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Bratislava (425.000 inhabitants) is the capital of Slovakia. It is an old city with a long history and many sights. Bratislava Castle dominates the town, around the castle you find a couple of interesting museums, such as the Museum of Jewish Culture and the Municipal Museum. Opposite is the Blue House, which houses the Exhibition of Arts and Crafts.
To the south of the castle hill are the preserved remains of an ancient tower which protected the Danube ford. Other sights close to the castle include the Baroque Church of the Order of the Holy Trinity and the Renaissance Bramer Manor House, where the Archeological Museum is housed.
The Main Square of the medieval town constitutes the center of the historical city. The most important events have happened here since the 14th century. Besides regular markets, all gatherings, celebrations and executions took place here. All the houses on the square have an older Gothic core, several of them were built prior to the fortification of the town as defensive houses with towers. The sandstone Renaissance Maximilian's Fountain and circular reservoir stand in the centre of the square. The square is dominated by the Town Hall.
The narrow Kostolna ulica next to the Old Town Hall leads to the Primate's Square, which served as a market place in the Middle Ages. On it you find the Primate's Palace, which is the most beautiful Classicist structure in Slovakia.
If you've got a few hours to spare, & are growing tired of the city, you can catch a tram/trolly bus up to Koliba( just head for the radio mast on the hill behind the city). Koliba is a large forested area about 20 minutes from the centre with a number of great views over the city. Small bars are dotted up the hill & alot of locals head up there for a bit of R & R as its a good place to jog, walk the dog, or let the kids run around. You also get the pleasure of looking N.E along the Carpathians or west into Austria. Koliba also has a small ski run if you happen to be there in winter.
If you're put off by hills then you can also jump the bus & head to Devin a Moravian town about 12kms outside the city. The village is domintated by the ruins of a spectacular castle that sits on a cliff over looking the Danube( the sister village of Hainburg in Austria & its castle can be seen from the battlements). A cycle paths runs along side the river & a few excellent restaurants have set themselves up serving fish & other local delicacies. Lots of familes head to Devin from the city so expect it to be crowded at the weekend, especially in summer. But well worth the visit.
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