BRATISLAVA, CARREFOUR D’HISTOIRE, DE CULTURE ET D’EXPERIENCES
Jacques J. CAMPE
Located on the banks of the Danube, Bratislava is the capital of the Slovak Republic, a member of the European Union since 2004, of the Euro Zone and of the Schengen Area. With its 325,000 inhabitants, the “small big city” is the only capital to share a border with two other EU states: Austria and Hungary. Vienna Airport is only 65 km and 40 minutes drive from the city center. Bratislava enjoys a record tourist attendance: 1.2 million visitors in 2016, an increase of 15% compared to 2015 and with a further increase expected in 2017. To celebrate this performance, the city obtained on June 1 the GOLDEN APPLE (Golden Apple), equivalent to the OSCAR DU TOURISME, awarded by the International Federation of Tourism Journalists and Writers (FIJET).
A little history The first inhabitants settled in the Stone Age before becoming an Oppidum in the first century BC and moving to the southern territories of the Roman Empire. In the 9th century, the city was incorporated into the Great Moravian Empire and then fell into the fold of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1526. Hungarian kings and queens were crowned there between 1563 and 1830. It remained an integral part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 'at the end of World War II under the name PRESSBURG. On January 1, 1993, Slovakia became an independent country by separating from Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic).
Main places to visit
Combining history and modern infrastructure, Bratislava is a vibrant and bustling city with a city center where multiple cultural events are held throughout the year.
The medieval town
The Grand’Place (Hlavné Namestie) with the Old Town Hall,
the Green House, the Apponyi Palace, the French Embassy, the Jesuit Church, the Maxim fountain and the statue of a Napoleonic soldier
The Place des Franciscains with the eponymous church, the Maison à l’Oriel, the Mirbach Palace,
the Column of Our Lady of Victory and the House of the Black Crow
Two interesting statues can be found in adjacent streets: the Voyeur or Rubberneck depicting a workman whose head protrudes from a sewer, as well as the Schöne Naci, a famous local eccentric from the first half of the 19th century, known for his elegance
The Place du Primat with its eponymous Palace with magnificent rooms decorated with tapestries and its private chapel
The streets of Venturska, Panska and Michalska are home to superb buildings, including the Csahy, Keglevich and Palffy Palaces, the Royal Chamber of Hungary and the former Red Crayfish Pharmacy (museum). Michalska Street ends with the 51-meter tower of Porte St Michel
which marks the border between medieval and modern towns. Beyond the door is the Church of the Trinity
The Barbican and the Church of the Poor Clares
St Martin’s Cathedral and its sparkling 85-meter tower
surmounted by a golden crown. 10 kings, one queen (Marie-Thérèse)
and 8 royal spouses were crowned there. Near the cathedral, you can admire the best-preserved part of the city’s walls and fortifications
Hviezdoslav Square named after the eponymous poet and playwright whose statue stands in the middle of the Promenade. To see: the neo-Renaissance National Theater (1886)
and its neo-Baroque Ganymede fountain, the Church and Monastery of Our Lady, the Redoubt, seat of the Slovak Philharmonic, the Carlton Hotel, the Csomo, Palffy and Nester Palaces and the Kern House. Going towards the Danube, we still find the statue of Hans Christian Andersen and the Plague Column at the end of the Prome
La Colline du Château
The Castle Hill Before starting the climb, see the corner yellow house of Bon Pasteur. The entrance to the castle is through the Porte de Vienne. The Royal Castle, symbol of Bratislava, underwent its final restorations a few years ago. After visiting the castle, take a stroll through the gardens which offer superb panoramas over the city and the Danube. Exit through Porte Sigismond. On the hill we still find the Slovak Parliament (1986-1994), St Nicholas Church, an old town hall and a water tower.
Avant d’entamer la montée, voir la maison jaune en coin du Bon Pasteur. L’entrée du château se fait par la Porte de Vienne. Le Château Royal, symbole de Bratislava, a connu ses ultimes restaurations il y a quelques années. Après la visite du château, se promener dans les jardins qui offrent de superbes panoramas sur la ville et le Danube. Sortie par la Porte Sigismond.
Sur la colline, on trouve encore le Parlement slovaque (1986-1994), l’église St Nicolas, un ancien hôtel de ville et un château d’eau.
The new city
Before starting the climb, see the corner yellow house of Bon Pasteur. The entrance to the castle is through the Porte de Vienne. The Royal Castle, symbol of Bratislava, underwent its final restorations a few years ago. After visiting the castle, take a stroll through the gardens which offer superb panoramas over the city and the Danube. Exit through Porte Sigismond.
On the hill we still find the Slovak Parliament (1986-1994), St Nicholas Church, an old town hall and a water tower.
To see: the Blue Church of St. Elizabeth, the Grassalkovich Presidential Palace
its gardens, the Episcopal Summer Palace, the buildings of the National Bank and Slovak Radio and, on a hill, the Slavin, the largest War Memorial in Central Europe built in 1957-60. The central pylon measures 39.5 meters with on the upper part the sculpture of the Triumphant Soldier holding a flag. 6845 soldiers are buried in the cemetery.
the Natural History Museum and the Slovak National Museum
Bridges over the Danube
SNP (Slovak National Uprising) Bridge (1967-72), 432 meters high, 7,537 tonnes, at the top of the platform
panoramic and gourmet restaurant UFO
– The Apollo Bridge, the most recent (2005), 835 meters long, 5,240 tons
– The Television Tower with its rotating gourmet restaurant ALTITUDE
Outside the city
The DEVIN suburb, the Chatam Sofer Memorial.
This Jewish cemetery was created in 1670 and operated until 1847; it was transferred in 1942 but the graves of 23 rulers can still be seen in an underground passage. It is one of the most important places
of Jewish pilgrimage to the world, visited regularly by thousands of believers.
DEVIN is located at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers which marks the border between Slovakia and Austria. The Freedom Gate monument commemorates the existence and disappearance of the Iron Curtain.
The ruins of the castle are impressive with its three floors built on a rock which constitute the lower castle, the intermediate castle and the upper castle.
Bratislava is a major European tourist destination for a long weekend and a
ideal base for exploring beautiful Slovakia.