St. Martin's Cathedral

Bratislava, Slovakia

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 features a grand internal divided portal with a preserved tympanum and a relief of the Holy Trinity. It has four chapels: the canons’ chapel, the Gothic chapel of Sophia of Bavaria (widow of the Czech King Wenceslas IV), the chapel of St Anne and the baroque chapel of St John the Merciful. The portal of the southern antechamber represents the oldest example of Renaissance architecture in Slovakia.

Between 1563 and 1830 St Martin's served as the coronation church for Hungarian kings and their consorts, marked to this day by a 300-kg gilded replica of the Hungarian royal crown perched on the top of the cathedral's 85-metre-tall neo-Gothic tower. At the beginning of September each year the pomp and circumstance of the coronation returns to Bratislava in a faithful reconstruction of the ceremony.

The first monumental work of central-European sculpture made from lead can be found inside the cathedral. It was created by Georg Raphael Donner for the main altar of St Martin's in 1734. The group is now in the side nave of the church as a free statue on a pedestal. It depicts St Martin sitting on a horse rampant, bending to a beggar and cutting his overcoat to share it with the poor man.

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Founded: 1452
Category: Religious sites in Slovakia

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

hebe kuha (4 months ago)
The tower with a height of 85 meters accumulates out of the central nave on the western side. Originally, along with the beginning of the west of the church, it was located behind the town walls. The tower was part of the town’s strongholds, and therefore, from the west, it did not have an entrance portal that conceivable attackers or even windows could use. To enhance communication at the west facade, a few side turrets with staircases were stationed.
Charles Van Loan (6 months ago)
My wife and I accidently came across this church while wandering around on our own. We were with a tour but had some free time. We followed brass stars imbedded in the streets which took us to this church. We had to search to find an entry. Inside it was amazing! We were the only people there except one elderly lady who worked there. There were catacombs under the main floor, a treasure room that we were allowed to wander by ourselves with many wonderful items. There was a peculiar 'shrine' to a Saint that had a fingerbone that when you pushed a button a light shined on. On the main floor was a thick glass plate where you could see into the floor below with bones of someone showing. I took many pictures but my phone was stolen so I don't have any pictures. If I get back to Bratislava I'll go back for sure.
miso demetrian (7 months ago)
Unfortunately this cathedral is simply traditional slovak village's church just pretty big
Kate Wharton (11 months ago)
Beautiful cathedral, very peaceful.
Asad Chaudary (11 months ago)
Very nice looking cathedral.
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