Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia.
As of November 2018, the population of Bratislava is about 450,000 people. It is one of the smaller capitals of Europe but still the country’s largest city.
The city has a total area of 367.5 square kilometers (142 square miles), making it the second-largest city in Slovakia by area (after the township of Vysoké Tatry).
Bratislava straddles the Danube River, along which it had developed and for centuries the chief transportation route to other areas. The river passes through the city from the west to the southeast.
The city’s lowest point is at the Danube’s surface at 126 meters (413 ft) above sea level, and the highest point is Devínska Kobyla at 514 meters (1,686 ft) above sea level. The average altitude is 140 meters (460 ft).
Bratislava enjoyed a rich and colorful history.
The first known permanent settlement of the area began with the Linear Pottery Culture, around 5000 BC in the Neolithic era.
The city’s history has been strongly influenced by people of different nations and religions, namely (in alphabetical order) Austrians, Bulgarians, Croats, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Jews, Serbs and Slovaks.
The Slavs arrived from the East between the 5th and 6th centuries during the Migration Period.
The first written mention of Bratislava comes from the year 907, which also mentions the Bratislava Castle.
It was the coronation site and legislative center of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1536 to 1783, and has been home to many Slovak, Hungarian and German historical figures.
In the course of the 18th century, the city became a center for the Slovak national movement.
The city received its contemporary name in 1919. Until then, it was mostly known in English by its German name, Pressburg, as it was dominated by Austrians and other German-speakers. That is the term from which the pre-1919 Slovak (Prešporok) and Czech (Prešpurk) names are derived.
Since 1968 until 1992 Bratislava was the capital of the Slovak Socialist Republic within the Czechoslovakia.
Since 1st of January 1993, Bratislava is the capital of the independent Slovak Republic.
The city is dominated by Bratislava Castle, which stands on a plateau 85 metres (279 feet) above the Danube. It was built in the 9th century. The castle was converted into a Gothic anti-Hussite fortress under Sigismund of Luxemburg in 1430, became a Renaissance castle in 1562, and was rebuilt in 1649 in the baroque style. Under Queen Maria Theresa, the castle became a prestigious royal seat. In 1811, the castle was inadvertently destroyed by fire and lay in ruins until the 1950s, when it was rebuilt mostly in its former Theresian style.
Devín Castle is a castle in Devín, which is a borough of Bratislava. The cliff (elevation 212 meters / 695 feet) is an ideal place for a fort due to its position at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers. It is one of the oldest castles in Slovakia. The castle was destroyed by Napoleon’s troops in 1809. It is an important symbol of Slovak and Slavic history.
Michael’s Gate is the only city gate that has been preserved of the medieval fortifications and ranks among the oldest town buildings. Built about the year 1300, its present shape is the result of baroque reconstructions in 1758, when the statue of St. Michael and the Dragon was placed on its top. The tower houses the Exhibition of Weapons of Bratislava City Museum.
The St Martin’s Cathedral is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bratislava. It is situated at the western border of the historical city center below Bratislava Castle. It is the largest and one of the oldest churches in Bratislava, known especially for being the coronation church of the Kingdom of Hungary between 1563 and 1830.
Slavín is a memorial monument and military cemetery in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. It is the burial ground of thousands of Soviet Army soldiers who fell during World War II while taking over the city in April 1945 from the occupying German Wehrmacht units and the remaining Slovak troops who supported the clero-fascist Tiso government. It is situated on a hill amidst a rich villa quarter of the capital and embassy residences close to the centre of Bratislava.
Due to its location in the foothills of the Little Carpathians and its riparian vegetation on the Danubian floodplains, Bratislava has forests close to the city center. The total amount of public green space is almost 47 square kilometers (18 square miles), or 110 square meters (1,200 sq ft) per inhabitant.
The largest city park is Horský park (literally, Mountainous Park), in the Old Town. Bratislavský lesný park (Bratislava Forest Park) is located in the Little Carpathians and includes many locales popular among visitors, such as Železná studienka and Koliba. The Forest Park covers an area of 27.3 square kilometers (10.5 square miles).
Bratislava is the political, cultural and economic center of Slovakia.
The city has several universities, and many museums, theatres, galleries and other cultural and educational institutions.
The cityscape of Bratislava is characterised by medieval towers and grandiose 20th century buildings, but it has undergone profound changes in a construction boom at the start of the 21st century.
Bratislava lies in the north temperate zone and has a moderately continental climate with mean annual temperature of around 10.5 °C (50.9 °F), average temperature of 21 °C (70 °F) in the warmest month and −1 °C (30 °F) in the coldest mont.