2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: European Geography

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 nightlife and leisure facilities. Andrej Ďurkovský is its mayor.


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.

Bratislava's names most commonly used before 1919
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)
Prešpurk Czech
Pressburg(h) English
Presburgo Spanish
Pressbourglater Presbourg French (rue de Presbourg in Paris)
Presburg Dutch
Pozsony Hungarian (still in use by Hungarians today)
Posonium Latin
Požun Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian
Pozhoma Romani
Istropolis ancient Roman, meaning the Danube City

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


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 Lesser Carpathians (Slovak: Malé Karpaty).

Bratislava is only 50 km from the Austrian capital Vienna.

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

  • annual average temperature: 9.9 °C
  • annual sunshine hours: 1976.4 (5.4 hours/day)
  • annual average rainfall: 527.4 mm (according to 1993 data)


Prehistory and early Middle Ages

  • Neolithic Age: the first permanent settlement of the region now known as Bratislava begins with the Linear Pottery Culture
  • 400 B.C.- 50 B.C.: Celts were settled here. From 125 B.C. they had an important oppidum (fortified town) with a mint here.
  • 1st century5th century: the border of the Roman Empire ( Limes Romanus) runs right through the middle of today's town; many Roman (e.g. "Gerulata") and Germanic settlements
  • 6th century-8th century: first Slavs (500 A.D.- today) and Avarians ( 560s - 8th century)
- 623- 658: part of King Samo's Empire


  • From 2nd half of 10th century to 1918: part of the Kingdom of Hungary (with short interruptions) and the capital of the Posonium Comitatus:
  • 1536- 1784: capital of the Kingdom of Hungary (whose territory consisted until 1699 of today's Slovakia and parts of today's Western Hungary, because the Turks ruled Buda at that time); the Kingdom of Hungary was part of the Habsburg (i. e. Austrian) Monarchy from 1526 to 1918
  • 1542- 1848: meeting place of the Hungarian Diet (with short interruptions)
  • 1563- 1830: coronation town for Hungarian kings ( St. Martin's Cathedral (picture below))
  • since the 18th century: centre of the Slovak national movement

Post WWI (1919-present)

  • 1919- 1939: part of Czechoslovakia; official new name becomes "Bratislava"- instead of "Prešporok" ( Slovak) /"Pressburg" (German)/ "Pozsony" ( Hungarian) in 1919
  • 1939- 1945: capital of Slovakia
  • 1945- 1992: part of Czechoslovakia again:
1969- 1992: capital of the federal state of Slovakia within Czechoslovakia

Important events held in Bratislava

  • 2005, February: American president George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin met in Bratislava for bilateral summit.


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
  • St. Martin's Cathedral (a Gothic edifice of the 14th-15th century replacing an older church from the 13th century) in which many of the Hungarian kings were crowned
  • Bratislava's Town hall (a complex of 14th-15th century buildings) containing an interesting museum – the City Museum founded in 1868
  • Bratislava's Franciscan church, dating from 1297
  • the building of the University Library (erected in 1756) where the sittings of the Diet (parliament) of the Kingdom of Hungary were held from 1802 to 1848 and many important laws of the Hungarian Reform Era were enacted (liberation of serfs, foundation of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences).
  • the Primate's Palace (erected in 1781) in which the (4th) Peace of Pressburg was signed
  • the beautiful Slovak National Theatre (built in 1886), and
  • the Michael's Gate (early 17th century), the only extant gate of the municipal fortification
  • the narrowest house in central (or maybe in the whole of) Europe (just behind the Michael's Gate)
  • the 18th century house of the composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel who was born in the town.
  • Nový Most Bratislava is a bridge across the Danube river, featuring a UFO-like tower restaurant
  • Kamzik TV Tower is a TV tower of unique design with an observation deck

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).

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


The economy of Bratislava is prosperous and mainly based on services, engineering ( Volkswagen), chemical and electrical industry.

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: )

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 centers here.


Its geographical position has always made Bratislava a natural crossroads for trade traffic. There is a large international motorway junction ( D1/ D2/ D4 - all form the Bratislava bypass) and railroad junction, International Airport of Milan Rastislav Štefánik with rapidly growing traffic, and a busy river port. Furthermore, the Vienna International Airport is located only 40 km away, in Austria, providing a large international network.

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 city centre with suburbs and serving as a complementary mean of transport).

Territorial division

Bratislava districts
Bratislava districts
  • 5 districts (for the purpose of 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", except that: Nové Mesto is further split into Nové Mesto + Vinohrady, and Ružinov is split into Ružinov + Nivy + Trnávka
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)

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