Much of the castle is kept for official functions or traveling exhibitions, but it is also home to The Music Museum, as well as exhibits from The National Museum. The entrance is almost worth the price of admission, with its extremely elegant, wide, white marble staircase, gilt-edged ceiling, and huge, gold-framed mirrors.
My first stop was at The Music Museum, which featured an exhibit of Jan Levoslav Bella with musical scores, instruments and photos. My unfamiliarity with his work and the lack of English information meant I didn’t get much benefit from it.
More interesting to me was the various rooms of The History Museum and the National Museum. A large section was devoted to art – approximately 3500 paintings, statues, and prints by domestic and foreign artists grouped according to theme. Religious art in one room, painting and portraits of royalty such as Maria Theresa and Maria Antoinette in another, more portraits and finally, sculpture and modern art such as Julius Koller’s question mark canvas. One of the highlighted displays was copies of 15th century altarpieces and church statues done by Paul of Levoca and many of his students.
Other rooms, large enough to double for warehouses, were filled with coloured Slovakian glassware, carved wooden furniture, clocks, weapons, helmets and armor. There was an impressive display of silver with bowls, plates and utensils from the 17th to 19th century. Also impressive was a Renaissance jewel chest, circa 1600, and a replica of the crown of the Hungarian kings. Near the crown was a steep flight of stairs leading to the Crown Tower, a small enclosed tower offering 360 degree views of the city.
Speaking of stairs, the castle has lots of them, so those with mobility issues might want to check for handicap access before visiting. Note there is a small café on the top floor where you can take a break.
The castle is open from 9am to 5pm, Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is 60SK. To get to the castle from Old Town, cross the busy motorway through the underpass by St. Martin’s Church. You’ll then head uphill, past the pretty yellow and white House of the Good Shepherd, which now houses a clock museum.
Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
September 15, 2006
From journal Sightseeing in Bratislava
by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
May 29, 2005
From journal No Longer a Hidden Treasure
by Wildcat Dianne
June 1, 2003
Bratislava Castle is known as "the Castle" by locals. During my first visit to Bratislava in September 2001, I only saw the Castle from the Old Town. It was dusk, and the old Castle looked beautiful and imposing over the city of Bratislava from its hilltop home.
I finally got to see the Castle in person twice during my 2002 Slovak sojourn. The first time was with a young friend, Jana. In Bratislava and most of Slovakia, people get dressed up more than we do in the USA. So I dressed up to blend in with the Bratislavans. I wore a pair of dressy 1.5" sandals and with my friend marched up to conquer the Castle. Big mistake! After I returned to my temporary home in Borovce, I cursed sacrificing comfort for beauty and the blisters on my little toes.
To locals, the Castle is known as an "upturned table." It was a Hungarian fort, stronghold, and residence ever since its existence was first published in 907 AD. The Castle towers over Bratislava at 279' (85 M) and overlooks the Danube River.
The Castle's present-day look started to come into existence in the 13th Century when it was remodeled in the Romanesque style. Its present day exterior dates from the 15th century, and the well that drew water from the Danube and was the Castle's only water source still exists and can be seen by visitors.
Bratislava was known as Pressburg during its occupation by the Austrian Hapsburgs and became the capital of the Hapsburg Empire in the 16th Century when the Ottoman Empire had conquered most of the empire but left Pressburg alone. The Castle was then remodeled into the Renaissance Style and its interior was done in the rococo style.
During Maria Theresia's reign, the Castle was given its final remodel in the Baroque Style, and Pressburg and its Castle became a favorite place for Maria Theresia and her family to stay and hold formal ceremonies. Maria Theresia's favorite daughter Maria Christina and her husband, Duke Albert of Sachen-Teschen lived in the castle and its palace.
After Maria Theresia's death in 1780, her son Joseph II moved the Hapsburg Empire's Central Offices to Budapest, and the Castle fell into decay from neglect and war. In 1811, neglectful French soldiers caused a fire in the Castle and destroyed most of it. For over 150 years, the Castle lay in ruins above Bratislava and was going to be torn down by the Communists after 1948. But after talks, it was decided to rebuild the Castle, and construction began in 1953 and continues through today.
A tour of The Castle takes about two hours in order to see everything. The interiors are open from 9am to 5pm daily, and there is a souvenir shop on the grounds.
From journal Historical Bratislava
July 28, 2000
From journal Bratislava from the local guy