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Since 1949 (except 1990–1996), Slovakia has been divided into a number of kraje (singular kraj; usually translated as "Regions" with capital R). Their number, borders and functions have been changed several times. There are currently eight regions of Slovakia and they correspond to the EU's NUTS 3 level of local administrative units. Each kraj consists of okresy (counties). There are currently 79 Districts.
The term "Region" (Slovak: kraj) should not be confused with:
- the general (i.e. non-administrative) term "region" (Slovak: región) as it is used for example in the articles List of traditional regions of Slovakia or List of tourism regions of Slovakia
- the 4 "regions" (Slovak: regióny or oblasti or zoskupenia krajov) that correspond to the NUTS 2 level, i.e. groups of several kraje, used by the Eurostat for statistical purposes. These are:
- Bratislavský kraj SK 01 (Bratislava Region) – comprises only this single kraj
- Západné Slovensko SK 02 (Western Slovakia) = Trnavský kraj + Trenčiansky kraj + Nitriansky kraj
- Stredné Slovensko SK 03 (Central Slovakia) = Žilinský kraj + Banskobystrický kraj
- Východné Slovensko SK 04 (Eastern Slovakia) = Prešovský kraj + Košický kraj
- Great Moravia (cca. 9th century)
- the Kingdom of Hungary (cca. 11th / 12th century – 1918)
- Czechoslovakia (the župy existed 1918 – 1928)
- the WWII Slovak Republic (the župy existed 1940 – 1945)
In 1928–1939 (and formally also 1945–1948) Slovakia as a whole formed the administrative unit "Slovak land" (Krajina slovenská) within Czechoslovakia.
Kraje December 24, 1948/January 1, 1949 – June 30, 1960Edit
- Bratislavský kraj (Bratislava Region)
- Banskobystrický kraj (Banská Bystrica Region)
- Košický kraj (Košice Region)
- Nitriansky kraj (Nitra Region)
- Prešovský kraj (Prešov Region)
- Žilinský kraj (Žilina Region)
Each kraj was named after its principal city.
Kraje July 1, 1960 – December 19, 1990Edit
- Stredoslovenský kraj (Central Slovak Region)
- Východoslovenský kraj (Eastern Slovak Region)
- Západoslovenský kraj (Western Slovak Region)
- Bratislava (before March 22 1968 part of the Západoslovenský kraj, afterwards a partly separate entity; from January 1971 a separate kraj)
Note: The kraje were abolished from July 1, 1969 to December 28, 1970 and reintroduced then.
Kraje since July 24, 1996Edit
After a period without kraje and without any equivalent (1990–1996), the kraje were reintroduced in 1996. As for administrative division, Slovakia has been subdivided into 8 kraje since:
- Bratislavský kraj (Bratislava Region) (capital Bratislava)
- Trnavský kraj (Trnava Region) (capital Trnava)
- Trenčiansky kraj (Trenčín Region) (capital Trenčín)
- Nitriansky kraj (Nitra Region) (capital Nitra)
- Žilinský kraj (Žilina Region) (capital Žilina)
- Banskobystrický kraj (Banská Bystrica Region) (capital Banská Bystrica)
- Prešovský kraj (Prešov Region) (capital Prešov)
- Košický kraj (Košice Region) (capital Košice)
Since 2002, Slovakia is divided into 8 samosprávne kraje (self-governing regions), which are called by the Constitution vyššie územné celky (Higher Territorial Units), abbr. VÚC. The territory and borders of the self-governing regions are identical with the territory and borders of the kraje. Therefore, the word "kraj" can be replaced by "VÚC" or "samosprávny kraj" in each case in the above list. The main difference is that organs of samosprávne kraje are self-governance, with an elected chairperson and assembly, while the organs of kraje are appointed by the government.