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Bratislava History, Slovakia

Bratislava History – Bratislava during Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages

After studying the archeological proofs, historians have estimated that the first settlement on the site of present Bratislava was established sometime in the 5th millennium BC. However, the first settlers to appear in the annals of history were the Celtic Boii. From the Roman period, Bratislava has inherited the art of making wine. During the so-called Barbarian Invasions, around the 5th or 6th century AD, some Slavic tribes settled down in the area and formed Samo’s Empire. By 907, when Bratislava is mentioned in the Slazburg Annals as ‘Brezalauspurc’, the two Slavic political entities, the Principality of Nitra and Great Moravia were already starting to decline. At the peak of millennia, Bratislava history takes a decisive turn, as the town falls under the influence of the Hungarian Kingdom.

Bratislava History – Bratislava under Hungarian Rule

During the reign of Sigismund de Luxembourg, Bratislava is granted all the privileges of a free royal city (1405), including the right to mint and to have its own coat of arms. Situated at the intersection of some major commercial routes, and very close to other medieval cities like Vienna and Budapest, Bratislava becomes an important economic hub.

In 1464, the first university in Slovakia, Academia Istropolitana, is founded by King Mathias Corvinius. With Hungary conquered by the Ottomans and transformed into an Ottoman province, the Hungarian Parliament and royal court find their refugee in Bratislava, which becomes the coronation city. After a turbulent 17th century, when the city faced two anti-Habsburg uprisings and several natural disasters, Bratislava history entered the glorious era marked by the reign of Empress Maria Theresa.

Across the 18th century, Bratislava had its first newspaper, first theater and first manufacture. The old city walls had to be demolished to allow the construction of numerous buildings and streets and the population reached an unprecedented 29,223. When Joseph II followed his mother on the throne, Bratislava’s rapid development started to slow down. As everywhere in Europe, the first part of the 19th century was marked by the national emancipation movement.

Bratislava History – Bratislava in the 20th Century

After Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918, Bratislava unwillingly became a part of the new state. It was only in 1919 when Bratislava adopted its current name (it was called ‘Pressburg’ by the Germans, ‘Pozsony’ by Hungarians and ‘Presporok’ by Slovaks). In addition to radically changing the city’s looks according to the principles of Stalinist architecture, the communist regime also managed to influence the ethnic structure of the city: Slovaks became the main ethnic group. Following the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and the Velvet Divorce in 1996, Bratislava became the capital of Slovakia.

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Read our members' reviews about Bratislava

  • adamBratislava
    review by adam posted more then 30 days ago
    Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, one of the 4 capitals in Central Europe where the Danube flows through, near the border of both Austria and Hungary, 80 km from Vienna and 200 km from Budapest. The city is prominent for it's Old town, it's nightlife, the picturesque view of the...
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  • angelBratislava Castle
    travel tip by angel posted more then 30 days ago
    There is a castle in this city. It has a big parking but there you have to pay... very close about 50-100 meters from the castle you turn right on a little street between houses and there you can leave your car free :) The city center is...
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