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Partying the old year out in Bratislava

In recent years, the Slovak capital has become a popular city for fun-seekers and party-loving tourists. One of the occasions that merits an even bigger party than usual is New Year’s Eve, or Silvester as it is known in Slovak (so called due to the name celebrated on the very last day of the year). Although the economic crisis has somewhat dampened celebrations throughout the city, there undoubtedly remain numerous ways of spending the last few hours of 2011.

In recent years, the Slovak capital has become a popular city for fun-seekers and party-loving tourists. One of the occasions that merits an even bigger party than usual is New Year’s Eve, or Silvester as it is known in Slovak (so called due to the name celebrated on the very last day of the year). Although the economic crisis has somewhat dampened celebrations throughout the city, there undoubtedly remain numerous ways of spending the last few hours of 2011.

Tomáš Halán of the Old Town / Staré mesto administration – which has organised celebrations together with the Bratislava city council – announced that there will be several venues offering cultural programmes. On the Main Square, the programme will start at 18:00 with DJ Simple Sample, continuing with the band A.M.O + Band, Hafner, the popular Para band, and culminating with the band Hex at 00:15 of the fresh year.

Another focus will be Hviezdoslavovo Square, where the Haaf Theatre will play at 16:00, 17:00 and 18:00. Following this the Suzie Haas Band from Austria will take to the stage, then Serbia’s Požarevac, moving on to the local Gipsy-folklore band Cigánski diabli at 21:00 who will launch an “open-air party.” Everyone who wants to participate in the “midnight countdown” is invited to the Ľudovíta Štúra Square for 23:30 and to a midnight firework display on the Danube River. Both tourists and locals are encouraged to leave their cars either at home or at parking lots outside the pedestrian zone. Some of the narrow streets in the inner downtown will be closed even for pedestrians, including Kostolná, parts of Uršulinská, or the whole of Klobučnícka. Since 17:00, the streets downtown will be gradually closed for traffic and from 23:00, the Danube embankment will be closed even for mass transport. However, apart from this section the trams, buses and trolleybuses will drive regularly and some will be even strengthened during the night until 6:30 in the morning. On Sunday, the mass transport will conclude with a regular schedule.

Other possible ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve include a festive concert, a theatre performance, or some clubbing and disco, as offered by www.kamdomesta.sk and www.bratislava.sk. Other cities and towns usually provide information about their Silvester programme on their websites, though it is rare that they include an English translation.

A lot will depend on the weather, of course, but a night spent in the old streets of “Partyslava”, as it was nicknamed some time ago, or watching the spectacular fireworks over the Danube, might be a good way to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the newborn one.

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