Trnava became a prosperous trade center by the 13th century. In fact, it was the first town on modern-day Slovak territory to receive a royal charter as a free borough, which happened in 1238.
The town is sometimes referred to as 'Slovakia's Rome' or 'Little Rome'. By the Middle Ages, there were five churches in Trnava, their capacity far exceeding the town's population. With five more Catholic and one Evangelical church having been built since then, Trnava now boasts 11 Christian houses of worship, along with two Jewish synagogues, all from the 19th century.
The most recognisable building in the town is the Roman Catholic "parish cathedral" of St Nicholas, a mustard-coloured, twin-towered church that sits at the junction of Trnava's most appealing two streets, Hviezdoslavova and Kapitulská, in the oldest part of the town. The square beside the church - all cobbles, lanterns and statues - exhibits a tranquil, rural atmosphere. The leafy avenue Kapitulská leads off of the square and runs parallel with the city walls. The narrower street Haulíkova connects this rustic scene to the more modern areas of the old town, passing through the former Jewish quarter, where two synagogues remain in different degrees of dilapidation. Trinity Square, the town's main former marketplace, is significantly larger than the village-like example beside the cathedral and reveals an even more cosmopolitan and cultural side to the city. Besides the grand theatre building and the city hall, the Renaissance bell tower (almost 60 metres high) dominates the square.
Trnava is now known more as the new heartland of Slovakia’s car manufacturing industry thanks the French PSA Peugeot Citroen car manufacturer. The investment, and the injection it gave to local business and real estate, has made the Trnava economy one of Slovakia’s most vibrant.