den. (Good day.) Welcome to Bratislava.
BRATISLAVA, the powerful capital of Hungary for more than three centuries
during the Middle Ages, is now the bustling modern capital
of Slovakia (the home of Andy Warhol’s parents). This
picturesque city, situated where the Danube River meets the Carpathian
Mountains, borders Austria in the west and Hungary in the
Formerly a part of Czechoslovakia, Bratislava became the capital of the
Slovak Republic on January 1, 1993. It is the seat of
the most important political, scientific, industrial, commercial,
educational and cultural institutions of Slovakia. Bratislava,
formerly known as Pressburg, is populated by some 599,000 Slovaks.
Castle, built more than 1000 years ago on a promontory some 270 feet above
the Danube, dominates the city as it stands guard over the
river. The landmark castle derived its nickname of the
“upturned table” from its silhouette that gives
that appearance. From the castle grounds, one can enjoy a
panoramic view of the city’s contrasting architecture.
baroque, historic, Old Quarter of Bratislava is in sharp
contrast to the unsightly concrete structures erected by
the Communists in the 1970s. The Old Quarter houses a wide
spectrum of museums and galleries.
The Slovak National Theatre has
housed Slovak National Theatre ensembles since 1920, but today only the opera
and ballet ensembles are resident. It was restored between 1969 and 1972,
when a new modern technical building was added behind the old building. Immediately
in front of the theatre is the famous Ganymede’s Fountain by Bratislava native sculptor Viktor Oskar Tilgner.
|THE OLD SLOVAK NATIONAL THEATRE BUILDING|
National Museum (Slovenske Narodne Muzeum), a monumental
building completed in 1928, features a department that documents and
honors the culture of the Jewish people in
Slovakia. The Museum of Viticulture, that
documents the history of wine-growing in Bratislava, and The
Clock Museum are also worth visiting.
The Museum of Jewish Culture (Muzeum Zidovskej Kultury) founded
in 1991, displays an interesting collection of
Jewish artifacts, The once-vibrant Jewish ghetto was destroyed by the
Communists and replaced by the Novy Most (New Bridge). In
1972. When the Communists demolished the run-down Jewish
Quarter, they justified their actions by claiming they were destroying
houses of ill repute. A touching Holocaust Memorial, inscribed
with the single word Pamataj! (Remember!) stands on the site where the
old synagogue was destroyed. A likeness of the
old synagogue is etched into the granite wall behind the memorial.
|HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL…PAMATAJ! (REMEMBER!|
plumber peeking out from a manhole in the street, are fun works of art.
PLUMBER PEEKING OUT FROM MANHOLE
A statue of a Napoleonic soldier leaning on
bench is one of several humorous statues which grace the streets of the Slovak
capital. This one is in the Main Square (Hlavne
NAPOLEONIC SOLDIER AND FRIENDS LEANING ON BENCH
Slovak dishes that go right to the hips and the arteries include: palacinky (crepes)
served with chocolate sauce, ice cream or preserves; vyprazany
syr (fried cheese with tartar sauce); and tatranska hrianka (Tatra
toast), a sinful concoction of goose livers sauteed with sweet red
peppers and served on thick slabs of homemade bread. Hradna
Vinaren, housed in the former Castle stables, is one of the best restaurants
in town. With a panoramic view of the Old Town, huge
chandeliers cast a glow on a feast of hearty Slovak and international
cuisine. Slovenska Restauracia, opposite the Carlton Hotel near
the Opera House, is also a good place to try traditional
Slovak cuisine. During dinner hours, Slovak music adds to the
|SLOVAK DINNER MUSIC|
In addition to Slovak food, restaurants in Bratislava feature Italian,
Asian, Balkan, Kosher, and French food.
Wine bars and cellars scattered throughout Old Town are the best places
for tasting the Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and other
wines (vino) of the region. Martiner and Gold Fassel are
the beers (pivot) of choice.
Shop for handicrafts including valenky (brightly colored felt
boots), porcelain, ceramics, wood carvings, embroidery, lace,
Do videnia. (Goodby) Bratislava/ ’Til we meet again.