- Location and Size
Bratislava is at the centre of Europe, in the extreme southwest of Slovakia. The edge of the city actually forms Slovakia's borders with Hungary, to the south, and Austria, to the west, making it the only capital city to border two neighbouring countries. In addition, the Czech Republic is only 62 kilometres away. The Austrian capital Vienna is only 60 kilometres distant, making them among the world's closest capital cities.
- City Symbols
While the city's current name, Bratislava, has been used only since 1919, its coat of arms dates back to 1436. This was when Sigismund of Luxembourg granted the town – then known as Pressburg to German-speakers and Pozsony to Hungarian-speakers – the right to use it.
Population: 432 801
Population density: 1177/km²
Slovaks form the majority of Bratislava's residents. In 2001 they made up 91.39% (391,767 inhabitants) of the population, followed by Hungarians with 3.84% (16,541), and Czechs with 1.86% (7,972).
Almost everyone in Bratislava speaks Slovak, a western Slavic language. Slovak is very similar to Czech and more or less comprehensible to Polish-speakers. Hungarian, the first language of about 10 percent of Slovak citizens, most of whom live in the southern part of the country, is also spoken by a minority of Bratislava residents. Bratislava was once famed as a tri-lingual city, whose residents could switch with ease between German, Hungarian and Slovak, and a few still preserve this proud tradition.
Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, is governed by elected local governmental bodies. The Mayor is the highest representative of the city executive; the city's highest legislative authority is the 40-member City Council. Bratislava is divided into 17 boroughs. The largest of them is Petržalka, which is home to almost 120,000 residents. The boroughs are independent legal entities that manage their own assets and budget.
Bratislava has a mild continental climate, characterized by wide differences between temperatures in summer and winter, as well as by four distinct seasons. In recent years, however, the transition from winter to summer in Bratislava has tended to occur without a typical spring, with freezing winter weather changing abruptly to warm summer temperatures from one day to another.
In the 2001 census, the faith of most of Bratislava's residents (243,048; 56.7%) was recorded as being Roman Catholic. The next largest group (125,729; 29.3%) were recorded as being atheist.
Of the remainder,
24,810 (6%) were Augsburg Confession Lutheran,
3,163 (0.7%) Greek Catholic,
1,918 Reformed Christian,
1,827 Jehovah's Witness,
1,616 Eastern Orthodox,
and 613 Baptist.
- Historical Periods
Celtic settlements, The Romans, The Great Moravia Empire, Bratislava in the Middle Ages, Coronation city of the Kingdom of Hungary, City of Maria Theresa, The campaigns of Napoleonic troops and the end of bondage, First Czechoslovak Republic, Between the wars, Wartime Bratislava, Post-war Bratislava, Capital city for the second time.