Bratislava – Slovakia
- Location: Europe – 48° 40′ N, 19° 30′ E
- Capital city: Bratislava
- Area: 48 845 km2
- Population: 5 374 362 (July 1996)
- Official language: Slovak
- Currency: Euro
- Telephone code: +421
- Main cities: Bratislava, Kosice, Banska Bystrica, Zilina
Located next to the river Danube, the city is an important cultural crossroad between Vienna (60 km.), Budapest (205 km.) and Prague (320 km.), all of them are cities with which Bratislava has always had great economic ties. Bratislava has long been an important multicultural city where three languages have been spoken: slovak (slavic language close to czech), hungarian and german. This has undoubtedly influenced the open cultural character of the city.
Bratislava was founded before the X century and was earlier known for its german name Pressburg or Pozhony in hungarian. In the XII century the city was fortified, giving it strategic importance, and between 1541 and 1784 it became the capital of the Hungarian Empire. In 1805, after the victory at the battle of Austerlitz, Napoleón forced the Austrian emperor Francis II to sign the treaty of Pressburg, by which Venice became french. With the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1919, at the end of World War I, the city was renamed as Bratislava and became the capital of the slovak region. This region, together with Moravia (capital Brno) and Bohemia (capital Prague) formed one country (Czechoslovakia) starting in January of 1949. In 1989, after the fall of communism, the federation of the Czech and Slovak Republics is created and in January of 1993 the Slovak Republic becomes a completely independant country.
The city has an interesting historic center where some of the highlights are its cathedral from the XIII century (here a great number of the kings from the Austrio-hungarian empire were coronated such as the emperess Maria Teresa), a castle which dominates the entire city and served as a royal palace for Hungary, a franciscan church from the XIII century and the city hall, also built in the XIII century. Some of the city’s most important institutions of higher learning are Comenius University of Bratislava, the Slovak Technical University, the Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Arts.