THE INTEREST of Slovaks in travelling to Austria is no longer restricted by closed borders and barbed wire. Since the fall of the Iron curtain, Slovaks easily travel across the Slovak-Austrian frontier to spend their leisure time enjoying Austria’s beautiful nature or exploring its historical sites. Slovaks, especially those from west-southern Slovakia, frequently travel to the Auland-Carnuntum region for day-long trips.
“This region is close to Bratislava,” Beata Havranová of BH Public Relations told The Slovak Spectator. “For example, the Donau-Auen National Park is no more than 34 kilometres from Bratislava.”
Slovaks also have become accustomed to visiting the Schloss Hoff castle which is gradually restoring its Baroque features from the times of Empress Maria Theresa. The Archaeological Park Carnuntum offers an opportunity to travel back in time to the Roman world. Both sites offer rich programmes for families with children, for example a horse festival, a live gladiators show or tasting Roman delicacies.
These sites across the formerly forbidden frontier are making special endeavours to appeal to Slovaks, according to Havranová. During Slovak public holidays they are offering discount tickets for Slovaks as well as guided tours in the Slovak language. Because of this the number of Slovak visitors in Schloss Hoff and Carnuntum has increased by about 15 percent.
The Slovak language is also more and more frequently heard at the open-air Opera Festival held in a large first-century Roman quarry near St. Margarethen just 65 kilometres from Bratislava. For this year’s 12th festival, organisers have chosen Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi.