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Date updated: Jan. 27, 2023

Bratislava

    Bratislava

    Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. It is a unique capital bordering on two states – Austria and Hungary. There are multiple palaces, museums, castles and other interesting sites there. They will help you to learn more about the history and the culture of the country.

    Brief historical information

    According to the archives, the frst mentioning of Bratislava took place in 907. This Moravian city, captured by the Hungarians, became the capital of Slovakia later. Initially, Bratislava  was  known  as  Pozon  (later  it  was renamed to Presburg). In 1405 Hungarian king Sigismund of Luxemburg had to offer municipal rights to the city due to German invasion.

    The occupation of the Buda by the Turkish Army was the reason for the Hungarians to transfer their capital to Presburg  (1541–1684).  This  was  the  beginning  of  the  age  of  city  growth.  Presburg  was  one  of  the  most important cites of Austria-Hungary until the fall of the empire in 1918. The city was the HQ for the archbishops and held State assembly. Monarchs gained power in Presburg as well.

    In 1918 the city was included in the Czech Republic and changed its name to Bratislava. In 1969 Bratislava became the capital of the Slovakian Republic and in 1990 the city became the capital of Czechoslovakia. In 1993 after a peaceful revolution and the fall of CSSR, Bratislava became the capital of Slovakia.

    Interesting facts

    Bratislava

    Slovakian capital is famous for bordering with two European states – Hungary and Austria. However, this is only one of eight interesting facts about Bratislava that you should know.

    First settlements appeared there in the Neolithic period. Celtic tribes inhabited this territory in 400 BC. Those tribes were later substituteb by the germans and in the I century BC Romans came here. In the V century, this territory was occupied by the Slavonic tribes. They have established Great Moravia here.

    The distance between Vienna and Bratislava is 80 kilometers. You can reach Austrian capital by train, using transfer, taxi or MV. Tramways connected those two cities before 1936.

    If you look at the Slovakian capital from a height, you can see that many Staro Mesto streets form 90 degrees angle when turning. This was done for security matters as such planning prevented cannons from direct fre and solders to regroup.

    Bratislava Grad  is  one  of  the  unique  places  in  Europe  that  was  never  captured  by  the  enemy.  Neither Osman troops nor the Napoleon army managed to seize the city surrounded by the double wall.

    There are no bearing elements in the cable-stayed bridge SNP. One of the bridge supports hosts a Slovak traditional meal restaurant where you can have a splendid view of the city and Danube river via panoramic windows.

    The frst Slovakian elevator was installed in Bratislava. This device was installed in 1924 in the frst nine- story building of the capital.

    Bratislava is included into the list of the European capitals have no subway. There were attempts to build one  in  1980  but  later  all  works  were  paused.  IN  2002  the  project  was  frozen  because  of  was  a  lack  of fnancing.

    Famous Squares and streets of the old town

    Bratislava

    The majority of sites and municipal establishments are located in the historical part of the capital – Stare Mesto. The heart of this part of the city is Hlavne Namestie, former city market (XIV century) and currently, this is a treasury of architectural masterpieces of Bratislava, which can compete with the houses of Vienna.

    The  most  beautiful  constructions  of  the  city  are  located  around  the  Roland Fountain  (1572).  They  include Paludaiho Palac, Aponiho Palac, Kutscherfeldov Palac, built in the Rococo style. Here you can also fnd the Old Townhall with a gabled roof constructed in 1599 in the Renaissance style.

    The biggest square of Bratislava, Hviezdoslavovo Namestie is located on the left shore of Danube. It appeared in 1784. This square attracts attention by the groomed alleys, fountains, and a large number of restaurants. Zupne Namestie is also a very popular tourist site where you can fnd several old churches and former Trinity Monastery.

    According to the archeological studies, Celtic tribes lived in the place of the oldest city artery – Michalska Ulica. Currently, old monuments of this place including Michalska gates and Barbakan of the XVth century live among modern shops and restaurants.

    Venturska  Ulica  is  the  continuation  of  Michalska  Ulica.  Six-year  Mozart  demonstrated  his  skills  to  Maria Theresa in one of the cottages located on this street. Another central street is Kapitulska Ulica. It is famous for being  one  of  the  quietest  places  in  the  capital.  The  neighboring  Panska  Ulica  is  proud  of  sculptures  and magnifcent facades of gorgeous palaces.

    Old Town Hall

    This  is  one  of  the  oldest  constructions  in  the  city.  It  is  a  composition  of  several  buildings.  The  frst  one appeared in the XIV century. Later some other constructions appeared. The complex was fnally built in the XV century.

    All the buildings were of Gothic style initially but after the earthquake of the XVI century as well as after fre of the XVIII century, those buildings had some reconstruction and obtained some details of neo-gothic and neo- renaissance. This territory was used for city meetings at the beginning of the XV century. Stara radnica was also a prison and mint at different periods.

    Currently, a city museum works here. The oldest part of the complex is a watchtower. You can see a cannonball from the window of the second level. It reminds us of those hard times of Napoleon Buonaparte's invasion.

    The watchtower is one of the highest buildings in Bratislava. There is a viewing platform at the highest point of this building from where you can see the historical part of the city. The museum of the city's history shows the history of inhabitants of Bratislava during different historical periods.

    Roland Fountain

    Roland is a famous knight and the hero of multiple legends. Almost everyone has heard something about this character and about the famous song, written to honor this hero. Bratislava owns its own "Roland". This is a small fountain located in front of the Stara radnica. This fountain is decorated with a fgure of the knight wearing armor. According to some sources, this fountain was built to honor Maximilian II. It is not clear whether the emperor associated himself with the knight or local inhabitants wanted to honor their lord. The fountain appeared in 1572. It was small and had almost no decorations.

    Later many legends about the fountain appeared. One of them tells that the knight leaves the fountain twice a year to walk the streets of the Old City. This happens during New Year celebrations and on Good Friday.

    The knight is associated with a moody guarding of the city. Roland is going to protect Bratislava as he is ready to fght like a lion. This is a symbol of a fearless fghter, ready to protect his own city until his death.

    Michalska gates

    Michalska brana is one of the central places. It was built in the XIII century. This was something like the main gates to the city from the North. There were similar constructions in the other parts of the city, but they were ruined. The main tower was used as a checkpoint. The name was given after the Saint Michael church. The statue of this saint fghting with the dragon decorates the dome.

    The  church  was  destroyed  during  the  Turkish  invasion.  The  stones  were  used  to  fortify  the  construction. Architects decided to leave memories about the former church and wall up a part of a gravestone in the wall of Michalska brana. You can see it if you look at the building from Michalska street. The obelisk is made of pink stone. The tower is in Baroque style with a viewing platform on the top. There is a museum of ancient arms inside the building.

    Below the arch, there is an interesting place. If you are quiet here, you will become lucky forever. There is a zero kilometer below the gates, which shows the distance to European capitals and world megapolises from Bratislava.

    Kostol Trinitarov

    This church has many names: Kostol trinitarov, Kostol svateho Jana z Mathy a svateho Felixa z Valois, Kostol Najsvatejsej Trojice, Kostol svatych Jana z Mathy a Felixa z Valois, Katedrala svatych Jana z Mathy a Felixa z Valois, Trinitarsky kostol, Trojicny kostol.

    The church is in Baroque style and is the main temple complex in Bratislava. It was named the church of Saint John of Matha and Felix de Valois.

    The suburb of Saint Michal was located in the same place where there is Hurbanovo Namestie currently. During the Turkish invasion city's administration decided to ruin the complex as this point opened a good view of the enemy's position.

    Two centuries later construction of the church was launched. Church consecration took place in 1727. The church was closed in 1782 by the order of Joseph II, the emperor of Austria. IN 1844 it was completely rebuilt and  became  the  HQ  of  the  administration  of  Pressburg  county.  The  large  hall  hosted  concerts  and  other performances.

    Slovakian  National  Council  occupied  this  building  from  1939  to  1993.  The  Independence  of  Slovakia  was proclaimed here. From 2003 to 2009 this building was a cathedral of military ordinariate of Slovakia.

    You can visit the church from February to November on Sundays from 15.00 to 17.00. The entrance is free. There are informational materials translated into 25 languages.

    Kostol Svatego Stefana

    This is one of the most interesting places in Bratislava. It is located in the Western part of Zupne Namestie (place). 

    The history

    Capuchins visited Bratislava in 1676 for the frst time. They have chosen the chapel of Saint Katherine as their HQ. After a while, the chapel could not host all congregation members and Capuchins decided to build a new temple. It was started in 1698. The church consecration took place in 1711. It was called after Saint Stefan. The complex was rebuilt several times. It received its modern look in 1860.

    Interior

    The church has a modest interior as Capuchins' traditions were against pomposity. Moreover, there is no bell tower in the church. The main part of the exterior is a sculpture of Saint Stefan, which is located above the main entrance.

    Thhe furniture is made of wood and is decorated with incrustation. The altar is located in the central part of the church. It was built in 1737 of Baroque style.

    Catacombs are located below this church. Rich citizen was buried here. There is a place in front of the church where the statue of Saint Mary is placed.

    Dom svateho Martina

    This Gothic church is located in the historical part of Bratislava. Coronation of the Holy Roman Empire took place here for a couple of centuries. 

    The history of the church

    The temple was built as a part of city fortifcations at the beginning of the VIII century. Its consecration took place in 1452. In 1553 Bratislava becomes capital of Hungary and in 1563 a coronation of Hungary king took place here. Coronations took place here until 1830. This neogothic complex became the cathedral in 2008.

    The history of the church

    The temple was built as a part of city fortifcations at the beginning of the VIII century. Its consecration took place in 1452. In 1553 Bratislava becomes capital of Hungary and in 1563 a coronation of Hungary king took place here. Coronations took place here until 1830. This neogothic complex became the cathedral in 2008.

    Interior

    The  church  includes  three  naves.  One  of  them  is  surmounted  by  the  85-meters  tower  with  a  copy  of  the Hungarian king's crown on its peak indicating that the church was used for coronations. There are also several small churches close to the main building as well as sculptures in honor of the benefactor of this temple. There is a gallery inside the building where kings were sitting during services.

    Церковь кларисок в Братиславе

    В восточной части улицы Клариска возвышается увенчанный крестом готический костел. Это Церковь кларисок (Kostol a kláštor klarisiek), строгий силуэт которой украшает лишь изящно декорированная пятигранная башня. За тяжелыми деревянными дверями храма — неф, рассчитанный на 180 посетителей. Основными элементами аскетичного внутреннего убранства являются кафедра в стиле рококо и три алтаря, окруженные картинами Франтишка Антона Палека, статуями Спасителя и святых.

    История церкви началась в XIV столетии. Возведенный на месте разрушенного цистерцианского аббатства храм принадлежал монахиням Ордена кларисок, прибывшим в Братиславу в 1297 году. После состоявшегося в 1782 году роспуска ордена костел занимали лекционные залы юридической академии и католической семинарии. В 1900 году строительная экспертная комиссия заявила об аварийном состоянии башни и 13 лет спустя здание было закрыто на реконструкцию. Последний капитальный ремонт сооружения состоялся в 2005 году.

    В настоящее время Церковь кларисок служит местом организации социальных и культурных мероприятий. Благодаря превосходной акустике неф используют для проведения концертов духовой музыки. Кроме того, в помещениях храма находится отделение Университетской библиотеки Братиславы.

    SLAVIN

    SLAVIN is the place where you can honor dead soldiers who fought for peace and a clear sky.

    The history and the description of the complex

    SLAVIN is located on the hill having the same name. The administration of the city has decided to create a complex here to honor the soldiers who died fghting against Germans and liberating Bratislava and Western Slovakia in 1945. Jan Svetlik was the main architect of the project. It was solemnly opened in 1960 on the cemetery.

    The whole territory includes 10 000 square meters. There are six mass graves and 317 individual graves. The total number of the Soviet soldier buried here is 6845. Granite slabs with the names of all heroes were installed there to honor the 70th year of the liberation. In 2016 names of those soldiers died in hospitals and buried in Slavin were added.

    There is a 37-meters obelisk in the central part of the memorial. A statue of a soldier with a flag in his hand kicking  fascists’  symbol  stands  on  the  peak  of  the  obelisk.  There  are  also  other  statues  standing  in  the mourning hall. There are names of Slovakian cities on the façade, liberated from the fascists.

    Grasalkovicov palace

    An  ancient  palace  is  located  in  the  central  part  of  Hodzova place.  Currently,  this  palace  is  the  presidential residence. This magnifcent complex was build in 1760 in Baroque style by the order of Grassalkovich count, who was the counselor of Maria Thereza. This palace was beyond the city’s walls in the place called Syche Myto.  This  palace  hosted  pompous  balls  with  the  participation  of  all  Hungarian  nobles.  Wolfgang  von Kempelen, the famous inventor admired by Napoleon, gave his performances there.

    In 1897 the complex became the property of Ersherzog Friedrich. The palace was home for various country leaders and became the main palace in Slovakia currently. When the president is absent, there are excursions here. Once you have fnished your tour inside the palace, you can stay for a while to admire the park including a fountain and several sculptures.

    Primacialny palace

    This  square  is  located  close  to  Stara radnica.  The  magnifcent  Primacialny  palace  is  the  dominant  of  the square. This is one of the most beautiful and pompous complexes of Bratislava.

    The history

    A mansion was here before 1778. In 1778 a decision was taken to build a castle for Hungary's Archbishop. The architect of the project of the castle in Neoclassic style was Melchior Hefele. The construction was ended in 1781.  After  Bratislava  became  the  capital  of  the  Hungary  kingdom,  this  palace  was  used  to  coronate monarchs. Future kings stopped there before the main ceremony in the cathedral of Saint Martin.

    The Mirror hall hosted one of the most important historical events. An agreement was signed to transfer Tirol and Dalmatia to Napoleon here. In 1903 this palace becomes the property of the city. This building was partially occupied by the city administration. However, there was a reconstruction before. During the reconstruction, a collection of precious tapestry from 1630 was found there.

    Interior and architecture

    This palace is a bright example of classic architecture. The walls are painted in a light pink color, there are marble sculptures on the facade. The interior is modest but there are several cultural values there including tapestry and the portraits of Habsburgs.

    Kostol Svatej Alzhbety

    This building is located beyond the historical center of Bratislava. Local inhabitants often use this cathedral for weddings.

    History

    Construction works started in 1909. The building is in the Secession style. Construction started by the order of Sapari. All works were done by 1913. There is an alternative version of this temple creation. Some sources suppose that this temple was built by Franz Josef to honor his wife Sisi, killed by a killer.

    The church was part of a school and was used as a scholar temple for some time. The school was abolished later and the church became a separate object.

    Interior

    A tower with a cross stays above the church. Its height is 36.8 meters. It has a clock face and bells. The main decoration of the main entrance is a mosaic portrait of Alzhbeta. The interior is modest, made in white and blue colors.

    Schone Naci Statue

    There are many interesting and funny statues in the historical center of Bratislava. One of them is the Schone Naci Statue. This object is dedicated to a real person named Ignac Lamar. He was born in 1897 in Bratislava and was an unlucky man. However, he was always joyful and friendly to people. He loved to walk around the city wearing tails and top hat. He welcomed each passer-by be lifting his hat. Many thought he was crazy but he was friendly and nobody even touched him. He  was  taking  his  meals  in  one  of  the capital's  cafes.  Naci  died  in  1967  being alone.  As  he  had  no  relatives,  the  city administration  decided  to  bury  him  and take all the expenses.

    The statue was created by Juraj Melis. The statue  had  a  special  mechanism,  which allowed Naci to lift his hat. However, later the mechanism was removed.  The statue was located close to Cumil Zevaka crossroads. However, later it was relocated closer to the Central square.

    Cumil monument

    If you are walking around Bratislava, you can see different interesting monuments and sculptures. All of them have their own history and legends. Cumil monument can be seen on the crossroads of Panska and Laurinska streets. Many tourists come here to rub some magic places of  the monument and to make a wish.

    Modern artist Viktor Gulikov has created this unusual composition. The monument was opened on June 26, 1997.  This  is  a  half-closed  manhole  cover  with  a  kind  man  in  a  hat.  Local  inhabitants  call  him  Cumil  or  a cheerful spirit of the city. Yourists call him a plumber. The author called him Zevaka.

    There are several interesting legends connected to the monument. If you rub the edge of the hat, your wish will come true. If you rub his nose, you will be lucky during the year.

    Monument to a French soldier

    This sculpture is one of the most interesting and mysterious in Bratislava. No one knows what the artist wanted to show by this piece of art. The statue is a French soldier leaning on a bench. This statue is placed in front of the French Embassy. Some think that this is Napoleon himself but he is shoeless. Local guides have found an original answer: he is shoeless because he was chased from France and he has forgotten his boots. This is nothing more than a legend.

    The other version tells us that this is a collective image of French soldiers of the Napoleonian army. This army stood twice in front of the walls of Bratislava. In 1805 Napoleon has captured the city without a single shot. Bratislava was under his fst until the Prespor peace treaty. However, in 1809 this treaty was broken and the Napoleonian army came here again. They have started to bombard the city. You can see a cannonball in the Stara radnica wall.

    The statue spends winter months in a city's storage. In spring the sculpture returns back to its place.

    Guard Cabin

    A wooden guard cabin appeared in the XVII on the Main Square. The main goal was to maintain order. In 1767 the cabin was burnt and it was replaced by another guard cabin made of bricks, which stood there until the 60s of the XIX century. In 2006 local authorities have decided to create a monument with a bronze guardsman in honor of the guard cabin. The authors of the monument were Marian Presnajder, Otto Grossmann and Juraj Simek

    There is a guardman made of bronze on the frontal side of the cabin. On the rear side, there is a fountain with drinking water. One of the walls has a plate with a description of the object.

    Festivals

    You  can  visit  the  city  during  the  festivals  to  make  your  tour  even  more  interesting.  The  main  event  is Bratislavske Korunovacie. This is a three days carnival starting on the last weekend of June. Its main idea is to show the crowning ceremony of one of the eighteen Hungarian monarchs, which took place between 1563 and 1830.

    Two hundred actors take part in this celebration. They are wearing historical costumes. Besides the authentic ceremony, visitors can see the whole program including a solemn procession of royal entourage across the streets of the city, knight's tournaments, historical battles, fairs, and various interesting competitions.

    The festival of kraft beer Salon Piva Bratislava gathers the representatives of small Slovak breweries, which are producing this original frothy beverage. The amateurs of ale and porter can fnd there new sorts of their beloved malt elixir. There are also traditional snacks and folk music.

    The night becomes the day during the festival of modern art Biela Noc. Bratislava turns into a huge open-air interactive museum at the beginning of October. Visitors can see unique art compositions, theatre, and dance performances, poetry reading, audiovisual as well as light installations.

    The capital of Slovakia turns into a fragrant garden in April, when the nature awakes from winter sleep. It's time for Flora Bratislava, an international flower festival receiving delegations from all European countries. Multiple events  take  place  during  this  festival  including  flower  arranging,  Ikebana  master  classes,  professional consultations on plant care. 

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