A unique insight into Bratislava attractions
besides to our favourite little spots and hidey holes that the average tourist doesn’t see.
Our beautiful city is full of enchanting nooks, history and legends.
While you are SLOVAK FOR A DAY you are going to get a unique insight into Bratislava wonders.
Some of the attractions and places of interest are listed below.
ANCIENT CITY WALLS
In the medieval times the town was surrounded by fortified walls, and entry and exit was only possible through one of the four heavily fortified gates. On the east side of the town, it was the Laurinc Gate, in the south it was the Fisherman’s Gate, on the west side it was the Vydrica Gate and in the north, there was St. Michael’s Gate.
There are opening hours limiting the time when visitors can see City Walls remains. It is a wonderful opportunity to see part of how the city looked when massive fortification protected it. These attractions have only been reopened after reconstruction for 3 years.
The Church of St. Elizabeth (Slovak: Kostol svätej Alžbety, Hungarian: Szent Erzsébet templom), commonly known as ‘The Little Blue Church’ (Modrý kostolík), is a Catholic church located in the eastern part of the Old Town in Bratislava. It is consecrated to Elisabeth of Hungary, daughter of Andrew II, who grew up in the Pressburg Castle (Pozsonyi vár). Because of the colour of its facade, mosaics, majolicas and blue-glazed roof it earned the name ‘Blue Church’. It was initially part of the neighbouring gymnasium (high school) and served as the school chapel.
This one-nave church was built in 1909-1913, four years after the plans of Ödön Lechner to build a church in the Hungarian Art Nouveau style. The so-called Hungarian secessionist style forms dominate in the church. Lechner also drew plans of the neighbouring gymnasium (high school) and of the vicarage (also in the Hungarian Secessionist style).
Ground floor of the church is oval. In the foreground there is a 36.8 metre high cylindrical church tower. At first, a cupola was planned, but was never constructed; instead, a barrel vault was built, topped by a hip roof. The roof is covered with glazed bricks with decoration, for the purpose of parting. Main and side entrances are enclosed with Romanesque double-pillars, which have an Oriental feeling. Pillars are also located near the windows. The facade was at first painted with light pastel colours. Later the church got its characteristic blue colour. A line of blue tiles and wave-strip encircles the church.
BOYS & FISH FOUNTAIN
This funny fountain is situated at the 3rd courtyard of the Primate’s Palace and can be accessed either from the 2nd courtyard or via Uršulínska street No. 6. It can occur that the third courtyard will be locked, but you can ask the personnel of the Palace to unlock it for you.
The fountain consists of three parts – the basin is probably from a destroyed fountain that used to stand at the courtyard of the Ursuline’s cloister, the middle segment depicting urinating boys is from the original Roland Fountain, which was later topped by a fish fountain – the third part.
(Slovak: Bratislavský hrad); is the main castle of Bratislava.
The massive rectangular building with four corner towers stands on an isolated rocky hill of the Little Carpathians directly above the Danube River in the middle of Bratislava.
Because of its size and location, it has been a dominant feature of the city for centuries and nowadays it is one of the main attractions. The location provides excellent views of Bratislava, Austria and, in clear weather, parts of Hungary.
The Castle houses collections of the Slovak National Museum. To name a few: The Treasury of Slovakia, Collection of Archaeological Findings (including the 22,800 B.C. Venus of Moravany, a fertility figure carved from a mammoth tusk) and other exhibitions that cover the historical furniture, a folk instruments and a modern art.
A new baroque garden behind the castle was reconstructed in order to remind its last baroque stage before the great fire in 1811 occurred, which damaged the castle and its surroundings.
Many legends are connected with the history of the castle.
Castle appearance resembles a table turned upside-down, its four towers like legs in each of its corners. That, if you believe the myth, is exactly what once happened to the castle, in the dim and distant past.
One night, the residents of the castle awoke from tormented sleep. All the castle’s paintings were on the floor and the lamps were destroyed. Nobody knew what had happened during the night and the queen was furious. She called for an old witch to tell her what had happened, and the witch pointed the finger at Klingsor, a giant wizard, who lived in Transylvania. Klingsor sometimes travelled to Germany and passed close by the castle. One night, he had picked it up and turned it upside down to use as a table so he could rest. The queen instructed the witch to tell Klingsor never to use the castle as a table again. As yet, he has not returned. But who knows what may happen in the future…
(Slovak: Kostol Povýšenia svätého Kríža, known as Kostol klarisiek) is a Gothic church, part of a complex of medieval buildings forming the former Convent of Poor Clares in the Old Town of Bratislava. Former Catholic Church is owned by the city of Bratislava and it is used for cultural events. The Church is a notable example of Gothic architecture in Slovakia.
The nuns of the Poor Clares order came to Bratislava in 1297 and built a church and a convent with the support of the king. In 1782 the Order of Poor Clares was dissolved, and the Church became the seat of a legal academy and school. It is currently used as a concert and exhibition hall. A pentagonal tower was added in the 15th Century. The Order of Poor Clares was dissolved in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1782 by the decree of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor.
Most people in Western Europe at the time associated this photo with Prague but it was actually in Bratislava at this very spot that this iconic photo of communist oppression during the uprising was taken.
Comenius university in Bratislava is the oldest and biggest public university in Slovakia. Established in 1919, the university draws on the tradition of Academia Istropolitana that was founded in 1465 in Bratislava by Matthias Corvinus, the King of Hungary. Since its founding the university has ranked among the best educational institution on the national level and it has become an internationally recognised centre of scientific study and research.
In its 13 faculties offers diverse study programmes encompassing a broad range of human knowledge – from medicine, humanities and social sciences, to natural sciences, mathematics and theology.
Man at work – Cumil – The literal translation of the word Cumil is ‘the watcher’. There are two possible explanations for its name. The first rumour says that he is a typical communist era worker who is not bothered about the work he’s supposed to be doing. According to the second rumour, he’s looking under the women’s skirts. Choose the one you like more…
Since 1997, when it was first embedded in the ground, it has become one of the symbols and tourist attractions of our Old Town. There is a story around this man sticking out of a manhole. It says that a wish will come true for you if you touch the head of the man – if you keep it secret forever.
Many claim that the Duck Fountain is by far the most stunning fountain in Bratislava. Its author is the famous sculptor Robert Kühmayer who created it in 1914. It seems that its inspiration has been an urban legend about little duck shepherds and a water sprite.
The legend speaks of water sprite who watched little shepherds from the bushes as they brought their ducks to pasture. The boys were fooling around and playing different games and the water sprite desperately wanted to join them. One day he disguised his green seaweed hair, frog toes and green skin and joined in their games. However, it was a warm and sunny day and the boys decided to take off their shirts. But the water sprite could not follow their example because this would expose him as the water sprite he was. Then the boys started to tease him. This made him very angry. In revenge, he turned the boys and their ducks into stone.
(Rybárska brána in Slovak); was a medieval town gate on the south side of the historical Old Town. This was the smallest gate of the four, used mainly by the fishermen entering the city with fish caught in the river Danube.
In the 18th century Empress Maria Theresa ordered the gates to be demolished along with the city walls in order to allow the city to grow, but the remains of Fisherman’s Gate is now visible under a glass cover in front of the Slovak National Theatre. This inventive presentation of an archaeological find was awarded a 2002 Europa Nostra Cultural Heritage Preservation Prize.
Definitely one of the most beautiful fountains which has been working in its original condition without any break for 128 years already. It is located in front of the historical building of the Slovak National Theatre and was, luckily, destroyed neither during WW1 nor WW2. The fountain depicts an ancient story about a boy Ganymede who was abducted by Zeus’ eagle and brought to the home of gods, Olympus, in order to serve them nectar.
As Bratislava is a city closely connected with the Danube River, you can see stone water animals sitting at the edge of the upper basin – pairs of the crayfish, frogs and turtles. The little children figures at the bottom basin hold four most typical types of fish that live in the Danube – pikeperch, carp, catfish and pike.
GOAT’S GATE CEMETERY
(Cintorín Kozia Brána in Slovak); historical cemetery was established here in 1783 by Protestants instead of the elder St.Michael’s cemetery, which was obsoleted.
Kozia Brána is the place of last retirement for numerous celebrities of Slovak and Austro-Hungarian history (composers Jan L. Bella and Miloš Ruppledt, writer Ivan Horváth, politician Ivan Pietor, general and leader of Slovak National Uprising Rudolf Viest, aristocrat Jeszenák …).
It’s worth to see the beautiful Grassalkovich Garden on the backside of the Palace. You can find an equestrian statue of Maria Theresa (archduchess of Austria and Holy Roman Empress of the Habsburg Dynasty) there. Enjoy the beautiful view from there at the back section of the Presidential palace.
A high wall separates the green oasis from the surrounding streets. This wall consists of trees called the Presidential Alley. It is sort of a living memory on the visits of other heads of states. The garden is truly a splendid place in Bratislava especially in summer. You should definitely see it.
The Grassalkovich Palace was built in 1760 by the Croatian Count Grassalkovich. The building is in Rococo style. Now the palace is the seat of the president of the Slovak Republic. The ceremonial changing of the guards at the palace takes place when the president is in residence every hour from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. If the president is not in residence the changing of the guards only occurs at 1:00 PM daily.
A beautiful garden is the part of the palace. Unlike the Grassalkovich Palace, the garden is open to the public every day.
The spas in Bratislava are preserved in written sources since the middle ages. The Spa Street (Kupeľná ulica intersection of Medená Street), where there is the Grössling Spa, was named by former operating spa – Binderhofer bathhouse, which means that the spa Grössling had his predecessor. This popular urban spa was first opened to the public on May 5th 1895. Their popularity was due to the fact that there were no bathrooms in most houses at that time and it was used for overall hygiene purposes.
With large indoor swimming pool, a steam room and a number of booths with tub baths it served its purpose unbelievable century. Since 1994, the spa closed to the disrepair. Recently, young artists use former spa spaces for exhibition purposes.
Establishment of the school dates back to the first half of the 17th century when the Catholic Habsburgs tried even with the help of the Jesuits to stop the spread of reformist ideas. Therefore on September 9, 1626 a foundation charter of the Jesuit College – Collegium Posoniensis was issued by Peter Pázmány, Cardinal and Archbishop of Esztergom.
The Memorial to Holocaust Victims in Bratislava is built on Rybné Square, on the site of the former Neolog Synagogue demolished in 1967. It was erected in 1996 by the Slovak Republic to commemorate the memory of 105,000 Holocaust victims from Slovakia, and it is a symbol of the violent deportation of Jews into German extermination camps, leaving homes, and eventually the demolition of the entire Jewish quarter in Bratislava.
A memorial shows an abandoned house under a star. Two embossed plates on the plastic show the door, but they are also a sign of tombstones. On the plaques, the incoming and outgoing shadows – the symbols of those who did not return, and those for whom the return has come true – are projected. At the top, David’s star is included. The silhouette of the ruined synagogue is depicted on the wall of the memoirs. The sculpture is built on a black granite base with the Hebrew inscription “zachor” and the Slovak “Pamätaj”. The architects of the monument are Peter and Lucia Žalmanovci and the sculptor is an academic sculptor Milan Lukáč.
One of the most elegant and charming places in Bratislava. The square has become a favourite spot for walking, reading a book, meeting friends or just sitting and looking around. As it is in the heart of the Old City, you can‘t and surely don’t want to miss it.
The priest and the poet. At first he wrote his poem in Latin, later in Bernolak’s Slovak. In 1843 revolutionary group Štúrovci came to him as a great authority of its intention to sanctify literary Slovak.
KAROL SCHERZ DE VASOJA
1807 – 1888; son of Philip Scherz, the founder and chairman of the Catholic charity. As a priest he was known for his charity and his courage. During the fires and floods in Pressburg he saved more than 50 people. On September 1888, he was injured and died the day after. He was a symbolic embodiment of all the values that the Bratislava Community Association claims: volunteering, philanthropy, courage and piety.
KINGS CORONATION ROUTE
In the period 1536-1830 kings and queen were crowned in St. Martin’s Cathedral: 10 kings, 1 Empress (Maria Theresa) and 8 consorts. First coronation took place in 1563 (Maximilian II) and the last one in 1830 (Ferdinand V.). They became monarchs after the coronation by Ostrihom Archbishop.
The original coronation events usually started with a procession from the Bratislava Castle to St. Martin’s Cathedral, where the ceremony was held. The procession then leaves St. Martins and makes its way along the coronation route from the church through the Old Town. Originally, the route was fitted out with a red canvas “carpet” upon which the newly crowned king walked with his jewelled crown.
Today, it is marked by 178 brass plates with crown emblems, hammered into the paving stones.
(Laurinská brána in Slovak); was a medieval town gate on the east side of the historical Old Town. It was built in the 14th century and demolished by the order of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in the 18th century together with most of the city walls, because the inner walls were limiting the town’s growth. The gate was named after Saint Lawrence.
Unlike the Michael’s Gate, the only medieval city gate still standing in Bratislava, this gate did not contain a tall tower. Instead, it was a massive square-shaped structure with a long tunnel at the ground floor. There was a water moat in front of it and unlike the sometimes dry moat near Michael’s Gate; this one always contained water due to its proximity to the Danube and the presence of the mouth of a stream coming down from the Little Carpathians Mountains. Today, a portcullis hanging over Laurinská Street symbolizes the place of the former Laurinc Gate.
(Lime tree in English); a national tree of Slovakia & symbolic tree of all Slavs, also known as natural cold remedy.
It had its important place in Slavic spirituality, venerated as the woman element as a natural counterbalance to worship of man element (Perun – Oak). The tree was planted next to the springs, wells and other sacred locations or when important occasions.
In ancient times when two warring families or neighbours reconciled, they planted a lime tree on the edge of their territory boundaries to protect their peace. People believed it is tree of love which settles interpersonal relationships. It protected individuals and entire nations. Also at a time of childbirth a lime tree planted next to the house.
Lime mace was considered as a protective amulet. Among the Slavs has been expanded production of lime spoons, because food picked up with it couldn’t harm you. Cradles were made of lime wood. Sleeping in the shade of lime tree gives man a perfect rest, supposedly brings prophetic dreams and protects from evil spirits.
(Hlavné Námestie in Slovak); one of the best known squares in Bratislava and it is often considered to be the centre of the city. Markets have been held here for over 500 years. Even today the Christmas markets which runs from the last weekend in November to Christmas have tens of thousands of tourists visit them annually.
Medovina is ‘honey wine’. Honey is very popular in Slovakia and beekeeping is a popular hobby. Warm Medovina is widely appreciated in Slovakia as an alternative to tea after coming in from the cold.
(Michalská brána in Slovak); was a medieval town gate on the north side of the historical Old Town, named after St. Michael and the St. Michael church that stood in front of it (outside the town wall). Later on it was put down and materials gained from it were used in the building of additional town walls. It is the only city gate that has been preserved of the medieval fortifications and ranks among the oldest town buildings.
Built about the year 1300, its present shape is the result of baroque reconstructions in 1758, when the statue of St. Michael and the Dragon was placed on its top. The tower was razed in 1529–34, then in 1753–58 rebuilt in its present form and it stands 51 m.
The gate served as the entrance to the city and it couldn’t be exposed to direct fire. Therefore, the Barbican was built before it.
The legend says the urban executioner used to go on the narrow underpass. Superstition says that whoever passes through and talks, in a year and a day will die.
Today, the tower houses the Exhibitions of Bratislava City Museum: Weapons, Arms and Medieval fortification of Bratislava. Visitors will get familiar with the town’s fortification beginnings, reconstructions and their final destruction in the 18th century as the fortified walls were preventing the city’s growth. On the sixth floor of the tower there is a balcony that offers a magnificent view of the Old City, the Castle, and surrounding areas. Entry fee for an adult is 4.30 €.
Next to the Blue Church at Sienkiewiczova Street is an unusual house. As if it was a relative of the Art Nouveau church. Indeed, but a bit remote. Its author is the famous Prague architect Osvald Polívka, who created in Prague before World War 1 the many Art Nouveau buildings, but later he broke away from secession. It reminds us of the original decoration for this house of 1924.
Napoleon and his army were in Bratislava in 1805. He has a nasty habit of eavesdropping on conversations. At least, his bronze statue in Bratislava’s main square does. Bicorn hat pulled down over his eyes, the Little Corsican leans on the back of a bench in a permanent pose of amused attentiveness.
Just opposite there is his friend. This soldier is supposed to have been going through Bratislava. After he fell in love with a local girl, stayed in the city and became a producer of sparkling wine. His name was Hubert – which is also the name of Slovakia’s most popular sparkling wine’s brand.
It is the oldest still-standing bridge over the river Danube in Bratislava. Also known as Franz Joseph Bridge, it has been built back in 1891. During World War II the steel part of the bridge was destroyed, but the stone pillars survived. After the freeing of Bratislava by Soviet troops in 1945, the Red Army and German prisoners-of-war rebuilt the bridge. The bridge was currently reconstructed and it is limited to tram rails and pedestrian walkways.
OLD TOWN HALL
(Stará Radnica in Slovak); a complex of buildings from the 14th century in the Old Town of Bratislava. It is the oldest city hall in the country and one of the oldest stone buildings still standing in Bratislava, with the tower being built approximately in 1370. The town hall was created in the 15th century by connecting three townhouses, and then went through several reconstructions in the course of the centuries.
As one of the main tourist attractions now, it houses the oldest museum in Bratislava, the Bratislava City Museum, founded in 1868, featuring an exhibit of the city history and an exhibit of torture devices.
As you walk under the arch and into the courtyard see the gargoyles. There are a number of dates when construction occurred. When you have time we suggest you return and look at the museum in the courtyard and go up the clock tower. There you will get some of the best photographs of Bratislava anywhere.
Under the clock tower you will see a cannon ball embedded in the wall. This was supposed to be from the cannons of Napoleon in 1809.
But is in fact not the case but a ploy by the city council to reduce the taxes paid to the king of the time. As he decreed that any building damaged by Napoleon’s cannon only had to pay half the taxes for a 10 year period to assist the rebuilding of the structure. The main battle with Napoleon occurred approximately 30 km away at Austerlitz which Napoleon’s forces won.
In the door under the clock tower, there is the metal in the shape of a knife embedded into it. As this was the central marketplace for hundreds of years these pieces of metal were used by all buyers and sellers so they could not be cheated. Any material you purchased was measured here and the knife blade had to meet the required length as per the designated standard of the time so shopkeepers could not under sell their customers.
ORDER OF MALTA
The knights of Malta are an ancient order of knights that date back to the crusades. They have been in Bratislava since the 1500s. The signs of their presence can be seen in different places, one is in the chorus section of St. Martin’s Cathedral.
The Pálffy family was notable in Bratislava as they were the hereditary owners of the Bratislava Castle.
Crypt of the Pálffy family is located under the main altar (sanctuary) of the St. Martin’s Cathedral and is accessed from the exterior. Entrance to this crypt is at the northern side and it is covered by a white marble slab bearing the coat of arms of the Pálffy family. Above is a funeral sculpture by Ján Draškovich from the year 1613, depicting a knight in armour and a sea shell.
There are four historical buildings in Bratislava named Pálffy Palace: on Zámocká Street, Panská Street, Ventúrska Street and Hviezdoslav’s Square.
The palace on Zámocká Street was built in 17th-century and is situated underneath the Bratislava Castle. After partial demolition at the beginning of the 20th century, only the summer pavilion of the original palace complex remains and today, the building is a protected cultural monument and is used for cultural events. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed a concert in the palace during his visit of Bratislava.
PAVOL ORSZÁGH HVIEZDOSLAV
(1849 – 1921); a Slovak poet, dramatist, translator, and for a short time, member of the Czechoslovak parliament. First, Hviezdoslav wrote in a traditional style, but later he became influenced by parnassism and modernism. He was one of the most powerful and versatile of Slovak poets.
Hviezdoslav was a lawyer until he became able to devote himself to literature. Originally, he wrote in Hungarian and was a Hungarian patriot, but in the 1860s he switched both activities to Slovak. By the time of his death the Slovaks possessed an extensive poetic literature of a high order. Hviezdoslav’s contribution to this development was of decisive importance.
In his main epics – Hájnikova žena (1886; ‘The Gamekeeper’s Wife’) and Ežo Vlkolinský (1890) – he treated local themes in a style that combined realistic descriptive power with lyric echoes from folk song. From his voluminous lyric output is the most memorable Krvavé sonety (1919; ‘Blood-Red Sonnets’), which embody his attitude toward World War I. He also translated much Hungarian, Russian, German, and English literature into Slovak.
The baroque style large Plague Column (Slovak: Morový stĺp) was built to celebrate the end of the plague and citizens hoped it would protect them from another epidemic. The sculpture at the top represents the Holy Trinity, sits on a sturdy pillar decorated with statues of little angels, below large statues of saints. The column rests on a large pedestal adorned with bas-reliefs and the Hungarian crest.
PREŠPORSKÝ COLONIAL; THE OLDEST SHOP IN TOWN
This place with its interior reminds a shop from an early 20th century. Authentic furniture, decoration and the music played in the background add up to the retro atmosphere. The back part is a small museum with old silver cash machines and other shop equipment such as historical advertising signs. You can purchase a variety of good quality local food products and some special souvenirs, too. This project is run by two local friends in cooperation with the City of Bratislava and the Museum of trade.
(Primaciálny palác in Slovak); a neoclassical palace in the Old Town of Bratislava. It was built from 1778 to 1781 for Archbishop József Batthyány, after the design of architect Melchior Hefele. Inside is the Hall of Mirrors where in 1809 Napoleon signed the peace agreement with the Habsburgs after he defeated them at the battle of Austerlitz. Today, it serves as the seat of Mayor of Bratislava.
The exterior of the Primate’s Palace is attractive. It is pink in colour, featuring a nice facade and allegorical statues upon the roof. You can enter the palace courtyard and see The Fountain of Saint George slaying a dragon. There are also five angelic statues within the inner courtyard that are worth seeing.
In front of the Palace on the Primate’s Square you can find an interesting bike rack with two Penny-farthing style bike fixtures from 19th century. These are quite fun for making a quick photograph. There is also a nice monument with the Bratislava coat of arms and the punitive well.
According to tradition, it was a well designed to penalties. In the middle ages it was a matter of honour for all craft guilds to strictly heed to the quality of products delivered to their craftsman on the market. Therefore, the products are strictly controlled and for the poor quality the masters were punished.
Bratislava bakers, for example, a craftsman who put poor quality product on the market, were punished by dipping into the Danube. Later, the punishment mitigated, unscrupulous bakers didn’t drip into the Danube, but into the well which is still based in the Primate’s Square. Executioner built wooden scaffolding over the well on which was hung a pulley, the pulley was advanced through a rope with a hook. His helpers brought large iron cage, which attach to the hook. Executioner closed offender into the cage and dipped it into the well.
Their names and the sentence have been registered in the Town Chronicle. This kind of punishment was carried out in Bratislava until 1773. Then the monarch Joseph II forbade it.
RED CRAYFISH PHARMACY
(Lekáreň U červeného raka in Slovak); a baroque building and former pharmacy from the 16th century in the Old Town of Bratislava. Since 1953 it houses the Museum of Pharmacy of the Bratislava City Museum. Today, the exhibition features three of the original five rooms of the former pharmacy complete with historical furniture, pharmacy equipment and Baroque – Classicist paintings and wall decorations. The museum contains an original edition of works by Paracelsus from 1574.
The Reduta Building, the present place of activity of the Slovak Philharmonic, is the most important and representative point of cultural and social life in Bratislava’s old city centre.
It is a former Baroque granary built in accordance with an order of Maria Theresa in 1773. In 1913 – 1919, they turned an object in neo-Baroque style with Rococo and Art Nouveau elements. Many Slovak and foreign craftsmen participated in the decoration of the facade and interiors. Refined stuccowork and other interior wall decorations, stained glass forming various compositions, and precious windowpanes with ornament-etched glass, make the most remarkable embellishment of the building. An interesting fact is that it is one of the first buildings in Bratislava constructed using a modern ferro-concrete method.
It is said that at midnight on New Year’s Eve he turns and faces the four points of the compass before coming back to his original resting place.
Another legend says that when a couple in love comes at midnight at New Year’s Eve to Roland, and when the clock tower at the Old Town Hall heralds the New Year, when the lovers kiss, Roland guarantees them luck in love and marriage. Then the knight always rotates around its axis. Lovers cannot confirm this, because they have other concerns at that moment.
This old man is the only silver statue in the city. It is also the only one made of a real existing person.
He was the son of a shoemaker and grandson of a famous clown, and was inspired by the latter’s example to bring happiness to the streets of the city. He walked around the Old Town’s Korzo from Michael’s Gate to the Danube River, in top hat and tails, greeting women with the words, “I kiss your hand” in German, Hungarian and Slovak. He received free food from several of the city’s cafes, and supported himself with occasional cleaning work.
This tourist attraction is a memorial monument and military cemetery. A sought-out oasis of silence associated with piety and reverence to 6845 Soviet soldiers who fell during the battle of Bratislava in the last weeks of the World War II while liberating the city in 1945.
The monument was inaugurated in 1960 on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the liberation of the city by the Soviet army. It is 39.1m high with an 11m high sculpture of a Soviet soldier holding a flag on its top. Cities with dates of their liberation are listed on its walls. The wide green area is the cemetery with graves of fallen soldiers. Their names are written in Russian on all the stones.
On the day of Bratislava’s liberation people and the president show their honour to fallen soldiers. During the socialist Czechoslovakia, each foreign delegation had to visit and worship Slavín. Nowadays, mostly foreign statesmen from the countries of the former Soviet Union still visit it unofficially. The monument is very often visited because of its beautiful view.
SLOVAK NATIONAL THEATRE
The beautiful historical building was built in a Neo-Renaissance design in 1886 by two Viennese architects F. Fellner and H. Helmer. It is the seat of the Slovak National Theatre opera and ballet ensembles.
The busts of famous musical composers appear on the facade as well as a stone sculptural group, the Muse of Thalia by the Viennese sculpture T. Friedl.
The Fountain at the entrance to the theatre depicts Ganymede, borne by an eagle to Olympus, where he will serve Zeus and in reward gain eternal youth, which to this day radiates from the boy’s joyful face.
SLOVAK NATIONAL UPRISING MONUMENT
This commemorates the Slovak National Uprising against the Nazis in 1944. The information is signed in 3 languages.
This point is still a major point for the democracy of all Slovaks and most demonstrations or marches held in Bratislava finish up here where the speeches from organizers are given.
ST. GEORGE FOUNTAIN
It depicts Knight George killing a three-headed dragon. St. George, the patron of knights, is modelled after Archbishop of Esztergom Juraj Lippay, who ordered the statue. It was moved to the current location in 1930 from the Archbishop Summer Palace (the current seat of the Government Office of the Slovak Republic).
According to one legend the figure of St George represents the archbishop, and his fight with the dragon symbolises the efforts of the Catholic Church to banish the Reformation from the city. Other legend has it that St George saved the virgin Dubravka from the dragon, and as a reward gained her hand in marriage.
Each year, on St George’s Day, the stone statue is supposed to come to life, turn around on his horse and bow to the inhabitants of the city.
ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL
(Dom svätého Martina in Slovak) is the largest and finest, as well as one of the oldest churches in Bratislava in which Queen Maria Theresa was crowned. It is the second most popular of tourist attractions in the city. Its 85 m high spire dominates Old Town’s skyline.
The cathedral is a great place to visit separately. Make sure you take of your hat as you enter (as locals do). You cannot enter the cathedral at a time when mass is on.
In the cathedral at certain times the crypt is open as well as the upstairs apartment in the bell tower where the gold and archbishops gowns are kept. Make sure you visit its underground crypt with catacombs.
ST. NICHOLAS’ CHURCH
An orthodox church situated on the castle hill next to the Bratislava Castle. An early baroque building was built on the place of original Gothic church below the Bratislava Castle. The church is consecrated to St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors. His statue is situated in the stone niche above the main entrance to the church. The church is a protected cultural monument.
The greatest king of the Great Moravian Empire situated in central Europe and the first king of the Slovak nation in the 9th century. The lesson he taught us all: ‘United we stand, divided we falter’.
The story says: He was a wise, but also cunning ruler, who had a knack for always coming up with the right solution to a problem. He had grown old and it was time to pass the empire he built to his sons. His three sons quarrelled who will succeed their father as a king of Great Moravia. According to traditions, he had divided the country into three parts, each to be ruled by one of his sons, with the eldest son to become the overall ruler of the entire empire, and the two other sons being his subordinates. However all his sons wanted to rule the country.
The king asked his sons to come to him before his death. They were surprised because he asked them to bring three twigs with them. He gave a twig to each of the son and asked them to break it. The young noblemen could easily break it. Then he asked them to tie together three twigs and asked them to break them again. However, the sons could not do that.
The king told his sons: “My sons, if you are united and help each other, you will be strong and no enemy will defeat you, just as you couldn’t break the three twigs. However, if you quarrel, you will be defeated and your kingdom will be taken by your enemies.”
Sons stopped quarrelling and the king appointed his eldest sons the heir to the throne.
Trinitarian Church or The Trinity Church, full name Church of Saint John of Matha and Saint Felix of Valois; incorrectly Holy Trinity Church (Slovak: Kostol Najsvätejšej Trojice), is a Baroque-style church in Bratislava’s Old Town borough, on the Župné námestie square.
The church was built on the site of the older Church of St. Michael, which was demolished in 1529, along with the settlement of St. Michael, during the Ottoman wars, along with other suburbs, so as to see better the attacking Turks. The Trinitarian Order started construction of the church in 1717 and it was sanctified in 1727, although work in the interior continued into the first half of the 18th century.
Officially: Slovak National Uprising Bridge.
The famous UFO restaurant atop the bridge. Built in the 1960s the restaurant on top revolves very slowly. Great view but costly food prices. There is an observation deck if you wish to visit later.
(Vydrická brána in Slovak); was a medieval town gate on the west side of the historical Old Town. It was the farmer’s gate where local farmers from the surrounding countryside would enter the city with their produce to sell on market days. Also called the Dark Gate or Black Gate, since it was like a tunnel; dark and long.
WOMAN WITH JUG FOUNTAIN
It replaced the pillar and statue of the original ‘Lion Fountain’, which stood there before. In the 1880s it was considered to be out of fashion and it was moved to the courtyard of the Old Town Hall and in 1998 it was moved back. The nymph statue is a copy.
There is a story about white lady from the White Street.
According to the legend, in the bourgeois house at White street (Biela ulica) number 3 once lived a kind-hearted woman named Božena who helped the poor in the old Pressburg. When she died, all the beggars came to her funeral. After her death, a white lady made out of white vapour started to appear at nights in the courtyard of the house number 3. She had a watering can and attended to the flower beds. Since her ghost pitied the unkept flowers, she returned from the grave to take care of them.
One night, a young baker’s apprentice saw her, and she was so frightened that the white vapour started to turn into white stone. In the days following the incident the city was full of rumours about the beautiful new statue that no artist took credit for. You can still see the statue as part of the fountain at Františkánske square.