Slovakia has a rich musical heritage. Folk songs were traditionally sung to accompany tasks in daily life, and in some villages in East Slovakia they are still part of everyday life. Typical folk instruments are the fujara (similar to a bassoon), the gajdy (bagpipes) and the konkovka (shepherd's flute). The music of the Wallachians, who live in the mountainous areas of Slovakia, has a distinctive tonal system based on the notes of shepherds' pipes.

 Slovak folk dances are known for their variety and colour. Each town has its own dance. Wedding dances are called radovi. A typical shepherd's dance, the odzemok, is popular in central and west Slovakia. It is performed by men and involves spectacular leaping. The verbunk, a dance from East Slovakia, is traditionally performed before young men leave to do military service.

Slovakia has also produced many fine classical musicians and composers, including Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Alexander Moyzes, Ján Cikker, E. Suchon and Ján Lenoslav Bella. Every year Bratislava holds the Hummel Piano Competition, commemorating the great contemporary of Beethoven. Some of Slovakia's best-known opera singers are Peter Dvorský, Edita Gruberová and Lucia Poppová.

 The earliest documents written in the Slovak language date from the 15th century. Slovak writing from the 18th and 19th centuries reflects nationalist ideas. Ján Hollý, a Catholic priest, translated classical literature into Slovak and wrote epic ballads that glorified Slovak history. 

  Did you know?
Juraj Jánošík (1685-1713) is a national folk hero. Like Robin Hood, he avenged injustices and stole from the rich to give to the poor. He has inspired more artistic works than any other personality in Slovak history. 
Pavol Országh-Hviezdoslav, who wrote lyric and epic poetry, is considered one of Slovakia's finest writers. The writings of L'udovít Štúr helped standardize the Slovak language. Pavol Dobšinský collected and published Slovak folk tales. Many early 20th century Slovak writers, such as Jozef Cíger-Hronský, celebrated rural life. After the war, writers such as Dominik Tatarka focused on political themes. 

Slovakia's landscape is dotted with about 200 impressive castles. The ancient Devín Castle is the oldest in Slovakia. Spiš Castle is the largest medieval castle in central Europe. Orava Castle is one of the most stunning. Each castle has a story attached to it. Cachtice Castle, near Trencín, was the home of the Countess Elisabeth Bathory, known as the female Dracula, in the 17th century. She believed that bathing in the blood of young girls would keep her forever young.

  Did you know?
The parents of American artist Andy Warhol were from Eastern Slovakia. In 1991, the Warhol Family Museum of Modern Art was opened in Medzilaborce, Slovakia. Paintings by Warhol from American galleries were loaned to the Slovakian museum to attract interest in his work.