Slovakia Consul WPSCA Sister Cities Program Links

Pittsburgh is the second largest city in Pennsylvania, with a population of 375,000. It is also the seat of Allegheny County which has a population of 1,500,000. The city was the result of the French and Indian War, 1752-1759, which is also called the Seven Year War. France and England both desired to control the three rivers, the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio, which flow through Pittsburgh. These rivers were direct routes to the West and South of the new country and their ownership was very important to both superpowers in the new world. The British were victorious in this struggle and Pittsburgh was named after the then prime minister of England, William Pitt. The city has numerous French and English historical sights from that period of its history.

The founders of Pittsburgh were Scotch Irish Presbyterian. The heavy German settlement took place in 1850 and the central and eastern European immigrants came in 1880. This last group of immigrants labored in the oil and glass industry, the coal mines and especially in the many steel factories as Pittsburgh was the principal steel center of America. At the present time there are 40 different nationalities living in the Pittsburgh area.

There are about 200,000 inhabitants of Slovak descent living in the area of Western Pennsylvania. One Slovak fraternal society - National Slovak Society - is headquartered in the Pittsburgh area. However, five other Slovak fraternal societies have active branches in Pittsburgh ( First Catholic Slovak Union, First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association, Pennsylvania Slovak Ladies Union, Slovak Catholic Sokol and Sokol USA )

Slovak culture and history are well represented in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Here are a few examples. The University of Pittsburgh, is the only institution of higher learning to have an endowed Slovak Department in the United States. Many students from Slovakia as well as American student s take advantage of the degrees offered in this world renowned university. Professor Martin Votruba is in charge of the Slovak department. Another unique sight is the permanent display of the Slovak flag in the historic county courthouse. The signing of the Pittsburgh Agreement is remembered with a historical marker in one of the downtown buildings. Pittsburgh area Slovaks support a weekly radio program and have two folk dancing groups. These are just a few reasons why Pittsburgh is known as the "Mecca of Slovakia in America".

The former Smokey City is now a sparkling renaissance city known for its medical and high tech research. The various universities, museums, art galleries, theaters and excellent medical facilities make Pittsburgh a desirable place to live and visit.