The second country (Hungary was the first) that I visited for the first time on this road trip was Slovakia.
I made an overnight stop to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia after departing Budapest.
Slovakia was another key player in the Hapsburg monarchy. Bratislava was actually designated the new capital of Hungary in 1536, upon becoming part of the Austrian Habsburg monarchy. The city became a coronation town and the seat of kings, archbishops (1543), the nobility and all major organizations and offices. Between 1536 and 1830, eleven Hungarian kings and queens were crowned at St. Martin’s Cathedral.
The 17th century was marked by anti-Habsburg uprisings, fighting with the Turks, floods, plagues and other disasters. Bratislava was replaced by Buda as the capital of Hungary, and much like Budapest, in 1918, its history changed, as it was broken away from its Hungarian-Austrian ties, and became part of Czechoslovakia. Finally, on 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia was dissolved into was is now the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
I arrived to Bratislava around lunch time, the sky was overcast, and I wasn’t exactly sure what sights to see. Like most places, Bratislava has a castle (hrad), so that seems like as good as any place to kick things off. The woman at the front desk offered me a map, and I started making my way towards the castle.
I ended up stopping at the Old Town Hall and St. Michael’s Gate before making it to the hrad.
The Old Town Hall as a tower, which offers a nice view over the old town. The streets in the old town are filled with cafés with plenty of outdoor sitting, restaurants and a few shops. It’s a quaint and picturesque center.
I toured the castle, which to be honest was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping to get more of the history of Bratislava, but instead, what was offered was a series of different exhibitions. One such exhibition, which had really nothing to do with Bratislava, was a WWI exhibition. Admittedly, one of the largest WWI exhibitions I’ve seen. Since all the countries I’d just visited were drastically changed because of WWI, I spent a bit of time reading and learning more about it.
After leaving the castle, I made my way back into the old town and kept exploring.
I ended up in the Jewish neighborhood; I wish I’d known about it prior to my trip. I would have stopped in to the Bratislava Jewish Community Museum.
I walked on over to St. Martin’s Cathedral, but unfortunately for me, there was a wedding taking place so I wasn’t able to go inside. I did however; go around the church, where I found the most amazing wall with windows filled with VanGogh’s work.
At this point, I was hungry and getting tired so I grabbed some dinner and then headed back to the hotel. I took at bath in the whirlpool in my room, and called it an early night. I had a five and half hour drive the next day.
There was one sight I had yet to see, Elizabeth Church.
The Elizabeth Church, aka the blue church, which is considered one of the most beautiful pieces of Art Nouveau architecture in the world.
As it turned out, the following morning, when I took Little Man for a walk, I came across it a block from my hotel…completely unexpected. Definitely one of the most unique churches I’ve photographed.
How About You?
Have you ever visited Bratislava? What was your favorite part? Feel free to comment below or contact Ann’s Adventure Writer and Blogger here.