European Quartet One Melody

 

Bratislava
Bratislava is the most cosmopolitan, accessible city for American and other Western visitors. Filled with historic sites and the energy of a large student population, Bratislava has the best restaurants, cafes, and entertainment – including high-brow culture such as operas and symphonies, folk music and dance and international pop culture. As the capital, it’s the logical starting point, but it also makes sense from a transportation point-of-view if you are arriving by air from the US or stopping in Slovakia on a Danube River Cruise or other tour of Central Europe. Bratislava is probably the least typical place in the whole country, so be sure to take some extra time to see at least one other town in addition to the capital city.

Bratislava Castle / © Ladislav Struhár │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardBratislava / © Róbert Buga │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardBratislava / © Róbert Buga │Source: Slovak Tourist Board
Bratislava / © Bedrich Schraiber │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardBratislava / © Ladislav Struhár │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardDanubiana - modert art museum / © Bedrich Schraiber │Source: Slovak Tourist Board
Shopping street in Bratislava / © Ladislav Struhár │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardBratislava / © Bedrich Schraiber │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardOld street in Bratislava / © Bedrich Schraiber │Source: Slovak Tourist Board
Bratislava Castle / Source: Slovak Tourist BoardBratislava - Zigmund´s Gate / © Bedrich Schraiber │Source: Slovak Tourist BoardBratislava - Reduta Concert Hall / Source: Slovak Tourist Board
From here it’s easy to reach the border with Austria (4km), Czech Republic (65km) and Hungary (13km), with Vienna only 50 minutes away by car or train.

Drive 20 minutes toward the Hungarian border to the town of Cunovo, which has the largest Slovak modern art museum, Danubiana. Dinner at one of restaurants listed above. Or simply relax in one of the many cafés or nightclubs, especially in the Old Town. And feel the vitality of this city reinventing itself.

Top sights in the Old Town:

  • The Main Square (Hlavne Namestie) lined with handsome pastel-coloured baroque and renaissance buildings – formerly the homes of merchants, now housing many embassies. Notice the amusing statues around the Square, especially Cumil, who looks up women’s skirts from a manhole near an ice cream stand, and the smiling but tragic Handsome Ignatius (Schone Naci), who went insane after his fiancé was killed in a concentration camp.
  • Michael’s Gate (Michalska brana), the last remaining original gate of the city’s fortified walls. Climb the tower for a great rooftop view and peek into the weapons museum.
  • The Municipal History Museum is also here with its fascinating paintings and photos that show how the city has changed over the past 150 years. There’s also an exhibit of instruments of torture.
  • Take a coffee break in one of the many charming cafés tucked into courtyards and alleys off the Main Square and throughout Old Town.
  • Primate's Palace (Primacialny palac) is the 18th century neo-Classical pink palace with a 300 lb archbishop’s hat on top to indicate it was the winter residence of the Hungarian Archbishop. Inside are valuable 17th century tapestries. Famous documents signed in the palace’s Hall of Mirrors include: the 1805 treaty ending war between Napoleon and Austro-Hungarian Empire; the 1848 abolition of serfdom (similar to slavery); the 1968 agreement by the Soviets not to interfere with the democratic reforms known as the "Prague Spring" (less than a month later, the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia).
  • St.Martin’s Cathedral, Dom sv. Martina, has a crown on the steeple, rather than a cross. This is where Hungary crowned its kings and queens for nearly 300 years.
  • Trinity Church (Kostol Trinitarov) is known for its magnificent trompe l’oeil frescos.
  • Mirbach Palace is a fine Rococo building, which today houses the City Gallery and its collection of baroque art and visiting exhibits.
  • Obchodna Street is good for handicraft shops.
  • Visit the Chatam Sofer Memorial to an important Jewish scholar. This must be arranged through a local travel agency – www.slovak-jewish-heritage.org


City-centre restaurants
Our recommendations include:

 

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