Top Historic Sights in Bratislava, Slovakia

Explore the historic highlights of Bratislava

Bratislava Old Town

The Old Town of Bratislava contains the small, but preserved medieval city center, Bratislava Castle and other important landmarks. Bratislava"s Old Town is known for its many churches, a riverbank promenade and cultural institutions, it is also the location of most of the foreign states embassies and important Slovak institutions, the Summer Archbishop"s Palace, seat of the Government of Slovakia and Grassalkov ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava Castle

Bratislava Castle has been a dominant feature of the city for centuries and it is the national monument of Slovakia. The castle, like today's city, has been inhabited for thousands of years, because it is strategically located in the center of Europe at a passage between the Carpathians and the Alps and at an important ford used to cross the Danube river. Early History The people of the Boleráz culture were the first k ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Bratislava, Slovakia

St. Martin's Cathedral

Bratislava's three-nave Gothic cathedral is built on the site of a previous, Romanesque church, from 1221. After 1291, when Bratislava was given the privileges of a town, the church was rebuilt to become part of the city walls (its tower served as a defensive bastion). The present church was consecrated in 1452. The interior of the church is large – 69.37 metres long, 22.85 metres wide and 16.02 metres high – and feat ...
Founded: 1452 | Location: Bratislava, Slovakia

Grassalkovich Palace

The Grassalkovich Palace is the residence of the president of Slovakia. The building is a Rococo/late Baroque summer palace with a French garden. It was built in 1760 for Count Antal Grassalkovich, a Hungarian noble serving as the head of the Hungarian Chamber (a sort of ministry of economy and finance for the Kingdom of Hungary), by architect Anton Mayerhofer. It features many beautiful rooms and an impressive staircase. ...
Founded: 1760 | Location: Bratislava, Slovakia

St. Elisabeth Church

The Church of St. Elizabeth, commonly known as Blue Church is consecrated to Elisabeth of Hungary, daughter of Andrew II, who grew up in the Pressburg Castle (pozsonyi vár). It is called 'Blue Church' because of the colour of its façade, mosaics, majolicas and blue-glazed roof. The one-nave church was built in 1907-1908, four years after the plans of Ödön Lechner to build a church in the Hungarian Art Nouveau style. ...
Founded: 1907-1908 | Location: Bratislava, Slovakia

Slavín Memorial Monument

Slavín is a memorial monument and military cemetery in Bratislava. It is the burial ground of 6,845 Soviet Army soldiers who fell during World War II while liberating 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 c ...
Founded: 1957-1960 | Location: Bratislava, Slovakia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.