Although, as a Hungarian, I had toured lots of places in Slovakia over the decades, way before the age of digital photograpy, I only visited Bratislava, or Pozsony to Hungarians, once about ten years ago. It was a very pleasant surprise, quite different from the stereotypical image of one of the largest housing estates and one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe, shown below:
For those who consider Budapest as one of the most beautiful Middle-European cities, I suggest visiting Bratislava instead. Not that one can’t find nice places in Budapest too, but the old town of Bratislava is, in my eyes, almost unique and can only be compared to Prague.
The city emerged as the capital of in Hungary (not of now, but of the historical one) when the Turks had invaded most of its historical territories, and when they were driven out of the country and Hungary came to be united with the Habsburgs instead, it became the seat of the Diet. Its vicinity to Vienna was important and remained so until the fall of Austro-Hungary at the end of WWI. All through those centuries, almost all important decisions and events in the kingdom of Hungary took place here.
After being the second largest city of Czechoslovakia afterwards, it naturally became the capital of the independent Slovakia in 1991. But in its streets, the feeling is one of old historical inheritance, not of modernity, thankfully. Its old buildings and memories seem to be well preserved, although it is a bustling modern city as well.
Where else to begin wandering through Bratislava than in the historic castle? Come and join me and experience parts of this beautiful city on the Danube.
The view over the old town is beautiful from the Castle as well.
Outside the castle, everything still reminds one of old times.
Except for a few modern sculptures …
As earlier from above, St. Martin’s Cathedral, the coronation place for eleven Hungarian kings and queens, can be seen from many places throughout the inner city, as well as other beautiful churches.
Although the old streets are charming enough, sometimes it’s worth peeping into a garden or under the arcades.
Although not as beautiful as the churches, still, the memory of the early recitals by the celebrated 19th century pianist, Liszt Ferenc, is also keenly preserved.
In a side street, I found a fascinating Eastern carpet shop.
The building of the old national assembly (and the square where it stands) is especially beautiful.
Many of the details on buildings are fascinating as some of the above show, yet, there are other, often very funny details just dropped into the streets.
Hope you have enjoyed these excerpts and that you can once find the time to visit this charming, historical city, which lies just a few dozens of kilometres away from Vienna, the flashy city of the Kaisers.