Before my Erasmus abroad year I never even knew Bratislava existed. Then on my way to Bratislava, the tour bus broke down on the highway in Budapest. The start of my journey had me and my friends waiting for almost 3 hours on a warm bus on a bright summer day. Eventually, the blown-out wheel was replaced and we were on our way. Not a good start but, my expectations were so low given that I didn’t know about Bratislava. It ended up being one of my favorite trips.
The first two hours of my time in Bratislava was spent walking around with a tour guide. The tour was part of my tour package. And the guide was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic. She walked us all over and I learned so much from her. The walking tour was also great because it gave my friends and I a feel of the city and where things were located. After the tour, we knew exactly where the restaurants were and most of the main sights of the city. I can distinctly remember that the tour started at St. Martin’s Cathedral and ended at Bratislava Castle.
St. Martin’s Cathedral
Built-in the 15th century St. Martin’s Cathedral is wrapped up in history. It is the biggest and oldest church in Bratislava. It is the former coronation church. Many royals were crowned inside of this gothic-styled church. The most famous coronation was one of the Kingdom of Hungary between 1563 and 1830. 19 coronations took place in the cathedral and Queen Maria Theresa of Austria was one of the crowned people.
Micheal’s Gate is now the only part left of the cities medieval fortification wall. There is a lot of myths linked to the gate you can read more here https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20048872/the-home-of-myths-and-legends.html
The one I heard was that if you walk through the smaller gate you will get bad luck and you should walk through the bigger side. Anyways I wasn’t brave I walked through the good luck side I wanted to pass my exams haha.
Cumil and the other Bratislava Statues
Along the route of my tour I came across many interesting statues in Bratislava, statues have character. The statues are dotted around the Old Town. Watch out for them. the most famous one is Cumil. He is literally named the watcher he peaks at passers-by from a manhole cover. If you rub his head your wish will come true. I rubbed his head and my wish did come true maybe it’s because I rubbed his head.
The Primate’s Palace is a huge neoclassical building. It was built in the 18th century by the archbishop. It is well-known by historians for the place where the Treaty of Pressburg was signed between France And Austria in 1805. The signing led to the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire. The hall of mirrors is the room where the treaty was signed. It was a grand ballroom, today the room is used to host concerts. From the 20th century onward the Primate’s Palace became the town hall of the city. When I arrived there was a wine festival being held in the courtyard in front of the building.
The Blue Church
The Church of Saint Elizabeth was built during 1909 and 1913. The colour of the church is striking and it’s bright blue facade has led to it being nicknamed the Blue Church. The church is small and it can get a lot of tourists buzzing about. I luckily got to see the church without the tourists, My friends and I were there alone.
The castle hill was inhabited during the Celtic and Great Moravian era. The gothic-styled castle existed since the 10th century. Bratislava was the official coronation city and it was where Hungarian Kings resided. The castle was rebuilt to fit the renaissance style. The jewels tower of the castle was where the crown jewels were housed for almost two centuries. The final reconstruction of the place was in the Baroque style commissioned by Maria Theresia. The castle sadly burnt down in 1811 and was ruined. It was rebuilt in 1956 till 1968.
Old Town Hall
The tower of the old wall was probably built around 1370. This building is one of the oldest in Bratislava. The inner courtyard is now hosting Christmas markets, festivals and concerts. You can view Bratislava from the top of the old town hall and it’s also home to the Bratislava museum. I saw an artistic play all done in mime at the square.
UFO Bridge and Tower
This bridge is the 7th largest in the world. You can see a beautiful panoramic view of the city on the open-air observation deck. The “space ship” is also a restaurant. There is an elevator to the top. I didn’t go up but, my Erasmus friend did.
Thank you so much for reading my short blog on Bratislava. Please feel free to comment I will be writing more on this wonderful city but, for now, I wanted to keep this post short.