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The shopping scene in Bratislava has improved out of all recognition in the last few years. Not only do many stores have long opening hours, with the big malls open at weekends as well as during holidays, but the range of products now on offer – from global brands to local specialities – is commensurate with the city's size and status.
- Department Stores & Shopping Malls
The largest and most popular shopping centres are Polus City Center, Aupark, Palace and Avion Shopping Park. These malls house famous brand-name stores such as Mango, Benetton, Adidas, Levi's, Kenvelo, and Swarovski, as well as supermarkets, bookshops, photo shops, chemists, and so on. There is also a conveniently located city-centre Tesco supermarket and department store (at Kammené námestie) that stocks most goods.
- Shopping Districts
Shopping outlets in Bratislava tend to be divided between larger stores in out-of-town centres and smaller shops in and around the city centre.
- Markets & Market Places
Bratislava residents increasingly do their shopping at the malls and supermarkets which have proliferated around the city over the last 15-20 years. But some of the freshest fruit and vegetables are still to be had at the several surviving old-style outdoor markets, known locally as trhy (singular: trh or trhovisko), of the kind found in towns across Slovakia.
- Handicrafts & Souvenirs
Slovakia has a particularly rich folk culture, which is preserved in local costumes, woodworking, ceramics and music. The Slovaks themselves are proud of their heritage, and several shops offer a range of goods produced by local craftsmen and women, including some with a modern twist. These range from the distinctive blue and yellow hand-painted pottery of Modra (a town just north of Bratislava), to modern glassware, to traditional wooden items.
Bratislava's architecture is replete with distinctive images, and there has long been a strong interest in design here. This is maintained by several of the city's institutions. Bratislava's Academy of Fine Arts and Design (VŠVU), which tutors students up to doctoral level in architecture, design and fine arts, also exhibits contemporary visual arts and design at its Medium Gallery in the city centre.
Given Bratislava's long and diverse history, interesting and sometimes valuable historical artefacts – including, but not limited to, rare books, maps, items of furniture, and works of art – frequently make their way into the city's several antique stores. Whether you want to browse for a unique memento or are an avid collector, these places can make for an absorbing visit.
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