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Bratislava: A Small Modern City on the Danube River

by Editor Miro Susta
Published the 5th of November 2020 

Let's have a glance at the small town where I was born, spent my childhood and youth years.

Bratislava, German Pressburg, Hungarian Pozsony, until 1919 Presporok, is a capital city of Slovakia a country with a rich tradition, customs and history. A country full of cordial and hospitable people.


'Sunset Colors' by Miro Susta

The city lies at the foot of the Little Carpathians. The Danube river crosses the city and the river Moravia flows outside the city near Devin Castle, just a few kilometres from the Bratislava down town.


Confluence of the river Danube and Moravia near Bratislava.



Devin Castle


Bratislava is located at the borders of Austria and Hungary, making it the only capital in the world that is bordered by three sovereign states.

It is the seat of the President, Parliament and Government, the self-governing region, the emerging European Labor Authority, several local headquarters of international organizations, as well as several theatres, museums, galleries, universities and other institutions.


The city is dominated by Bratislava Castle with its characteristic four towers and St. Martin's Cathedral.


One of the most important modern structures is the SNP bridge over the Danube, built in 1972. It was the second bridge over the Danube in Bratislava. During construction a section of the historical Old Town, including the old synagogue, was ruined.



Historical Old Town
The historical old town is easily to find beneath a hillside dominated by a medieval castle, and next to the high towers of St. Martin's Cathedral.


In the labyrinth of cobbled streets, mostly limited to pedestrians, greenery and fountains adorn the small parks, people have a rich selection of cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating in the summer season.








The Capuchin Church sits just outside the boundary of Bratislava's Old Town. 


'The Church and the Castle' by Miro Susta

The church is located on the left side of the old town entrance via the Michael's Gate. The church was consecrated to St. Stephen of Hungary and built in 1717.

A plague column stands right in front of the main entrance and a statue of St. Stephen adorns the face of the church. The interior of the church is wonderfully simple and has a beautifully painted main altar.

Bratislava Castle
The restored castle is situated on a rocky hillside of the Little Carpathians forming an important landmark of the city.

The castle palace has preserved elements from the period of Sigismund's Gothic and Theresian Baroque with some Renaissance elements, mainly fragments.


The aristocratic Pálffy family has successfully completed the expansion of the castle, which contributes to its current appearance in the shape of a "table upside down" thanks to four corner towers.

In 1811 a fire in the military barracks left the castle in a devastated state.  Reconstruction only began in 1950


Castle renovation in 2008

The castle served briefly as the seat of the government of independent Slovakia in 1993, today it serves as a museum and venue for special events such as the Bush-Putin summit in February 2005.


Even today, the castle dominates the centre of Bratislava, towering over the second highest point - the tower of the Cathedral of St. Martina.


'Floating castle' by Matey Kovac

Shopping and Relaxation
The historic Old Town combines the most expensive international boutiques with tourist-oriented souvenir shops and countless cafés and restaurants.


Konditorei Kormuth´s impressive interior captivates everyone by its magical atmosphere.


In Bratislava there are many opportunities for relaxation and outdoor activities. Everybody can enjoy this lively and young European city either with family, friends or alone.



What else is there in Bratislava?
This would make a long list, so this is just a selection of the interesting spots in words and images.


Old town hall
The Old Town Hall is one of the oldest building complexes in Bratislava. The tower has been standing since the 13th century. Gradually, other houses were acquired for use as town halls. Inside the tower is now the town museum. 


Incidentally, the oldest fountain in the city, the Maximilian Fountain, has been standing on the main square in front of the Old Town Hall since 1572 - it commemorates the first King Maximilian II crowned in Bratislava.



Primatial Palais
The Primatial Palais is a magnificent building completed in 1781, it served as the residence of Cardinal József Batthyány, the Primate of Hungary. The Viennese Melchior Hefele was the architect. Until 1996 it was the seat of government, today the building is used as a town hall. 

In the courtyard there is the fountain of St. George and shows how the knight defeats the dragons in battle according to a legend.



Michael's Gate
The white Michael's Gate with an onion roof is another landmark of the city. It dates from the 14th century and is the only preserved city gate in Bratislava.


From the terrace a little below the roof you get an excellent view of the roofs of the old town and the castle. Watching the people in the narrow streets is also an exciting activity.



The Danube River
The Danube enters Slovakia through the Thebes Gate - a quarry near Devin Castle - and then it leaves Slovakia at the town of Stúrovo.

There are six bridges crossing the river in Bratislava. The oldest one is the Old Bridge from 19th century, on 9 November 1891 personally opened by Emperor Franz Joseph I.


All Danube cruises that pass by Bratislava offer the perfect opportunity to explore the picturesque Old Town and immerse into its exciting history during a shore excursion. Some of them are now parking in Batislava in the current detrimental Covid period.



Danube Boat Brewery
The first mini-brewery on the water in Europe, a place where visitors can enjoy the relaxation with a panoramic view of the Old Town of Bratislava, with delicious local cuisine and with fresh beer brewed on the boat.



There are more interesting places in Bratislava…


... which were not introduced in this article. Due to its proximity to Vienna (62km) Bratislava has become more and more popular among backpackers and city travellers in the recent years - nowhere else is it possible to visit two European national capitals in such a short time one after the other!

Perhaps one day you will have the opportunity to come, explore and enjoy this little but lovely city in the very heart of Europe.

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Thanks for showing us this beautiful city, Miro!
You are most welcome Lourens, greetings Miro
verdon PRO
here we go very nice shots and promotion of beautiful country, which everybody should visit when opportunity comes, well done Miro!
Many thanks Verdon, agree Bratislava is a beautiful small city.
A real invitation to visit this charming city, Miro! Thanks for this fine article...
Many thanks Yvette, I am happy to see that you like it.