Bratislava is the capital city of the Slovak Republic, it is the largest town with about 5OO OOO inhabitatants. It´s situated on the banks of the River Danube, in the heart Europe, on borders of three countries- Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. It also lies at the foothills of the Little Carpathian Mountains. Bratislava is an ancient historical city.
The beginnings of settlement in this place go back to the Stone age. The first ethnic group which settled on the crossroad of the European trade routes were the Celts, whose oppidum as we have learned from archeological findings, represented the centre of Celtic power on the cenral Danube during the last centuries B.C. For four centuries Limes Romanus – the border of the Roman Empire – passed throught the city and the territory of the city comprised the centres of two large areas of culture and civilization – the Roman and the Barbarian.
During the 5th and 6th centuries the Slavs settled permanently in Slovakia. In the 9th century the large Slavonic fortified settlements on the Castle Hill in Bratislava and on Devin became the centres of the first common state of the Slovaks and the Czechs – the Great Moravian Empire. The first written records about Bratislava are actually connected with the Great Moravian period – there is a mention made of Dowina (Devín) and in 907 of Presalauspurch (Bratislava).
In the 10th century the fortified settlement of Bratislava was transformed into a royal castle and into a robust border fortress of the newly formed Hungarien state. In 1291 the settlement of craftsmen and merchans around the castle was granted priviledges of a free town by Andrew III., and it developed into one of the most important of Hungarian cities. In 1465 King Mathias Corvinius founded the Academia Istropolitana here, the first university, on the Slovakian territory. The political importance of the city increased after the battle at Moháč in 1526, when the Turks occupied a large part of Hungary. For 250 years Bratislava became the capital and the coronation town of the Hungarian Kingdom. In St. Martin´s Cathedral eleven Kings and eight Queens were crowned, and it was there that they received into their hands the golden sceptre and the golden apple – the symbols of power.
The city underwent an extraordinary boom in the 18th century during the reign of Queen Maria Theresia.
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Bratislava, My Native Town
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