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Bratislava travel guide — Bratislava tourism and travel information

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Bratislava travel guide

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about Bratislava

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and the country's largest city, with a population of some 430,000. Bratislava lies on the River Danube, at Slovakia's borders with Austria and Hungary, and relatively close to the border with the Czech Republic. It is only 60 km (45-65 minutes by train) from Vienna. The city is the most densely populated in Central Europe. The Carpathian mountain range begins within the territory of the city with the Malé Karpaty (or Little Carpathians) mountains (part of the Carpathians).

Bratislava is the seat of the Slovak presidency, parliament and government. The city is home to universities, a relatively large number of museums, and to theatres and other cultural institutions (for example, the famous Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra).

Historically, the town has been influenced by several nations (among others, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia). As is common for former cities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Bratislava had other names, which remained in common use until World War I: Pressburg, the German name, today still the official alternative German name, as well as Pozsony, its name in Hungarian or Prešporok, its old Slovak name.

Bratislava sights

Bratislava is picturesquely situated on both banks of the Danube, at the base of the outlying spurs of the Little Carpathians, in a position of strategic importance near the Devín Gate (earlier called Hainburger Pforte or Porta Hungarica), and the area includes a picturesque old town.

One of the most conspicuous buildings of the town is the Bratislava Castle situated on a plateau 270 ft. above the Danube. The castle exists since time immemorial, has been the acropolis of a Celtic town, a part of the Roman Limes Romanus, a huge Slav fortified settlement and a political, military and religious center of Great Moravia. A castle of stone was built only in the 10th century (part of Hungary), it was turned to a Gothic anti-Hussite fortress under Sigismund of Luxemburg in 1430, in 1562 to a Renaissance castle, and in 1649 a baroque reconstruction took place. Under queen Maria Theresa, the castle was turned into a prestige seat of the royal governor Albert von Sachsen-Teschen, the son-in-law of Maria Theresa, who founded the Albertina picture gallery in the castle, which was later moved to Vienna. In 1784, when Bratislava ceased to be the capital of Hungary, the castle was turned to a school for Catholic clergy, and later in 1802 to barracks. In 1811, the castle was inadvertently destroyed by fire by the soldiers of the barracks and was in ruins till the 1950s, when it was reconstructed mostly in its former Maria Theresa style.

Another castle is the Devín Castle (still in ruins) in the city part Bratislava-Devín. It is situated on the top of a high rock at the point where the March (Morava) River, which forms the boundary between Austria and Slovakia, falls into the Danube. It is one of the most important Slovak archaeological sites and has been –thanks to its excellent location –a very important frontier castle of Great Moravia and the early Hungarian state. It was deliberately destroyed by Napoleon troops in 1809 and is an important symbol of Slovak and Slavic history.

Yet another castle, built in 1813 and turned to English Gothic style castle in the late 19th century, is situated in the city part Bratislava-Rusovce, otherwise known for ruins of Roman "Gerulata" settlements.

Other noteworthy buildings are:

In general, the historic center is characterized by many baroque palaces. The Grassalkowich palace (built around 1760), for example, is now the residence of the Slovak president, and the former archiepiscopal palace (1614-1765, the former summer residence of the archbishop of Esztergom) is now the seat of the Slovak government.

Bratislava history

for a more comprehensive history (as well as historic personalities and the ethnic structure of the town)

Names of the city

The main known names of the town were as follows:

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bratislava".

This city is also known as: Bratislava.

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