Explore Slovakia – From Bratislava to Svidnik

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1 Bratislava01Slovakia is well-known for its mountainous nature, beautiful castles, museums, hiking trails and friendly people. This amazing country is bordered by Hungary to the south, Ukraine to the east, Poland to the north and Austria and the Czech Republic to the west. Not only is Bratislava the largest Hungarian city, it is also the capital. You will love the medieval inner city with its narrow streets and many historic churches and buildings.
The most prominent building in Bratislava is the castle situated on a plateau above the Danube River. The massive structure (see picture above) has four corner towers and stands on the hill of the Little Carpathians. In 2008, a massive reconstruction was started. The unveiling of the statue of King Svätopluk on horseback took place on June 6, 2010, with the completion of the reconstruction. The best preserved original part of the castle is the Sigismund gate, built in the 15th century. The structure provides magnificent views of the city, Austria and Hungary.
The Grassalkovich Palace was built in 1760 and is now the residence of the Slovak president. Other notable building in Bratislava is the Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral, the Church of St. Elizabeth (also known as the Blue Church), and the Franciscan Church, the Old Town Hall, St. Clare’s Church, the Slavin monument and The Archiepiscopal Palace.
Bratislava has several lakes, such as Kuchajda in Nové Mesto, Štrkovec Lake in Ružinov, Zlaté Piesky and the Vajnorylakes in the north-east, and Rusovce Lake in the south, which is popular with nudists.
The city is also home to the famous Philharmonic Orchestra and the Slovak National Theatre offers a wide selection on opera, theatre and ballet performances. The new theatre is accessible by bus No 88 from the Coach Terminal at Mlynske nivy (get off at Landererova) or by buses No 50, 70 and 78 (stop is called Wüstenrot). The old theatre building is right in the middle of the city at Hviezdoslavovo namestie.
In the summer, you can visit the Bratislava Zoo; go to the Botanical Gardens or the Sad Janka Kráľa Park (on the right bank of the river Danube and next to Aupark shopping centre), which is also the oldest public park in central Europe.
Travel to the town of Spišské Podhradie and explore the Spiš Castle
Spiš Castle
2 spis-castleThe castle is situated above the town of Spišské Podhradie and the village of Žehra, in the region known as Spiš. The ruins of Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia form one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe and are often used as a location for films, including The Last Legion, The Lion in Winter, Dragonheart and Kull the Conqueror. The castle is around 900 years old and among the most important monuments of the world. The castle is on the way from Levoca to Presov.
The Bojnice Castle – Where the Black Lady Wanders
Another National Cultural Monument is the Bojnice Castle in the Upper Nitra region. Bojnice is a historical town in central Slovakia, 167 km northeast of Bratislava at the upper Nitra River, near the city of Prievidza. Bojnice Castle is the most famous castle of Slovakia and home to the Black Lady who wanders the halls and stairs of the castle or sometimes appearing only as a strange shadow.
Bojnice Castle
3 Castle_Bojnice_SKThe Bojnice castle was first mentioned in the 12th century and since then it was owned by Matthias Corvinus, the Thurzo family or the Pallfy family amongst others. Currently the castle hosts a museum and is a major tourist attraction of Slovakia. The castle is also the scene of the annual International Festival of Ghosts and Spirits. As it is, legend has it that the Black Lady jumped with her child from the castle’s highest tower.
The Black Lady’s husband was the lord of the castle and a military leader. The lady was known for her virtue. Then, some relatives came to stay. They soon became envious of the Black Lady and her husband who seemed to have everything. The couple was young, rich and happy.
The husband’s duties often forced him to leave the castle and the relatives told the lord that his wife was having fun with other knights. He was furious and worked out a simple test of her virtue. She had to jump from the castle’s highest tower into the deep wide hole, filled with water, which surrounds the castle. If she lived, she was innocent. The people of the village gathered to see if the lord of the castle would change his mind.
The Black Lady jumped with her newborn child. It is told that before they hit the water, they suddenly floated up and away, proving her innocence. Then the crowd heard a noise: It was the relatives, going up in a puff of smoke. And from that time on, she has wandered the halls and stairs of the castle, wearing black, or sometimes appearing only as a strange shadow.
Slovakia Folk Tradition
4 Vychodna Slovak dancersFolk tradition has rooted strongly in Slovakia and is reflected in literature, music, dance and architecture. The prime example is a Slovak national anthem, “NAD Tatrou SA blýska”, which is based on a melody from “Kopala studienku” folk song.
Manifestation of Slovak folklore culture is the “Východná” Folklore Festival. It is the oldest and largest nationwide festival with international participation,[103]which takes place in Východná annually. Slovakia is usually represented by many groups but mainly by SĽUK (Slovenský ľudový umelecký kolektív – Slovak folk art collective). SĽUK is the largest Slovak folk art group, trying to preserve the folklore tradition.
Experience Bardejov
Bardejov is a town in North-Eastern Slovakia. The town is situated in the hills of the Beskyd Mountains in the Šariš region on a floodplain terrace of the Topľa River and is about an hour away by bus or local train from Presov. Bardejov is frequently signed as the most Gothic town of Slovakia.
Bardejov

5 central-square-bardejovOn main Town Hall Square, you can admire unique St. Egidius Basilica Minor of Gothic style and you can view a collection of eleven late Gothic altars of 15th and 16th centuries. The unspoiled town cobbled square is a great view of town life in late medieval and early renaissance Europe.
The dominant theme is rows of affluent merchants’ houses of German influence, each with its own variations of pastel colouring, roofing and other details. Several churches pay tribute to a variety of architectural styles and periods. One of the most interesting buildings is the town hall, built in 1505. The lower part was built in the Gothic style, while the upper part was finished in the Renaissance style.
Also worth a visit is the Bardejov Spa, which is situated just about 2.5 kilometres north of Bardejov. The Bardejovské Kúpele claims to be beneficial to people with blood circulation and digestive tract problems.
Visa Requirements for Slovakia
As of December 20, 2007 Slovakia has begun issuing Schengen Visa allowing holders to enter the entire Schengen Area. Schengen refers to a group of European Union member states which have abolished passport controls on their internal borders and strengthened controls at their external boundaries.

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One Response to “Explore Slovakia – From Bratislava to Svidnik”

  1. Ladislav Novak Says:

    Please Bratislava is not a largest hungarian, but slovak city!!

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