Top Bratislava Sights

Bratislava Castle or Hrad sits on a hill overlooking the city. Initially a Roman frontier post, there has been a castle at this site since the 9th century. In 1881, it was reduced to rubble due to a fire and wasn’t reconstructed until the mid 1900s. Its appearance has been likened to an upside down table with four corner towers that look like table legs.

The Castle is worth a visit for the various rooms of The History Museum and the National Museum as well as the panoramic views over the city.

St. Martin’s Cathedral is Bratislava’s foremost Gothic structure. The church, originally built in the 13th century in the Romanesque style, was replaced by a 3-nave Gothic Dome in the late 14th century. 

In the 16th century, the Dome became the coronation church of Hungarian kings and there were 19 Hungarian Emperors including Maria Theresia crowned in the cathedral until the 19th century.

The Palace, built in 1778 and located in the centre of Old Town is considered as one the most beautiful building in Bratislava. Its pale pink and white exterior is topped with various marble statues and a large cast iron cardinal’s hat.

The palace is filled with large oil portraits of Hapsburg royalty, including one from 1742 of Marie Therese at her coronation. Another major attraction in the palace is the ornate Hall of Mirrors. Although built on a smaller scale than Versailles, the Hall is still an impressive sight as well as being historically significant. It was here that Napoleon and Francis I signed the Treaty of Pressberg (Bratislava’s former name) in 1805.

It is one of the most beautiful pieces of Art Nouveau architecture in the world. The Second Church of St. Elizabeth or the Blue Little Church (Modry kostolik) was built from 1907-1913 according to the design of Hungarian architect Odon Lechner. Today, the Blue Church also has a high school and rectory.

The Blue Church has one nave and a cylindrical tower and the exterior design is of the Hungarian Art Nouveau style and is decorated with bright and beautiful blue majolica tiles. Majolica is a tile indigenous to Slovakia and is manufactured in the city of Modra (Western Slovakia). The roof is also decorated with glazed blue tiles.

The Old Town Hall arose in the 15th century by connecting several burgher houses, and then went through several reconstructions in the course of the centuries. After the earthquake of 1599, it was reconstructed in Renaissance style, while the town-hall tower was rebuilt in baroque style in the 18th century.

At the bottom, you can find a table with the date of February 1850, marking the high water level when the Danube flooded. There is a seat of Municipal museum, the oldest museum in Bratislava, as it was founded in 1868.

St. Michael’s Gate and Street are one of Bratislava’s popular sights and is a quaint street lined with many shops and restaurants. Most of the building on the Michalska Ulica (street) date from the 18th Century and have survived several wars, occupations and Communist rule, which was notorious for tearing down historic buildings

On the top of the street there is St. Michael’s Gate – the only preserved gate of the medieval city fortifications. Its Gothic foundations were laid in the 1st half of the 14th century. A statue of St. Michael was placed on the top of the 51-metre high tower. At present, the Museum of Weapons and City Fortifications is located within the tower.

The old building of Slovak National Theatre in the Neo-Renaissance style is located at the end of Hviezdoslav Square (Hviezdoslavovo námestie). It was built in 1885-1886 during the time of Austria-Hungary, based on a design by the Viennese architects R. Fellner and H. Helmer who designed theatre buildings in 10 European countries. It was opened as the City Theatre on September 22, 1886. A native sculptor Victor Tilgner crafted the famous Ganymede’s Fountain in 1888, now located immediately in front of the theatre.

A new building of SNT is located next to Eurovea. Due to a lack of funds, the building was under construction with long interruptions for 21 years. The building was finally opened on April 14, 2007 and it houses all three ensembles of the Slovak National Theatre, although the ensembles continue to use the old building in the Old Town in parallel. 

Devin Castle above the confluence of the rivers Danube and Morava is one of the three oldest historically acknowledged castles in Slovakia. The village of Devin is now a part of Bratislava. The castle played an important role as a boundary fortress as a part of the Limes Romanus fortifications against enemies at the times of the Roman Empire and as a military station and trade center at the times of the Great Moravian Empire the first Slavic state.

Devin Castle has been a National cultural monument since 1961. Nowadays the castle serves as a museum.

Slovakia’s White House – the home to Slovakia’s President, Grassalkovich Palace was once the home and meeting place for several members of the Austro-Hungarian and Habsburg aristocracy. Grassalkovich Palace was built in the 1760’s by Count Anton Grassalkovich, the President of the Royal Hungarian Chamber and advisor to the Empress Maria Theresia.

Grassalkovich Palace is guarded 24 hours a day by an honour guard who can be seen marching in front of the castle daily by visitors. Grassalkovich Palace is situated in a huge, open park with a Baroque garden that is open to the public, even when the President is in residence.

Novy Most or Most SNP (New Bridge or SNP Bridge) was completed and opened to traffic in 1971. Unlike most monstrosities of Slovak Communist architecture, the Novy Most with its UFO Tower became an iconic symbol of Bratislava.

If you want more spectacular views of Bratislava and its castle, it is worth a climb up to the observation deck on top of the Novy Most Bridge on the outskirts of the Slovak capital. Take the elevator 95 meters up to the observation deck. The tower belongs to the World Federation of Great Towers

The Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, one of the most romantic museums of modern art in Europe, is situated 20 kilometers south of Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic. It was founded by Gerard Meulensteen of Eindhoven, a Dutch collector and art patron, and Vincent Polakovic, a Slovak gallerist.

The best time to visit the Danubiana Meulensteen is from May through October, when you can take a riverboat cruise from Bratislava’s city center. Modern art fans will enjoy getting to sample the best works from recent and current Slovak artists. The large museum also hosts many eclectic, funky, and trendy temporary exhibits throughout the year.

This memorial is dedicated to the Soviet Army soldiers who lost their lives while liberating the city from the occupying Germans. Slavin lies on a hill just behind the Bratislava Castle. Many people head up here for the views, but the monument, which dates to 1960, is also an interesting example of Stalinist architectural style.

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