Bratislava old town
The picturesque Bratislava Old Town is home to Bratislava Castle, a hilltop fortification designed in the baroque style that offers panoramic views of the city. Medická záhrada park is filled with sculptures, and the Blue Church is adorned with brightly colored glazed tiles.
On Nedbalova street, you’ll find high-end boutiques, while the Main Square is where you’ll find most of the nightclubs and drink bars. There are a variety of restaurants to choose from, such as those serving foreign food, vegetarian fare, and traditional Slovak fare.
Beginning your tour of Bratislava Old Town, Slovakia’s Old Town with Michael’s Gate, one of the city’s most recognizable features, is a great idea. The city’s fortifications have long since been destroyed, leaving only this tower.
The archangel Michael, who is shown on the tower’s rooftop defeating a dragon, inspired the gate’s eponymous naming back in the 14th century.
You may get a great view of Old Town Bratislava and the surrounding area by climbing the stairs to the top of Michael’s Gate for a modest price. A museum of arms is also located in the tower.
Once you’ve made it through the gate, you’ll be in a European village complete with historic buildings, cobblestone streets, and quaint cafes and pubs. Hang around here and you’ll be close to all the top sights in Bratislava.
Old Town Hall and the Main Square
Maximilian’s fountain and a curious statue of a Napoleonic soldier stand in front of the Old Town Hall. This monument commemorates the year 1805, when Napoleon’s armies passed through Bratislava.
Because of his feelings for a Bratislava girl, one of the soldiers opted to remain in the city. After some time, he began producing the sparkling wine that would later bear his name: “Hubert.” It remains a well-known product in Slovakia.
The Primate’s Palace is a beautiful neoclassical structure located next to Old Town Hall. It was initially built for Archbishop József Batthyány, the primate of Hungary, in the 18th century. Later, in 1805, it was here that Napoleon and the Austro-Hungarian Empire signed the Treaty of Pressburg, officially ending the War of the Third Coalition.
The beautiful front of the palace is embellished with elaborate stuccowork and statues, but the Hall of Mirrors is the true jewel of the palace. This chandelier- and column-adorned hall has seen its share of high-society balls and pivotal political events.
Six English tapestries from the 17th century, collectively known as the Bratislava Tapestries, are among the palace’s most prized artefacts. These priceless works of art, dating back to the early 20th century, reflect the Greek narrative of Hero and Leander.
The city council meets in the Primate’s Palace, which is also the official residence of the mayor of Bratislava.
St. Martin’s Cathedral
St. Martin’s Cathedral, which dates back to the 14th century, is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture. From 1563 to 1830, it was used as the coronation church for Hungarian monarchs, including the great Maria Theresa.
The cathedral’s 85-meter spire, which features a golden crown like that of the Hungarian king, is easily visible from miles away. Inside, you may take in the amazing stained-glass windows, stone sculptures, and Gothic architecture.
Various chapels adorn the cathedral, each with its own tale and collection of priceless art. The burial of renowned Hungarian poet György Szerémi can be found in the Chapel of St. Anne, while the Baroque-style Chapel of St. John the Almoner is another major attraction.
The crypt of the cathedral is the resting place of many important people from Hungarian history, including members of the noble Pálffy family who fought valiantly against the Ottoman Empire.
On a hill above the city, Bratislava Castle provides breathtaking views of the Danube, the historic centre, and the gleaming skyscrapers. And, of course, the first thing most visitors to Bratislava do is climb the castle for a panoramic view of the city.
From Celtic kings to Great Moravian magnates and Hungarian kings, the 9th-century castle has seen it all. It’s now a museum showcasing its past. The climb up the hill may be challenging, but the rewarding vistas are well worth the effort.