BRATISLAVA- THE HEART OF EUROPE
Slovakia's narrowest house
Definitely the narrowest house in Slovakia and one of the narrowest in Europe, located close to St. Michael’s Gate. When the city started to use cannons, the fortifications were no longer needed and were later demolished to expand the city. That was when a 130cm wide gap was created. Later on, the house was built to fill the gap.
One of the most beautiful fountains in the city has been operating for over 126 years without any major break. Neither the World War I, nor World War II damaged the fountain originally built in 1888.
Some believe that the very unusual statue of a tiny, apparently naked man set in the facade of a house was created with the intention of ridiculing the curious owner of the neighboring house who used to spy on passersby through a tiny window of his house.
The only original gate in the city that has stood the test of time is located on Michalská Street. The tower boasts a statue of the Archangel Michael killing a dragon at its top, at 51 meters.
Another quirky statue situated in Bratislava’s Old Town attracts passersby. The sculpture of the real life-size paparazzo pops out and takes pictures from behind the corner of one of the buildings.
The sentry box standing proudly on the Main Square symbolically recalls the historic guardhouse that once stood there.
St. Martin’s Cathedral
A copy of the Hungarian royal crown as we know it from the very top of Bratislava’s largest cathedral was created by Pressburg goldsmiths sometime around 1870. The 300 kg crown is located 85 m above the ground, together with a cross measuring 2.7 meters. The pillow below the royal crown has a spectacular 2 x 2 meters. During its most important era, ten Hungarian kings, one queen and eight royal wives were crowned here. You can also visit the crypts beneath the cathedral that were used for the burials of church dignitaries until the end of the 19th century.
The construction of the UFO was completed in 1972. The unique structure is 85m high with a restaurant at the top. There are two ways to climb up and enjoy the views – by the elevator placed in one arm or the 430 step staircase in the other. The total weight of the steel building together with the pylon is 7 537 tons. It is said that the former communist regime actually banned climbing to the top of the tower in order to prevent the inhabitants from even thinking about escaping the country. Nowadays you can freely enjoy amazing views over the city for a small fee.
Chatam Sofer Mausoleum
The memorial received its name from Rabbi Mosche Schreiber, also known as Chatam Sofer, one of the most respected authorities in Halakhah (Jewish law). Born in Frankfurt am Main in 1762, he later moved to the Czech Republic and came to Bratislava in 1806 to become Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community of Pressburg’s, where he remained for 33 years. The historical site dates back to the 17th century, when the Jewish community was allowed to settle below Bratislava’s castle.
A memorial monument and military cemetery is the burial ground of all 6845 Soviet soldiers who fell in 1945 during the liberation of Slovakia from the occupation of Germany. The almost 40m high pylon with an 11m high sculpture of the soldier holding the liberalization flag towers over six mass graves and 278 individual ones as well as a giant park all around with incredible city views.
The witches of Bratislava
Even Bratislava had its witches. The first woman executed for witchcraft was Agáta Toottová who had to publicly confess riding her broom among other things while being tortured.
The dwell at Primatial Square
In the Middle Ages it, the quality of products delivered to the market was a matter of craftsmen´s honor. If the product was not absolutely perfect, its creator had to be punished. In Bratislava, the bakers would often put guilty fellow bakers in the Danube or later let the accused spend some time inside the dwell. One of dwells is still present at Primantial Square. These punishments were banned by Joseph II in 1773.
A hotel bursting with colors and all kinds of design, locally known as the Butterfly House, is located 5 minutes away from the main train station. Seekers of contemporary art will enjoy the sight of the buildings that looks like a picture out of children’s book.
Named after an advisor to Maria Theresa, the building is currently being used as the office of the President. It also includes the Grassalkovich garden with the statue of Maria Theresa and the Fountain of Youth.
Prešporáčik – Bratislava Tourist Train
The only vehicle allowed to drive through the city’s oldest parts has become a symbol of Bratislava. With a retractable roof, folding windows and audio guides in multiple languages, it can take you the through the beauty of the city in about 50 minutes.
Slovak National Theatre – Historical building
The historical building of the theater was designed by the famous Viennese duo – Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer in the neo-Renaissance style. It has undergone several reconstructions since then and nowadays hosts drama, opera and ballet perfomances.
The very heart of the city, the Main Square with an almost regular square shape dates back to 13th century. It has changed name several times, from Forum via the Franz Joseph-Platz, Hungarian Fo Ter, later it was called Masaryk’s Square after the first president of Czechoslovakia, Hitler’s Square during the period under German rule and the April 4 Square during the communist regime. It has always served as a marketplace and hosted notable city events and ceremonies including popular Christmas markets.
Statue of Napoleonic Soldier
The bronze statue of a soldier wearing the uniform of Napoleon’s army leans on a bench in the Main Square. It commemorates the French presence in the city, recalling the signing of the Treaty of Pressburg in 1805 and the later attempt to capture Bratislava when the troops bombarded the city from the banks of present-day Petržalka.
One of the most beautiful palaces in Bratislava currently serves as the office of the city’s mayor. It also boasts a very unique collection of English tapestries, one of them depicting the tragic love of Hero and Leander. You can notice an iron hat weighing 150 kg at the very top of the tympanum as a symbol of the Archbishop, for whom the palace was built, and of the various cardinals who lived here throughout the years.
Old Market Hall
First opened in 1910, the building originally served as a market place but it had to wait a very long period of time for its much needed reconstruction. Nowadays, the Market Hall serves as a home for city events, weekly farmers markets and other performances. In 2009, a Vivienne Westwood fashion show took place here.
Franciscan Church of the Lord’s Annunciation
The oldest religious building in Bratislava is home to a very rare relic: the torso of Saint Reparat, a 4th century deacon from Italy who died a martyr in 353, had his tongue and right hand cut off. The body was moved to Bratislava following the request of the Franciscan friar Eugen Kosa.
The infamous 80 m high Slovak Radio building with the shape of an inverted pyramid is literally impossible to miss. The structure designed by Stefan Svetko even appeared on the list of the world’s ugliest buildings by The Telegraph. Even today, six radio stations still broadcast from there.
The Modern Art Museum was built near the village of Čunovo, approximately 20 minutes from Bratislava, by the Dutch entrepreneur and art collector Gerard H. Meulesteen and the Slovak gallery owner, Vincent Polakovic. Since its opening, the gallery has been visited by Juan Carlos I, the Spanish King, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and other significant guests.
The Fountain of Maximilian II.
Officially named after the Hungarian king, the structure is locally known as Roland’s fountain. Roland was a knight known for signing a love song dedicated to his love Olifanta while sitting in the square. The children so loved the song that when the knight was summoned back to France, they could not sleep well anymore. The mayor of the city, therefore, decided to build a fountain with the knight’s statue in the middle of the square with trickling water allowing people to sleep well again.
The gallery often referred to as Bratislava’s Guggenheim features the paintings and sculptures of the most important Slovak artists mostly of the 20th century. Founded in 2012, it seeks to collect and pressent its collection of paintings, sculptures and prints to the widest audience possible.
More than 20 bunkers remain scattered along the Slovak-Austrian borders as reminders of the Second World War. One of them, located in Petržalka, was turned into a museum containing military items, uniforms, documents and historical photographs.
Even Bratislava has its own pilgrimage site. In the village of Marianka, pilgrims from all over the country have gathered for centuries. The whole area is devoted to the Virgin Mary and includes the chapel and the Calvary with 14 stopping points.