SLOVAKIA, CZECH REPUBLIC, AUSTRIA, HUNGARY, POLAND
These five countries of Central and eastern Europe have a long period of common history. Namely Austria, Hungaria, Czechia and Slovakia had been combined in one Austro-Hungarian empire for many centuries; Poland has not been an integral part of the empire, however, the common influence and ties has also been strong.
After the First World War the empire came apart and independent states has appeared on the map of Europe. Czechs and Slovaks created a common state – Czechoslovakia, which (with a small interruption during the 2nd world war) existed until 1993. In 1993 Slovakia and Czech created two independent states.
At present each of the nations has its independent state, own language and culture. However, the centuries of common history influenced the life, culture, traditions, cuisine and the languages.
Slovak and Czech language are so similar that Slovaks and Czechs can fully understand each other. Hungarian or Szegedi goulashes belong to the most popular dishes in Slovakia, traditional Vienna strudel is very famous in Czechia and Slovakia, too. In 1918 only one third of Bratislava population spoke Slovak… the two thirds of inhabitants spoke Hungarian or German. Among the wide-spread austrian names you can find many names which sounds very Czech or Slovak. Co-influence of Poland and Slovakia is visible mostly in the northern regions of Slovakia/ southern regions of Poland – in culture, folklore. The languages are of the same Slavic route.
The architecture – especially of the large cities, capitals is very similar, too.
The countryside differs much more in terms of architecture, culture and traditions…even within the same country.
Thus, if you really want to have a feeling of Central and Eastern Europe, make the trips outside the capitals….it is definitely worth!