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Old town (Downtown)
The Old Town of Bratislava (Staré Mesto) is the historic center and one of the boroughs of Bratislava, in the Bratislava Region of Slovakia. It is coextensive with the smallest Slovak administrative district by area, Bratislava I. It contains the small, but preserved medieval city center, Bratislava Castle and other important landmarks. Bratislava’s Old Town is known for its many churches, the Bratislava Riverfront and cultural institutions, it is also the location of most of the foreign states embassies and important Slovak institutions including the National Council of the Slovak Republic; the Summer Archbishop’s Palace, seat of the Government of Slovakia; and Grassalkovich Palace, seat of the President of Slovakia.
The castle, on a hill above the old town, dominates the city of Bratislava.
It features in the first written reference to the city, which appears in the Annals of Salzburg of 907, in association with a battle between Bavarians and Hungarians. Its first known inhabitants were the Celts, who founded a fortified settlement here called ‘Oppidum’.
For four centuries, the border of the Roman Empire, the ‘Limes Romanus’, ran through the area. During the Great Moravian Empire, Slavs built a fortress that became a significant centre for the time. In the 10th century, Bratislava became an integral part of the growing Hungarian state. In the 15th century, in the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg, a castle was built in Gothic style as an anti-Hussite fortress. During this period, a new entrance to the castle was built on the eastern side.
In the 16th century, King Ferdinand ordered the rebuilding of the castle in the Renaissance style, while in the 17th century, when the castle became the seat of hereditary provincial chief, Pálffy, it was rebuilt in the baroque style. In the reign of Maria Theresa, the castle was arranged according to the needs of her son-in-law Albert, governor of Saxony and Tessen, who was a fervent art collector and who installed his works in the castle. This collection was later moved to Vienna to become the present-day Albertina Gallery. Since independence, the castle has served as a representative venue for the Slovak Parliament and houses collections of the Slovak National Museum.
Slavín is a memorial monument and military cemetery in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. It is the burial ground of thousands of Soviet Army soldiers who fell during World War II while taking over the city in April 1945 from the occupying German Wehrmacht units and the remaining Slovak troops who supported the clero-fascist Tiso government. It is situated on a hill amidst a rich villa quarter of the capital and embassy residences close to the centre of Bratislava.
It was constructed between 1957 and 1960 on the site of a field cemetery, and opened on April 3, 1960 on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the city’s liberation.
The Church of St. Elizabeth (Kostol svätej Alžbety), commonly known as Blue Church (Modrý kostolík), built in 1908-1913 is a Hungarian Secessionist (Jugendstil, Art Nouveau) Catholic church located in the eastern part of the Old Town in Bratislava, present day Slovakia. It is consecrated to Elisabeth of Hungary, daughter of Andrew II, who grew up in the Pressburg Castle. It is referred to as “The Little Blue Church” because of the color of its façade, mosaics, majolicas and blue-glazed roof. It was initially part of the neighboring high school and served as the school chapel.
UFO – SNP bridge
It is the world’s longest bridge to have one pylon and one cable-stayed plane.
Devín Castle (hrad Devín) is a castle in Devín, which is a borough of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The site has been settled since the Neolithic Age and fortified since the Bronze and Iron Age and later by Celts and Romans.
The cliff (elevation 212 meters) is an ideal place for a fort due to its position at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers. The fort watches over an important trade route along the Danube as well as one branch of the Amber Road.
The castle stands just inside Slovak territory on the frontier between Slovakia and Austria. The border runs from west to east along the Morava River and subsequently the Danube. Prior to 1989, the Iron Curtain between the Eastern Bloc and the West ran just in front of the castle. Although the castle was open to the public, the area surrounding it constituted a restricted military zone and was heavily fortified with watchtowers and barbed wire. After the Velvet Revolution the area was demilitarized.
The most photographed part of the castle is the tiny watchtower, known as the Maiden Tower. Separated from the main castle, it balances perilously on a lone rock and has spawned countless legends concerning imprisoned lovelorn daughters leaping to their deaths.
Inside the castle is a sprawling landscape of walls, staircases, open courtyards, and gardens in various states of disrepair. A restoration project is ongoing since the end of World War II.