St Martin's Cathedral was built on the site of an earlier Romanesque church from 1221. The building works were begun in 1291 but it was not consecrated until 1445 (or 1452 according to some). This is one of the oldest and also largest churches in Bratislava. The 85 m tall tower was constructed at the same time as the church, which is not always the case. The tower was an important part of the the city walls. When you leave the church you can still see parts of the old city wall right in front of you.
On top of the tower there is a gilded pillow, 2x2 m, with a 1m high copy of the Hungarian royal crown weighing 300 kg placed atop of this. The church used to be the coronation church to the Hungarian kings. During 1563 - 1830, 11 kings and eight queens were crowned here.
Opening hours when I visited:
9.00 - 11.30, and 13.00 - 17.00 every day with the exception of some Saturdays and Sundays.
The link further down will take you to a page in Czech.
The Franciscan Church was consecrated in 1297, which makes it the oldest church in Bratislava.
It is normally open only for masses although the front door might be open so you can look inside through glass doors.
It is impossible to get an accurate localisation of the church on Google Map since there are two names for the church there, but the marker A is the right one (B actually points to the back of the church).
The Blue Church, otherwise known as the Church of St. Elizabeth, is a Bratislava landmark. Bluer than your average Smurf this delight (eyesore?) was built in the early twentieth century and features blue mosaics, blue pottery, a blue facade and a blue-glazed roof. The building was designed by Odon Lechner, who also a number of important buildings in Budapest. While my guidebook says that the church is open dawn to dusk, it was thoroughly locked at the time of my mid-afternoon visit. There are a number of other interesting Art Nouveau buildings in the streets around this church.
The "Church of Saint John of Matha and Saint Felix of Valois", commonly mis-called the Holy Trinity Church, is a cute little Baroque landmark on the outskirts of Bratislava's Old Town. Construction on the current building began in 1717 and the interior is richly decorated in Rococo style.
Eve if you have only a little interest in history, it is always worth visiting the oldest church or cathedral building in any settlement. You are bound to find something which pleases you.
St Martin's Cathedral is no exception. Building began in 1311, with the first structure completed by 1452, but there have been many additions and changes since that time. What you can see now largely dates from the period 1869-1877, which restorations and reconstruction took place following fires and an earthquake.
The cathedral now has three aisles, and an 85m-high tower which was once part of the city's defences. It is topped by a golden crown, rather than a cross, for St Martin's was the coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from 1563 -1830.
I was happy to pay the small entrance fee to visit the interior. Note how you step down into the church itself: that's a sure sign of antiquity, for continued building and rebuilding over centuries inevitably cause a rise in street level.
There is little in the way of original stone carving or memorial slabs inside: a pity, for I love to explore the workings of the Medieval mind through the carvings made by ordinary folk of the time. There is a rather superb set of choir stalls with magnificent wooden creatures of various types. They're not especially old (1800s) but they are still pretty impressive.
The stained-glass windows aren't very old either, but they are lovely. Their colourful and complex patterns really caught my eye. There is a tiny archaeological excavation of the earlier structure visible through glass panes in the floor (to the far right as you look towards the altar) but condensation makes it very difficult to see what lies beneath.
You can visit the Treasury, where there are numerous chalices and costumes on display...and a scorchmark made by the hand of a ghost.. And, when I visited, you could also visit the crypt. I had hoped that this would be quite extensive but it seems access is only to a small part, with noting remaining much earlier than the mid-1800s. There are at least three crypts below the existing building, and the extent of the catacombs is not known.
The cathedral is under threat from the vibrations caused by continual heavy traffic on the almost-adjacent overpass to the UFO bridge but it seems preservation works are ongoing.
You can see more of the wood carvings and the stained glass windows in my travelogue.
The cathedral is open for visits 0900-1130 and 1300-1800 Monday to Saturday (1700 on Thursdays) and from 1330 to 1800 on Sundays.
This is the oldest church in Bratislava and is worth a visit simply for that reason.
The church was first consecrated in 1297 although subsequent fires and earthquakes mean that little of that original building is visible. You can, however, see the remains of the original doorway just inside the existing doorway: it has been left exposed.
Unfortunately, as I found was the case with many churches in central Bratislava, you cannot enter the church itself: it is barred off with an iron grill. But you can look through the grill and there is a helpful, and detailed, English information sheet tied in place.
I would have liked to visit the 14th-century Gothic chapel within, which is one of the most significant Gothic works in Slovakia. But I couldn't.
It's still worth a quick visit though, even if you can't enter the church itself. The information sheet alone is very interesting.
The Blue church is really the church of St Elizabeth (Kostol svätej Alžbety) but it's called the Blue Church because....well, because it is very blue indeed, both inside and out!
Apparently it is a favourite place to get married in Bratislava, and I can quite understand why. It really is a very pretty building.
This Saint Elizabeth was originally Elisabeth of Hungary, daughter of King Andrew ll. She lived from 1207 to 1231, married at 14 (quite normal for the time) and widowed by the age of 20. After her husband's death she devoted her life to religion and the care of the poor. Several miracles are ascribed to her but the most famous is the 'Miracle of the Roses': she was taking bread to the poor, but when her husband appeared (or her brother...the story varies) she hid it for fear of being accused of theft. When asked about what was under her cloak she replied 'Roses' and, when forced to show what lay within...yes, it was roses.
The Blue Church was built in 1907 in Art Nouveau style. There are mirror mosaic decorations on the outside (including the 'Eye of God' and a depiction of the 'Miracle of the Roses' ). The interior (inaccessible when I visited, but visible through a grille) is oval, with blue-painted pews and double pillars. You can see a 360 degree view of the interior on the link below.
This is a very lovely and unique building, and well worth seeking out. Although not in the Old Town itself it is within easy walking distance.
Begun in the early 1400s, St Martins was completed in 1452 with an impressive tower standing over 85 meters high. During the Hungarian rule, 11 kings were crowned in this cathedral from 1536 to the 1800s.
During our visit the cathedral was cold and dark with just a few sconces burning. The stained glass was impressive, and the old crypts unique. Our favorite was the crypt outside that said "Grof Palffy Csalad, Sirboltja" with the dates 1600 to 1845. The fact that he lived for 245 years is very amazing...the statue above the crypt is a man with no head--was he a ghost? See my picture of this crypt...
Someone did help me understand this crypt. In Slovak, the word "Csalad" means family, so this is the crypt of the familly of Earl Palffy.
The striking synagogue on Heydukova Street is Bratislava’s only remaining place of Jewish worship, and lies close to the historical city centre. A historically and architecturally significant building, it was constructed between 1923 and 1926 in Cubist style. It is listed as a national cultural monument.
The synagogue’s austere exterior consists of a towerless, seven-pillared colonnade facing the street. Inside is a large sanctuary featuring modern steel-and-concrete construction. Along with Cubist details there are historicist elements, for instance the arcade of the women’s gallery, a metallic bimah, and the ark. The architecture observes traditional religious requirements, such as separate areas for men and women.
The new Jewish Community Museum opened from June 2012 with a permanent exhibition “The Jews of Bratislava and Their Heritage” is installed upstairs. This museum presents rich Jewish heritage, rare jewish ritual tools, gold-embroidered mantles protecting the holy biblical scrolls, unique photographs of students who had attended the famed Bratislava rabbi school and remembers also the atrocities of the Holocaust. The exhibition is open during the summer season up till the end of September, every Friday 1 till 4pm and every Sunday 10 am till 1pm, except of Jewish holidays. It´s really beautiful exhibition and worth seeing! For more info visit: www.synagogue.sk
This cathedral is one of the oldest church in Bratislava and it can easily be referred as the largest and finest one. It is located very close to Novy Most facing Bratislava Castle. The history of this cathedral shows that it used to be the coronation church of the Hungarian Kingdom. There are very interesting wood carvings of animals in the church. The coloured glass windows also provide an aesthetic touch to it. The body of St John from 7th century is the relic being kept inside. Outside the cathedral, you can find the monument for the demolished synagogue while Novy Most was being constructed.
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