BRATISLAVA is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 460,000, 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 independent countries.
Bratislava is the political, cultural, and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak president, the parliament, and the Slovak Executive. It is home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other important cultural and educational institutions. Many of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions also have headquarters there.
The history of the city, long known in English by the German name Preßburg, has been strongly influenced by people of different nations and religions, namely by Austrians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Slovaks, and Jews. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary, a part of the larger Habsburg Monarchy territories, from 1536 to 1783 and has been home to many Slovak, Hungarian, and German historical figures.
Bratislava is situated in south-western Slovakia, within the Bratislava Region. Its location on the borders with Austria and Hungary makes it the only national capital that borders two countries. It is only 62 kilometres (38.5 mi) from the border with the Czech Republic and only 60 kilometres (37.3 mi) from the Austrian capital Vienna.
The city has a total area of 367.58 square kilometres (141.9 sq mi), making it the second-largest city in Slovakia by area (after the township of Vysoké Tatry). Bratislava straddles the Danube River, which crosses the city from the west to the south-east. The Middle Danube basin begins at Devín Gate in western Bratislava. Other rivers are the Morava River, which forms the north-western border of the city and enters the Danube at Devín, the Little Danube, and the Vydrica, which enters the Danube in the borough of Karlova Ves.
The Carpathian mountain range begins in city territory with the Little Carpathians (Malé Karpaty). The Záhorie and Danubian lowlands stretch into Bratislava. The city's lowest point is at the Danube's surface at 126 metres (413 ft) above mean sea level, and the highest point is Devínska Kobyla at 514 metres (1,686 ft). The average altitude is 140 metres (460 ft).
The geographical position of Bratislava in Central Europe has long made it a natural crossroads for international trade traffic.
Public transport in Bratislava is managed by Dopravný podnik Bratislava, a city-owned company. The transport system is known as Mestská hromadná doprava (MHD, Municipal Mass Transit) and employs buses, trams, and trolleybuses. An additional service, Bratislavská integrovaná doprava (Bratislava Integrated Transport), links train and bus routes in the city with points beyond.
As a rail hub, the city has direct connections to Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and the rest of Slovakia. Petržalka and Bratislava hlavná stanica are the main stations.
The motorway system provides direct access to Brno in the Czech Republic, Trnava and other points in Slovakia, and Budapest in Hungary. The A6 motorway between Bratislava and Vienna was opened in November 2007. The Port of Bratislava provides access to the Black Sea via the Danube and to the North Sea through the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal. M. R. Štefánik Airport is 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) north-east of the city centre. It served 2,024,000 passengers in 2007.
HOW TO GET BETWEEN PRAGUE AND BRATISLAVA:
Last update: 2012-06-15 00:00:00