02 October 2008
SLOVAKIA - BRATISLAVA
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 427,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two countries. It and Vienna are also two of Europe's closest national capitals, at less than 60 kilometres (37 mi) apart. Bratislava is the political, cultural and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak president, the parliament, and the executive branch of the government. It is home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other important economic, cultural, and educational institutions. The headquarters of many of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions are in Bratislava as well. The history of the city, long known by the German name Pressburg, has been strongly influenced by people of different nations, namely by Austrians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Jews and Slovaks. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary under the Habsburg Monarchy from 1536 to 1783. Bratislava (then Pressburg) was home to many Slovak, Hungarian and German historical figures.