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At the point where the Carpathians meet the Danube River, on the border with Hungary and Austria, sprawls the capital of the Slovak Republic. Bratislava is the vibrant centre of national life, the seat of Slovakia’s president, government and parliament. It is a city of universities, theatres, museums and galleries.
Bratislava, which in the past has also been called Prešporok, Pressburg and Pozsony, received a municipal charter in 1291 and became one of the leading free royal cities in historical Hungary. Eleven kings and eight royal wives were crowned (between 1563 and 1830) in the city’s Cathedral of St. Martin. After 1526, Bratislava became the capital of the Hungarian Kingdom. Even today, we can find here the building of the former feudal Diet and residences built by prominent noble families. These Baroque palaces were once centres of cultural life. Memorial plaques on the facades remind us of musical luminaries such as Mozart, Liszt, Rubinstein, Haydn, Bartók and Hummel who once performed in them.
Slovak National Theatre
During your stay in Bratislava you can attend an opera at the Slovak National Theatre, or visit the Slovak National Gallery or some of the city’s many museums. The numerous cafés and restaurants offer a wide range of Slovak and Central European culinary specialities. You can savour the taste of a Wiener schnitzel or delicious strudel even here, sixty kilometres down the Danube River from Vienna. Spicy Hungarian goulash, Czech sauerkraut, Slovak mountain-style bryndzové halusky (gnocchi with fresh sheep’s cheese, sprinkled with bacon) and dishes typical of the Small Carpathians, including hearty cream sauces and goose meat, come together to create an orchestra for gourmets, stirring the senses with delightful gustatory melodies. All this can be accompanied by a glass of good beer or wine – or the genuine espresso or cappuccino that Bratislava cafés pride themselves on.
Bratislava is your portal to Slovakia: the beginning of a journey of discovery across this small, beautiful European country. Bratislava is also your portal to Central Europe: from here Vienna or Budapest are just an hour or two away.
Cathedral of St. Martin