The pearl on the Danube is called our capital - Bratislava. It's a beautiful city situated in the south-west part of Slovakia. In the past it was an important junction of the main trades and nowadays it's a gate to Slovakia from Austria and Hungary.
Bratislava is situated among the warmest places in Slovakia -in the Danube lowland. It offers a lot of opportunities how to use your free time. A lot of people e.g. goes to bath to Gold Sands or they spend much time at the banks of Rye's island that is situated quite close to the city and it's the largest island inside the Middle Europe.
The history of the city is very rich and it dates back to the fifth century. At that time arrived the first Slovanic tribes into this locality. They formed their own principality which soon gave a race to the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th century. In 1291 Bratislava become a free royal town. Now it's an administrative, political and economical centre of the state.
Historical monuments and culture:
In the 13th century the town was an important border fortification of Duke Rastislav from which it was depended against the expansion of the East-Frank Empire. The remains of fortification were destroyed at the time of building of the medieval castle. The only thing, that stayed as a memory of large walls around the town, is Michael's gate.(In spite of the fact that there were four gates in the medieval fortification)
It is named after the church and the suburb of St. Michael to which
the gate led. Today there is held arms exhibition inside the Michael's tower and you can find there three architectural styles - gothic, baroque and reneisance one.
The most typical symbol of the capital is Bratislavský castle that towers 885 meters over the river Danube. If you see driving around the castle of the table-upside-down shape you can be sure, you are right in Bratislava. The first mention of the castle is attested by several records from beginning of the lOth century. Today the castle houses the reception rooms of the Slovak National Council and Gouverment. There are also held exhibitions of the Slovak National Museum there. The permanent and temporary one shows various archeological and historical exposites.
Quite close to this - only ten kilometres farer, on the conflunce of the Danube and the Moravia - is situated the second castle. It is called Devin and it's the symbol of Slovak mutuality. There are a lot of stories about it among the people.
But the fact is that it was one of the best preserved castles until Napoleon's soldiers captured it in 18O9.
There are also a lot of palaces in Bratislava - e.g. Grassalkovich palace (former it was pioneer's palace) which is the residence of the
president today.The next one is Primacional palace where is situated the permanent expositure of the tapestries. They have very important origin. Charles I. the Stuart was real art-lover and during his period become tapestries very popular. So he employed a lot of people to make them and he also invited number of foreign artists -they were mostly from England. They made beatiful pieces of work but during the removing of the palace, tapestries got lost. They were found only in our century when the recostruction was made. The constructors fetched down the paper's walls and they found the huge hole behind them. But there was no treasure of gold and silver, there were the tapestries in very high price, too.
Another historical building is the Old Town Hall from l3th century. Today it serves as the museum housing valuable collections of documents, books and archeological foundings. The next museums are: The Slovak National Museum, The Municipal Museum and The City Museum.
Bratislava has also a lot of churches and the best-known one is St. Martin's Cathedral, that was built in l3th century in gothic style.During the centuries lO members of the Habsburg's dynasty have been crowned there.
You can also say:"Bratislava is the student's city." Yes, a lot of young people - including me - dream about the studies in Bratislava. There are many universities there, covering almost the whole sphere of recquired high education. The first universtity was found already in l467 by Matias Korvin - it was Academia Istropolitana. Today the students of the Academy of Drama and Music study there. For my studies I have chosen Comenius University or Slovak Economical University. But there is also Slovak technical University and some others there.
One of the reasons, why Bratislava is dreamt town for so many young people, is the oportunity for entertainment. Except a nuber of disco or
cinemas( Tatra, Slovan, Dukla, Hviezda, Mier) you can go to visit some
theatre e.g. SND contianing The Small Stage, The New Stage, The Studio of the New Stage, The Studio S, The Slovak Philharmonie and the Concert Hall of B.) or some traditions in trade - The B. Fair, which took place for the first time in l923. The best known are : Incheba of chemical industry, Coneco, Flora. Also the following cultural events have firm roots in B.- the Bienale and B. Music Festival.
But you can visit nothing and only walking through the beutyful lanes bordered with burgerhouses and stop for a while in some poetic corner. It's a pity, but these sceneries are getting vanished nowadays. There are large, modern housing estates with horible architecture on their places. The best - sadly -known one is Petržalka. It's a concrete jungle but a lot of young couples found their place for living there. So walking around you see nothing but small children. They have no place for their games so they play in the holes forgotten by constructers, among the cars or they only fool around. I have friends in Bratislava and they are afraid of to be out in the dark. I don't think it is right and I'm happy that I needn't live by this way, yet.