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If you’re in Vienna, then go to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia

Posted by on November 2, 2018

If you’re in Vienna, then I recommend making the trip and crossing the Danube River to go to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. It’s quite remarkable that two capital cities are that so close to each other but this is due to certain events in history as the Bratislava did not have a lot of prominence because of Vienna and to a lesser extent, Budapest, both capitals of Austria and Hungary, respectively. At the end of World War I, Czechoslovakia decided to break away from the Austria-Hungary Empire and some of its legions decided to take Pressburg (the area that it was called back then). After annexation of a German/Hungarian-majority city, it was then called Bratislava which then Czechs and Slovaks started to move into the city while the Germans and Hungarians fled. Eventually, after it was said and done, the Czechs and Slovaks decided to divorce for themselves so Slovaks decided on their largest city to become the capital since Prague was the capital of Czechoslovakia but it was in Czechia.

Bratislava city downtown innerstadt old town

There is some modernization of a city tram and roadways but this city is easily traveled on foot.

old style antique buildings edicifios antiguos viejos capital slovakia slovak ciudad city town

This city is not as well developed like in other European capitals so it’s more likely you’ll see more old-style buildings in the city.

cloudy Danuber River day nublado por el río Danube central europe

The long flowing river of Danube. Vienna and Bratislava are only 50 miles / 80 kilometers away. You can even take a catamaran (boat) to travel between the two cities which takes something of an hour or so.

 

slovak food comida slovakia carne steak comer cenar almorzar

One of the highlights on my trip to Bratislava was this great steak covered with cheese.

In all honestly, there is not much to see in this city as Vienna took most of the importance away (as did Prague being the capital of Czechoslovakia) and lastly, Bratislava was bombed and artillery barraged during World War II. It also did not help that when the Soviets captured the city from the Nazis, the Red Army did not do much with the city or country either afterwards during the Communist era. Instead, the communist Soviet bloc basically let it sit around until both the Czechs and Slovaks broke off their communist chains and became independent of communism and of each other.

So if you want to visit and see another country then I recommend making an easy day trip from Vienna to Bratislava. An interesting thing to note is that if you ask the locals if they are old enough to remember the Soviet/Communist days, they said that it was easier to be bilingual in both Czech and Slovak because for example, TV shows had subtitles in the other language if one was being spoken. Nowadays, the younger people have a hard time understanding each other that they sometimes revert to English to communicate with each other. Surprisingly, the Slovaks are pretty good at English as are the Czechs.