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Many Bratislavans can still recall Rybne náměstí (Fish Square, Fischplatz) market afore the beautiful Neological synagogue. The square’s centre has a trinity plague column that commemorates those who died (1,571) and recovered (3,860) from the disease as it ravaged our city in 1713. During the Danube’s waterflow regulation in 1902, the adjacent deep bay for boats was filled in. Fish Square was a historic marketplace, with up to 24,000 kg of carp, 1,200 kg of Danube toothfish, 1,200 kg of pike, 8,000 kg of catfish, and 160 kg of sturgeon being traded every year. The city used its land rights and claimed fish in its jurisdiction. Fish were caught and then kept everywhere - ditches, pits, ponds - before boisterous and cheerful feasts, city councillors receiving their share, and the rest being sold. Now instead of exporting fish, Bratislava imports a wide range of fish from far and wide. And local river crayfish have fallen victim both to past pollution and contemporary deadly fungal disease.
The Slovak National Gallery, in cooperation with the Slovak National Museum and international partners, is opening the Waterland exhibition at Bratislava Castle. It focuses on the Danube region in the 17th and 18th centuries by showcasing detailed contextual maps of the Danube – from source to delta and tributaries , as well as floor plans of cities and fortresses, and local battle sites. The Danube had long been considered a mythical river. Early ancient maps cited that the river connected not only rivers, countries and cities, but even two contrasting worlds – that of West and East, Europe and Asia. These two worlds were united by the exchange of goods and ideas, as well as military conflicts that led to the migration of peoples and nationalities. "During the Ottoman wars, the Danube was a bloody frontier with key fortresses. From 1699-1718, there was a "Christian" and "Islamic" Danube - the river of the Habsburgs and the Ottomans. So an active political and cultural fault line was created with various permeable crossovers. The Margraves of Baden helped liberate the Danube Monarchy from Ottoman rule," explains exhibition co-organizer SNG‘s Denis Haberland.
On April 14th 2022, the new Slovak National Theatre celebrated its 15th anniversary. The design competition was won in 1980 by the young architectural team of Martin Kusý, Pavol Paňák and Peter Bauer, who were just over 30 years old. Construction began in April 1986.From the architectural point of view, the building can be considered timeless. The architects sought to create an industrial impression: a building where theatrical art is both created and presented as an "art factory". The building looks like two buildings connected by a central staircase - on one side the drama ensemble, and on the other the opera and ballet. From the exterior, the building looks embraces visitors with open arms into this arena of fine performances. The Opera and Ballet Hall has 861 seats, the Drama Hall 649 seats, and the Studio 160 seats. In May 2013, the new Blue Salon with 80 seats opened. The building is lined with typical Slovak stone - Spiš travertine, while the interior is lined with Carrara marble. In the middle of the central staircase is the Spring artwork, which marks the beginning of an imaginary waterway that flows through the fountain in front of the building and through the cascade towards the Danube. On April 14, 2007, the new SND building opened with a gala evening at the Opera and Ballet Hall in the presence of performers, theatre employees, and prominent guests.
Milan Rastislav Štefánik is a leading figure in Slovak history - a diplomat, politician, statesman, soldier, scientist, astronomer and traveller, and a founder of the shared country of Czechs and Slovaks. On May 4, we commemorate the 103rd anniversary of his death in a tragic plane crash near Bratislava. Štefánik was born on July 21, 1880 in Košarisky to the family of an Evangelical pastor. In 1898 he went to study at Prague university, and from 1900 he studied mathematics and astronomy at Charles University. He also worked at Detvan - the academic association of Slovak youth. He then moved to Paris, where he worked at the Meudon Observatory under the direction of French astronomer and physicist Professor Jules Janssen. His research trips included visits to Spain, Central Asia, Algeria, Tahiti, New Zealand, the USA and South America. Štefánik became a French citizen in 1912, and two years later was appointed a knight of the Legion of Honor for his work. As a naturalized French citizen, from 1914 he flew as a lieutenant on the French front. During the war, he worked closely with Tomáš G. Masaryk and Edvard Beneš to create a shared Czech and Slovak state. The Czech-Slovak National Council (CSNR), which was founded on February 13, 1916 in Paris, became the representative body of the Czech-Slovak foreign resistance. A key goal of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was the creation of a Czechoslovak foreign army. Thanks to his social influence, Štefánik had the largest role in forming the Czechoslovak legions. Štefánik, together with his Italian pilots, is buried at the national cultural monument of Bradlo Hill.
Bratislava’s candlelight demonstration (March 25, 1988) was a key public protest against the communist regime in the former Czechoslovakia. This demo for religious freedom and human rights was organized by secret Church and persecuted Catholic communities: they sought the appointment of Catholic bishops to vacant Slovak dioceses, religious freedom, and broader civic rights. The candlelight demonstration was conceived by Marián Šťastný - a former hockey player who emigrated to Canada (with his brothers Peter and Anton) in 1981. In 1987, he became vice-president of the World Congress of Slovaks and subsequently its president. Secret church activists adopted the idea and prepared the demonstration. Its main organizers were František Mikloško, Ján Čarnogurský, Bishop Ján Chryzostom Korec, Silvester Krčméry, Vladimír Jukl, Rudolf Fiby, and other members of the Catholic diocese. Over three thousand demonstrators gathered at Hviezdoslav Square in Bratislava, while thousands more were blocked by police in adjacent streets. Rather than speeches, outrage was expressed through candles and prayers. Over a thousand Public Security (VB) officers intervened against the peaceful demonstrators, with 141 citizens arrested and at least 14 injured, with many more unwilling to come forward for fear of prosecution. "The candle demonstration was unique in Slovak history, and the main message was that ordinary people can create history,” said František Mikloško, one of the organisers.
Until 1932, a historic church stood on the site of today’s Slovnaft service station opposite Incheba. It was originally in a slightly elevated position due to the seasonal flooding of the Danube. Geographer and historian Ján Matej Korabinský states that floodwater destroyed about 20 houses, leaving the church standing alone. In 1773 - 1774 a protective embankment was built to separate Pečenské river branch from Engerau village towards the Vienna road. The church had a Prešpor Chapter built in 1672, and was consecrated by St. Ján Nepomucký. The church also played a role during the Franco-Austrian War in 1809, with valuable French artworks hidden away in the church tower. The protective embankment next to the church was raised several times, which protected against floodwaters but hindered access. So Josef Müllner had a wide staircase built over the embankment, a noble deed noted by a marble slab with his name and the date of construction. Over the years, the church was badly affected by damp and flood conditions. In 1927, considerable money was raised for its reconstruction. According to the Preßburger Zeitung, "the church appeared in a new charming facade, the interior was freshly painted and renovated, and the altar was gilded". But the new shine was short lived, because (according to a Slovak newspaper from 1932) "the church represented the most dangerous obstacle on the Bratislava - Vienna road". So it was to be replaced by a new church, commissioned by Bratislava prelate Ľudovít Okánik and funded by businessman Tomáš Baťa. The sacrament of the altar and all ornaments were ceremoniously transferred to the new church on today's Daliborovo Square, which was consecrated on November 6, 1932 and still serves the faithful.
One of Bratislava’s oldest and most prized National Cultural Monuments - the Water Tower - is undergoing sensitive restoration. The oldest building in this area is dated to the 2nd to 11th centuries AD. The tower served an important strategic and defensive function for almost 400 years until the 17th century. "The restoration of the Water Tower will fully respect its high historical value - the result will be its revitalization, integration into public space, and additional municipal cultural institutions," said Zoltán Müller, Chairman of the Board of Vydrica Development. "The public space around the Water Tower will be the crossroads of the emerging Vydrice extended promenade - from the historic city centre to the Danube embankment," said Bratislava spokeswoman Katarína Rajčanová. In coming days, the investor plans to launch an architectural competition for the Water Tower’s future design. The tender assignment and conditions have already been consulted with the Municipal Metropolitan Institute of Bratislava, the Municipal Institute for the Protection of Monuments in Bratislava, and also in cooperation with the Regional Monuments Office and Bratislava Old Town.
The poor state of the early Baroque church (1661) on Mikulášská Street - which is a National Cultural Monument - has long been clear to Bratislavans. From a distance the roof is relatively new, but closer up the impression is completely different: walls are disfigured, plaster is flaking from the facade, stone plinth cladding is broken in several places with pieces on the ground... And the Pálffy coat of arms (the church was built by František Khuen, widow of palatine Pálffy) is obscured. “St. Nikolaj (Mikuláš) is a unique building with great cultural value. It has been impacted by the ravages of time, so in-depth renovation is now necessary - including improving thermal technical properties, reducing humidity, and removing mould," said the Office of the Prešov Orthodox Diocese. "We are hoping for the Restoration Plan, which also includes financing the restoration of historic and listed buildings," the church said to banoviny.sk. "There is also a piece of wood from our Saviour Jesus Christ’s Holy and Life-Giving Cross, the remains of St. Sergei Radonežsky, and the remains of St. Mojsej Uhrin,” added the Orthodox Church, which has used the church since 1945 and been its proprietor since 2008.
Slovak legionaries in the Czech-Slovak legions (1914 – 1920) will be commemorated by Matica Slovenská (MS) with the unveiling of a memorial plaque on the former Legiobanka building (now Eximbank) on Bratislava’s Grösslingova Street. "Slovak legionnaires deserve be more appreciated by society because they made a major contribution to new Slovak national and democratic life after the Austro-Hungarian monarchy dissolved. Without these legions, Slovak and Czech politicians in the first foreign resistance of 1914-1918 would have found it difficult to persuade the Treaty Powers to support the founding of the first Czechoslovakia. We owe the establishment of this large foreign resistance army primarily to the Minister and General Milan Rastislav Štefánik," said MS chairman Marián Gešper. " Slovak legionnaires included Slovak nationals and MS figures such as Janko Jesenský, Jozef Gregor Tajovský, Vladimír Daxner, and the generals Rudolf Viest and Jozef Martin Kristin - father of the actress Eva Kristinová," he added.
Archaeological diggings at Antická Gerulata in Rusovce (Bratislava) have revealed further rare finds such as third century coins, buckles, burners, horse harness, glass, iron objects, and Rétan ceramics, and a second-century comb. The latter evidences contacts between the Gerulata inhabitants with the ‘barbarian’ Germans. Bratislava City Museum (MMB) has announced these finding on its social network. The research also investigated a medieval moat more than three meters deep and eight meters wide. Another precious find was a Roman military diploma fragment. The Museum of Ancient Gerulata in Rusovce is on the site of a former Roman military castle on the borders of the Limes Romanus fortification system (second to fourth centuries). This year, the Roman Empire - Danube Limes (western part) site was added to the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. It includes two national cultural monuments in Slovakia: Gerulata, and the Roman military camp (castle) in Iža (Komárno).
The Human Face - Freedom or Death: paintings and sculptures by 37 Slovak and Czech artists and one American is running at Bratislava Castle’s third floor exhibition area until April 30, 2022. It‘s also a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Dubček - a politician and key figure in Czechoslovak history. The artists‘ work - created over several decades - reflects this theme as symbols of the crucifixion, the cross, or dialogue with death in tribute to social events in the late 1960s and late ‘80s early ‘90s. These periods brought about major changes in people's behaviour, attitudes, actions, and relationship between personal activity and social events. People’s internal struggle were symbolically portrayed by artists through paintings and sculptures.
The Slovak National Museum (SNM) has unveiled the new Romans and Slovakia exhibition which can be seen until June 30, 2022 at the Knights' Hall in Bratislava Castle. Visitors can see over 240 archaeological-historical items about Slovakia in the 1st to 4th centuries, i.e. when it was near and marginally part of the Roman Empire. Included are coins and rare finds from the Princely Tombs 5 and 6 of Zohor. Inspiring showcases symbolize the movement of Romans through territories and their arrival mid-Danube. "Exhibition creators were inspired by Romans‘ progression along the Danube, i.e. that all roads lead to Rome," added SNM exhibition commissioner Juraj Kucharík. The exhibition marks the 2000th anniversary of the Kingdom of Vanni, and the successful nomination of Slovak sites to the UNESCO Danube Limes (Western Segment) list.
All Saints Day was established by the Eastern Church in the 4th century, and it is still celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. In the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV transferred the martyrs‘ bones to the Roman Pantheon. It was originally celebrated on May 13. According to ethnologist Margita Jágerová from the University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra, the spring date was related to the arrival of birds, nature’s seasonal reawakening, and the idea that the souls of the dead returning to the living as birds on this important date. Feasts and then offerings were made by graves. Pope Gregor IV in 835 then moved this occasion to 1 November. It was generally established as church-wide holy day only after the Council of Trident in 1549. All Saints Day is followed by the Memorial of the Dead - popularly called ‘Dušičky’. This was introduced by St. Abbot Odilo of Cluny in 998 and accepted in Rome in the 14th century. Protestant churches do not recognize the cult of saints or All Saint Day. Church calendars, however, include the Memorial of the Dead, but for Protestants one of the most important holidays is October 31 - the Reformation in 1517.
Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav was a great Slovak poet and patriot. In 1905, Hviezdoslav reacted to the revolutionary events in Russia. In 1914, he responded to the start of the First World War with the Bloody Sonnets poem cycle, written in August and September of that year but unpublished until after the war. The poet welcomed the establishment of a common Czechoslovakia, and the state in turn showed him respect too: in February 1919 his 70th birthday was celebrated. He even became politically active during this period - as an MP and as one of the four presidents of the Matica. In November 1919, he and his wife arrived in Prague for a parliamentary session. Already suffering health problems, in May 1921 he was treated for heart disease. He died on November 8, 1921 in his Dolný Kubín flat, and he was buried in the town’s cemetery. In honour of Pavel Országh Hviezdoslav, The grand square by Bratislava’s historic SND building was named in his honour, as well as the Municipal Theatre on Laurinská Street.
The Archangel Michael statue will be removed in September 2021. This will be a big event for Bratislava. The admirable work of master Petr Eller that has adorned the top of Michal’s Tower since 1758, will remain at academic sculptor Stanislav Kožela’s studio for many months. Coper sculpture’s extremities look very fragile, parts are missing, and minor damage is clearly visible. The overall renovation aims to restore the sculpture to its original appearance.
“The idea is to restore everything that has been preserved and to repair all damage. I have to remake the archangel’s right hand with a sword and add a left wing, and sculpt a tongue and ear for the dragon,” explains the sculptor. The sculpture is wrought from very thin 0.5 to 2 mm copper and weighs only about 50 kilograms. To withstand the high winds atop the 50-metre Michal’s Tower, it has a wrought iron structure throughout the inside. The time box was stored, as expected, in the archangel’s head. Opening the box will not be quite so simple: “The box is soldered on the sides and how to do it safe? When tin melts at 290 degrees, at what temperature does paper burn? ”
Bratislava (previously Pozsony) was the Kingdom of Hungary’s coronation city from 1563 to 1830. The last ruler to complete this solemn ceremony here on 28 September 191 years ago was Ferdinand V – nicknamed Dobrotivý. “At dusk the procession moved from Primate’s Palace to St. Martin’s Cathedral. The emperor and empress sat on thrones to the left of the altar, and the prince in the centre.
The coronation ceremony was led by Cardinal Alexander Rudnay, who was one of the few members of the high ecclesiastical hierarchy of aristocratic origin to declare his Slovak nationality. Streets were festively lit and full of people until late in the evening. The huge crowd included leading monarchy nobility: Count Zichy, Nádasda, Prince Esterházy, etc.” Ferdinand V was gifted 50 thousand ducats from the estates, which he donated to charity and expanding the military academy.
New Nivy bus station on Mlynské Nivy Street in Bratislava is nearing completion. Airport-style building will have 36 platforms, seven access points, and 86 barrier-free bus stops. The bus station will be on the first underground floor, and will also have retail outlets, pharmacies, and fast food. With nine LCD TV panels, a large LED information wall, and several self-service touch kiosks the public has an excellent overview of arrival/departure of buses.
The project combines international bus terminal, retail, fresh market, and high-rise office building. While the green roof has a jogging track, exercise and picnic areas, community garden, and children’s playgrounds. Developer HB Reavis has scheduled the opening for the end of October 2021.
For centuries the Danube has been a popular place for riverside residents to swim and wash. “Sandy sections were primarily for recreation, but Danube swimming pools were also ideal for learning to swim or to play sports,” states the publication (www.danubetreasures.eu). “In the 19th century, almost every major village along the Danube built a wooden swimming pool for natural swimming.”
These pools could be towed like boats, so were sometimes moved to another river section. The Danube swimming pools destroyed during World War II were sadly not rebuilt, due to a lack of wood and the risk of infections. A new large beach swimming pool area eventually opened in 1928 – Petržalka‘s popular Lido, but this too fell into decline.
In the 1930s, Bratislava ’s supply of social housing fell short of the growing working class’s needs. And mainly for small 500 flats. In just 13 days, young architect Emil Belluš developed the design and project of some residential buildings. These were then built (and still stand) on Trenčianska Street in 1931.
“Architect was working with a relatively narrow corridor – defined by Trenčianska and Miletičova streets. Each of the eight detached buildings had 32 flats, i.e. 256 in total. Each comprises two wings with a central access staircase. Upper floors flats are identical, with living room, kitchen, hall, pantry, WC. And communal bathrooms along the corridor,” states the Register of Architecture.
The shared bathrooms have long since been replaced by en-suite solutions in flats.
The 18-month restoration of Michalska Brana (Tower) has begun, and will be followed by a permanent exhibition. In addition, the tower, stone-sculptural and decorative features, and popular look-out are to be reconstructed. Including the rooftop statue of St. Michael the Archangel from the mid-18th century.
For example, one bell will be restored, while the other – damaged by a World War II fire – will be recast. The clock faces and lead facade above the gate will also be given a makeover. The current windows will be replaced by replicas of the original Baroque windows. In addition, accompanied by the restoration of facades, and interior spaces – including plaster and flooring.
The renovation of Michalska Brana (Tower) and the Museum of Weapons should cost EUR 1.6 million. Above all, it is co-financed from a Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic grant. This tower is the best-preserved part of the original city fortifications. As a result, this is one of Bratislava City Museum’s three most visited destinations.
In 1913 a major fire engulfed numerous houses in Bratislava’s Podhradí (below-castle) area. Firstly starting from thatched roofs in the Jewish quarter, the fire spread to other streets. In addition, firefighters from as far afield as Vienna came to fight the blaze.
“Saturday’s peace and quiet was abruptly curtailed just after four in the afternoon with reports that a fire had broken out near St. Martin’s Cathedral. Moreover, though firefighters arrived within six minutes, the fire had already taken hold due to the warm southern wind, humidity, and houses’ wooden construction”. It is based on historical sources, a large fire raged in the castle grounds (reports the Bratislavské rožky website).
“The fire seriously damaged Židovska Street, which had been considered a vibrant but rather down-at-heel area. After the fire, Palocz had suggested improving the housing and planned an eight-metre-wide street for better access in the area. He had wanted to connect it to an extended Zámocká Street. However the war’s outbreak meant the plan never came to fruition,” states the website.
Did you know that there used to be a bus station at American Square (Americké námestie)? Between 1930 and 1931 the Avion apartment buildings were constructed between Florian’s and American squares.
With several six- and seven-storey structures including 118 apartments and 25 ground floor shops. In addition, an adjacent bus station was soon built for international routes from and to Bratislava. For example, mostly it being very popular during the Slovak state and post-WW2.
In the 1980s it was replaced by a new bus station at Mlynské nivy. Which itself is currently being redeveloped into the new Stanica Nivy bus station.
Bratislava Castle went up in flames during the evening. However, fortunately only as a video projection onto the building’s facade. To commemorate the 210th anniversary of the most tragic event in the castle’s thousand-years. On May 28, 1811 a massive fire – caused by resident soldiers’ carelessness. In addition, led to the Winter Riding Hall, palace, and 70 houses in the castle grounds burning down.
Nine people died, several went missing, and more than 100 families lost their homes. But the monarchy subsequently lost interest in the gutted castle and removed all remaining items. In addition, also leaving the building to fall into disrepair and ruin. Visitors can see a simulation of the fire and the castle’s decline prior to its first major reconstruction in 1968.
The palace of Count Anton Grasalkovič, an adviser to Maria Theresa, was built after 1760 outside the city walls at a former timber and charcoal market. In addition, Architect Andrej Mayerhoffer planned it in a particularly luxurious Rococo style, and it used to be a popular place for the nobility’s social occassions.
In the late 19th century, the great-grandson of Maria Theresa, Archduke Friedrich Maria Albrecht of Austria-Tešínsky (1856 – 1936), worked at the military headquarters in Bratislava with view to a military career. He inherited the palace from his uncle, Archduke Albrecht and it was repaired and modernized in the 1890s. Above all, with a new kitchen, gas lighting, water supply, metal gates, and even telephones.
They replaced the monogram of the original owner with the combined monogram of the archduke and his wife: Friedrich and Isabella – the golden letters F and I that are still visible today.
The old Evangelical Lyceum – built in 1783 – awaits interior reconstruction, including new storage systems for the prized library collections. Moreover, they are managed by the Slovak Academy of Sciences. It will also be fitted out with new furniture for the multifunctional use of rooms.
Including educational events, seminars, workshops, concerts, discussions, and community activities. Additionaly, this project is supported by the EEA Financial Fund and the Slovak Republic‘s Cultural state program. The Evangelical Lyceum in Bratislava was established together with the church congregation in 1606. Its historical associations can be found listed on the corner of Konventná Street, i.e. one of the two buildings at which Prešpor Grammar School (or Lyceum) was located.
The Old Lyceum building was reclaimed by the Evangelical Church during restitution, having fallen into disrepair after decades of communist rule.
When you enter Železná studnička national park, take the turn left towards Kačín. These inconspicuous historic cellars, sunk on the slope opposite the Rotunda, were built in the 18th century. At that time, the spa was run by hotelier Jakub Palugyay, the son of an impoverished country family.
Additionaly, for the Železná studnička icehouses, Palugyay made them a fancy place for excursions with excellent cuisine. During deep winter frosts, ice from the nearby Vydrica stream was used to cool food, beer, wine. And also the famous Jacqueson champagne.
The wine trade really took off after being favoured by members of the ruling family. Moreover, Palugyay becoming the imperial court supplier in 1871.
These atypical icehouses were restored by City Forests Bratislava in cooperation with the Bratislava Tourist Board. They were cleaned, replastered, vaulted structures renovated, and non-original additions removed. These unique drinking holes are available for various public as well as local winemakers. And also to present their bottled pride and joy from the vineyards.
Know how Vydrica and Rybné squares looked before SNP Bridge was built? Check out the unique Lost Landmarks of the Lost City by Tomáš Stern and the Jewish Religious Community. And under the auspices of Bratislava Old Town.
The outstanding features were St. Martin’s Cathedral, and a neological synagogue dating to 1893. Exactly as the Central Union of Jewish Religious Communities in the Slovak Republic describes on its website. It was built in Moorish style, characterized by coloured tiles and two corner towers. The architect was Dionýz Milch who received the commission from the neological part of the Bratislava Jewish community. Moreover, which wanted to differentiate itself from the conservative Orthodox Jewish community.
During the war the synagogue fell into disuse, and after the communists took power it became a warehouse. In the 1960s, the decision was made to construct another bridge (built between 1967 and 1972) across the Danube. This project necessitated the demolition of several valuable historical buildings (including the synagogue). Additionaly, almost all the buildings on Židovská Street, part of Rybného Square, and Žižková Street buildings. Today you can wander – if sadly not the streets themselves – at least their history in virtual reality.
A new exhibition (11 March – 25 April) at Kunsthalle LAB in Bratislava by Italian duo Grossi Maglioni focuses on exploring motherhood and its transformational potential.
“The centrepiece is the figure of a mother with instinctive wild traits who protects her children and thereby become intimidating,” comments PR manager Lila Rose.
The Animal Mother project is based on several ideological positions – post-feminist and anthropological discourse, psychoanalytic writing, sci-fi literature. And film, theoretical analysis, and the artists’ own maternal experience and interaction in groups of mothers and children. The centrepiece is a mother and child, adolescence, the path of independence from the mother. “Grossi Maglioni examines the iconography associated with motherhood as something scary, where majesty. And horror intertwine in the image of the mother, magic, and sci-fi visions,” explains exhibition curator Lýdia Pribišová.
Contemporary cities now seek to provide more than just comfortable living, public transport, and modern services. Landscaped public spaces, cultural and social facilities, parks. And promenades also contribute to residents’ quality of life and attract visitors too.
So the Danube promenade – which begins at Karlovske rameno (river branch) – will be extended to include a unique multiple-sports. And relaxation zone to benefit users of all ages and abilities. The latest safe climbing frames will be popular with kids, teens can enjoy a skatepark. And the area will have places for various ball games. The Activities Park under Apollo Bridge will be a huge hit with all adrenalin and fitness junkies.
The Activities Park and newly emerging Eurovea City public spaces were designed by Beth Galí – the world-famous architect and urban planner.
When the Danube was the Roman Empire’s northern border (1st to 4th century), Bratislava was called Anductium. Although the oldest preserved written record (907) cites the battle of Preslavvaspurce (Preslav was the third son of King Svätopluk). Germans referred to it as Pressburg, the Slovaks as Prešporok. And the Hungarians as Pozsony based on a translation of Božoň, who was lord of Bratislava Castle 1052 – 1099. Greeks used Istropolis, i.e. town on the Danube.
The current name was likely first used by the Štúr family in the 19th century, as they wanted to use Slovak nominations. So after a trip to Devín Velislav, Ľudovít Štúr combined the words brother and glory to arrive at Bratislava. Calls to rename the city ‘Wilson’ after the First World War were resisted, so the city has been officially known as Bratislava since 1919.
Bratislava’s access points used to be inscribed City of Peace. But why?
Mainly because three major peace treaties were signed in the city. The first on July 2, 1271 between Hungarian King Stephen V and Czech King Přemysl Otakar II – Czech troops had conquered Bratislava, Nitra, Trnava and part of Považia. So the Hungarian ruler surrendered Styria, Kransko and Carinthia in exchange for the Czech king leaving the occupied territories.
The second peace treaty was signed on December 30, 1626 during the Bethlen estate uprising from Transylvania.
The third was signed on December 26, 1805 in the Hall of Mirrors at the Primate Palace. It was shortly after the bloody battle of three emperors near Slavkov in Moravia in which 25,000 soldiers died on one day. Napoleon’s army then defeated the Austrian and Russian armies. This peace treaty’s signing was so symbolic that one of the twelve streets that lead to Paris’s Arc de Triomphe is called Rue de Presbourg, with an accompanying café of the same name.
The Danube’s banks in Bratislava were connected by bridges over the centuries. The first pontoon bridge was built around 1450 and lasted three centuries. One pendulum (compass-like) bridge was built for Bratislava in 1770 by inventor Wolfgang Kempelen. Bridges were built for coronational events. With the only bridge outlasting a coronation being the 1825 boat bridge located in today’s Ľudovít Štúr Square. It comprised 23 boats with a road surface of wide flat slabs. The boats could be disconnected to allow the passage of boats along the river, and were totally removed in winter to prevent ice damage.
This bridge was replaced by a railway bridge in 1890-1891 named after Austrian emperor. King Francis Joseph I of Hungary, who attended the ribbon cutting event. This first solid bridge had to last Petržalka exactly eighty years.
Restoration work on an important Gothic monument in Janko Kráľ Park, Petržalka, was carried out from September to December 2020. “The basic criteria for the restoration was to preserve the original, correct damage and inappropriate modifications. And to complete missing parts and details,” said Bratislava spokeswoman Katarína Rajčanová. Scaffolding and fencing has been removed to enable views of the restored treasure – a national cultural monument.
Originally a tower from a 15th century Franciscan church, it was removed due to damage during the 1897 earthquake. And replaced with a copy by architect Schulek. The original tower in an orchard as a garden pavilion.
In December, the Slovak National Museum (SNM) will open The Turned Face of Slovakia exhibition by Slovak documentary filmmaker and photographer Tomáš Hulík on Vajanského nábreží in Bratislava.
The Trianon 100 exhibition will open at Bratislava Castle on 11 December: The Birth of a New Border.
And SNM’s third highlight in December will be IN NOMINE CIVITATIS LEUTSCHA about notable figures. Opening on St. Nicholas Day (6 Dec) at Spiš Museum in Levoča. SNM Museum Communication Centre’s Zuzana Vášáryová informed TASR.
“Hulík’s photographs present Slovakia’s cultural and natural heritage after the socialist period,” said SNM General Director Branislav Panis. “The Historical Museum will feature the peace treaty’s signing after World War I, and the challenging process of integrating Slovakia into the new Czechoslovak state. In Levoča, we will present ten city figures with ten medallions and original objects that characterize their destiny, life, and activity.”
Many Bratislavans feared for the fire-damaged building’s fate – after the once beautiful historical structure was engulfed in flames. ( during the Christmas market two years ago). While reconstruction of this national cultural monument on the Main Square continues, the damaged facade has already been returned to its former resplendent glory.
Did you know that it stands on the site of a notable building where Mary Habsburg had sought refuge? She had been the young widow of Hungarian King Louis II Jagelsky who had died in 1526 at the Battle of Mohács.
That Middle Ages Auer burgher family home was demolished in 1906 and replaced by the Art Nouveau bank palace (1911). Kooperativa insurance company is located here today. Mary Habsburg probably stayed in the Auer family home until she moved into the renovated royal mansion on Ventúrska Street. That house in the 17th century played an important role in the history of the Evangelicals, who were in dire straits. After the Turks had destroyed their prayer house, their services in 1683 were held at the house of Ernest Auer, who was an Evangelical Church inspector.
Splendid Café Štefánka – on the corner of Palisády and Štefánikova streets – dates to the beginning of the 20th century. i.e. the Hackenberg dynasty. Located in an 1897 Alexander Feigler building. In 1904 Béla I. Hackenberger became the tenant and operator of the original Mezey Café. He renamed it Café Štefánka (Stephania, Stefánia caféház) – after the widow of heir to the throne Rudolf who committed suicide with his mistress. Café Štefánka was a cult meeting place for Bratislava’s writers, poets, artists, doctors, lawyers, and factory owners for many years.
Ján Smrek recited the verses of his immortal poem “Poet and Woman” to his friends in Café Štefánka. As well as other verses in its pleasant atmosphere… Sculptor Tibor Bártfay likened the café to Montparnasse in Paris. After 1948 Café Štefánka was nationalized and then managed by RaJ (Restaurants and Canteens). Café Štefánka‘s spiritual and architectural betrayal culminated in 1989 when the Old Town’s former management leased the building to a Chinese restaurant. Café Štefánka has now proudly returned to its original name and former fashionable monarchist spirit.
The popular Medical Garden in Bratislava’s Old Town will be revitalized in 2021. “This will be an example of cooperation between the municipality and key players in the Old Town New Com project. And supported by the Old Town Architect Weinwurm Fund,” said Mayor Zuzana Aufrichtová. She also pointed out that published pictures were not the garden’s future form, but rather its Baroque style in 1787. “We have a limited number of historical gardens in Bratislava. Children playing on the grass should know they are playing in a historical Baroque garden. Grassalkovich’s garden was also a pioneer for the socialist government in finding a positive relationship between Baroque and contemporary, and continued to be a popular natural retreat.” The garden’s future design will be decided by public opinion.
While Trnavske mýto market (originally a cattle trade) actually dates back to the late 19th century. A new market opened here in 1981 after the popular central market had made way for Istropolis and moved to Miletičova in the 1960s.
One of Bratislava’s most familiar buildings – is currently rather sadly down-at-heel with many empty units. While no costly redevelopments or reconstructions are planned. New food stalls should nevertheless open over the next six months with the interior suitably restyled. “We want to highlight the whole space by illuminating unique architectural components – such as highlighting the trademark ventilation pipes”. observes Maroš Mačuha – organizer of the successful Street Food na Duláku events.
The aim is to make the place more attractive to customers by offering a quality range of fresh high-quality local farm produce. As well as a large selection of food and drink. After the renovation a large fruit & veg counter will welcome customers at the main entrance. And the site will include a large shop with a wide range of quality regional wines and bottled/draft craft beer. The food court – which will be the new market’s thriving centrepiece – will be located in the middle. Bordered by food outlets and seating areas.
The Church of the Holy Trinity’s post-reconstruction gleaming new white façade has surprised onlookers. Yet research reveals that this had been the original colour of Saint John of Matha Church.
The Church of the Holy Trinity (or simply the Trinity) is a unique city landmark – built by the Trinitarian trinity brothers in 1717, based on the Austrian Baroque architect Johan Lukas von Hildebrandt’s design for the Church of St. Peter in Vienna. Consecrated in 1725, interior adornments continued for a further seven years.
The Trinitarians were a religious order that ransomed Christians from Turkish captivity and were brought to Pressburg (Bratislava) by Leopold Kollonich – the Archbishop of Esztergom. The monastery was built with the help of palatine Count Mikuláš Pálffy and county judge Count Štefan Koháry. Consecrated in 1723, it was further embellished with artistic paintings by Unterhuber, Palko and Ján de Matta. Between 1690 and 1730, Trinitarians redeemed 2,043 Christians from Turkish slavery. By order of Emperor Joseph II, their monastery was closed and turned into a military hospital in 1785.
Having been a yellow-orange colour for many years, the church’s new white paint scheme is a real surprise for citizens.
Bratislava Old Town’s famous Kamenne Námestíe department store has reverted to its original name after many years: Prior. The revamped store will fully open at the end of September. “The 500-person capacity food court with 14 outlets is currently running at 80% capacity. And in just a month it will be fully operational,” said Žilina-based businessman and store owner George Trabelssie. He added that they aim to make the project very attractive to customers. “The Slovak cuisine is complemented by Portuguese, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Iranian, Israeli, Middle East, and so much more.” The ground floor will showcase an exhibition about the original Prior, with memorabilia from the 1960s and ‘70s. The owner will respect the store’s façade and architectural distinction – such as travertine tiles and glockenspiel – which makes it one of the most distinctive buildings in Bratislava.
In September 2020, Eurovea 2 contractors began concreting the foundation slab for the first Slovak skyscraper. 45-floor and 168-high Eurovea Tower will include 389 residences and 1,400 parking spaces.
“The foundations were designed by a statics expert of course, yet we still independently checked the solution. Second structural engineer audited the design and proposed solution. To verify the soil properties as per the geological survey, we performed pile test. It showed the load-bearing capacity of the subsoil and the design’s correctness. Eurovea Tower will be completed mid-2023,” said JTRE’s Kaštan.
“The waterfront promenade will be greatly extended – from Lafranconi Bridge to Apollo,” observed Radoslav Grečmal from GFI architect studio, which prepared the design.
Goose gourmets’ favourite season is served from Saturday 5th September! Goose chefs (husacinars) from Slovenský Grob (just outside Bratislava) are both locally and internationally renowned for their delicious centuries-old recipes for crispy roasted goose and irresistible potato pancakes. In fine autumnal weather enjoy eating in cosy atmospheric courtyards where you will be poured traditional ‘burčiak’ fermented grape must. Or excellent Small Carpathian regional red, white or rose wines – all of which excellently complement the cuisine.
We recommend visiting cosy Guild of Husacinárs family restaurants to fully enjoy the authentic homely goose feast experience. And what better way to follow lunch or dinner than a relaxing stroll around this picturesque viniculture village and a selfie with the village’s symbol – a goose statue in the main square. Bon appetite!
Today Bratislava saw the return of the 1913-built inter-city tram that had operated between Vienna and the Slovak capital from 1914 to 1945, and added to Bratislava’s unique character. When the route was decommissioned, the GANG Eg 5 locomotive was displayed at Mariazell Railway Museum in Austria, while the GANZ Eg 6 was put into “retirement” in excellent condition. However, the tram’s owner nevertheless decided to offer it for sale or even the crushing yard.
Happily, the scrap-destined old tram was rescued at a tune of almost EUR 10,000 – with a similar amount earmarked for full reconstruction. Following this loving care and attention from rail enthusiasts, the beautifully restored tram will once again be ready to grace Bratislava’s tram network for special commemorative trips.
The Slovak Ministry of Transport and Construction has launched the final vote to decide the name of the Danube’s new sixth bridge. Voters can select from Jarovský or Lužný bridge.
“The bridge’s name merits a wide and informed discussion. Now it’s the final decision, so let genuine voters decide and the best name win,” said the minister, Andrej Doležal. Discounted from previous rounds were various names. Mostly M. R. Štefánik Bridge, A. Dubček Bridge, Danube Bridge, and Spanish Bridge – with the latter’s votes excluded due to the questionable veracity of foreign-account voting.
The bridge will open to vehicles in in 2021 as part of the D4 bypass connecting the main bridge and eastern section of the Bratislava, Jarovce – Ivanka, north highway.
The final stage of Bratislava Castle’s renovation has uncovered a unique archeological find – an 11th century wood-earth wall. Matej Ruttkay (director of the Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences) and archaeologist Marián Samuel commented. The preserved timber wall is one of the best examples of such period’s fortifications in Central Europe.
They explained that the original castle probably burned down in the 11th century. Fundamentally changing the area’s character and creating the castle hill relief still familiar to us today. The castle is thought to have stationed a military garrison, as well as that of Polish ruler Boleslav the Brave. He occupied the area for some time.
This oak timber wall is the first example of charred oak wood conservation in Slovakia. The research confirming the uniqueness of this strategic ridge above the Danube. The artefact could be restored by 2023 and exhibited to the general public in 2023.
Demolition of what remains of the Apollo 1 business centre on Bratislava Ružinov’s Plynárenská Street is almost complete. The second building will soon be a thing of the past.
Issues with the business centre’s statics – possible due to overload – first came to light in 2015, following which the tenants were evacuated and the building closed. Although reconstruction had initially been considered, the problem was found to be so advanced that demolition was the only option.
A new building will soon take shape on the site. “The heart of the new project will be an atrium with greenery and colonnade. This – together with an accessible, spacious and high-tech space, bike parking, and event lobby. – embraces the concept of active lifestyle, professional interaction, and inspiration,” explained Martina Jamrichová, HB Reavis Country Marketing & PR Manager.
The eagerly-anticipated architectural competition for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier project has been announced – following a delay due to COVID-19.
This project proposal was approved by the government in April 2019, with an allocated budget of EUR 820,000. The Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic, which submitted the proposal, stated that the project should represent Slovaks’ patriotism and heroism.
The completed design will feature one of Slovakia’s most iconic military symbols – the Blatnica sword held aloft. This Viking-era sword dating to the early ninth century is thought to have belonged to Slavic nobleman from Turčianská Blatnica village (today’s Blatnica).
The ceremonial tomb will be located in the park near the Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic (Bratislava’s Old Town). I.e. alongside the noble statue of Second World War anti-fascist communist official Marek Čulen.
In just a few months, Bolt’s “green scooters” have replaced Slovnaft “yellow bikes” as the short-distance trip hit in Bratislava. Fun as these scooters are, some safety issues also need to be considered. Children or teenagers should only ride Bolt’s scooters after seeking permission from parents or from older siblings, or adult friends. And who also assume legal responsibility in the event of a collision, accident, or damage to the scooter. Here are some basic regulations for scooter riders:
– Road users must be minimum 15 years of age, all other ages can use cycle paths, country lanes, residential areas.
– Scooters can be driven on the right side of pavements. And only at walking speed, and taking care not to endanger or inconvenience pedestrians.
– One scooter = one person.
Bratislava’s Slavín War Memorial (constructed 1960) is undergoing an extensive EUR 2 million reconstruction project with completion scheduled for 2022. Work on the first stage recently began on the stone plinth supporting the famous statue of a soldier. Slavín is the burial place of 6,845 Red Army soldiers.
“This project will also include establishing a new World War II exposition on Slavín. Such work will be based on study proposals and feasibility projects following the release of appropriate funds.” said Katarina Rajčanová, the city’s spokesperson. She added that the reconstruction will repair all problems with the main observation terrace, stairs, monument basement area. And all other wear and tear, as well as the comprehensive revitalization of Slavín’s extensive and popular green areas.
Following reconstruction, it is envisioned that the ceremonial room will be open a few hours daily. And it will be enable the visiting public to pay their solemn respects at this historical place of remembrance.
Bratislava has a wonderful new attraction – a 30-metre high observational Ferris wheel on Vajanské nábrežíe in Bratislava’s Old Town. The city council approved its temporary construction as a much needed boost to local tourism during the corona crisis. as well as providing funds for local government. The vision for an observational ‘eye’ over Bratislava riverside was confirmed by a public opinion poll organised by the city council in March. “This Ferris wheel in the heart of the Old Town delivers a unique and attractive way to enjoy the city’s summer atmosphere. The subtle white wheel is sensitive to the surroundings, with pod windows affording splendid views of the city’s stunning landmarks”. said the Old Town’s spokesperson Martina Štefániková to TASR news agency. One entry costs EUR 6.50, and it will be open from 4 July to 30 September 2020.
The Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic is planning to establish a Museum of the 20th Century. It will be as part of the Slovak National Museum – and the Nations Memory Institute (ÚPN) would like to be involved.
“The period in question is thematically and professionally part of Slovak history, which is ÚPN’s scope of activity. We are already collecting artifacts from former political prisoners, the Communist Party government, and the security service. Such materials could form the basis of the future museum,” said ÚPN spokesman Jerguš Sivoš.
He added that while the ÚPN is currently located in two leased premises, the government is committed to expanding the ÚPN’s remit and standing by integrating its activities into secondary school and university education. The Cabinet also supports raising awareness of Slovak history’s dark totalitarian periods. And honouring the memory of victims of Slovakia’s fascist and communist regimes.
It’s summer in the city and Bratislava has a new riverside beach!
Tyršák (after Miroslav Tyrš) sandy summer paradise is between Aréna Theater and the Old Bridge. You can find there a range of fun activities including a beach sports area for volleyball, tennis and football, and even a giant swing. The normally grassy area has been covered with 650 tons of white sand and 250 sunbeds for relaxation and sunbathing.
The tropical beach atmosphere is complemented by lots of exotic greenery as well as refreshing mist gates for cooling down on steaming summer days. A dedicated food zone has a beach bar, and Yeme, Marinela, Edokin, Al Trivio and NYC Corner concepts. All of them for perfect refreshments on long summer days and sultry evenings.
Cultural activities will include DJ-sets and live music performances, as well as a sand play area for kids and lots of fairground rides. Access to the beach, sun loungers and sports area is completely free and open until the end of September 2020 –fingers crossed for good weather!
Leading artists participated in the #ArtAtZero? ( #UmenieNaNule?) campaign during the recent months of enforced quarantine. It is sharing their creative output through online media. The content will be showcased for posterity on the Kunsthalle Bratislava (KHB) website. PR manager Lila Rose informed the TASR press agency.
The campaign aimed to support active contact between the artworld and fans through short artist videos, and the creation of self-standing art work.
Oto Hudec, Peter Rónai, Viliam Slaminka, Blažej Baláž, András Cséfalvay, Ján Triaška, Ivana Šáteková, Boris Sirka, Monika and Bohuš Kubinskí. Also Stano Masár, and Rudolf Sikora contributed to the reflective period and artistic archiving by sharing their work and opinions. “This video series enables contemporary creators to remain in contact with art lovers.
It communicates their current work, and discuss potential perspectives of quarantined art,” observed KHB director Nina Vrbanová.
The stunning new 21 meter-high lookout tower on Devínská Kobyla – which began construction in April 2020 – is almost ready to welcome its first visitors. The lookout is located on the former army site where its predecessor stood. It will open as soon as the remaining level is completed.
The seven-story high has seven viewpoints – with the most awe-inspiring at the top of course. Visitors with a head for heights can look forward to views of the Alps and Vienna, as well as Nitra’s Zobor on clear days. The tower is accessible to everyone – walkers and cyclists. Devínská Nová Ves council – which commissioned the project – will run the tower as a free-entry attraction.
It will be closed in winter months.
The twentieth anniversary of Bratislava’s open-air Summer Shakespeare Festival is ready and raring to go! It is scheduled for 25 July to 12 August 2020 – despite the recent corona virus disruption. Due to it seating capacity for performances will be reduced.
The programme – held at atmospheric Bratislava Castle – will atypically start with a finale: Othello (directed by Michal Vajdička) on 24 July, concluding four performances in five years at the festival. “We will then continue with last year’s premiere of Romeo & Juliet (directed by Doda Gombár) from 30 July, and Comedy of Errors (Roman Polák) from 6 August.
We are also preparing a special Open Shakespeare concert project to commemorate this twentieth theatrical milestone,” adds event director Janka Zednikovičová. Keep up-to-date about news and updates at www.wshakespeare.sk and on social networks.
The Slovak National Theatre’s current Bratislava season prematurely ended on April 30. Since that time, the theatre management’s team has been preparing dramaturgical plans for the forthcoming 2020/2021 season. A detailed performance schedule from September when the first audiences should be welcomed back.
Until the end of June, the theatrical spaces will be utilised to rehearse productions that had been programmed in March just before premieres. The SND’s media spokesperson Izabela Pažitková highlighted that during this quarantine period, productions have instead successfully been shown on YouTube. And it was with high viewing numbers.
“We aim to return to live performances to live audiences as soon as possible. And in June, SND ensemble members will meet-and-greet fans at the square between the new SND building and Eurovea shopping centre,” Izabela concluded.
Bratislava Zoo in Mlynska Dolina celebrated its 60th anniversary on Saturday, May 9th 2020. The capital city’s zoo began to be constructed in 1959, opening the following year on May 9th.
From its very first decades the zoo enjoyed success, for example as one of the first in Europe to breed lynx. “The special breeding of antelopes, baboons, fallow deer and roe deer are especially noteworthy. We achieved outstanding successes with the first artificial breeding of spotted leopards and grazing hyenas in the-then Czechoslovakia,” said a zoo spokesperson.
The zoo unveiled DinoPark in 2004, a unique Central European exposition of Mesozoic reptiles.
There is also new enclosures for carnivores and primates. In July 2014, the Farmstead (Sedliacky Dvor) section showcased a petting zoo.
The forest part opened a new enclosure for Eurasian wolves. A new enclosure and breeding facility for brown bears is also in the pipeline. As of the latest headcount in December 2019, Bratislava Zoo has 1290 creatures great and small comprising 183 species.
We’ve discovered an interesting and still relevant – even after 30 years – exhibition by Professor Ľuba Stacha. Its name is Svetlo a citlivá vrstva (Light & Sensitive Layer) at Pálffy Palace Bratislava City Gallery (GMB).
It examines the period of social turbulence and cultural change after November 1989. Exhibition visitors can see various forms of surface and spatial photography – both large-scale and the recording of moving sunlight onto the wall and floor. Exhibition curator Lucia L. Fišerová has also highlighted the photographer’s experimental approach, which is both visually-appealing and socially-engaging.
Also interesting is the video that documents the extraordinary events in Bratislava accompanied by the song Pravda víťazí (Truth Wins) by Tublatanka (a famous Slovak rock band). The exhibition continues until October 13th 2019.
On May 10th 2019, the ice hockey world championship started in Bratislava and Košice – at stadiums as well as Fanzones. At the weekend we checked out the popular Fanzone. It is in front of Istropolis in Bratislava which can welcome up to 9000 enthusiastic fans! Entry is free, and everything is available to relax, have a great time, and enjoy the hockey matches.
The Fanzone is presented by a Fun Radio DJ. It comprises official partner sections as well as a stage and refreshment stands. Younger fans can enjoy a VR simulator, hockey shoot-outs. Additional lots of great selfie-points with hockey players’ faces, as well as face painting and team stickers. We had a really great time!
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