Friday, 24 April 2009

Bratislava, capital of Slovakia

Not only is Bratislava the largest city in Slovakia, it also serves as the state capital. Furthermore, Bratislava is the seat of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, the Government of the Slovak Republic, national ministries and the other central bodies of the state administration of the Slovak Republic. It is situated in the centre of Europe in the southwestern part of Slovakia.

Bratislava is one of the youngest capitals in Europe and few people know that during the time it was called Pressburg. It was one of the most important cities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Bratislava was a mixing pot of various nations and nationalities who lived together in peace and harmony. There is a saying that a true ‘Pressburgian’ speaks four languages: Slovak, German, Hungarian and Mishmash. Even as recently as the 1980s you might hear how older Pressburgians in the street would say two words in German, two in Hungarian and two in Slovak all in the space of one sentence. That is what we mean by “mishmash”.

Bratislava’s location on the banks of the River Danube and at the crossroads of ancient trading routes right at the heart of Europe predestined it to become a meeting point of various cultures. It was the home of the Celts, the Romans, and the Slavs ... The reign of Maria Theresa is regarded as a golden era in the city’s history. She was crowned Queen of Hungary in St. Martin’s cathedral in Pressburg, just like the 10 other kings and 8 royal partners over the course of 300 years when Pressburg was in fact the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary.

The rich mix of cultures and nations not only left its mark in the language spoken here, but also in the customs, cuisine and lifestyle. Just like the Viennese, the people of Bratislava also enjoy promenading through the streets of the city centre, taking time out for a coffee in any of the many cafes. This part of the city is referred to as the Korzo and combines elegance with charm. Visitors say that the city has a relaxed Mediterranean type atmosphere. Bratislava is a seaside city without the sea.

Nowadays Bratislava is experiencing a boom once more. Buildings are popping up, deals being made, people studying, and everything is on the move. Experts regard it as one of the most dynamically developing and most prospective regions in Europe. It welcomes tourists, business people, and investors, who are attracted to this blooming city and its lively atmosphere. There are many cities in Europe that can boast their own special unique charm, and Bratislava is definitely one of them.

The old city and the castle are the best parts of Bratislava. The old city is packed with museums and palaces. The castle, built above the Danube, was a frontier post of the Roman Empire from the 1st to the 5th century. Climb up for the great views and to check out the very interesting Slovak National Museum expositions within. The Natural Sciences Museum of the Slovak National Museum and the Slovak National Gallery on the river are also worth a visit.

Hviezdoslavovo nmestie (square) is a convenient orientation point, with the old town to the north, the Danube to the south, and Bratislava Castle to the west. The Old Town offers numerous good places to eat and a rich nightlife.

If you are planning a trip to this beautiful city, go to where you will find a large variety of hotels at reasonable prices.

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