Bratislava (German, Pressburg; Hungarian, Pozsony), capital city of Slovakia, in the south-west on the River Danube near Vienna. An important port on the Danube and a railway junction, Slovakia's largest city is the centre of an extensive trade in grain, wine, and other agricultural produce. A major industrial centre too, Bratislava is known for shipbuilding and the manufacture of furniture, chemicals, cigarettes, musical instruments, and woollen and leather goods. Points of interest include a 13th-century cathedral restored in the second half of the 19th century; the ruins of the former royal palace of Hungary, on a hill overlooking the city; a 13th-century Franciscan church; the 13th-century town hall; the Comenius University of Bratislava (1919); the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava (1938); and the Slovak Academy of Sciences (1953).
Founded before the 10th century, the city was known originally as Pressburg. Strong fortifications erected during the 12th century gave it strategic importance: from 1541 to 1784 it was the capital of Hungary. In 1805, during the Napoleonic Wars, Boneparte met the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II in the city and imposed the peace terms known as the Treaty of Pressburg. When Czechoslovakia was created in 1919 after World War I, the city was renamed Bratislava and made capital of the province of Slovakia. Slovakia and the other provinces of Czechoslovakia were abolished in January 1949, and the city became merely the capital of the newly created Bratislava Region. The region was abolished in 1960, and on January 1, 1993 Bratislava became the capital of a newly independent Slovakia. Population (1994 estimate) 450 775.
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History of Bratislava
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