Bratislava Castle, the landmark overlooking the capital, was built in 9th century. It stands on the hill above Danube river.
Bratislava Castle, the landmark overlooking the Capital, was built in the 9th century. As an agelong symbol of the city, it proudly stands on the hill above Danube river. Eleven kings and eight queens were crowned in Bratislava in the past. No wonder that the castle is a popular part of excursions through the city.
History of the Pressburg Castle (as named in the past)
The castle stands on an important crossroad of the ancient routes. First traces of the settlement on the hill stretch back to the Stone and Bronze Age. The place had its strategic geographical importance in the period of the Great Moravian Empire.
First Hungarian King Stephen I (11th century) ruled over the empire from his seat inside the Castle. It remained unconquered during the Tartar raids (1241-1242) and protected Hungary against the attacks from the west. Also, since Vienna is right around a corner, the castle provided a protection for this city too, especially during Ottoman expansion in the 16th century.
Bratislava became the official coronation town for Hungarian Kings and the castle became formal seat of the kings of Royal Hungary.
Maria Theresa had the castle extensively reconstructed, with the help of best imperial architects. It was no longer a fortress, rather a residence and a representative place. She had a new palace (so-called Theresianum) built along with several other buildings and added new french gardens.
After the Empress and her son Joseph II died, castle was deserted and became a military garrison. In the May of 1811, the fire broke in the military warehouse. Only ruins were left...
After the WWII, the castle underwent serious reconstruction and renovation. In 1968, state leaders signed a document here establishing Czechoslovak Federation. In 1992, new constitution of independent Slovakia was signed here too.
The Beauty of Bratislava Castle
Bratislava Castle's silhouette is created by four wings, each with a corner tower. For two centuries the south-west tower (jewel's tower) housed the Hungarian coronation jewels.
The area in front of the castle is called Yard of Honor. It is bordered by two triumphal gates and guard houses of the imperial guard.
What to See
Exhibition of the Slovak National Museums are open to public at Bratislava Castle (www.snm.sk).
On the eastern terrace of the palace you can find reconstructed remains of the Great-Moravian basilica and other buildings from this era (11th century).
Don't forget to enjoy magnificent panoramic views on Bratislava from the castle's area. And at night, the castle is beautifully lit.
How to Get There
We suggest walking from the beautiful St. Martin's Dome, under the New Bridge to the other side of the busy road and up the stairs to the castle's gate.
Find Palisady Street which will lead you to the parking lot near the castle.
Debus at the Hrad or Zamocka Stops, which are closest to the castle.