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Yuletide joys in Slovakia

The Christmas season is one of the highlights of the Slovak year and it offers many traditional, cultural, social, and trade events literally around the whole country.

Christmas atmosphere in Žilina(Source: SITA)

Apart from the numerous Christmas markets in the capital, with new ones mushrooming every year, the other cities do not lag behind. In each of the eight regional cities, the trees have been duly erected, and seasonal markets organised.

Some of them have also set up artificial ice-rinks, the TASR newswire wrote: Žilina and Trnava both have one, a mobile ice-rink has returned to Trenčín, and for the first time Prešov will have a space for skating.

Others will have kiosks and craft demonstrations concentrated into one space – Poprad will have Advent Town, Nitra and Košice Christmas Town. The western borough of Košice, known as Terasa, will host a market of traditional crafts, the SITA newswire wrote.

Christmas events have already started in Bratislava, Poprad and Prešov, while they will be launched on December 1 in Žilina and Nitra. In Košice, the traditional start to the season is December 5, and in Banská Bystrica, it is December 6.

Usually, those which start earlier also end earlier – on December 23; while in Žilina, the Christmas market will be open until January 2, and in Banská Bystrica it will last until Epiphany on January 6.

The Christmas markets usually stage performances of carols and seasonal classical or folk music, while also presenting popular performers from other genres, especially theatre and shows for children. Some other, indoor concerts are organised these days too, and it can be helpful to check the Slovak Spectator’s Foreigners: Events in Bratislava and Foreigners: Events around Slovakia tips, as well as the local tourism and culture websites.

The Slovak National Theatre and Slovak Philharmonic also offer a host of seasonally-themed events, both for children and adults, and it is advisable to book tickets in advance. The New Year’s Eve concert of the Slovak Philharmonic is already sold out but it will be broadcast live on a big-sized screen outside the Reduta building, in Hviezdoslavovo Square, at 16:00.

Slovak museums in castles like Bojnice, Orava, or Červený Kameň, also contribute to the Christmas spirit, and are organising special holiday guided tours (mostly in Slovak, however), and they tend to add seasonal decorations which enhance the regular, scheduled tours. Local libraries, cultural centres and galleries also usually react to the season and offer themed events and exhibitions.

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