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Nitra

With a population of around 83,000 people, Nitra is the fourth largest city in Slovakia, and the capital of the Nitra Region. Some 80km from the Slovak capital, Bratislava, it sits in the valley of the river Nitra, in western Slovakia, between flatlands and mountains. It is also one of the oldest cities in the country, having been occupied by Celts in the 4th century BC. Under communist rule it was associated with brewing, milling and food processing. Since Slovakia’s independence and membership of the EU, those activities have largely disappeared.

With a population of around 83,000 people, Nitra is the fourth largest city in Slovakia, and the capital of the Nitra Region. Some 80km from the Slovak capital, Bratislava, it sits in the valley of the river Nitra, in western Slovakia, between flatlands and mountains. It is also one of the oldest cities in the country, having been occupied by Celts in the 4th century BC. Under communist rule it was associated with brewing, milling and food processing. Since Slovakia’s independence and membership of the EU, those activities have largely disappeared.

Yet the city’s new economy is doing well, and was showing positive growth before the 2008 economic crisis. There is a new business park providing jobs for some 6,000 people, mainly in chemicals, plastic processing, electronics and car parts. Agriculture remains an important sector, but now services, and especially tourism, gastronomy and shopping centres are all important parts of the local economy. Tourists come to visit the historic old town, the castle and ancient churches.

Nitra is home to two universities, including the Slovak University of Agriculture, with a total student population of around 24,000. It has a number of research institutions related to agriculture and environmental protection. It is also a cultural centre, with galleries, theatres and libraries. A former synagogue is a national memorial to Slovakia’s Jewish population, largely destroyed during World War II. Beyond the city are protected landscapes including the Zoborská Lesostep national park within the city boundaries.

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