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BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA

Bratislava is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe at least of my point of view. I was there with the interrail ticket. It is a good way to go there because the train station is in the city center. I was sleeping in Patio Hostel, was cheap, good and the location was really great, the adr
dress is Spitalska 35.













Bratislava historically known by foreign and alternative names) is the capital of Slovakia, and with a population of about 427,000, the country's largest city. Bratislava is in the southwest of Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two countries. It and Vienna are also two of Europe's closest national capitals, at less than 60 kilometres (37 mi) apart.













Bratislava is the political, cultural and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak presidency, the parliament, and the government. It is home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other important economic, cultural, and educational institutions. The headquarters of many of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions are in Bratislava as well.

















The history of the city, long known by the German name Pressburg, has been strongly influenced by various peoples, including Austrians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Jews and Slovaks. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary under the Habsburg monarchy from 1536 to 1783. Bratislava was home to the Slovak national movement of the 19th century and to many Slovak, Hungarian and German historical figures.













The first known permanent settlement of the area began with the Linear Pottery Culture, around 5000 BC in the Neolithic era. About 200 BC, the Celtic Boii tribe founded the first significant settlement, a fortified town known as an oppidum, and also established a mint which produced silver coins known as biatecs. The area fell under Roman influence from the 1st century AD until the 4th century and formed part of the Limes Romanus, a border defence system.
















The Romans introduced grape growing to the area and began a tradition of winemaking, which survives to the present.The Slavic ancestors of the modern Slovaks arrived between the 5th and 6th centuries during the Migration Period. As a response to onslaughts by Avars, the local Slavic tribes rebelled and established Samo's Empire (623–658), the first known Slavic political entity. In the 9th century, the castles at Bratislava and Devín were important centres of the Slavic states the Principality of Nitra and Great Moravia. The first written reference to the city dates to 907 and is related to the fall of Great Moravia under the attacks of the Hungarians.













In the 10th century, the territory of Bratislava (what would later become the Pressburg county) became part of Hungary (called "the Kingdom of Hungary" from 1000) and became a key economic and administrative centre on the kingdom's frontier. This strategic position destined the city to be the site of frequent attacks and battles, but also brought it economic development and high political status.
Bratislava was granted its first known town privileges in 1291 by Andrew III, and was declared a free royal town in 1405 by King Sigismund of Luxemburg, who also entitled the town to use its own coat of arms in 1436.The Kingdom of Hungary was defeated by the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Mohács in 1526.
Thereafter the Turks besieged and damaged Bratislava but failed to conquer the city. Owing to Ottoman advances into Hungarian territory, Bratislava was designated the new capital of Hungary in 1536, becoming part of the Habsburg (Austrian) monarchy and marking the beginning of a new era. Bratislava became a coronation town and the seat of kings, archbishops (1543), the nobility and all major organisations and offices. Between 1536 and 1830, 11 kings and queens were crowned at St. Martin's Cathedral. Nevertheless, the 17th century was marked by anti-Habsburg uprisings, fighting with the Turks, floods, plagues and other disasters. The Reformation arrived in the second half of the 16th century and found supporters mainly in the urban class. As a result of frequent insurrections against the Catholic Habsburgs, the suburbs were ravaged. The city and the castle were conquered several times by insurgents, then reconquered by the Imperial troops. This period of uprisings ended in 1711 with the signing of the Peace of Szatmár.Bratislava flourished during the 18th century reign of Maria Theresa of Austria, becoming the largest and most important town in the territory of present-day Slovakia and Hungary. The population tripled; many new palaces, monasteries, mansions, and streets were built, and Bratislava was the centre of social and cultural life of the region. However, Bratislava started to lose its importance under the reign of Maria Theresa's sonJoseph II, especially when the crown jewels were taken to Vienna in 1783 in an attempt to strengthen the union between Austria and Hungary. Many central offices subsequently moved to Buda, followed by a large segment of the nobility. Bratislava became a centre for the Slovak national movement: in 1783, the first newspaper in Slovak, Presspurske Nowiny (Pressburg Newspaper), and the first Slovak novel were published.The first known permanent settlement of the area began with the Linear Pottery Culture, around 5000 BC in the Neolithic era. About 200 BC, the Celtic Boii tribe founded the first significant settlement, a fortified town known as an oppidum, and also established a mint which produced silver coins known as biatecs. The area fell under Roman influence from the 1st to the 4th century AD and formed partof the Limes Romanus, a border defence system. The Romans introduced grape growing to the area and began a tradition of winemaking, which survives to the present.

The Slavs arrived between the 5th and 6th centuries during the Migration Period. As a response to onslaughts by Avars, the local Slavic tribes rebelled and established Samo's Empire (623–658), the first known Slavic political entity. In the 9th century, the castles at Bratislava (Brezalauspurc) and Devín (Dowina) were important centres of the Slavic states the Principality of Nitra and Great Moravia. On the other hand, the identification of the two castles as fortresses built in Great Moravia has been under debate based on linguistic arguments and because of the absence of convincing archaeological evidence. The first written reference to a settlement named "Brezalauspurc" dates to 907 and is related to a battle during which a Bavarian army was defeated by the Hungarians and which is connected to the fall of Great Moravia — already weakened by its own inner decline — under the attacks of the Hungarians. However, the exact location of the battle remains unknown and some interpretations place it west of Lake Balaton.
In the 10th century, the territory of Pressburg (what would later become Pozsony county) became part of Hungary (called "the Kingdom of Hungary" from 1000) and became a key economic and administrative centre on the kingdom's frontier. This strategic position destined the city to be the site of frequent attacks and battles, but also brought it economic development and high political status. It was granted its first known town privileges in 1291 by the Hungarian King Andrew III, and was declared a free royal town in 1405 by King Sigismund, who also entitled the town to use its own coat of arms in 1436.

The Kingdom of Hungary was defeated by the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Mohács in 1526. Thereafter the Turks besieged and damaged Pressburg but failed to conquer it. Owing to Ottoman advances into Hungarian territory, the city was designated the new capital of Hungary in 1536, becoming part of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy and marking the beginning of a new era. The city became a coronation town and the seat of kings, archbishops (1543), the nobility and all major organisations and offices. Between 1536 and 1830, eleven Hungarian kings and queens were crowned at St. Martin's Cathedral. Nevertheless, the 17th century was marked by anti-Habsburg uprisings, fighting with the Turks, floods, plagues and other disasters.
Pressburg flourished during the 18th century reign of Queen Maria Theresa, becoming the largest and most important town in Hungary. The population tripled; many new palaces, monasteries, mansions, and streets were built, and the city was the centre of social and cultural life of the region. However, the city started to lose its importance under the reign of Maria Theresa's son Joseph II, especially when the crown jewels were taken to Vienna in 1783 in an attempt to strengthen the union between Austria and Hungary. Many central offices subsequently moved to Buda, followed by a large segment of the nobility. The first newspapers in Hungarian and Slovak were published here, resp. Magyar hírmondó in 1780, and Presspurske Nowiny in 1783. In the course of the 18th century, the city became a centre for the Slovak national movement.
19th century history was closely tied to the major events in Europe. The Peace of Pressburg between Austria and France was signed here in 1805. Theben Castle was ruined by Napoleon's French troops in 1809. In 1825 the Hungarian National Learned Society (the present Hungarian Academy of Sciences) was founded in Pressburg using a donation from István Széchenyi. In 1843 Hungarian was proclaimed the official language in legislation, public administration and education by the Diet in the city. As a reaction to the Revolutions of 1848, Ferdinand V signed the so-called April laws, which included the abolition of serfdom, at the Primate's Palace. The city chose the revolutionary Hungarian side, but was captured by the Austrians in December 1848. Industry grew rapidly in the 19th century. The first horse-drawn railway in the Kingdom of Hungary, from Pressburg to Svätý Jur, was built in 1840. A new line to Vienna using steam locomotives was opened in 1848, and a line to Pest in 1850. Many new industrial, financial and other institutions were founded; for example, the first bank established in present-day Slovakia was founded in 1842. The city's first permanent bridge over the Danube, Starý most, was built in 1891.
Before World War I, the city had 42% German, 41% Hungarian and 15% Slovak population (1910 census). After World War I and the formation of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918, the city was incorporated into the new state despite its representatives' reluctance. The dominant Hungarian and German population tried to prevent annexation of the city to Czechoslovakia and declared it a free city. However, the Czechoslovak Legions occupied the city on January 1, 1919, thereby making it part of Czechoslovakia. The city became the seat of Slovakia's political organs and organizations and became Slovakia's capital on 4 – February 5. On February 12, 1919 the German and Hungarian population started a protest against the Czechoslovak occupation, but the Czechoslovak Legions opened fire upon the unarmed demonstrators. On March 27, 1919, the name Bratislava was officially adopted for the first time. Left without any protection after the retreat of the Hungarian army, many Hungarians were expelled or fled and Czechs and Slovaks took their houses and moved to Bratislava. Education in Hungarian and German was radically reduced. In the 1930 Czechoslovakian census the Hungarian population of Bratislava had decreased to 15.8%.

In 1938, Nazi Germany annexed neighbouring Austria in the Anschluss; later that year it also annexed the still-independent Petržalka and Devín boroughs on ethnic grounds. Bratislava was declared the capital of the first independent Slovak Republic on March 14, 1939, but the new state quickly fell under Nazi influence. In 1941–1942 and 1944–1945, the new Slovak government expelled most of Bratislava's approximately 15,000 Jews, with most of them being sent into concentration camps. Bratislava was bombarded by the Allies, occupied by German troops in 1944 and eventually taken by the Soviet Red Army on April 4, 1945. At the end of World War II, most Bratislava Germans were evacuated by German authorities; a few returned after the war, but were expelled without their properties under the Beneš decrees.
After the Communist Party seized power in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the city became part of the Eastern Bloc. The city annexed new land, and the population rose significantly, becoming 90% Slovak. Large residential areas consisting of high-rise prefabricated panel buildings, such as those in the Petržalka borough, were built. The Communist government also built several new grandiose buildings, such as the Nový Most bridge and the Slovak Radio headquarters, sometimes at the expense of the historical cityscape.

In 1968, after the unsuccessful Czechoslovak attempt to liberalise the Communist regime, the city was occupied by Warsaw Pact troops. Shortly thereafter, it became capital of the Slovak Socialist Republic, one of the two states of the federalized Czechoslovakia. Bratislava's dissidents anticipated the fall of Communism with the Bratislava candle demonstration in 1988, and the city became one of the foremost centres of the anti-Communist Velvet Revolution in 1989.

In 1993, the city became the capital of the newly formed Slovak Republic following the Velvet Divorce. In the 1990s and the early 21st century, its economy boomed due to foreign investment. The flourishing city also hosted several important cultural and political events, including the Slovakia Summit 2005 between George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin.

November 2006

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