Slovakia - Historical cities See all
Slovakia, Western Slovakia
Bratislava lies on the banks of the Danube, the second longest river in Europe, and at the foot of the Small Carpathian hills. The edge of the city actually forms Slovakia's borders with Hungary, to the south, and Austria, to the west, making it the only capital city to border two neighbouring countries. By the year 1936 the only way to reach from Bratislava to Vienna was just by public tram.
Bratislava is one of the youngest capitals in Europe, but it has the rich history which goes back over a thousand years ago. It became the capital three times: in 1291 were received privileges of the royal city, after almost 250 years Bratislava became the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary, and the place of coronation of the kings and emperors of Austria-Hungary, in 1968, it became the capital of the Slovak Republic in Czechoslovakia, in 1993 - the capital of the independent Slovak Republic.
St. Michael's Gate in Bratislava
St. Michael's Gate in Bratislava is the only surviving part of the medieval city fortifications, it ranks among the oldest buildings in the city. The gate was built in 1300, but the roof of the original Gothic tower was modified between 1753 and 1758 to give it it's current, baroque style. In the same year, the statue of St. Michael, slaying a dragon, was placed on top of the gate. The 51-metre tower has seven floors, and the superb view of the old town from the upper terrace of the tower is one of Bratislava's top visitor experiences. On the street, that passes through the gate, is the so-called “zero kilometre” plate, listing the distances of 29 world capitals from Bratislava.
During the coronation of 19 Hungarian kings in Bratislava, the ruler and his coronation entourage had to enter the city through the Vydrica Gate, get crowed in the St. Martin Cathedral, and then during the procession through the city the emerging king had to stop at the of St. Michael Gate, where he would pledge his king's oath to the hands of the archbishop. Today under the gates of St. Michael there are many shops and restaurants.
Today Grassalkovich Palace is the official residence of the President of the Slovak Republic, and nearby is situated the Archbishop's Palace.
This rococo and late baroque summer palace with french garden was built in 1760 for the chairman of the Hungarian Royal Chamber and advisor to Empress Maria Theresa, Count Anton Grassalkovich (Minister of Economy and Finance of Hungary) by architect Anton Mayerhofera. The sumptuous house was a sought-after venue for aristocratic society events.
The building became the center of musical life in the baroque Bratislava, Franz Joseph Haydn presented his musical work here. The palace was used for various balls and parties of the Habsburg royal court. Exactly Haydn conducted the orchestra during the wedding of Maria Theresa's daughter and Albert of Sachsen-Teschen. The last owners of the palace before the end of Austro-Hungarian were archduke Friedrich von Teschen and his wife Isabella von Croy-Dülmen.
In the period from 1939 to 1945 the palace was the residence of the president of the First Slovak Republic. During the communist period, there was held the first Council of Commissioners, representing a quasi-government of Slovakia within Czechoslovakia. In 1950 the palace was renamed into the "Klement Gottwald House of Pioneers and Youth". Transfer of the Palace of Pioneers resulted in significant damage of the building, which could only be restored after the cessation of the communist era, which was marked by the end of the Velvet Revolution.
Behind the Presidential Palace (Grassalkovich Palace) on Hodžovo Square is a handsome park (originally the gardens of the palace) with old trees and lawns. It contains a statue of the Empress Maria Theresa on horseback, the Fountain of Youth by prominent Slovak sculptor Tibor Bártfay, and avant-garde statues by contemporary.
The Old Town Hall (Stará radnica)
The Old Town Hall is one of the oldest stone buildings in Bratislava and the oldest town hall in Slovakia. The history of the Old Town Hall dates back to the beginnings of the mediaeval town in the XIII century. It used to be the original Romanesque house of Mayor Jakub and then became the property of the city. The Old Town Hall was built in the Gothic style and was finally completed in the XV century. The most complete element in the neo-Gothic reconstruction is the chapel of St. Ladislav, with its unique wall paintings. In 1581 a renaissance arcade was added. Subsequently, the Old Town Hall survived numerous restructuring in 1599, after the earthquake it was rebuilt in Renaissance style.
The building was used as the town hall during the period of XV-XIX centuries. At that time the Old Town Hall served also other purposes, particularly on the theritory of the building was situated a prison and a mint, arsenal and the municipal archive. In building houses the Bratislava City Museum, the oldest in the city (1868). The museum exposition presents the history of the city of Bratislava.
St. Martin's Cathedral
The cathedral is located on the eastern border of the historic center of the city, next to the castle. It is the largest and best preserved church, which is one of the oldest churches in Bratislava. Bratislava's three-nave Gothic cathedral is built on the site of a previous, Romanesque church, dedicated to the Holy Saviour, from 1221. After 1291, when Bratislava was given the privileges of a town, the church was rebuilt to become part of the city walls (its tower served as a defensive bastion).
St. Martin's Cathedral has four chapels: the canons’ chapel; the Gothic chapel of Sophia of Bavaria, widow of the Czech King Wenceslas IV; the chapel of St Anne; and the baroque chapel of St John the Merciful. The portal of the southern antechamber represents the oldest example of Renaissance architecture in Slovakia.
Between 1563 and 1830 St. Martin's served as the coronation church for Hungarian kings and their consorts, marked to this day by a 300-kg gilded replica of the Hungarian royal crown perched on the top of the cathedral's 85-metre-tall neo-Gothic tower.
The first monumental work of central-European sculpture made from lead can be found inside the cathedral. It was created by Georg Raphael Donner for the main altar of St. Martin's in 1734. The group is now in the side nave of the church as a free statue on a pedestal. It depicts St. Martin sitting on a horse rampant, bending to a beggar and cutting his overcoat to share it with the poor man.
The building of the main palace, built in neo-classical style, is located in the old part of Bratislava. The palace and it's most famous hall, the Hall of Mirrors, served as a venue for the most important events, including the signing of the fourth Peace of Pressburg by Johann I Josef, Prince of Liechtenstein, Ignácz Gyulay and Charles Maurice de Talleyrand in 1805 after the Battle of Austerlitz, which effectively ended the War of the Third Coalition, and for many other significant events in the history of Slovakia.
The city bought the palace in 1903. During restoration in 1903, in the recesses behind the walls was found a few valuable and previously unknown tapestries that depict Hero and Leander and their tragic love story. Tapestries have been woven in the 1630 's in weaving workshops in the royal town of Mortlake, near London.
The exquisite fountain of St. George, depicting the legendary knight slaying the dragon, stands in the square inner courtyard of the Primatial Palace. 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. 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 suppose to come to life, turn around on his horse and bow to the inhabitants of the city.
The New Bridge
Constructed between 1967 and 1972 across the Danube river, the New Bridge – also known as the SNP Bridge, after the Slovak National Uprising – is perhaps the city's most distinctive structure. Its designers, J. Lacko and A. Tesar, decided to suspend the steel deck of the bridge from a single pylon. The tower of the New Bridge - the only one in the world of towers of this kind is the member of the World Federation of Great Towers and takes there the last 26nd place. The New Bridge of Bratislava is asymmetric suspension bridge with a total length of 430 m, a width of 21 meters and a weight of 7537 tons.
A special attraction of the bridge is considered to be a restaurant that resembles a flying saucer, located on 84-meter pylon's column. To get to the restaurant will have to use the high-speed lift, located in the left column, or go up on foot, breaking 430 rungs in the right column. The restaurant offers great views of Bratislava.
History of Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, traditionally originates from the I century AD, during this time commander of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, Pyzon built one of the strongholds of the Danube defensive line. It should be noted that the precise evidence of the Roman presence in the area of modern Bratislava wasn't identified, that is why references of commander Pyzon, as of the founder of the town, dates back to the area legends. Historians believe that in period of the heirs Tiberius barbarians succeeded in driving the imperial troops to the south.
The place of foundation of the city was chosen very well by the Romans. The city is situated on both banks of the Danube, which is a waterway that connects together a number of European regions. In addition, a number of land routes from Northern and Western Europe to the Middle East and the Balkans go through Prydunays'ka lowland. Thanks to the favorable geographical location, favorable trade, the city had to grow and develop quickly, but the migration of the human masses throughout Europe and Asia, which went to west, prevented these processes.
By the V century there were settled the ancient Slavic tribes in the territories around Bratislava that later, in the closing stages of the Great Migration, founded the Great Moravia - one of the major European powers of the early Middle Ages. Exactly during these time intervals in written sources appears the first mention of Bratislava (IX century), as a large fortified principality.
Great Moravia, which existed for several centuries, fell under the blows of the Hungarians. The decisive battle was fought in 907 near the walls of Bratislava. Thus, the city became a part of Hungary named Pozhon. By the mid-XII century Pozhon received the status of a free royal city. At this time began the German colonization of the Danubian lands, which were occupied by Slavs. About a hundred years later, the influence of the Germans in Pozhoni was so great that the city was renamed Pressburg, while remaining under the authority of the Hungarian crown. During the Middle Ages the city was one of the biggest trade and craft centers in Eastern Europe. It was one of the permanent residences of the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus.
Ottoman expansion in the Balkans fully reflected on the part of the city. The fall of the capital of Hungary Buda was in 1541. Then Bratislava became the throne city of the Hungary until 1784. After the transfer of the capital of Hungary in Buda, which was won from the Ottomans, Bratislava has not lost its importance as an administrative center, and was a coronation town of Hungarian kings until 1848.
After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was caused by the defeat in World War I, on October 28, 1918, on the political map of the world appeared the Czechoslovak Republic, which united the lands that were settled by Czechs and Slovaks. On January 1, 1919, Bratislava was declared the administrative center of Slovakia as part of a union state. The Second World War severely affected the city. In 1939-1945, respectively, during the German occupation, Bratislava once again received the status of the capital. It was set up with the occupation regime of the Slovak Republic, which ceased to exist after the victory of Soviet forces over Germany.
The city was liberated on April 4, 1945, by the troops of the 2nd Ukrainian Front during the Bratislava-Brnovsky offensive. Bratislava became an industrial center, but it should be noted that the activities of major companies heavily dependent on the Czech companions and partners in the socialist countries.
The "Velvet Revolution" that took place in November 1989, eventually led to the peaceful fall of the communist regime. Changes related to the principles of coexistence of the two republics. However, an avoid of the collapse of the federation failed. On January 1, 1993, Bratislava again became the capital of independent state.
LON: 17.1093180 = 17° 6' 33.5448"