Nitra (Slovak pronunciation:  (listen); also known by other alternative names) is a city in western Slovakia, situated at the foot of Zobor Mountain in the valley of the river Nitra. It is located 95 km east of Bratislava. With a population of about 78,353, it is the fifth largest city in Slovakia. Nitra is also one of the oldest cities in Slovakia; it was the political center of the Principality of Nitra. Today, it is a seat of a kraj (Nitra Region), and an okres (Nitra District). The first mention of Nitra dates back to the 9th century. The name of the city is derived from the Nitra river. The name is Indo-European, but the question of its pre-Slavic or Slavic origin has not been satisfactorily answered. Nitra might be derived from the old Indo-European root neit-, nit- meaning "to cut" or "to burn" using a derivation element -r- (see also slash-and-burn agricultural technique). The same root is still present in the Slovak verb nietiť (to make a fire), but also in other Indo-European languages like Latin nitere (to burn) or in German schneiden (to cut). Another view to the origin of the name is related to the Latin Novi-iter or Neui-iter meaning "new territory behind the limes". The hypothetical Latin name could be adopted by the Quadi and later by the Slavs. More information...

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