Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries. Furthermore, the city is the seat of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, the Government of the Slovak Republic, national ministries and the other central bodies of the state administration of the Slovak Republic.

View of the town taken from the castle hill

View of the castle

A major industrial center, Bratislava is known for building VW cars and historically the manufacture of furniture, tobacco products, musical instruments, woolen goods, and leather products. Historical points of interest include an 11th-century Gothic cathedral that was restored in the second half of the 19th century, a former royal palace of Hungary, on a hill overlooking the city, a 13th-century Franciscan church, the town hall, a 13th-century edifice; the Comenius University in 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 War, the Peace of Bratislava was signed in the Primate's Palace following the defeat of the armies of Francis I, the Austrian emperor and Alexander I, the Russian tsar by Napoleon's army at Austerlitz. When Czechoslovakia was created in 1919 after World War I, the city was renamed Bratislava and made capital of the province of Slovakia.


The Old Town of Bratislava is the historic center and one of the boroughs of Bratislava. As its name suggests, the district houses many historic monuments and Bratislava's central institutions. It also contains many Slovak governmental institutions, such as the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of Justice.

The western part of the district is a hilly area featuring the Slavín monument, Horský park, many detached houses, and most of the foreign embassies in Slovakia.

The eastern section is the historical and administrative center. Notable buildings and spaces include the Grassalkovich Palace, Trinity Church, Bratislava's Town Hall, St. Martin's Cathedral, Michael's Gate, the Slovak National Theatre, Zochova Street from the 14th century and many other places...




The castle dominates the city of Bratislava. Like today's city, it has been inhabited for thousands of years, because it is strategically located in the center of Europe at a passage between the Carpathians and the Alps, at a very important ford used to cross the Danube river, and at an important crossing of central European ancient (trade) routes running from the Balkans or the Adriatic Sea to the Rhine river or the Baltic Sea, the most important route being the Amber Route.

The castle's hill was populated as early as the late Stone Age, while the first known inhabitants were the Celts who had founded a fortified settlement here - "Oppidum". For four centuries, the border of the Roman Empire "Limes Romanus" ran through the area. During the Greater Morovian Empire, Slavs built a fortress that became a significant centre for the time. In the 10th century, Bratislava became an integral part of the growing Hungarian state, with a palace of stone and the church of St. Salvator and its chapter being built on the castle hill in the 11th century.

In the 15th century, in the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg, the castle was built in Gothic style as an anti-Hussite fortress. In the 16th century, King Ferdinand ordered the rebuilding of the castle in Renaissance style, while in the 17th century, when the castle became the seat of hereditary province chief Pálffy, it was rebuilt in a baroque style. In the reign of Maria-Theresa, the castle was arranged for the needs of her son-in-law - governor Albert of Saxony and Tessen, who was a fervent collector of arts and who installed his works at the castle. This collection was later moved to Vienna to become today's Albertina gallery. In the reign of Joseph II, the castle housed a general seminary to educate priests. Later, it served as barracks for soldiers until it burnt down in 1811. The present reconstruction was carried out as late as 1953 - 1968. Today the castle serves as a representative for the Slovak National council and houses the collections of the Slovak National Museum, exhibitions of Jewels from the ancient past, as well as the Museum of History.

The statue of Svatopluk I with the mislead inscription "Svatopluk - The king of Ancient Slovaks 846 - 894" at the Bratislava Castle patio


The legend is about the daughter of the lord of the Castle : with the help of two soldiers and a Hungarian spy, she left the castle, changed camps for love sake and joined the Turkish camp.

Here is how it all happened :

The lady was supposed to get married but she turned down many rich grooms. After a ten days journey from Košice to Bratislava,where she was to meet a suitor, and after her refusal to marry him, the beautiful daughter of the lord of the castle faced her angry father. She didn't care what he would say : she would not give in.
Meanwhile, the Turkish army of Nakič Husein attacked the castle but it was victoriously defended by its inhabitants. Then , a Turkish messenger came to announce the arrival of his chief. Nakič Husein entered the castle unarmed to make peace. The young lady just glanced at him and fell in love at first sight with the fierce man : she got crazy over the bolt in his eyes. After meeting him, she rejected every groom she was introduced to : she could not help thinking about Nakič Husein. Then, her father lost patience. Somebody told him, that she had fallen in love with a Turk. Out of wrath, he locked her up in the bastille.


Interior view of the castle

A soldier who was secretly in love with the beautiful lady released her from the bastille. To escape the prison, they took a secret corridor at which end she met with Vid Zjeravič. He was a Hungarian spy. She told him her love story and asked him to take her to the Turkish camp, because her heart belonged to Nakič Husein. The spy got there easily taking with him a letter from the lady, leaving her behind. Husein read the letter and he started to laugh. Zjeravič took his sword to defend her honour and a wild battle began. When the guards came to the tent of the captain, the head of Husein was smiling at the end of Zjeravič's sword. They ran away from the tent with fearful eyes. Zjeravič went to the forest, where the lady was waiting for him. When she saw the head of her lover at the end of the sword, she lost consciousness. When she woke up, Zjeravič explained to her what had happened.

When the lord of Bratislava castle saw the head of his enemy, he declared : "you can't command a heart !" It is said that the place from which the guard in love released the beautiful lady remained cursed... And the whole bastille was considered as a place of LOVE FOR SALE.