A travel journal
to Trnava by Wildcat Dianne
Quote: Trnava is the oldest city in Slovakia. Its existence dates back from c.1211 and was the leading religious center of the Hungarian Empire from the 17th to early 20th Centuries. It is now a sleepy city of 79,000 people barely touched by western tourists.
When you visit Trnava, the two must-see churches in town are St. Nicholas Church and The Church of St. John the Baptist. There are many churches in this predominately Catholic city of 78,000 people that deserve recognition, and they are: The Church of the Holy Trinity, St. James' Church, and St. Helen's Church.
Trnava has the remains of its Town Fortifications dating from the 13th and 14th Centuries that are worth a short visit, too, along with its synagogue and main square, Holy Trinity Square.
Make sure you learn a few words or phrases of Slovak. My friends spoke fluent English, but most of Trnava's residents don't speak English. However, they might speak German and you will be able to get directions or help if you know a little German, too.
Like many of Slovakia's cities and towns, Trnava is plagued by crime after the fall of communism in 1989. Many of Trnava's residents, my friends included, wish that communism was still in existence because of the high crime rate, and communism kept the crime rate down. If you visit a Slovak home, be prepared to ring a bell outside their locked gates in order to gain access inside.
Once inside Trnava, it's best to check out the sites by walking to get a better feel of the place and its people. Markets and residents are located on the outskirts of town and can be reached by car or taxi cab. Just make sure that you lock your car at all times.
Restaurant | "Restauracia Greka (Greek Restaurant)"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 31, 2002
Sv. Mikulas Square
St. Nicholas Church is the biggest church in Trnava, and its towers dominate the town and its skyline. It is situated on the place of a former Romanesque church dating from 1380. The construction took 60 years to complete and its doors finally opened to the public in 1440. Throughout the centuries, St. Nicholas Church has gone under several gothic and baroque remodelings and reconstructions. In 1741, rococo pews, pulpit, and organ was added to the interior. The above mentioned painting of the Virgin Mary is worth a quick prayer in front of it and quiet contemplation.
The Church of St. John the Baptist's history dates back to the 17th century. Construction in the baroque style was begun in 1629 and lasted until 1637. The present church is on the former site of a Dominican monastery and church from the 13th century. St. John the Baptist's architecture and sculptures have Italian, Viennese, and Slovak influences.Masses in the churches are held every day in Slovakia and on Sundays, of course. If you decide to attend Sunday mass in any Slovak church, make sure you get there early to get a seat or you will be standing in the back of the church. I attended mass almost every Sunday in Ivan's village, Borovce, and a couple of times in the city of Hlohovec, and most of the time, Ivan and I were standing in the back of the church because we arrived there at the last moment. Kneeling on cement is not good for one with bad knees!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 4, 2003
St. Nicholas and St. John the Baptist Churches
Svatopluk and University Squares
Attraction | "The Town Fortifications."
A great example of the preserved old town is Trnava's Town Fortifications. Located throughout the town, these brick fortifications date from the 13th and 14th centuries and were built by the townspeople for defensive purposes and was surrounded by a moat at one time. The fortifications consist of a high curtain wall with bastions, four gatehouses, and two postems. The main roads, Bratislava and the Bohemian Roads, at the time passed through the southern gates.
Throughout the centuries, the fortifications have withstood war and reconstruction. After the 18th century, the fortifications lost their usefulness as a defense mechanism and were torn down in the 19th century leaving a small section near St. Nicholas's Church. But in the 1970s, Trnava's city planners decided to rebuild the old town, a large-scale reconstruction began, and the fortifications were restored back to its 14th- and 15th-century style.
Unfortunately, vandalism plagues Trnava as well as other Slovak towns and cities, and when I visited Trnava in 2001 and 2002, I was saddened to see these beautiful brick fortifications under a ton of spray paint and decay.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 17, 2005
Ivan and I found Stefan, who is dark-haired and dark-skinned and very handsome, painting one of the exhibit rooms. Ivan introduced me to Stefan, but we couldn't shake hands because Stefan was covered in white paint. Ivan gave Stefan his finds, Stefan took some of them as good finds for the museum, and we looked around what we could of the museum.
The Clarissan Cloister Area and Museum is located in the old part of Trnava and once housed a baroque church and Monastery of the St. Clare Order. The two-towered baroque church is still standing and has an atrium courtyard with plants and figural ornaments on its exterior.
After World War II and the advent of communism in Slovakia, St. Clare's Order has been turned into first a hospital, and in 1954, the monastery became the West-Slovakia Museum and houses some very interesting collections of Slovakian and Haban pottery, folk art, and documents depicting the history of Trnava and the university that is located there. For the amateur archaeologists, like my friend Ivan, the West-Slovakian Museum houses many can't-miss archaeological exhibits dating as early as 1211, when Trnava was founded.It has been 5 years since the West-Slovakian Museum was going under reconstruction, and I am sure now in 2006, you will be able to visit it and see the exhibits in full. Admission is free and it's worth about a couple of hours of your time.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 5, 2006
The Clarissan Cloister area and Museum
Museum Street (Muzejna Ulica)
My boyfriend and I were invited to his friends' house in the city of Hlohovec to watch the gold medal game between Slovakia and Russia. We watched the game on TV in the friend's living room. Earlier this year, I was sitting in my father's living room in McCall, Idaho seeing our favorite team, the New England Patriots, win their first Super Bowl. The atmosphere in Slovakia was the same as in Dad's house and all of New England. Slovakia scored first and fast, and by the 2nd intermission, Slovakia was ahead of Russia 3-1. Every time Slovakia scored a goal, we would run outside on their porch to hear the cheering, fireworks, and shotgun blasts from the residents of Hlohovec. When the 2nd intermission started, we all headed down to the town square to watch the game on a big screen TV that was set up there. There were crazed and drunken fans running around with Slovak flags and yelling. There were police everywhere to control the mob.
When the Russians tied the game in the 3rd period, it became very quiet. I was afraid it would get violent if Russia scored another goal to win the game. But with less than two minutes to go in the game, Slovakia scored the winning goal. All hell broke loose in the town square and when there was 10 seconds left in the game, we all ran from the square in order to avoid the pandemonium that broke out. There were fireworks and bullets flying overhead as we ran from the square to my boyfriend's friend's home in the hills. We stopped at a neighbors' house nearby and watched the awards ceremony and drank homemade wine that made me a little tipsy.
Soccer and hockey are the biggest sports in Slovakia. Most of the players dream of careers in the NHL and other leagues but come home to Slovakia to play for the national team and see family. I was happy to be a witness to Slovakia winning the World Championships of Hockey, and I must be the only American to witness both the Patriots winning the Super Bowl and the Slovakian Hockey team winning a world championship.