Host city

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, and with a population of about 450,000, the country´s largest city. The greater metropolitan area is home to more than 650,000 people. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia, occupying both banks of the River Danube and the left bank of the River Morava. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two sovereign states.

Bratislava Castle

It is the political, cultural and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak president, the parliament and the Slovak Executive. It is home to several universities, museums, theaters, galleries and other important cultural and educational institutions. Many of Slovakia´s large businesses and financial institutions also have headquarters there. Bratislava is the sixth richest region of the European Union and GDP per capita is about three times higher than in other Slovak regions.

Bratislava Main Square

Bratislava has always been a flourishing and prosperous town, which has made the most of its strategic position on the Danube and at the intersections of important European trade routes. In the Mediaeval period and later in the 18th century, it was a significant economic centre and later, a cultural and political centre of Central Europe. It was thanks to its location that in the 16th Century, Bratislava i became the capital and coronation town of the Hungarian Kingdom and the place, where its crown jewels were kept. For one thing, it was remote from the invading Turks, yet close to imperial Vienna, from where the whole of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was governed for almost the following 500 years.


For a long time, Vienna and Bratislava were very closely connected economically, culturally and politically. In the 18th century, the Castle was rebuilt and served as a summer residence for Queen Maria Theresa who visited the town frequently. The main reason for her regular visits was the fact, that her favourite daughter, Maria Christine, lived here for almost 20 years. The strategic location of the town had been considered a long-term advantage but suddenly in the middle of the 20th century it became a major disadvantage, when Bratislava had to pay heavily for its unique position. After the communists came to power in 1948, an Iron Curtain, visible from the city centre, was drawn. It brutally divided what had once been a single economic and cultural region.

Following the fall of communism in 1989, Bratislava could at last develop as a free town and re-establish its close relations with Vienna. Now, paradoxically, it was Vienna which held the excluded region back from its more rapid growth. Although much was resolved once Slovakia became a member of the European Union in 2004, the final impediment to the rapid development of the cross-border Euro-region was removed as late as 2007 when a motorway on the Austrian side came into