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Although many visitors describe Bratislava as small town, in fact it covers area of 367 km2 (142 sq mi) and according to estimates the number of people daily present in Bratislava exceeds 600.000 (450.000 permanent inhabitants).
The impression of a small town comes from the small size of Bratislava's compact historic center, which forms the main part of the Staré Mesto - Old Town borough (also known as Bratislava I - the first district).
The Old Town - Staré Mesto includes the core historic center - pedestrian zone (approximately outlined by streets Staromestská, Námestie SNP, Štúrova and the embankment of Danube), which is the primary area where tourist attractions are concentrated.
To the west of Staromestská Street, there is another part of the Old Town, the Castle Hill and the quiet and green hilly part around it, with houses and residences. Along with Bratislava Castle, tourists also often enjoy views of the city from Slavín - memorial and cemetery from the World War II.
To the north of historic center, a major transport junction of Hodžovo námestie is located. The square is dominated by Grassalkovich Palace, residence of the president of the Slovak Republic, with garden behind the palace. Štefánikova Street connects the palace with main railway station (Hlavná stanica).
Eastern part of the historic center is bordered by square Námestie SNP, its lower part extends to Kamenné námestie with dominant building of department store My-Tesco, to the south the area continues along Štúrova Street and Šafárikovo námestie square (with the "Blue Church" nearby).
The area to the east of the historic center consists of more recent buildings. Visitors usually venture to Obchodná Str. with its offer of small shops and cheaper restaurants.
Modern face of Bratislava is represented by shopping area Eurovea, east of Šafárikovo námestie on the bank of the Danube. New building of the Slovak National Theatre can be found here as well. The cargo port of Bratislava is in the area east of Eurovea.
Central bus station Mlynské Nivy is also located east of the center. The space between the bus station and Eurovea is still a brownfield - former industrial area waiting for redevelopment.
District Bratislava II, located to the east of the Old Town is a mix of administrative, industrial and residential areas. The main residential areas are Ružinov, Podunajské Biskupice and Vrakuňa, administrative buildings are located predominantly at Mlynské Nivy and also around the Avion shopping area (the largest shopping mall in Bratislava), close to the airport. Lake Zlaté Piesky serves as a summer resort, providing opportunities for swimming and recreation. Among industrial areas, the most important is Slovnaft oil refinery.
Third district of Bratislava - its northeastern part - consists mainly of Nové Mesto, which underwent major development during 20th century. Its main industrial area includes now defunct chemical plant Istrochem and "the chocolate factory" now operated by Kraft foods (Mondelez). Nové Mesto also houses various sports stadiums and arenas.
Residential areas are located along Račianska Street and continue into Rača, former independent village under the Carpathian hills, known for its winemaking tradition.
Hills in the northern part of Bratislava belong to residential boroughs Koliba and Kramáre, the latter also being the center of medical facilities in Bratislava. Bratislava Forest Park to the north is a popular place for recreation.
The hilly part of the Old Town ends on the western part in the valley of Mlynská dolina (Mill Valley), where the fourth district of Bratislava begins. In this area, you can find ZOO and Botanical Garden. Mlynská dolina is largely dedicated to education - campuses of major universities are located here, together with dormitories which house up to 15 thousand students.
Mainly residential boroughs Karlova Ves and Dúbravka grew as former villages built in the hilly area along Karloveská Street.
The most western boroughs of Bratislava are Devín - which still retains a character of a village built along Devín Castle and at the confluence of rivers Morava and Danube, and Devínska Nová Ves, with residential area and also the Volkswagen car plant, the largest industrial enterprise in Bratislava, where cars like Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7 are produced. A bridge for pedestrians and cyclists allows to cross Morava river to Austria and visit Schloss Hoff castle on the opposite bank, often featured in Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concerts.
Within the northwestern residential borough Lamač, on the slopes of Malé Karpaty, you can find Bratislava Crematorium, known for its forest cemetery and the landmark modernist building by architect Ferdinand Milucky.
Borough of Záhorská Bystrica further to the north is a former village which extended into residential settlement mainly consisting of houses and villas.
The largest borough of Bratislava and its fifth district - Petržalka - is located on the right bank of the river Danube. Over 150 thousand people live here, mostly in blocks of flats made out of concrete prefabricated panels. Although view of Petržalka from the Bratislava Castle may be a bit depressive, living in Petržalka improved over time and the borough offers to its inhabitants many green places for sport and recreation, among them the largest garden in Bratislava - Sad Janka Kráľa and the dam along the Danube with pathwalks loved by runners, cyclists and in-line skaters.
Small boroughs - villages Rusovce, Jarovce and Čunovo form the southern part of Bratislava area, close to border with Hungary. A tripoint - place where three countries (Slovakia, Hungary and Austria) meet is located to the south of Rusovce, and this former part of the iron curtain is now a permanent display of sculptures by artists from three countries. Another attractions of Rusovce are 16th century mansion (Kaštieľ Rusovce), remains of 4th century Roman military camp - Gerulata. At the dam close to Čunovo you can find unique modern art museum Danubiana and also world class artificial whitewater course.
Detailed information on boroughs of Bratislava can be found at: