City (pop., 2001 prelim.: 428,672), capital of Slovakia. Settled first by Celts and Romans, it was ultimately inhabited by Slavs in the 8th century. As Pressburg, it developed as a trade centre and became a free royal town in 1291. The first university in what was then Hungary was founded there in 1467. The city served as the Hungarian capital (1541–1784) and was the seat of the Diet until 1848. The Treaty of Pressburg (1805) was signed here by Napoleon and Francis II following the Battle of Austerlitz. After World War I, on the formation of Czechoslovakia, it became capital of the province of Slovakia, and it became the national capital on Slovakia's independence in 1992.
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Later it underwent many transformations and enhancements, namely a Renaissance style reconstruction in 1599 following earthquake damage, Baroque restyling to the tower after a fire in the 18th century, and the addition of a Neorenaissance/Neogothic wing built in 1912.
The building was used as a town hall from the 15th century through the late 19th century. At times during that period, however, it also served other purposes, including housing a prison and mint, and being place of trade and celebrations. It was also used as the city's arsenal depository and municipal archive.
Today it hosts the Bratislava City Museum, displaying exhibitions of Bratislava (Pressburg), (Pozsony)'s history. Exhibited items include torture instruments, the old town dungeons, antique weapons and armour, paintings and miniatures. One of its curiosities is a cannonball embedded in the tower wall, shot by Napoleon's soldiers in 1809 during bombardment of the city from Petržalka (Pozsonyligetfalu). During the summer its courtyard hosts concerts.