Bratislava is the capital and largest city of Slovakia. Bratislava is situated in south-western Slovakia at the foot of the Little Carpathians, 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.
The city's history has been influenced by people of many nations and religions, including Austrians, Bulgarians, Croats, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Jews, Serbs and Slovaks. It was the coronation site and legislative centre and capital of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1536 to 1783; eleven Hungarian kings and eight queens were crowned in St. Martin's Cathedral. Most Hungarian parliament assemblies were held here from the 17th century until the Hungarian Reform Era, and the city has been home to many Hungarian, German and Slovak historical figures.
Today Bratislava is the political, cultural and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak president, the parliament and the Slovak Executive. It has several universities, and many museums, theatres, galleries and other cultural and educational institutions. Many of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions have headquarters there.
In 2017, Bratislava was ranked as the third richest region of the European Union by GDP (PPP) per capita. GDP at purchasing power parity is about three times higher than in other Slovak regions. Bratislava receives around 1 million tourists every year.
The Bratislava Region is the wealthiest and most economically prosperous region in Slovakia. It accounts for about 26% of the Slovak GDP. Many governmental institutions and private companies have their headquarters in Bratislava. More than 75% of Bratislava's population works in the service sector, mainly composed of trade, banking, IT, telecommunications, and tourism. The Bratislava Stock Exchange (BSSE), the organiser of the public securities market, was founded in 1991.
Companies operating predominantly in Bratislava with the highest value added according to the 2018 Trend Top 200 ranking, include the Volkswagen Bratislava Plant, Slovnaft refinery (MOL), Eset (software developer), Asseco (software company), PPC Power (producer of heat and steam) and Trenkwalder personnel agency.
Volkswagen Group took over and expanded the BAZ factory in 1991, and has since considerably expanded production beyond original Skoda Auto models. Currently,[timeframe?] 68% of production is focused on SUVs: Audi Q7; VW Touareg; as well as the body and under-chassis of the Porsche Cayenne. Since 2012, production has also included the Volkswagen up!, SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo.
In recent years, service and high-tech-oriented businesses have prospered in Bratislava. Many global companies, including IBM, Dell, Lenovo, AT&T, SAP, Amazon, Johnson Controls, Swiss Re and Accenture, have built out-sourcing and service centres here or plan to do so soon. Reasons for the influx of multinational corporations include proximity to Western Europe, skilled labour force and the high density of universities and research facilities. Also Slovak IT companies included ESET, Sygic and Pixel Federation have headquarters in Bratislava.
Other large companies and employers with headquarters in Bratislava include Slovak Telekom, Orange Slovensko, Slovenská sporiteľňa, Tatra banka, Doprastav, Hewlett-Packard Slovakia, Slovnaft, Henkel Slovensko, Slovenský plynárenský priemysel, Kraft Foods Slovakia, Whirlpool Slovakia, Železnice Slovenskej republiky, AeroMobil, and Tesco Stores Slovak Republic.
The Slovak economy's strong growth in the 2000s has led to a boom in the construction industry, and several major projects have been completed or are planned in Bratislava. Areas attracting developers include the Danube river front, where two major projects are already finished: River Park in the Old Town, and Eurovea near the Apollo Bridge. Other locations under development include the areas around the main railway and bus stations, the former industrial zone near the Old Town and in the boroughs of Petržalka, Nové Mesto and Ružinov. Bratislava holds shares in 17 companies directly, including the city's public transport company Dopravný podnik Bratislava, the waste collection and disposal company named OLO (Odvoz a likvidácia odpadu), and the water utility. The city also manages municipal organisations such as the city police (Mestská polícia), Bratislava City Museum and ZOO Bratislava.
In 2006, Bratislava had 77 commercial accommodation facilities, of which 45 were hotels, with a total capacity of 9,940 beds. A total of 986,201 visitors, 754,870 of whom were foreigners, stayed overnight. Altogether, visitors made 1,338,497 overnight stays. A considerable share of visits is made by those who visit Bratislava for a single day. The largest numbers of foreign visitors come from the Czech Republic, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland and Austria.
Bratislava has seven major shopping centres: Aupark, Avion Shopping Park, Bory Mall, Central, Eurovea, Vivo! (formerly Polus City Center, bought, rebuilt and rebranded by investor Immofinanz Group) and Shopping Palace.
A month before Christmas the Main Square in Bratislava is illuminated by a Christmas tree and the Christmas market stalls are officially opened. Around 100 booths are opened every year. It is opened most of the day as well as in the evening.
Bratislava is rated Beta − by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Beta level cities are cities that link moderate economic regions to the world economy.
Bratislava is the #87 city in the world according to the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) which evaluates and ranks the competitiveness of the major financial centres of the world according to a wide range of criteria – Human Capital, Business, Finance, Infrastructure and Reputation.
Bratislava was ranked #101 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Bratislava has a population of over 432,864 people. Bratislava also forms part of the wider Bratislava metropolitan area which has a population of over 707,662 people.