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(brä`tēslä`vä'), Ger. Pressburg, Hung. Pozsony, city (1991 pop. 442,197), SW Slovakia, on the Danube River and near the Austrian and Hungarian borders. It is the capital and largest city of Slovakia. Bratislava is an important road and rail center and a leading Danubian port. A well-diversified industry produces textiles, chemicals, and metal goods; during the Communist period, heavy industry was focused on the production of armaments. Forests, vineyards, and large farms surround the city, which has an active trade in agricultural products. It is also a popular tourist center. A Roman outpost called Posonium by the 1st cent. A.D., Bratislava became a stronghold of the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th cent. After the death of Ottocar II (1278), Bratislava and much of S and E Slovakia fell under Hungarian rule. From 1541, when the Turks captured Buda, until 1784, Bratislava served as Hungary's capital and the residence of Hungarian kings and archbishops. The kings continued to be crowned there until 1835, and Bratislava was the meeting place of the Hungarian diet until 1848. Inhabited largely by German traders before the 19th cent., the city then became predominantly Magyar. In the 19th cent. it was the center of the emerging Slovak national revival, and after the union of the Czech and Slovak territories in 1918 it was incorporated into Czechoslovakia. From 1939 until 1945, Bratislava was the capital of a nominally independent Slovak republic that was governed by a fascistic pro-German regime responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Czechs and Jews. The Univ. of Jan Comenius (1919), the Slovak Academy of Sciences, a polytechnic university, a national theater, and several museums are in the city. The 9th-century castle, above the Danube, was rebuilt in the 13th cent. St. Martin's Cathedral, the Franciscan convent and church, and the old town hall are also 13th-century buildings. The new town hall occupies an 18th-century palace, formerly the residence of the primates of Hungary; the Treaty of PressburgPressburg, Treaty of,
1805, peace treaty between Napoleon I of France and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II (also emperor of Austria), signed at Pressburg (now Bratislava, Slovakia).
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 was signed there in 1805.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



city in Czechoslovakia, capital of the Slovak Socialist Republic; a major economic and cultural center, picturesquely situated on the elevated left bank of the Danube, at the foot of the Little Carpathians, encircled by a forest-park zone. Population, 286, 000 (1968).

Historical information. Legend links the founding of Bratislava to the name of Piso, one of the generals of the Roman emperor Tiberius. Archaeological finds confirm the existence of the Celts there (second to first centuries B.C.). In the fifth century A.D., the territory of Bratislava was settled by Slavic tribes. There are written references to fortresses belonging to the Great Moravian principality that date to the tenth century. After the principality was destroyed by the Hungarians (the decisive battle of 907 at the walls of Bratislava), Bratislava became part of the Hungarian kingdom under the Hungarian name Pozsony. From the middle of the 12th through the 13th century, Bratislava’s city rights were formalized. It became a free royal city. Bratislava experienced considerable German colonization in the 13th century and was renamed Pressburg. In the Middle Ages it was a large center for handicrafts (from the middle of the 18th century, manufacturing industry) and trade; it was one of the permanent residences of the Hungarian king Mátyás Corvinus. After the Turks captured Buda (1541), Bratislava was the capital of the kingdom of Hungary, the residence of the Hungarian kings and archbishops (until 1784). Sessions of Hungarian state assemblies and royal coronations took place in Bratislava (up to 1848). From the late 18th century Bratislava was the center of the Slovak national liberation movement. Here, at the Lycée (in the 1820’s), a subdepartment in Czechoslovak language and literature was founded, as well as the Czechoslovak Society. The activity of L. Štur was connected with Bratislava. The Treaty of Pressburg of 1805 between Napoleonic France and Austria was signed here in 1805. With the development of large-scale industry, Bratislava became an important center for the workers’ movement. The first association of Slovak workers, the Napred Society, arose in Bratislava in 1869, and in 1904 publication of the first newspaper of Slovak workers, Robotnicke noviny, began. The first congress of the Slovak Social Democratic Party was held in Bratislava in 1905. Bratislava was the main city of Slovakia in the bourgeois Czechoslovak Republic from Jan. 1, 1919. During the fascist German occupation (1939-45), it was the capital of the fascist clerical Slovak puppet state. It was liberated by the Soviet Army on Apr. 4, 1945. On Aug. 3, 1968, a Conference of Representatives of the Communist and Workers’ Parties of Bulgaria, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic, Poland, the USSR, and Czechoslovakia was held in Bratislava.


Economic survey. Bratislava is an important transportation junction (six railroad radials and a number of highways) and Danube port. It is a rapidly growing industrial center. The chemical industry is notable. The city has a large petrochemical combine, Slovnaft, which refines oil coming from the USSR by the Druzhba oil pipeline. Plastics, synthetic fiber, sulfuric acid, soda, phosphorous fertilizers, lacquers, dyes, and rubber are produced in Bratislava. Industries include electrical engineering (cable, electrical and radio products), instrument-making, and machine-tool manufacture. The city is a focus for the textile and clothing industries. There is glass production, woodworking, and furniture production. The food industry, which is based on local agricultural raw materials, is represented extensively.

Bratislava is a center of Slovak culture; the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Komenský University (founded in 1919), and the Higher Technical College are located here.

In the city are the National Theater, City Museum, National Gallery, and National Museum.


Architecture. Above the Danube there is a castle (Hrad) from the 12-18th centuries. To its north and east is the Old City (Staré Mesto): remains of fortress walls (13—15th centuries); the Michael Gates surmounted by a tower (14-18th centuries); the Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral (14-15th centuries; facade, 18th century); the Church of Clarisses (late 14th century); the monastery and Franciscan Church (13-17th centuries); the old City Hall (13-15th centuries) with an arcaded interior courtyard (1558) and a fountain (1572) in front of the main facade; and baroque and classical palaces (Esterhazy, the Primate’s, and others), churches (Holy Trinity, early 18th century; St. Elizabeth, mid-18th century), fountains, and statues. A number of buildings in the eclectic spirit and “modern” style were erected in the 19-20th centuries. Since 1945 new residential complexes and sections have been built—Ružinov, Petřalka (on the right bank of the Danube); a general plan for the reconstruction of Bratislava has been confirmed, and the Devin Hotel, the student town, a new building for the Higher Technical College, a complex of buildings for the Academy of Sciences, the Communications Administration, a winter stadium, and the House of the Arts have been built; and the quays along the Danube have been reconstructed.


Menclovi, V. a D. Bratislava. Prague, 1936.
Bratislava: Stavebný vývin a pamiatky mesta. Bratislava, 1961.
Adamec, V., and L. Šašky. Bratislava—Stadt und Umgebung. Bratislava, 1966.
Dejiny Bratislavy. Bratislava, 1960.
Bratislava. Bratislava, 1961.
Bratislava. [Bratislava] 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of Slovakia since 1918, a port on the River Danube; capital of Hungary (1541--1784) and seat of the Hungarian parliament until 1848. Pop.: 428 672 (2001)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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