Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, the Slovak part of the former Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia was part of the communist Warsaw Pact until 1989, when it peacefully deposed their government in the Velvet Revolution. In 1993 the country was separated into two sovereign states when the Slovak government decided to part ways with the Czech republic in a peaceful agreement, although several people I spoke to were very unhappy that it was done without a referendum of the people.
Of the many things I did not know, Slovakia has borders to many countries, including (obviously) the Czech Republic, then Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south. It was part of the Austro-hungarian empire which annexed most of central Europe in its time.
Initially Slovakia was the poor cousin to the Czech republic but in recent years it has become a relatively high-income economy with one of the fastest growth rates in the European Union. But you still see the signs of decay in the state of the streets and footpaths, and in some of the Soviet era parks. Slovakia is a member of the European Union and thankfully accepts the Euro which makes paying for stuff much easier.
Bratislava is the largest city. It has a restored old city area that makes for a pleasant day wandering around, I was lucky to have a sunny Saturday during which I took most of the photos you see. There is Bratislava castle on the hill just outside the old town, a WWII war memorial park, the obligatory TV tower - although this has a unique design and is not a copy of the German model. There is also a Jugendstil area with several interesting building, especially the blue church. Tourism is significant but nowhere as huge as in Prague.
There is a strong service industry, which is the reason I was there was to train development and support teams for a major Insurance comapny that I work for, but also Volkswagen build SUVs there including Audi Q7s, VW Touareg, parts of the Porsch Cayenne, VW UP and Seat MII, Skoda Citigo.
Ice hockey appears to be the national sport, the world cup was on while I was there and many people were glued to the TV.
Bratislava old town, presidents palace, St Martins church.
Bratislava castle is next to the old town, but naturally on a hill. Below lies the Danube river and between the river and the castle lies the downtown bus station with its great graffiti art. At one time the administration started covering the walls with photos, which many citizens disliked and started tearing down.