Archive for the ‘Bratislava and Western Slovakia’ Category

Komárno

komarno

Komárno, together with Hungarian part – Komarom, is a border city located between rivers Danube and Vah. In the history this two parts created one, important city, which gained in 1745 a privileges of free royal borough from Maria Teresa. The Hungarian influences are still visible, as population of Hungarians reach 60 % of citizens.
When Buda and Estergom was under the Turkish rule, Komarno was the most eastern point of Habsburgs Empire, and needed a good fortifications. In 16th and 17th century, the old, medieval fortress was totally reconstructed, and now is the only one of that kind in Slovakia. Modern, Vauban style fortress, with several bastions joined by a mounds, is now applying to the UNESCO list.
The best place for starting visiting is gen. J. Klapku square. Here is located one of city’s landmarks – the Town Hall and the Zichy Palace, now housing the Museum of Danubeland. From Klapku square everyone have to go to the newest monument in Komárno – courtyard Europe. Every building on this newly-created square represent different region of European Architecture.

Nitra

nitra

Nitra, considered as an oldest city in the Slovakia, was in 8th and 9th century the headquarters of Prince Pribina, the first Slavs ruler. In 828 he founded here the first Christian church, in 12th century the city gain a status of Free Royal Borough. Later came worse times, times of Turkish invasions and political changes, but from XVII century city rise again and now Nitra is important economical and academical centre.
The dominant of the city is castle of Nitra, and surrounding it Upper Town. The oldest building on the castle terrain, from 11th or 12th century, is the Romanesque church of st. Emeram, which together with baroque Upper Church and 17th century Lower Church create the Bishops Cathedral. Other interesting sites are Piarist monastery an chyrch, church of st. Peter and Paul, and a palace of bishop Kluch from the beginning of 19th century, with figure of atlas called Cargon, who serves as a symbol for a local beer.
In the Lower Town, the less representative part, are also some historical churches and some museums, between them the Nitra Museum – regional museum of ethnography, history archaeology and zoology.

Trenčín

trencin

Trenčín, the city with interesting past, is located close to Czech border, under the hill housing one of the biggest medieval castles in Slovakia. From much earlier times came the oldest monument in the city – Roman inscription on a rock, curved in 179 AD after the victory of Marek Aurelius over the Quads.
The castle was built in 11th century, later was rebuilt and expanded, but remain a atmosphere of Middle Ages. His most famous owner was Matúš Čák of Trenčín, called the Lord of the Váh and the Tatras, as he own more castles in the region. Later the Trenčín castle changed owners, and after the fire in 1790 it never come to previous function. Today it is reconstructed and much happen here – from night sightseeing to medieval festivals. During visit you cannot miss the castle well, connected with romantic story about imprisoned Turkish princess.
Apart of the castle, also worth seeing is Roman Catholic parish church on a castle hill, connected with the city by a covered staircase, the Town Tower and the Piarist monastery.

Piešťany

piesztany

Known from it’s geothermal waters and sulphur mud, SPA city of Piešťany was first mentioned in 1113. In 16th century appears first information about medical treatments in the city, but it really flourished three hundred years later, when baths gained popularity among bourgeoisie from whole Europe.
All of Spa facilities are located on a SPA island, connected with the rest of the city by a Colonnade Bridge decorated by a statue of man braking his crutch – a symbol of Piešťany. The oldest buildings includes Napoleon’s Bath, and so called Kursalon hall, now housing the Balneological Museum. Despite health resort, Piešťany have also wide offer of sports and other activities, from walking in the SPA park (with huge collection of sculptures) to the riding in indoor ice rink, water skiing and golf.

Trnava

trnava

Founded probably in 9th century, Trnava was first mentioned in 1211.In 1238, as a first city in Slovakia, it gain a privilege of free royal borough from king Belo IV. The highest importance the city have between 16th and 18th century, when Estergom was under the Ottoman occupation, and Trnava become the archdiocese. Together with Archbishop, among the city walls, huge parts of which preserved till nowadays, sheltered also many catholic orders, building here their churches – of st. Anna, st. Jacob and of Holy Trinity. Later, the cathedral of John the Baptist, was founded. This cathedral was the firs baroque building in Slovakia.
The main, non-religious city’s landscapes, are the town tower from 16th century, from which terrace spreads the panorama of whole city.

Bratislava

bratislava

Bratislava gained a status of Free Royal Borough in 1291, and from that time is the most important city in the region. From 1536, when Ottomans invaded Buda, the capitol of Hungary moved to Bratislava (called then Pressburg or Pozsony), and till the 1830, the eleven Hungarian Kings was crowned there. During the rule of Maria Theresa, Bratislava flourished, many of city Palaces came from that times. In 19th century, in Bratislava began the national movement, and from the 1918 it is a centre of Slovaks.
The first castle over Bratislava, was built probably in X-XI century. Extended by several rulers, in 15th century to Gothic, later to Renaissance and finally in 18th century by Maria Theresa to its today shape She destroyed most of fortification, and made the castle more luxurious and comfortable. She liked to visit Bratislava , and here lived her daughter and son-in-law. As an effect, the castle building are now covering very wide area, on the hill rising up to 85 meters above Danube River. In 1811, the great fire destroy the castle, which lied ruined for 150 years. Now, still under renovation, is housing some exhibition from the Slovak National Museum. One of them – “Past and future of Bratislava Castle” is exhibit a history from middle ages (the older history is described in archaeology museum, in the Bratislava’s old town) till today, with wide range of handicraft, jewellery, furniture and numismatics. One of attractions is climbing on a Crown Tower, for an amazing view not only of the town, but also beyond the country borders – of Austria and Hungary.
Below the castle lies Gothic st. Martin Minster. That is where the coronations took place, and it is symbolized by a crown around the Minster tower. From there, to the old city leads Michalska brana, the only remind city gate. The old town consist of two squares, the main square and Primacalne namestie, and the streets around them. Both are still vivid meeting points for citizens, especially during the Christmas market. On a main square lies the Old Town Hall and the font of Maxymillian, and both squares are surrounded with a baroque and classical palaces, as a Mirbach palace or Primate palace. The National Theatre ad Opera can be viewed by a walk on newly renovated Promenade on a Hviezdoslavovo Namestie.