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Bratislava Travel guide

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BRATISLAVA - the Capital of the Slovak Republic

Bratislava is the seat of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, the Government of the Slovak Republic, national ministries and the other central bodies of the state administration of the Slovak Republic. It is situated in the centre of Europe in the south-western part of Slovakia. It borders with Hungary in the south and with Austria in the west. The town spreads like a fan on the territory of 367,9 km2, on both banks of the Danube River at the foot of the Low Carpathians at the height of 127-514 m a.s. l. Thanks to its position on the border between the mild and warm climatic zones, it ranks among the warmest spots in Slovakia with an average temperature of 9,9°C. It has 1976,4 hours of sunshine a year and an annual total rainfall is 527,4 mm. Bratislava is the largest town in Slovakia with its population of 450000.

Bratislava

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Bratislava Travel information

Bratislava guide

BRATISLAVA TOURISM

The outstanding location of Bratislava provides conditions for tourism and recreational sports in the area of the town and its near surroundings. The wide network of sport facilities serves not only the citizens but also visitors to the town.

Summer tourism

The Bratislava Forest Park is accessible by public transport. It is a grouping of leafy forests serving for recreation; its area is about 17,056 ha. It includes forests in the southern part of the Low Carpathians and some marshy forests on both banks of the Danube River from the confluence with the Morava up to Cunovo. It has a hilly character at 200 - 400 m above sea level and only sporadically with higher hills such as Devinska Kobyla (514 m) and Kamzík (440 m). A wide network of quiet, dustless roads and tourist paths connecting the most frequently visited recreational facilities and distant towns cut through the forests.

Cyclo-tourism

The most sought after places for cyclo-tourism are the routes along the Danube branches from Devinska Nova Ves up to Devin. The routes in Petrzalka are linked with cycle paths in Austria leading to the small town of Hainburg, a crossroad of two interesting long-distance European tourist routes.

Riding

The riding area in Old Grove (Stary haj) attracts horse lovers. There is an indoor riding school, training and racecourse there. Horse racing has a long tradition; the first classical racing event took place here in 1868. The town of Samorin, 24 km from Bratislava, is known from breeding race and stud horses. Horse race international championships take place here on three racecourses.

Golf

Golf is one of the youngest sports in Slovakia. In Bernolakovo - 5 km from Bratislava - there is a 9-hole course in the historic manor house park.

Skiing

Near Bratislava there are favourable slopes for downhill and slalom skiers. The Kamzik Hill in Bratislava´s Forest Park, and the ground above Raca, then the surroundings in Svaty Jur, Baba and Zochova chata provide the best possibilities for skiing. The Low Carpathians offer excellent conditions for tourist walks and cross-country skiing.

Summer Bobsleigh Track

360 m long, 140 m in the forest and 220 m in meadowland, height difference 40.8 m, 10 turns, 1 jump, 1 bridge. Transport capacity 300 persons per hour.
Koliba, Cvicna luka (skiing training ground)
Mon. - Sun.: 10.00 a.m.-1.00 p.m., 2.00 p.m.-7.00 p.m.

Bratislava Sights, sightseeing, culture:

Bratislava sights

Bratislava Castle

With its rich history dominates the town. The earliest settlements on the hill date back to the Late Stone Age. Later it became part of the Celtic Oppidum and after of the Roman fortification Limes Romanus. With the arrival of the Slavs in the area extensive fortified settlements were built here and the hill became an important political and spiritual centre of the Great Moravian Empire. In the 10th century, when the region was incorporated into the recently established Hungarian state, a new defensive castle, built of stone, was erected on the hill. This castle became the seat of district administration - a "comitate" castle. In the 15th century, during the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg, the castle was rebuilt in the Gothic style as an anti-Hussite fortress with its walls on the foundations of the earlier Great Moravian structure. The castle has preserved its quadrilateral layout from the 15th century. In each succeeding century the castle has been altered or rebuilt. In the 18th century it was remodelled and became a royal residence. During the reign of Joseph II the castle was adapted to become a general seminary for the education of Catholic clergy. Anton Bernolák, who laid the foundations for the first codification of the Slovak language, studied here. Later the castle served as military barracks and in 1811 was accidentally burnt down by the soldiers. In 1953 the last reconstruction began. Now in the castle are staterooms of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Government of the Slovak Republic and exhibitions of the Slovak National Museum.

Slovak National Theatre

Today's Slovak National Theatre was built in 1886 based on the designs of the Viennese architects F. Fellner and H. Helmer who specialised in theatres throughout Central Europe. They designed for Bratislava a Neo-Renaissance building with a stone sculpture group of Thalia above the cupola. Artists such as F. Šaľjapin, P. Mascani, Richard Strauss and G. Filip performed here. Currently, the opera and ballet are hosted there. Its soloists P. Dvorský, J. Galla, E. Jenisová perform on the world’s most prestigious stages. The First Savings Bank financed the Ganymede Fountain in front of the theatre in 1888. It recalls a scene from Greek mythology.

Blue Church

The church together with the parish and nearby High School formed whole complex built in 1909-1913 in Art Nouveau according to the project by a Budapest architect Edmund Lechner. The church is interested for its blue colour of plaster, blue mosaic and blue-glazed majolica of rooting. The church is consecrated to Saint Elisabeth oh Hungary, daughter of Andrew II and she was born in the Bratislava Castle. On the facade of the church there is a mosaic of Saint Elisabeth with roses, according to the legend of her life. Painting of Saint Elisabeth is also on the main altar.

Church and Monastery of the Sisters of Order of St. Elisabeth

A hospital of Saint Elisabeth, where women were treated was mentioned already in year 1420 but later it disappeared. Thanks to archbishop of Esztergom Imrich Esterházy they built in years 1739-1745 monastery with hospital and single nave church of Saint Elisabeth according to the project of the Viennese architect F. A. Pilgram. Saint Elisabeth was daughter of king Andrew II and she was born in the Bratislava Castle in 1207. The church is built in Baroque style with the statues of Saint Stephen and Saint Ladislav (Hungarian kings) and Saint Elisabeth with the begger on the front. Inside in the vaults there are paintings of Viennese painter Pavol Troger that also proposed painting of Saint Elisabeth on main altar as well as paintings on side altars (Holy Family, Mourning).

Franciscan Church

Walking along St. Ursula Street (Uršulínska ulica) we come to the Gothic Franciscan Church, consecrated in the presence of the Hungarian king Andrew III (Ondrej III) who granted municipal privileges to Bratislava in 1291. The church was several times altered; the Chapel of St. John the Evangelist has been preserved. This two-floor chapel, dating from the 14th century, which belonged to the mayor of Bratislava, is one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in Slovakia.

St. Martin's Cathedral

The street between the parcan and the castle wall leads to St. Martin's Cathedral, a three-aisle Gothic church built on the site of a Romanesque church. Its construction started at the beginning of the 14th century but the church was not consecrated until 1452 due to unfavourable political circumstances. The interior of the church was completed over the centuries and culminated in the 18th century when, on the invitation of Imrich Eszterházy, Archbishop of Esztergom, the famous Austrian sculptor Georg Rafael Donner arrived in Bratislava. He designed the main altar and the Baroque Chapel of St. John Mendicant.
The church tower was built at the same as the three-aisle construction of the church and performed the role of a defensive fortification, because it was part of the municipal fortification. It got its present shape after several alterations in the first half of the 19th century. On the 85-meter-high steeple there is a golden pillow (2x2 m) which carries a copy of the Hungarian royal crown as a sign that St. Martin's Cathedral was the coronation church of Hungarian kings in the 16th century. From 1563 to 1830, 11 Hungarian kings and 8 royal wives were crowned here.

The Church of Merciful Brothers

In the second half of the 17th century the Merciful Brothers arrived in Bratislava at the invitation of the Archbishop of Esztergom. They built their monastery, church and hospital in the free space. The mother Monastery of the Order of Merciful Brothers in Vienna served as the model for it. The hospital played an important role during the plague in 1710 -1713. In the first half of the 20th century the markets successively disappeared.

Church of the Order of the Holy Trinity

In front of the entrance gate to the town stands the Baroque Church of the Order of the Holy Trinity built in the first third of the 18th century. It is the most beautiful Baroque building in the town. The interior is a copy of St. Peter's Cathedral in Vienna. The church and the monastery were built by the Order of the Holy Trinity. The former monastery standing in the neighbourhood of the church was rebuilt for the needs of the district administration house in the middle of the 19th century.

Michael's Gate

Along Baštová Street we reach Michael's Street (Michalská ulica). This street, one of the oldest in the town, originates in the long-distance road leading from the North Sea to the Danube ford where people settled long before the foundation of the town. It leads to the only preserved gate from the medieval fortifications - Michael's Gate (Michalská brána). Its Gothic tower was built in the first half of the 14th century, it was raised in the 16th century and the present day shape dates to the 18th century. In the tower there is the Exhibition of Arms and Municipal Fortification. Built in the barbican of Michael's Gate stands a Baroque house dating from the second half of the 18th century. The Museum of Pharmacy is situated in it. In the historic rooms of the former pharmacy known as Pharmacy "At the Red Crayfish", one can find a unique exhibition of equipment of genuine historical pharmacies.

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