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.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.