Port of Bratislava
Review and History

The Port of Bratislava is an inland port on the Danube River near the border between Slovakia and Austria. Just 54 kilometers east-southeast of Vienna, the Port of Bratislava is a regional cultural center with diverse industries that include the manufacture of chemicals, textiles, and electrical products. In 2005, over 425 people called Port of Bratislava home. Before 1919, the Port of Bratislava was known as Presporok (Slovak), Pressburg (German and English), or Pozsony (Hungarian)

The Bratislava Region is the richest in Slovakia, even though it is the smallest. The service sector is the biggest employer in the Port of Bratislava, focusing on banking, trade, information technology, telecommunications, and tourism. It has had a Volkswagen factory since 1991. Many international corporations have established offices in the Port of Bratislava, attracted by its skilled workforce, dense community of universities and research facilities, and its proximity to countries in Western Europe.

Port History

Archaeological evidence from the Linear Pottery Culture establishes that man lived in the area around the Port of Bratislava as early as 5000 BC. The first settlement was founded by the Celtic Boii tribe in about 200 BC. They created a fortified town with a mint that made silver coins. From the 1st until the 4th Centuries AD, Rome controlled the area of the Port of Bratislava. They began the local tradition of wine-making when they brought grapes to the area.

The Slavs arrived in the 5th and 6th Centuries during what is called the Migration Period, a time when people migrated across the European continent and when western civilization was moving from antiquity to the Middle Ages. Fighting attacks from the Avars, local Slavic tribes established the first Slavic political entity, Samo’s Empire, in the middle 7th century. By the 9th Century, the castles at Bratislava and Devin had become important centers for Slavic Principality of Nitra and Great Moravia.

The first documented evidence of the Port of Bratislava, from around 907 AD, referred to a battle between the Bavarian and Hungarian armies that led to the fall of Great Moravia in the face of the attacking Hungarians. In the 10th Century, the territory holding the Port of Bratislava was made part of the Kingdom of Hungary. During this era, the Port of Bratislava was a Hungarian administrative and economic center, bringing not only town privileges (in 1291) but many battles and attacks. In 1405, King Sigismund of Luxemburg declared the Port of Bratislava a free royal town.

In 1526, the Kingdom of Hungary was beaten by the Ottoman Empire, leading to many sieges and damages by the Ottomans who were not able to take the city. As the Ottoman Empire advanced in 1536, the Port of Bratislava was made the new capital of Hungary in the Austrian Habsburg monarchy, bringing a new era of glory to the Port of Bratislava.

By 1543, the Port of Bratislava was a coronation town and home to kings, nobility, and archbishops as well as the hub for important organizations in the Habsburg monarchy. From 1536 to 1830, eleven kings/queens were enthroned in the Port of Bratislava at St. Martin’s Cathedral.

The 17th Century brought floods, plagues and other natural disasters as well as rebellions against the Habsburgs and fighting against the Turks. However, the city prospered again in the 18th Century under Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. It came to be the biggest and most important city in the area that is now Slovakia and Hungary. During that time, population bombed, and many new buildings appeared (including palaces, mansions, and monasteries). The Port of Bratislava was an important cultural and social center for the region. 

During the 19th Century when Maria Theresa’s son Joseph II took power, the Port of Bratislava began to lose status. The crown jewels went to Vienna as a diplomatic gesture. Central offices and much of the nobility went to Pest. Still, the city was important. The first Hungarian and Slovak newspapers were published in the Port of Bratislava in 1780.

Events in Europe played an important role in the Port of Bratislava’s history during the 19th Century. In 1805, it was the sight for the signing of the Peace of Pressburg between France and Austria. Today’s Hungarian Academy of Sciences was founded in the city in 1825. Hungarian was made the official language in 1843.

During the 1800s, industry grew in the Port of Bratislava. The first horse-drawn railway in the Kingdom of Hungary connected the Port of Bratislava to Svaty Jur in 1840. Steam locomotives connected the Port of Bratislava to Vienna and Pest in 1850. New institutions were founded in the city, including the first bank in modern Slovakia.

When World War I ended and Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918, the Port of Bratislava became part of the new state despite protests. In 1919, the city’s Hungarian and German residents declared the Port of Bratislava a free city rather than being annexed into Czechoslovakia, but the Czechoslovak army occupied the city in 1919 and made it the new country’s capital. Without the protection of Hungarian forces, many of the city’s Hungarian residents fled the city, and their houses went to Czech and Slovak and Czech immigrants.

Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938. Although the first independent Slovak Republic was founded in 1939 with the Port of Bratislava as its capital, it quickly fell under the influence of the Nazis. During World War II, the Port of Bratislava’s population of 15 thousand Jews were expelled, most of them going to concentration camps. The city was occupied by German soldiers in 1944 and fell victim to Allied bombing. Many of the Port of Bratislava’s German residents were evacuated by Germany at the end of the war, and the Soviet Red Army took control of the city in 1945.

In 1948, the Communist Party took over in Czechoslovakia, making the Port of Bratislava part of the Eastern Bloc. The city grew quickly, and many new pre-fabricated housing units were built. After an unsuccessful rebellion in 1968, Warsaw Pact troops occupied the Port of Bratislava, and the Port of Bratislava became the capital of the Slovak Socialist Republic.

In the late 1980s, the Port of Bratislava was one of the leading anti-Communist centers. In 1993, it was made the capital for the new Slovak Republic after the fall of Soviet Communism. Since then, the local economy has blossomed as a result of foreign investment.

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