Bratislava is the capital and the largest city of the Slovak Republic. It is situated on both banks of the river Danube which is the principal river in Central Europe, often referred to as the "Blue Danube". The town is located 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of Vienna (or 40 kilometers from Vienna airport), Austria at the foothills of the Small Carpathian Mountains. Besides having a rich history and unique historical sights and monuments, it is noteworthy for its beautiful surroundings, picturesque woods, numerous vineyards and some popular summer recreation resorts. Many important branches of key industries have found their home in Bratislava too. Its port plays a significant role in international cargo and passenger transport.

Bratislava was chartered in 1291. It served as the capital of Hungary from 1536 to 1683. In 1918, the city became the capital of Slovakia, a province of the new nation of Czechoslovakia. In 1968, Bratislava was named the capital of the Slovak Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia. In 1993, Slovakia became an independent country, and Bratislava remained the capital.

Bratislava can be divided into two parts - the old town which is the centre of political, administrative, cultural and social life, and the new town which is impressive with its modern housing developments, sport stadiums, schools and shopping centres.

Bratislava's landmark includes St.Martin's Cathedral, in the downtown area, and Bratislava Castle, which overlooks the city from the hill nearby. Bratislava is the home of two largest universities in Slovakia, namely the Comenius University and the Slovak University of Technology.

Famous historical buildings

Bratislava Castle - the most important historical and architectonic monument is the dominant feature of the town. In the year 1811 the castle caught fire and for a century and a half it remained in ruin. In the year 1955 its restoration began. Now it is the seat of the Slovak National Council and the Historical Department of the Slovak National Museum.

The Coronation Cathedral of St.Martin, dating from the 14th century, can be seen from the Castle. It is one of the most outstanding architectural monuments in the Gothic style to be found in Slovakia. Eleven Habsburg kings and eight queens were crowned here.

The Old Town Hall situated close to the Primatial Palace, was built in the 14th century. It is one of the most attractive buildings in Bratislava. Nowadays, the Town's Museum and the Town's Gallery are housed in the Town Hall.

The Primatial Palace was built in classicistic style in 1781. In the representative rooms of the palace you can find tapestris of immense value with motives from the Greek legend about Hero and Leander, a product of an English manufacture from the year 1632. The Pressburg Treaty between Emperor Franz I and Napoleon was signed in the Mirror Hall of the Primatial Palace.

Michael's Gate was built in the 14th century. It was the main tower of the town's fortifications with a draw bridge. A splendid view of the historical sights of the old town is offered from the tower in which a permanent exhibition of old armoury can be found.

The building of the Slovak National Theatre was constructed in 1866. It is the seat of the Opera and Ballet of the SNT in Bratislava. The Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra holds its concerts in the Redoute Hall which is situated close to the theatre.

More information about Bratislava can be found on its official web page. Pictures as well as description of many points of interest can be found here.