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Bratislava

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Summary Article: Bratislava from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather guide

City and capital of the Slovak Republic, and a leading port on the River Danube; population (2003 est) 428,800. A well-diversified industrial centre, its manufacturing includes textiles, chemicals, and metal goods. During the Communist period, heavy industry was focused on the production of armaments. The city is surrounded by forests, large farms, and vineyards, and has an active trade in agricultural products. It was the capital of Hungary from 1541 to 1784 and capital of the province of Slovakia (within Czechoslovakia) from 1919 until 1949, when the city became the capital of the newly created Bratislava Region. The region was abolished in 1960, and in 1993 it became the capital of the newly independent Slovak Republic.

History It was the site of a Roman outpost called Posonium by the 1st century AD, and became a stronghold of the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th century. Much of southern and eastern Slovakia fell under Hungarian rule in 1278, following the death of Otakar II. From 1541, when the Turks captured Buda, until 1784, Bratislava became Hungary's capital and the residence of Hungarian kings and archbishops. Hungarian kings continued to be crowned in Bratislava until 1835, and the Hungarian Diet continued to meet here until 1848. In the 19th century it became the centre of the emerging Slovak national revival, and after the union of the Czech and Slovak territories in 1918 it was incorporated into Czechoslovakia. Bratislava was the capital of a nominally independent Slovak Republic from 1939 to 1945, which was governed by a fascistic pro-German regime responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Czechs and Jews.

Features Bratislava is a popular tourist centre. Points of interest include the 9th-century castle (rebuilt in the 13th century), above the Danube; the 13th-century Franciscan convent and church, and old town hall. The new town hall is within an 18th-century palace, formerly the residence of the primates of Hungary. The University of Jan Comenius (founded 1919), the Slovak Academy of Sciences, a polytechnic university, a national theatre, and several museums are located here.

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