Bratislava Old Town

Bratislava, Slovakia

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 Grassalkovich Palace, seat of the President of Slovakia.

The eastern section is the historical and administrative center. Notable buildings and spaces include the Grassalkovich Palace, Trinity Church, Bratislava's Town Hall, St. Martin's Cathedral, Michael's Gate, the Primate's Palace, the Slovak National Theatre, the Main Square and Zochova Street from the 14th century and many other old churches and palaces. There are still some remnants of the medieval Bratislava city walls, although not open to the public for the time being.

St. Michael's Tower is one of essential symbols of Bratislava. Only the gate on St. Michael's Tower has been preserved out of the original four gates that were gateways for entering the fortified medieval city. Currentlyan exhibition of weaponry and city fortifications of the Bratislava City Museum is on display in the tower. A view of the entire rest of Michalská ulica street, which is one of the oldest in the city, opens up from St. Michael's Gate.

Zichy's Palace with its elegant, strictly Classicist-style facade draws the visitor's interest at the corner of Ventúrska and Prepoštská Streets. It was built in approximately 1775 at the behest of Count Francis Zichy. The palace was refurbished in the 1980's and now it hosts all kinds of ceremonies and celebrations. A Baroque-style Pállfy's Palace (house No. 10), which was rebuilt from an old house in 1747, is located at the corner of Ventúrska and Zelená Streets. A memorial plaque on the Pállfy's Palace facade on Ventúrska Street brings attention to the fact that the six-year old child prodigy, worldwide known as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), probably performed a concert in the palace.

A parish church is a landmark of every Christian city. This is no doubt the case with St. Martin's Cathedral – the largest, oldest and most remarkable church in Bratislava from the 14th century. St. Martin's Cathedral was a coronation church between 1563 and 1830.

The crossroads of the Fisherman's Gate and Panská and Laurinská Streets is one of the Old Town's liveliest places. People like to stop here to listen to tunes played by street musicians. Tourists are bound to make a picture with the statue of Čumil in what is an almost ceremonial photo session. The Fisherman's Gate is a short street in Bratislava's historic centre. Next to House No. 1 on Fisherman's Gate Street is a statue of a man in real size, who is holding a hat in his hand. The man looks like he is saying hello to somebody he knows coming out of a nearby entrance. Unlike the nearby Čumil, this sculpture, which shines in the silver colour, represents a real Bratislava local, whom everybody has called Schöner Nazi.

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Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.