Bratislava, without infamy and without praise ...

Who I am
Martí Micolau

Author and references

The Slovak Republic (Slovensko or Slovensk? Republika in Slovak)? a republic of central Europe, with its capital city of Bratislava. It borders the Czech Republic to the north-west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south and Austria to the southwest. The Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic were born on 1? January 1993 from the peaceful division (also called velvet separation) of Czechoslovakia that already? since 1990 it had taken the name of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic. Contrary to what often happens in states that have recently reached independence,? It is important to underline that the Slovaks have no resentment against their former Czech compatriots. The name Bratislava? was decided by a public competition. The inhabitants did not like the German name of Pressburg with which it was defined when it was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary under the rule of the Habsburgs. In fact, the Austrians who flock to Bratislava by the thousands every weekend keep calling it that. The Slovak capital, in fact, is located 60 km from Vienna, but also 200 from Budapest and 300 from Prague.

1 day

22 June
After the night spent in Rome as usual, we leave Ciampino at 15:35 with a Ryanair flight and land at Letisko MR Stef? Nik airport in Bratislava at 13:35. As per the program studied before, we take bus 61, only with l? help of a nice hostess who speaks very well l? Italian and helps us to understand the functioning of the machine that sells the tickets, (only the machines at the stops deliver tickets that are not in public establishments like us, remember if you go to Bratislava!) Do we arrive at the Hlavn railway station? Stanica and after 93 we arrive at our Hotel, or rather the? Botel? Gracia, a floating hotel on the Danube River! Very quaint with great views of the famous bridge! Public transport for information? very efficient, even if oversized in my opinion, includes 9 tram lines, 13 of trolleybuses and 60 of buses that run from? dawn until 23:00, more? 20 night bus lines. Maybe a subway was more? appropriate. (editor's note) We arrange the luggage, one also arranged for us and immediately to the tourist office for information. Tomorrow we will go to Dev? N interesting site about 13 km. The temperature ? pretty cool. Let's go back walking along the riverside and have dinner at the restaurant of? hotel located on the roof garden: tasty soup kuracia polievka (chicken broth), pieces of meat and rezance (noodles) and the famous national dish? bryndzov? kalusky? a delicious mix of kalusky (potato dumplings) with bryndza (soft sheep's milk cheese) with fried onions and bacon. Of course great Slovak beer! L? impact ? explosive, not light food at all! Tomorrow and the other days at? Lunch? just a sweet or an ice cream? ..

2 day

23 June
Shall we start our visit from Ribn? Namestie the square near the pier to which? anchored our hotel-boat? which actually represents l? entrance of the historic center or the city? Old.
In this square, in memory of a terrible plague epidemic of 1713, stands a column with the Holy Trinity? on a triangular base at whose corners there are statues of three saints considered protectors against the plague: San Rocco-San Carlo Borromeo-San Andrea. The statues of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception are placed on two side pedestals. Such frequent monuments in the city? and villages in Slovakia are called "plague stakes".
We arrive in Hviezdoslavovo namestie (unpronounceable name) dedicated to Pavol Orsz? Gh Hviezdoslav playwright, translator and poet from Slovakia, briefly a member of parliament. Literary scholars consider it one of the most? important Slovak poets of all time. All? beginning c ?? the statue of Hans Christian Andersen depicted with a hat in his hand, a snail near his feet and with a small child wearing a cylindrical hat on his left shoulder. Did the famous fairy tale author stop? in Bratislava where, due to a series of circumstances (a fairy tale painted on the walls of a house and the fire that hit the village of Devin), the? Little Match Girl? was born. Pi? what a square? a grand tree-lined avenue with fountains, cafes, bars, restaurants and a giant chessboard used in summer. These days it hosts stands of typical Italian products. C? ? the Sicilian part with the famous cannoli but? .. are not the genuine ones ?.
At the bottom of the square is the fountain of Zeus who kidnaps Ganymede, the Teatro dell? Opera and on the right the splendid building? Reduta? in an eclectic style that houses the Philharmonic. The characteristic? Little trains? who carry out tourist tours.
Today Dev? N Castle (Hrad Dev? N) awaits us. By bus, exactly the 29 that passes right near the? hotel, we arrive at the site considered the historical and cultural center of Slovakia. L? settlement? dated to 5000 BC and? been dominated by Celts, Romans and Hungarians until Napoleon who blew it up in 1809? located 212 meters high at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers, therefore the ideal place to build a practically impregnable fortress. Along the way you will come across the? Monument to 1968? dedicated to those who tried to cross the Danube to go west to the free countries. Those who did not drown were shot. The path to the top? steep and tiring to go but the view? wonderful both on the two rivers and on the town of Dev? n. The castle has four gates: Dev? N, Bratislava, Danube and Morava and the opposite hill, Devinska Kobyla,? a? protected area and intended as a natural park. On the vast square a very deep well! Before getting on the pi? high c ?? a stall with replica objects d? medieval times such as swords, daggers, shields run by two girls in costume. C? ? even a helmet with a lot of horns, the photo? d? obligation!
The pi? fascinating and particular of the castle? certainly the Tower of the Virgin, a small tower poised on a rock shrouded in mystery. In fact, is it said that a young woman committed suicide? jumping from this tower, following the? killing of her future husband at the hands of his own family who did not share there? Union. Obviously ? only a legend but remains for? a mistery.
Archaeological research work has brought to light numerous finds and the foundations of a 1961th century Christian church with three apses and a long nave and the remains of a st century AD Roman tower. In , Devin Castle? been declared a national monument
Inside the castle there is a small exhibition of objects found during the excavations, reporting cos? in light of a real slice of history to be discovered.
The return to Bratislava we decide to do it with the boat that crosses the Danube and that will stop us? right near our hotel. Note that the route with the current in favor takes only 30 minutes while to get from Bratislava upstream it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes!
Approaching we see the famous Most SNP bridge that we will see shortly and the Castle and the Cathedral that we will visit in the next few days.
We go to the famous Most SNP bridge (Slovensk? N? Rodn? Povstanie, or Slovak National Uprising) new name of the Novi Most (New Bridge) built in 1972 that for? I bring to? demolition of over 200 buildings in the city? Old (about 2/3 of the total) and dell? entire Jewish quarter. This ? the first asymmetrical suspension bridge to have been built in Slovakia and the second of its kind in the world. The steel road belt? hanging from a single inclined pylon, placed on the right bank of the Danube,? 430,8 meters long, 21 meters wide with two runways: above the vehicles and below, on both sides, two carriageways for pedestrians and bicycles. On its top, 84,6 meters high, it supports a structure called UFO, in fact it looks like a flying saucer, which houses a revolving panoramic restaurant once destined for the Communist Party? The bold structure of the building was desired by the regime to demonstrate its strength and efficiency to the world. From the base of the tower, in steel and reinforced concrete,? possible to get on the lift inclined by 45? (reminds us of the inclinator of the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas) to the restaurant and from here, with a narrow staircase, to the panoramic dome at 95 meters high. The wind at this? height ? very strong but the view? breathtaking! A 360-degree overview of the whole city. Can you? see the castle, the city? ancient, Petr? alka, the district built in the communist era, which extends as far as the eye can see beyond the river, with its sad and anonymous apartment blocks and the mountains on the horizon.
We go down and after a refreshment in the hotel, we head towards the center to have dinner. We already had glimpsed a nice place, the Caf? Caf? whose catchy name intrigued us. Indeed? a well decorated modern restaurant. This time we always order dumplings but of another shape and cooked in a particular way: seasoned with butter, garnished with chopped walnuts and sprinkled with icing sugar. Special taste! You don't serve fruit and coffee? ? discreet? ..
Walk along the Danube to admire the bridge with its illuminated UFO. Good night and see you tomorrow.

3 day

24 June
Today we go out early, we have an appointment with the famous? Statues? of Bratislava! Shall we pass through Hlavn? namestie, the main square which from the thirteenth century? the center of city life. The central fountain known as di? Massimiliano, represents right there? emperor with l? armor? the Roland. According to the legend, on New Year's he turns and starts walking! All? corner of the square with Ryb? rska Brana here is? Schone Naci? (the beautiful? Ignazio), the? dandy? of Bratislava. Was Ignac Lamar a well-known figure in the early 20's? century a disgraced and mentally ill gentleman from unrequited love, striding through the streets of Bratislava in an old, but elegant, velvet suit, greeting passersby with his top hat and bowing politely to the passing ladies. The City? Old Town of Bratislava (Star? Mesto)? perfectly preserved and entirely pedestrian, it gathers around the Main Square (Hlavn? namestie) where markets, riots and executions have taken place over the centuries. Today ? dominated by the Town Hall with the tower and, above all, the restaurants and bars where Slovaks and tourists sip beers at any time of day throughout the day. year. The old Town Hall (Star? Radnica)? the sum of three architectural styles as evidence of the five centuries during which? been used. The Jesuit Church with a magnificent carved door is included in the structure. In front of the French embassy, ​​the statue of the Napoleonic soldier leaning on a bench. Not far away that of a sentry in his sentry box. On the corner of Laurinsk? and Radnicn? the statue of the? paparazzo? who armed with a telephoto lens? ready to take a picture. But the statue more? famous? certainly that of Cumil, also known as the Voyeur, the strange little man peeking out of a manhole at? corner of Pansk Street? and via Laurinsk ?. Although it is not known for sure if Cumil has just finished cleaning the sewer, or is peeking under the skirts, the fact is that the unusual sculpture? certainly one of the most? funny. It must be said that more? once poor Cumil? been beheaded due to careless motorists, so much so that? it was necessary to put a road sign to signal its presence!
With tram 1 (we stocked up with coins!) We go to visit a curiosity? that few know: the Spirit Hotel.
Spirit Hotel or better to say? Crazy Hotel? ? located in the main train station district. ? considered one of the best hotels strange in the world. Painted in a blaze of pastel hues, with its striking fairytale look and avant-garde architectural design,? now a rarity? of Bratislava. Unfortunately we have no information on the architect of this crazy building, wonderful example of architecture d? vanguard.
Going south we come across another strange building: the inverted pyramid of the Slovak Radio. Even if the structure? very daring,? been included in the list of the 30 most buildings? ugly in the world ... but the judgment? subjective ... Near c ?? the Piazza della Libert? cos? named after the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The statue of Communist leader Klement Gottwald was removed and a flower-shaped steel fountain placed in its place. All for? pours into sad abandon ?.
We are now in the Presidential Palace. Built as a summer residence by Count Anton Grassalkovich in 1760, it became the center of the? high society of Bratislava and was also frequented by Maria Teresa D? Austria in the summer months. Behind it a public park. It was then used as the residence of the President of the Slovak Republic in 1940. On the square in front of the fountain? Earth, planet of peace ?, a very popular meeting place for young people. Continuing here? a? another abandoned attraction: in Hurbanovo no mestie strange metal objects placed on the lawn and resembling manholes that should have been a carillon that played passing over them ?.
In front of the baroque church of the SS Trinit? with frescoes by? Italian Antonio Galli Bibiena and a little more? ahead the Church of S. Stefano. The statue at? external? curiously called? helicopter? by the locals.
Near c ?? the Mirbachov Palace, a splendid example of Baroque architecture, and the Palazzo del Primate, that is of the? archbishop, in neoclassical style also famous for the cardinal's hat in iron weighing 150 kg placed on top of the coat of arms on the pediment. From the courtyard of the palace you enter another courtyard, that of the Ruttkay-Vrutocky palace in which c? ? a fountain with four statues of children pee ?! The fountain was originally in the main square as part of the monument to Maximilian but were moved in the eighteenth century why? considered in bad taste. A strange ritual takes place before our eyes: some young people in costume d? era crown willing passersby to celebrate the glorious past of the city? on the occasion of the feast of? Coronation as King of Hungary of Charles VI of Habsburg, later also Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. On the streets of the procession, which started from St. Martin's Cathedral continuing along Kapitulsk?, Prepostsk ?, Venturska and Sedlaska, 178 brass crowns are set to mark the route.
Dinner at the quaint? Linos Bistro? run by all young people. We eat very well!

4 day

25 June
Bratislava Castle.
Also called? Overturned table? from the inhabitants, dominates from? high the city? with its fortifications. Due to its important strategic position, the hill on which the castle stands was inhabited since the fourth century BC first by the Celts, then by the Romans. In the 907th century, the Slavs built a castle, a Moravian bulwark on the Danube and a basilica, of which the foundations remain on the eastern side of the complex. The first written testimony? of l? year that sign? the end of the Great Moravian Empire following the victory of the Hungarian dynasty. Bratislava was incorporated into the then growing Hungarian state and the castle became a border fortification of the new kingdom (th century). Sigismund of Luxembourg, emperor and king of Hungary, had it enlarged and strengthened against the spread of the Ottoman raids that had conquered Buda, transforming it into an impregnable fortress. To welcome us, the equestrian statue of Svatopluk I, ruler of Moravia from the th century.
The current appearance of the castle? for? the result of the reconstructions carried out between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries (first in the Renaissance and then in the Baroque style) which gave it a quadrangular shape complete with a central courtyard and corner towers. Thanks to? Empress Maria Theresa, who often stayed here in the guise of Queen of Hungary, the castle was transformed from a gloomy fortress into a magnificent royal residence. Neglected by his successors, the castle in 1784 first became a seminary and then in 1802 a barracks. In 1811, due to the imprudence of the Napoleonic soldiers, the castle burned? completely and remained in ruins until 1953 when the restoration work began which made the monument aseptic in its maddening white monochromatism. A visit to the interior of the castle? quite disappointing: there are no original furnishings, only l? display of advertising plates also in sheet metal, posters of old films, historical memories as a? classroom with desks and blackboard, the reconstruction of a shop, all with background music from the 30's and 40's. IS? it was quite interesting. Does the internal staircase deserve instead? it white with golden decorative inserts.
The? Concert hall? very modern with an impressive organ, also? it modern and with a large altar painting depicting the? Assumption of the Virgin Mary "by Anton Schmidt, arouses any interest?
We go down from the castle and go to the Cathedral of San Martino, the most? important church in Bratislava. Built in the Gothic style on a site where an ancient Romanesque church stood,? It was for centuries the coronation site of Hungarian kings when the region belonged to the Hungarian Empire. For over two and a half centuries, from 1563 to 1830, 11 monarchs of the country, including Maria Theresa of Habsburg, encircled the Crown of St. Stephen within its walls. The charm and suggestion of the ceremony relive, every year in September, in the historical re-enactment of the celebration that commemorates the royal past of the city. On the top of the neo-Gothic bell tower (87 meters), whose profile dominates the city? Old, there is a copy of the Hungarian imperial crown covered with gold weighing 300 kg resting on a 2? 2 meter gilded cushion.
The interior ? divided into 3 naves for a total length of 69.37 meters, 22.85 in width and 16 in height. The large relief portal and the lead sculptural group of San Martino depicting the saint donating part of his cloak to a beggar are to be admired. All? inside the cathedral are buried illustrious personalities, ecclesiastical dignitaries and members of the most important families. powerful people of the city. On November 13, 1835 Beethoven conducted the premiere of Missa solemnis op. 123.
A snack based on pizza?. Are we risking in the Pizzeria we meet along the way?. not bad!
We move east to see a particular monument: the Blue Church. (Modr? Kostol? K)
Actually? this church is not? a great deal? interesting from an architectural point of view, even if? a rare example of Art Nouveau in sacred architecture, but it deserves to be visited for one reason only: the color of the facades, turquoise blue, which makes it look more like it. to a cake or a fairytale-looking house. The church ? dedicated to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary who lived in the Bratislava Castle. The construction ? recent, from 1907, which explains the style chosen by the Hungarian architect designer? d? n Lechner, pioneer of Hungarian Art Nouveau, who employed? for its realization absolutely new materials for the time (reinforced concrete, stone, majolica) and enriched? the work of singular architectural details (tile mosaics, copper gutters), in an ensemble of eclectic decoration. The whole area surrounding the church? dotted with houses and buildings in which elements of the? Art nouveau. Characteristic is the cylindrical tower about 36 meters high, surmounted by a polygonal dome and surprising also the interior for the unusual color combination (pastel blue and white), with a single nave with a barrel vault. To embellish it, the Liberty-style furnishings from Lechner's own workshop.
Nearby is the? austere building of? University Comenius of Bratislava the pi? ancient and more? great university Slovak. ? was founded in 1919 and? was of particular importance for the development of education, science and culture in Slovakia.
We stroll around the historic center looking for souvenirs. We find the Slovak flag to add to the others and also the crystal prism with the design of the cathedral inside! C ?? even the boutique of MAX MARA?. Bianca refrains to spend only for the difficulty? to insert l? any clothing purchased in the trolley?
I'm curious to see a small church I read about in the guide. IS? on the road that leads to Dev? n but we prefer to go there by bus 29 as even if not? far away, fatigue begins to be felt. This is the Holy Trinity church, a sacred baroque building in the old part of Bratislava. The small church, originally from the 60th century,? one of the few buildings in the former suburb of Zuckermandel, which escaped demolition in the s. Unfortunately ? closed? Let's go back to the center. In the main square, on a stage, c? ? L? performance of a musical group, nothing of that in truth ?? We have dinner at the Zichy Restaurant with excellent potato croquettes, Greek salad and of course excellent beer!
Yes ? in the evening and we allow ourselves a night walk passing naturally to greet the Bell? Ignatius!

5 day

26 June
Today we go up the ancient center up to the St. Michael's Gate (Michalsk? Br? Na), the only remaining of the medieval fortifications which in the fourteenth century had four towers. 51 meters high, it houses a museum of weapons (quite modest) on its 5 floors but on the other hand, from the balcony at the top it offers a beautiful view of the city. Do we literally climb the steep staircase especially to enjoy the panoramic view? .. In the small passage tunnel under the tower, in the floor? inserted a brass disc that indicates the distances of various cities. A kind of? ZERO km? like that of Madrid.
The same ticket allows us to visit a museum, even? it modest, which traces the history of the Pharmacy which in Bratislava dates back to the fourteenth century. (I am thinking of the splendid pharmacy of the Hospital of the Incurables in Naples? Ed) Let's go back to the Most SNP bridge that we cross on the special pedestrian paths until we reach the Sad Janka Kr? L park, one of the most? ancient of Europe, born in 1775 at the behest of Maria Teresa d? Austria and named after the revolutionary poet Janko Kr? L. Its surface yes? significantly reduced compared to the past why? the state built you? i? panelaks ?, tall residential barracks.
Panel? K? a colloquial term in Czech and Slovak for a panel building constructed of pre-cast, prestressed concrete, such as those existing in the former Czechoslovakia and other parts of the world. However, similar buildings were built in other Communist countries and even in the West.
Source: Wikipedia
Currently, the park has a cultural and social function, serving as a place of relaxation and meeting point. Create an oasis of peace while serving as a place for activity. sports for people of all ages.
The most important architectural element? outstanding in Jan Kral park? the so-called? garden gazebo ?, ​​originally a bell tower of a Franciscan church transported here from the city? old in the late 1800s. Now? a popular meeting point but for us not? it was easy to find it also due to the lack of indications. In the heart of the park c '? a statue of Jan Kr? l by the academic sculptor Franti? ek Gibal. The statue ? the center of the crossroads of paths that intersect the entire park. The general atmosphere? complemented by large flower beds. Let's take the opportunity to restore ourselves.
Let's go back by tram crossing the Stary Most this time, that is the? Old bridge? which dates back to 1891 when it was decided to join the two banks of the Danube. Over the years it has changed more? times name and paradoxically despite having been completely rebuilt between 2013 and 2015 it is still called the? old bridge ?. It allows the transit of trams, bicycles and pedestrians between Petrzalka and the Eurovea shopping center. In fact we need to get closer to the National Museum of Natural History which also houses the Museum of Music. IS? a rather impressive palace, with in front of a monument to the martyrs who shed their blood to free Czechoslovakia from the oppressor and make it there? united nation which? today. The museum hosts more? of two million historical, ethnic, faunistic, naturalistic and archaeological pieces. The quantity? of stuffed animals crammed into the various sectors? stunning. Photo with a reconstruction of a mammouth? d? obligation! The part dedicated to music? quite interesting. A wonderful collection of instruments and documents of the Slovak musical heritage. Let's go back to the center and along Hviezdoslavovo namestie, a Norwegian musical youth group welcomes us that performs in the sound box, instead in the main square there is a historical representation with costumed characters.
Dinner at Slovensk? Restaur? Cia, another characteristic place, where we eat excellent? Kapustnica? (cabbage soup) and mixed meat dish.
In recent days we have avoided eating meat, even if here it is eaten above all and everywhere, but tonight we have transgressed.
Last evening walk to say goodbye to Bratislava.

The Slovak capital? it was pleasant but no involvement of loving senses on our part, even if we must recognize that it has its positive sides: welcoming, organized, on a human scale, the prices are low, you eat well enough for little money.
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