Bratislava coat of arms
Region (kraj) Bratislava Region
District (okres) Bratislava I-V
Location 48°08′41″N, 17°06′46″E
Altitude 126-514 m
Population 446,819 (as of 2005)
Area 367.59 km²
Time Zone
• Summer DST
Telephone prefix +421-2
Postal code 8XXXX
Car registration plate BA
Bratislava location map

Bratislava (see below for other names) is the capital of Slovakia and the country's largest city, with a population of some 450,000. Bratislava is the political, cultural and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak presidency, parliament and government as well as home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other national economic, cultural and educational institutions. Most of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions have their headquarters in Bratislava. The city's past has been characterized by the strong influence of various peoples, including Slovaks, Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Austrians and Jews. Bratislava still retains its cosmopolitan spirit. It hosts many festivals and trade shows and it is famous for its night life and leisure facilities.




In March 1919 Bratislava was adopted as the official name. It is not known on what grounds. One theory is that the name was invented by US president Wilson, another that it might be a corruption of the old Slavic Braslava. However, we know for sure that a variant of this name was reconstructed by Pavel Jozef Šafárik (by mistake) from old names in the 1830s based on the name of the Bohemian ruler Bretislav. It was used subsequently by members of the Slovak movement in the 1840s and occasionally also afterwards.

A more detailed list can be found in the History of Bratislava article.

Bratislava's names most commonly used before 1920
Preßburg German (before the 19th century occasionally and since the German spelling reform of 1996 regularly spelled Pressburg)
Prešporok Slovak name; stems from the German one (one of the many variants was Pressporek in 1773)
Prešpur(e)k or Presspur(e)k Czech
Pressburg(h) or Pressborough English (Pressburg Street in southwestern London)
Presburgo Spanish
Pressbourg later Presbourg French (rue de Presbourg in Paris)
Presburg Dutch
Pozsony Hungarian (still in use by Hungarians today). Earlier variant Posony (1773)
Posonium Latin
Požun Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian
Pozhoma Romani
Istropolis ancient Latin, meaning the Danube City


Bratislava lies on both banks of the River Danube, by Slovakia's borders with Austria and Hungary, and is only an hour's drive from the border with the Czech Republic. It is the only capital in the world which borders two countries. The Carpathian mountain range begins within the territory of the city with the Little Carpathians (Slovak: Malé Karpaty).

Bratislava is only 50 km from the Austrian capital Vienna.

Other rivers include Morava River, which forms north-western border of the city, and the Little Danube.

The closest towns or villages are to the north Stupava, Marianka, Borinka and Svätý Jur, to the east Ivanka pri Dunaji and Most pri Bratislave, to the south-east Rovinka, Hamuliakovo, Dunajská Lužná and Šamorín, to the south Rajka(H), and to the west Kittsee(A), Hainburg an der Donau(A) and Marchegg (A).

Climate: The city climate is mild. It is often windy with a marked variation between hot summers and cold, humid winters.



main article: History of Bratislava


Prehistory and early Middle Ages

- 623-658: part of King Samo's Empire


Medieval Bratislava Castle
Medieval Bratislava Castle

Post WWI (1919-present)

1969-1992: capital of the federal state of Slovakia within Czechoslovakia

Important events held in Bratislava


Culture and points of interest



Seat of the Slovak National Theatre
Seat of the Slovak National Theatre

Bratislava is the seat of Slovak National Theatre, which until April 2007 is housed in 3 buildings in the city centre, when it will move to the new building near the Danube. Smaller and alternative theatres include: Bratislava Puppet Theatre, Astorka Korzo '90 theatre, Aréna theatre, etc.



Main museums:

Other museums:



Slovak Academy of Sciences has its seat in Bratislava. The town is one of the few European capitals that does have neither observatory nor planetarium. The closest observatory is in Modra (30 km away from Bratislava), and planetarium in Hlohovec (70 km away).



Seat of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra.



Paved street in the Old Town of Bratislava
Paved street in the Old Town of Bratislava

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

One of the most conspicuous buildings of the town is the Bratislava Castle situated on a plateau 82 m above the Danube. A castle has existed on the site since time immemorial. It has been the acropolis of a Celtic town, part of the Roman Limes Romanus, a huge Slav fortified settlement and a political, military and religious centre of Great Moravia. A castle of stone was built only in the 10th century (part of Hungary), it was turned into a Gothic anti-Hussite fortress under Sigismund of Luxemburg in 1430, in 1562 it became 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 into a school for Catholic clergy, and later, in 1802, into barracks. In 1811, the castle was inadvertently destroyed by fire by the French soldiers and lay in ruins until the 1950s, when it was reconstructed mostly in its former Maria Theresa style.

Another castle is Devín Castle (now in ruins) in the borough of 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, reaches 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 destroyed by Napoleonic troops in 1809 and is an important symbol of Slovak and Slavic history.

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

A street in the Old Town
A street in the Old Town

Other noteworthy buildings are:

City Museum
City Museum

The historic centre is characterized by many baroque palaces. The Grassalkovich Palace (built around 1760), for example, is now the residence of the Slovak president, and the Slovak government now has its seat in the former Archiepiscopal palace, the former summer residence of the archbishop of Esztergom).

A curiosity is the underground restored portion of the Jewish cemetery where Rabbi Moses Sofer is buried. (See article on Sofer).

Slavín memorial
Slavín memorial

The only military cemetery and known memorial is Slavín, which was revealed in 1960, in the honour of Soviet Army soldiers, who fell when liberating Bratislava from the Nazi German troops. It also offers an excellent view of the city and the Little Carpathians.



The most known square in Bratislava is the Main Square. It was completely reconstructed in 2005. The Hviezdoslav and Primatial's squares are nearby. There is also square of Slovak National Uprising in the town centre, near the main shopping street.



The city has a number of natural or man-made lakes, most of which are also used for recreation.

Examples include Štrkovec lake, Kuchajda in Ružinov, the Vajnory lakes, Zlaté Piesky in the north-east and Malý Dráždiak, Veľký Dráždiak in Petržalka.



Sad Janka Kráľa
Sad Janka Kráľa

Bratislava is a city with lots of parks, thanks to its location on the foothills of the Little Carpathians. The biggest of those parks is the Bratislava forest park, which includes some tourist locations, for example Železná studienka or Koliba. Horský park (literally Mountain(ous) Park) is located near the Old Town and it's still with original flora and fauna. On the right bank of the Danube is Sad Janka Kráľa, the first public park in Europe.

Bratislava's zoological park is located at Mlynská dolina, close to the headquarters of the Slovak Television.





Currently 3 teams from Bratislava are playing the Corgoň Liga:


Ice hockey

One team from Bratislava plays the Slovak Extraliga: HC Slovan Bratislava Official website



Bratislava is known as a city with pulsing nightlife. Most of the bars and night clubs are located in the city centre.

data derived from the 2001 census
Population 428,672 inhabitants
Population by districts Bratislava I 44,798, Bratislava II 108,139, Bratislava III 61,418, Bratislava IV 93,058, Bratislava V 121,259
Average age 38.7 years
Age structure 0–5: 4.1%, 6–14: 9.8%, Working age: 62.9%, Retirement age: 19%
Ethnic groups Slovaks 391,761 (91.4%), Hungarians 16,451 (3.8%), Czechs 7,972 (1.9%), Moravians 635, Ruthenes 461, Ukrainians 452, Germans 1 200, Croats 614, Roma 417, Poles 339
Religion Roman Catholics 243,048 (56.7%), Atheists 125,729 (29.3%), Lutherans of the Augsburg Confession 24,810 (6%), Greek Catholics 3,163 (0.7%), Reformed Christians 1,918, Eastern Orthodox 1,616, Jehovah's Witnesses 1,827, Methodist Protestants 737, Jews 700, Baptists 613


In the recent years, particularly after Slovakia's entry to the European Union, Bratislava is target for the tourists from surrounding, as well as from more distant countries (Britain, United States, Japan, ...). But the growth of tourism has brought problem with insufficient hotel capacity, especially from more luxurious ones. Most tourists are staying in the city centre, or they are coming for annual events, for example for celebrations of New Year.



The first university in Bratislava and also in Slovakia was the Academia Istropolitana, established in 1467.

Today, it is the seat of several colleges/universities:



The economy of Bratislava is prosperous and mainly based on :

The GDP per capita (PPP), which was valued at €25,351 (2002), reaches 120% of the EU average, which is the second highest level (after Prague) of all regions in all the recently joined countries (Eurostat; for the latest Eurostat data, see: [3]) Bratislava has the all-time lowest unemployment in Slovakia (around 3%), and many people from Slovakia are commuting to Bratislava for work.

In recent years service and high-tech oriented businesses are thriving in Bratislava. Many global companies, including IBM, Dell, Accenture, AT&T, Lenovo and SAP to name a few, are building their outsourcing and service centres here.



Geographical position in Central Europe has always made Bratislava a natural crossroads for international trade traffic.


Road transportation

Motorway D1 in Bratislava-Petržalka
Motorway D1 in Bratislava-Petržalka

Large international motorway junction: D1 motorway connecting Bratislava to Trnava, Nitra, Trenčín, Žilina and further, while D2 motorway connecting it to Prague, Brno and Budapest in the north-south direction. D4 motorway (the outer bypass) is mostly at planning stage.

The A6 motorway to Vienna is currently under construction and will be open in November 2007.

Currently five bridges stand over the Danube:(ordered by the flow of river):Lafranconi Bridge, Nový Most, Starý Most, Most Apollo and Prístavný most.


Rail transportation

The most important is the main railway station at the edge of Old Town with lines connecting it to Košice through northern Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and southern Slovakia. Another important station is the Petržalka railway station, which is important especially for lines from Austria. There are also many suburb stations, for example in Rača, Lamač, Čunovo and so on.


Air transportation

Bratislava has the largest international airport in Slovakia, which enjoys rapidly growing traffic in recent years, and in conjunction with the Vienna International Airport, which is located some 40 km away, is providing a large international network.


River transportation

Bratislava has one of two international Slovak river ports (see Port of Bratislava), as well as numerous tourist lines along the Danube.


Public transportation

Trolleybuses of Bratislava
Trolleybuses of Bratislava

Public transportation in Bratislava is run by Dopravný podnik Bratislava, the city-owned company. There are three types of transport vehicles used in Bratislava including buses (covering the most of the city and the largest district of Petržalka), trams (covering the most frequent commuter trips and connecting city centre with suburbs) and trolleybuses (connecting the city centre with suburbs and serving as a complementary mean of transport).


Territorial division

Bratislava districts
Bratislava districts
Bratislava is divided to:

5 districts (national administrative division):

17 "city parts" (i.e. approx. boroughs) (for the purpose of municipal administrative division and of serving as entities to which the town delegates its powers and functions imposed by law on communities)

20 "cadastral areas" they coincide with the "city parts",

Administrative and Territorial Division of Bratislava
Districts "City Parts" (Boroughs) Quarters or Localities
Bratislava I Staré Mesto
Bratislava II Ružinov Nivy, Pošeň, Prievoz, Ostredky, Trávniky, Štrkovec, Vlčie hrdlo, Trnávka
Vrakuňa Dolné hony
Podunajské Biskupice Dolné hony, Ketelec, Lieskovec, Medzi jarkami
Bratislava III Nové Mesto Ahoj, Jurajov dvor, Koliba, Kramáre, Mierová kolónia, Pasienky/Kuchajda , Vinohrady
Rača Krasňany, Rača, Východné
Bratislava IV Karlova Ves Dlhé diely, Kútiky, Mlynská dolina, Rovnice
Dúbravka Podvornice, Záluhy, Krčace
Lamač Podháj, Rázsochy
Devínska Nová Ves Devínske Jazero, Kostolné, Paulinské, Podhorské, Stred, Vápenka
Záhorská Bystrica
Bratislava V Petržalka Dvory, Háje, Janíkov dvor, Lúky, Ovsište, Kopčany, Zrkadlový háj, Kapitulský dvor, Starý háj

Twin towns

Bratislava is twinned with:



Panorama of Bratislava I (from castle)
Panorama of Bratislava I (from castle)

See also


External links


City Information


Public Transport





edit Districts of Bratislava Region Flag of Slovakia

    Bratislava I | Bratislava II | Bratislava III | Bratislava IV | Bratislava V | Malacky | Pezinok | Senec


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