About Bratislava, Bratislava
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Bratislava Background Information
Also known as Pressburg in German and Pozsony in Hungarian,
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia.
It's position on the banks of the River Danube, at the very heart of
Europe, predestined the city of Bratislava for life at the crossroads of trade routes and
a joining of various cultures.
First settled during the late Stone Age, it wasn't until the Boii
Celtic tribe came to the region, in around 200 BC, that Bratislava's location was
established as a strategic power centre with a defensive function.
The arrival of the Romans, expanding their Limes Romanus defence
system to the banks of the River Danube, also brought wine-growing to the area.
During the movement of nations, the Frankish merchant Samo settled in
the area of present day Bratislava and created the Empire of King Samo; the first known
organised community of Slavs.
Bratislava Castle (or Brezalauspurc) was first mentioned in the
Salzburg chronicles of 907; after a battle took place near the castle, between Hungarian
and Bavarian troops. The Magyars won the battle, to take control of the eastern part of
At the end of the 10th century, Bratislava (then called Braslava or
Preslava) became a part of the newly formed Kingdom of Hungary, under the rule of Stephan
I (1001-1038); better known as Istvan in Hungarian.
In 1436 the city was granted a coat-of-arms by King Sigismund of
Luxembourg; reaffirming the older donations and privileges for the city, granted by the
Arpads and Anjous.
After the Hungarian, King Lajos fell in the 1526 Battle of Mohacs,
against the Turks, Ferdinand Habsburg was appointed as the new Hungarian king and the
Hungarian capital was moved to Bratislava, in 1536.
Between 1536 and 1830, eleven kings and queens were crowned in
Bratislava's St. Martins Cathedral.
During the reign of Maria Theresa (1740-1780), Bratislava became the
largest and most important city in the Kingdom of Hungary; with many new palaces,
monasteries, mansions, and streets added, as Bratislava was now the centre of social and
cultural life in the region.
Then in 1783, Maria Theresa's son Joseph ordered the governing council
and other central authorities to relocate to Buda and, on 13th May, took the royal crown
from Bratislava Castle to Vienna.
Bratislava then became a centre for the Slovak national movement, with
the Presspurske Nowiny the first Slovak newspaper to be published.
Following the Battle of Austerlitz (Slavkov), the French and Austrians
signed the Treaty of Pressburg in the Mirror Hall of Primates Palace in Bratislava,
in 1805. The treaty didn't last though and in 1809 Napoleon's army destroyed Devin Castle.
After World War I and the formation of Czechoslovakia, Bratislava
(Pressburg, Pozsony, Prepork) was incorporated into the new state; despite its
A new name for the city was approved on 27th March, 1919; Bratislava
officially appeared on the map of Europe.
During World War II, Bratislava briefly became the capital of an
independent Slovak state but would have to wait until 1st January, 1993 for the time of
nationhood to come again.
A lot of restoration has taken place in Bratislava and your money goes
further than in nearby Vienna.
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Where to Stay in Bratislava
There is a wide choice of accommodation in Bratislava, for all
budgets, but my favourites are the
(for views of Bratislava Castle or the River Danube) and the
its historical elegance).
is opposite the Presidential Palace, at the top of the old town.
(on the Danube) looks like it's had its day and the
Botel Gracia (the
boat hotel nearby) has
lost its grace.
Close to the castle are the
and Chez David (Pension and Jewish restaurant).
Bratislava: Hodzovo Namestie 2.
If you want to be close to the Presidential Palace and within walking distance of the old
town then this is the hotel for you. It's not really my choice; although I do stop by for
a coffee. Dining options are the Restaurant Fusion (for Euro-Asian dishes) or the
Restaurant Magd a Lena (for traditional Slovak dishes). The Regency Casino and Night Club
are also on the premises as are a number of meeting rooms.
Bratislava: Rybne Namestie 1.
The Park Inn Danube Hotel has a great location by the Novy Most (new
bridge); facing both the River Danube and Bratislava Castle.
Carlton Hotel: Hviezdoslavovo Nam 3.
Located between the American Embassy and the Slovak National Theatre, the historical
building (dating back to 1850) has been fully reconstructed and renovated to the highest
standards while still maintaining the glory of a former age. The hotel's Mirror Bar is a masterpiece
of turn of the century Art Nouveau architecture and the Opera Brasserie serves
What to See in Bratislava
Most of Bratislava's sights can easily be covered on foot.
Bratislava Castle should not be missed, nor should St. Martin's
Cathedral. It's probably best to start at one and follow the 'Royal Route' to the other.
The 13th-century cathedral was restored in the second half of the 19th
century and the ruins of the former royal palace of Hungary are on a hill overlooking the
Venturska is the main pedestrian shopping street, leading up to
Michalska and through Michael's Tower. Further north is the Presidential Palace.
The Slovak National Theatre and Slovak Philharmony are close to the
Carlton Hotel (an attraction in itself) while just around the corner (towards the Danube)
are the Esterhazy Palace and Slovak National Gallery. From here you'll get a view of the
Novy most (New Bridge).
To the east of Venturska are the Pallfy Palace, Mirbach Palace and
Primatial Palace; just off Hlavne namestie.
Further east is the Little Blue Church.
Official Bratislava Tourist Information
There are four Tourist Information Centres in Bratislava. The main Tourist Information
Office is located in the old town at Klobucnicka ul. 2. There are also tourist information
booths at the airport, passenger port and main train station.
Bratislava Culture and Information Centre:
Promotes events, services and products in the field of culture, tourism, sport and social
life of Bratislava.
What's On in Bratislava and
You can pick up this monthly publication in most good hotels in Bratislava. The online
version is good for tips of the month and dining in Bratislava.
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What to do Around Bratislava
Close to Bratislava are Devin Castle and Slovakia's wine-growing
Travel through the heart of Bratislava's historic Old Town, in the Presporacik-Oldtimer
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Getting To and Around Bratislava
Bratislava has excellent motorway connections with a triangle of
three capital cities: Vienna (60km), Budapest (200km) and Prague (300km).
Bratislava by Air
If you're flying you can choose between two international airports;
the airport in Bratislava or Schwechat airport in Vienna.
Situated 9km to the north-east of the inner city, Bus No. 61 serves the airport. If
travelling by car, use the D61 motorway and take the Letisko (airport) exit.
Bratislava Airport transfers can also be booked online for travel from
Bratislava Airport to Bratislava hotels or from Bratislava hotels to Bratislava Airport.
Bratislava by Boat
There are regular cruises to and from Budapest, while the Twin City Liner shuttles between
Bratislava and Vienna.
Boat trips are also available to Devin Castle, on the picturesque
confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers, or to the nearby Austrian village of Hainburg.
Lodna Osobna Doprava:
Operates regular hydrofoil express boat trips to Vienna and Budapest (from April to
October) and local sightseeing trips around Bratislava and Devin.
Bratislava by Bus
international coach line routes from destinations in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany,
Great Britain, Netherlands, and Switzerland.
operates domestic coach line services from Bratislava to various regions of Slovakia.
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