative event by lighting candles on a special monument to the Holocaust victims located in the local synagogue.

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