Welcome to Bratislava. Ours is an old city, but one of Europe's newest capitals. As we hope you will see, it is big enough to have everything a visitor might want, but small enough to remain welcoming and unpretentious.Bratislava became a capital city when Slovakia became independent, in 1993. It has rapidly acquired the top-class hotels, restaurants and tourist facilities that reflect its status. But the town's history goes back centuries, to pre-Roman times. Successive waves of development as a major trading centre and, for almost 300 years, as the coronation city for the kings and queens of Hungary have blessed us with a fascinating blend of architecture and public spaces.The intimate old town, overlooked by the castle, is criss-crossed with narrow, traffic-free lanes and studded with mediaeval churches, Baroque palaces, small shops and fine cafes, bars and restaurants. At its centre is the beautiful Old Town Square. Nearby, the unique New Bridge, built in the 1970s with its distinctive 'UFO' tower, spans the Danube River. On the right bank is central Europe's oldest public park, Sad Janka Krala, and next to it one of Bratislava's several modern shopping centres, Aupark.The city has a strong artistic tradition, with regular concert and opera performances at the Slovak National Theatre, and several outstanding galleries.Beyond the centre, Bratislava's superb position on the banks of the Danube and below the forested slopes of the Small Carpathian hills means a walk in the woods or a bicycle ride along the river are never more than a few minutes away. Only slightly further afield are the wine towns of the Small Carpathians. But any restaurant in the city will offer a range of local products, the fruit of our region's centuries-old winemaking tradition.