Old Town Hall
The Gothic town hall (14th century), one of the oldest stone buildings in the old town of Bratislava, is located directly on the city’s main square. More details under
Bratislava Old Town
According to petsinclude, the old town of Bratislava is of course the main tourist magnet. Most of the city’s sights, but also various institutions of the Slovak government, are located in this historical core. More details under
The central castle of Bratislava extends in the southern part of the Little Carpathians on a rock on the Danube. More details under
St. Martin’s Cathedral
The Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral – more correctly: St. Martin’s Cathedral – is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Bratislava and was dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. The cathedral, which extends on the western edge of the old town, is the largest church building in the city. More details under
The Maximiliansturm (also called Rolandsturm ) stands on the main square directly in front of the city’s former town hall. More details under
Primate Palace Erected
between 1778 and 1781 as the residence of Cardinal József Batthyány, the palace is now used by the city’s picture gallery. In 1805 the fourth Bratislava Peace Treaty was signed here. More details under
Slovak National Museum (Slovenské národné múzeum)
Probably the most important cultural institution in Slovakia has its headquarters in Bratislava. More details under
Special neighborhoods, squares and streets
Bratislava Old Town
The old town of Bratislava (Staré Mesto) is of course the main tourist magnet. Most of the city’s sights, but also various institutions of the Slovak government, are located in this historical core. Some of the most famous and popular attractions here include (most of them are detailed on this page):
- Old Town Hall
- Old and New Slovak National Theater
- Comenius University
- Main square (Hlavné námestie)
- Hviezdoslav Square
- Martin’s Cathedral
- New bridge over the Danube
- Grassalkovich Palace
- Slovak National Uprising Square
- Primate’s Palace
Hviezdoslav Square (Hviezdoslavovo námestie)
The square, one of the most famous and largest squares in Bratislava, has been laid out like a promenade. It was named after the Slovak poet Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav.
Special building, town hall
New Bridge (Nový Most)
This road bridge over the Danube, built between 1967 and 1972, has a main span of 303 meters and is 21 meters wide. The most outstanding attraction of the bridge is the restaurant “Ufo”, which is located at a height of 80 meters on the almost 85 meter high pylon of the bridge.
Old Town Hall
The Gothic town hall (14th century), one of the oldest stone buildings in Bratislava, is located in the old town directly on the main town square. In front of him is the Maximiliansbrunnen (also Rolandsbrunnen) from 1572. In the inner courtyard of the town hall, which is crowned by a colored tiled roof, you can see a cannonball that is said to have come from Napoleon’s troops. The former town hall now houses the Bratislava City Museum.
Apollo Bridge (Most Apollo)
The city’s newest bridge spans the Danube and was opened in 2005. It is 854 meters long and has a 231 meter long main arch. The name of the bridge goes back to the Apollo oil refinery opened in Bratislava in 1895, which was not far from the bridge, but which was destroyed during the bombing raids in 1944.
The Michaelator (also Michaelertorturm; Michalská brána) is the only remaining gate of the medieval city fortifications and is one of the oldest buildings in the Slovak capital. It was named after the (no longer existing) Michaelskirche and measures 51 meters. In the gate, which was built in the late Middle Ages, you can visit an exhibition of weapons from the Bratislava City Museum.
Bratislava TV Tower
The 200-meter-high TV tower (Televízna veža na Kamzíku) is made of reinforced concrete and has a panoramic restaurant that rises to a height of 68 meters. The tower, completed in 1975, crowns Mount Kamzík and was designed in the form of a double pyramid.
House This rococo-style house (Dom U dobrého pastiera) was built between 1760 and 1765 and goes back to the creative power of Matthäus Hollrigl. In 1975 the house was renovated and has since been home to the Clock Museum, which is part of the Bratislava City Museum.
The Maximiliansturm (also called Rolandsturm) stands on the main square in front of the city’s former town hall. It is the oldest fountain in Bratislava and was created in the year that St. Bartholomew’s Night raged in Paris: 1572.
Palaces, castles and villas
The central castle of Bratislava (Slov. Bratislavský hrad) extends in the southern part of the Little Carpathians on a rock on the Danube. The castle, mentioned for the first time in 805, did not get its current four-winged floor plan until the 15th century. The castle, which was destroyed after a fire in 1811, was renovated between 1953 and 1968 and today functions as a museum and representative building.
The castle is supposed to represent one of the motifs of the future Slovak euro coins. These will then be introduced at the beginning of 2009.
These castle ruins have an important function for the Slovak identity. After all, the remains of the old Slavic ruins are seen as the roots of the Slavic nations. The once imposing fortress dates back to the 9th century. Since 1961, their remains have been a national monument and open-air museum.
Archbishop’s Summer Palace (Letný arcibiskupský palác)
This baroque building is now the seat of the Slovak government and was built in 1614 as the summer residence of the Hungarian archbishop. The many Rococo decorations and the English park are well worth seeing.
Mirbachpalais (Mirbachov palác)
This rococo palace is located in the north of the old town and was built between 1768 and 1770. After many years and just as many changes of ownership – the last private owner was Count Emil Mirbach, after whom the building is named – the palace came 1963 under monument protection. After extensive renovation, part of the art collection of the Städtische Galerie moved to the palace in 1975.
Grassalkovich Palace (also Presidential Palace ; Grasalkovičov palác)
Today the seat of the President of Slovakia, the rococo palace with late Baroque style elements and French garden was built in 1760 for Count Antal Grassalkovich, then President of the Hungarian Royal Chamber. The palace impresses with a whole series of extremely impressive rooms, a richly decorated staircase and the large public garden.
Palais Pálffy (Pálfiho palác)
The late Classicist palace in downtown Bratislava dates back to 1885 when it was designed at the behest of the noble Pálffy family (better count Johann Pálffy). After it was renovated between 1981 and 1987, it now houses part of the art collection of the Städtische Galerie.
The Primate Palace (Primaciálny palác) was built between 1778 and 1781 as the residence of Cardinal József Batthyány, the palace is now used by the city’s picture gallery. Interesting details on the building are the statues on the attic, which are supposed to represent the virtues. A large and heavy cardinal hat on the top of the tympanum also commemorates Cardinal József Batthyány. Inside, the small palace with its hall of mirrors, where the fourth Peace of Bratislava was signed in 1805, delights.
The castle in Rusovce ( Rusovský kaštieľ) was built between 1841 and 1844 in the neoclassical style. But neo-Gothic style elements can also be seen. Karlburg Castle, which is framed by a wonderful large English park, is now used by the Slovak government. Unfortunately, it is not open to the public.
Museums, exhibition venues
Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum
The first Slovak private museum for modern art is located in the Čunovo district of Bratislava. Apart from the exhibition space inside the museum (with works by international, but also national artists such as Jozef Jankovic or Peter Pollág) there is also a sculpture garden that extends to around 8,000 square meters and presents 40 different sculptures.
House of the Good Shepherd (Dom U dobrého pastiera)
This rococo-style house was built between 1760 and 1765 and goes back to the creative power of Matthäus Hollrigl. In 1975 the house was renovated and has since been home to the Clock Museum, which is part of the Bratislava City Museum.
Museum of the City of Bratislava
The museum (Múzeum mesta Bratislavy), founded in 1868, presents the history of Bratislava and begins in prehistoric times. While the main exhibition is located in the Old Town Hall on the main square (= Museum of City History), there are another 7 different locations with permanent exhibitions:
- Devín Castle open-air museum in Devín
- Gerulata Museum in Rusovce
- Arthur Fleischmann Museum
- Janko Jesenský Museum
- Museum Johann Nepomuk Hummel
- Clock Museum (in the Good Shepherd House)
- Weapons Museum (in the tower of the Michaelertor)
Bratislava City Gallery
This Bratislava art museum (Galéria mesta Bratislava) represents the second largest Slovak association of art museums – after the Slovak National Gallery. The fascinating exhibitions are divided into two buildings in the old town: Mirbach Palace and Palais Pálffy. Around 35,000 works of art by national and international artists are on display.
Slovak National Museum
The Slovak National Museum (Slovenské národné múzeum) is probably the most important cultural institution in Slovakia and has its headquarters in Bratislava, although the majority of the 18 museums belonging to the network are located outside of Bratislava. The Natural History Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the Andrej Kmeť Museum, part of the Museum of Jewish Culture, the Museum of Carpathian Germans, the Museum of Hungarian Culture in Slovakia and the History Museum have been established in Bratislava.
Opera houses and theaters
The Arena Theater (Divadlo Aréna), one of the oldest theaters in Bratislava and founded in 1828, is now housed in a theater building that was built in 1898. It stands between the Old Bridge and the Janko Kráľ Park. After the theater was closed at the end of the Second World War, actors (especially the pantomime Milan Sládek) gave it a new lease of life, so that it was able to reopen in 1997.
Slovak National Theater
The Slovak National Theater (Slovenské národné divadlo) is one of the oldest and most professional theaters in the country. It spreads to two historical buildings on Hviezdoslav Square and a modern building (1997) near the Danube bank. The Slovak National Theater offers acting, opera and ballet and was founded in 1920. The first piece played was Bedřich Smetana’s “Hubička”.
Churches and sacred institutions
Church The Franciscan Church (Františkánsky kostol) is the oldest still existing church in Bratislava and is located on the northern edge of the old town. Its beginnings go back to the 13th century. In the course of its history it has been redesigned several times – including in the styles of the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo.
St. Martin’s Cathedral
The Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral (Katedrála svätého Martina) is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Bratislava and was dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. The cathedral, which extends on the western edge of the old town, is the largest church building in the city. It has an 85 meter high tower, which used to be part of the medieval city fortifications. A gold-plated parade cushion with a copy of the Hungarian crown of St. Stephen can be seen on its tip. This is to remind of the earlier role of the cathedral as a coronation church. In addition to the impressive interior of the sacred structure, the catacombs under the Anna chapel are also worth seeing.
St. Elisabeth Church (Kostol svätej Alžbety)
The St. Elisabeth Church (Katedrála svätého Martina) is a Catholic church and is also known as the “Blue Church” because of the color of the exterior facade, which is characterized by a blue majolica mosaic. The old town church was built in 1907/08 in the Hungarian Art Nouveau style and impresses with its rich interior, which is characterized by numerous picture decorations.
Universities and colleges
The Comenius University (Univerzita Komenského v Bratislave) was founded in 1919 and named after Johann Amos Comenius. The oldest purely Slovak-speaking university is also the largest in the country. It currently teaches around 20,000 students. The university is divided into 13 faculties, including the “Roman Catholic Theological Cyril and Methodius Faculty”.
Bratislava University of Law
This university (Bratislavská vysoká škola práva) is a private university that was founded in 2004.
Slovak Medical University in Bratislava
This State Medical University (Slovenská zdravotnícka univerzita v Bratislave) dates back to 1953. It has been a recognized university since 2003. The university is divided into four faculties and an independent research institute.
Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava
The University of Applied Sciences (Slovenská technická univerzita v Bratislave), founded in Košice in 1937, moved to Bratislava in 1939. It currently has 7 faculties. With a total of around 18,300 students, it is the largest technical university in Slovakia.
Bratislava University of Economics
The University of Economics (Ekonomická univerzita v Bratislave), founded in 1940, currently teaches around 14,200 students. It works closely with the Vienna University of Economics and Business.
The football stadium of the Slovak association “Inter Bratislava” is located in the Nové Mesto district and has a capacity of around 13,000 spectators (2,000 of which are covered). ASK Inter Bratislava regularly plays its games in this stadium.
This stadium, named after the Petržalka district of Bratislava, can be used in a wide variety of ways, but is particularly useful for football. The sports stadium, founded in 1900, was completely destroyed after the Second World War. Today it has a capacity of just 7,100 seats.
Samsung Arena (Samsung Aréna, Zimný štadión Ondreja Nepelu)
This covered ice stadium in Bratislava was actually called “Zimný štadión Ondreja Nepelu” and thus honored the figure skater Ondrej Nepela. After western sponsors entered the sports facility, it was renamed the Samsung Arena. It is particularly useful for the HC Slovan Bratislava ice hockey club.
This second largest football stadium in Slovakia is the home of the ŠK Slovan Bratislava football club, but also serves the Slovak national football team. It can hold a total of almost 31,000 spectators.
Parks and gardens
Thanks to the fact that the Slovak capital extends on the foothills of the Little Carpathian Mountains and is close to the floodplain landscape on the Danube, the city has many forests. Some of these even extend into the city center and make up a (publicly accessible) total area of around 47 km².
Such forest parks naturally include the mountain park, in Slovak: Horský park, the largest forest park in the capital. It is in the old town.
Janko Kráľ Park
The “Sad Janka Kráľa” extends on the right bank of the Danube in Petržalka and was laid out between 1774 and 1776. It is one of the oldest publicly accessible parks in Europe.
The 27.3 km² forest park (Bratislavský lesný park) is particularly suitable for trips to the Little Carpathians.
New city park
The creation of a new city park in Petržalka is planned for the next few years. This should then spread between the lakes Malý Draždiak and Veľký Draždiak.
Bratislava Zoological Garden The Bratislava
Zoo (Bratislavská zoologická záhrada) is 96 hectares = 960,000 m² in size and is located in the Karlova Ves district. It belongs to a forest on the foothills of the Little Carpathians and has around 1,300 animals from more than 150 different species.
The zoological garden was officially opened in 1960.
Bodies of water, lakes and rivers
The Slovak capital stretches on both sides of the Danube. This river, the second longest in Europe after the Volga, crosses the urban area from west to south-east. The Danube has its origin in the Black Forest, from where it flows for about 2,600 kilometers through Eastern Europe and finally empties into the Black Sea in an extensive delta. It passes Bratislava just 45 kilometers from Vienna. Near the Slovak capital, a 128-kilometer-long branch of the Danube branches off on the left bank. This is called the Little Danube (Malý Dunaj) and flows in several meanders approximately parallel to the north along the Danube.
The March is the main river and namesake of Moravia and at the same time a tributary of the Danube. It also represents the border river between the Czech Republic and Slovakia between Austria and Slovakia. The March also passes through the Slovak capital.
Bratislava has several lakes in the immediate vicinity of the city, which are both artificial and natural. Most of these lakes are public and popular recreational areas. Some representatives of this abundance of lakes are:
- Štrkovec (Stierau)
- Kuchajda (cow heather)
- Zlaté Piesky and Vajnory lakes