Bratislava is the capital and largest city in Slovakia. This city is large and spread out sitting on both bank of the Danube River right at the foot of the Low Carpathian Mountains. This city is a major industrial center and manufactures the well-known and popular VW cars. Other products produced there are chemicals, furniture, tobacco, musical instruments, woolen goods and leather. Arriving in Bratislava visitors notice the vineyards on the slopes of the Little Carpathian Mountains at the point where they meet with the Danube.
The Old Town is the very center of Bratislava and it is the place where you can look back at history. A symbol of Bratislava is St. Michael’s Tower. The gate on the tower is the original gate preserved from the time that here you entered the fortified medieval city. At the tower you’ll find a weaponry exhibition and on display city fortifications of the Bratislava City Museum. You can get a great view of the entire St. Michael’s Street which is one of the oldest in this city right from St. Michael’s Gate.
At the corner of Venturska and Prepostska Street tourist enjoy viewing the Classicist-style façade on house Number 11. This is Zichy’s Palace and was built around 1775 by Count Francis Zichy. Today this is the place where all kinds of celebrations and ceremonies take place.
At number 10 is Pallfy’s Palace built in Baroque style. It was rebuilt from an old house in 1747. A plaque informs visitors that here a six year old child who later went on to become world famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once performed at this palace.
The largest, oldest and most remarkable church in Bratislava is St. Martin’s Cathedral dating from the 14th century. Between 1563 and 1830 is served as a coronation church.
The liveliest place to be in the Old Town is at the crossroads of Fisherman’s Gate and Panska and Laurinska Streets. Here people enjoy listening to music played by street musicians. Tourists enjoy taking pictures of Cumil statue. This is a bronze statue of a man peeking out of a manhole. Fisherman’s Gate is just a short distance from the city’s historical center. Located next to house number 1 is a real-size statue of a man holding a hat in his hand. He looks like he’s greeting all passers-by. This sculpture is silver in color and it represents a Bratislava local whom everyone calls Schoner Nazi.
Tourists discover that every building on the Main Square is worthy of attention. The square’s main landmark is the Old Town Hall. On the hall is a plaque which marks the water level of the Danube during the terrible floods of February 1850. Here you can see an exposition of the history of this city and feudal justice. The Main Square was once the main market place and an area for public gatherings. Visitors enjoy taking a rest by the Renaissance-style fountain where there is a bench with the statue of a French soldier. In the summertime outdoor cafes delight.
It is much more subdued and quieter at the Franciscan Square which is surrounded by historical buildings. It was named after the Franciscan Church with a monastery in the 13th century. At the upper part of the square you’ll find Mirbach’s Palace an architectural landmark built in Rococo style between 1768 and 1770. Inside Mirbach’s Palace is the Bratislava City Gallery.
One of Bratislava’s most beautiful squares is Primatial Square where you’ll find the large Primatial Palace covering the entire southern side of the square. The front wing has a Classicist-style façade. Visitors can see a unique collection of six Bratislava tapestries dating from the 17th century. They come from England’s Royal Manufacture in Mortlake. The collection tells a legend of a tragic love story.
The main landmark of Hodza’s Square is the Presidential Palace built after 1760 as Anton Grassalkovich’s garden palace. It has a lovely decorative garden. Just outside of the palace is memorial courtyard separated from the square by a fence with two gold-plated wrought iron gates.
Visit Hviezdoslav’s Square and see the Slovak National Theater. This is an impressive eclectic building built in 1886. Another of this square’s symbols is the luxurious Carlton Hotel.
A great place for strolling is on Bratislava’s embankment between the historic center and Danube’s left bank In this area you can also visit a museum or a gallery and have a drink in a restaurant or café. You’ll find the Slovak National Museum at the corner of Fajnorovo nabrezie and Vajanskeho nabrezie embankments. For sightseeing cruises along the Danube you can get on a boat at Danubius on the eastern side of Fajnorovo nabrezie embankment. One of the most popular cruises is to the ruins of Devin Castle.
Visiting Bratislava in the summertime a wonderful and fascinating place for a walk is the Bratislava Zoo. Its latest addition is some rare white tigers. Here you’ll find facilities which draw visitors and families love to walk here on warm, sunny days. A DinoPark was added where one can get interesting prehistoric facts and see large models of dinosaurs. For a quieter stroll with lots of green you can take a look at the Botanical Gardens of Comenius University.
While exploring Bratislava you can head for the Sad Janka Krafa Park on the right bank of the Danube. This is the oldest public park in central Europe. There is also the Horsky or Forest Park north of Slavin Memorial where you can walk through a forest. If you are into the great outdoors don’t pass by the newly renovated facilities of Partizanska luka and Snezienka where you will find extensive picknicking areas and plenty of fireplaces for grilling. Snezienka’s grass fields and the top of Kamzik Hill are connected with a chairlift which operates Thursdays through Sundays and on holidays.
As you can tell Bratislava is a fantastically interesting capital city to visit so make it your next vacation destination.