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Published: April 5th 2018
Western Moravian Gate, Devín Castle
Erected in the first half of the 15th century, this gothic archway had a drawbridge outside and hinged internal gates.
Bratislava is a jumble of elegance, style, history dating back thousands of years, and happiness, all wrapped up with welcoming friendliness that is too often missing. I came to Bratislava on a suggestion from Tim and was prepared for an interesting stopover on the way to a desired destination. After two and a half days of turning up tiny laneways, visiting majestic churches, traipsing over castle grounds that date back thousands of years, I’ve come to realise that this should be a quiet priority on any Eastern European itinerary.
It may not have the high reputation bestowed upon Vienna, Prague or Budapest, but it sits proudly on the Danube and compares favourably with these cities. As you pass by stately, sometimes neglected, buildings, plaques stop you in your tracks to announce that Napoleon signed the Treaty of Pressburg in the Primate’s Palace in 1805, redefining the borders with Austria, Mozart played a concert as a 6 year old in a house belonging to the Palffy Family who also owned the Devín Castle at one stage, or Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis was first played in full at St Martin’s Cathedral. This Cathedral, built in 1220 on the site of an even older
Some Devín Castle Staff
These sheep are kept employed grazing in archeological areas in order to prevent the growth of introduced plant species. It is a return of the grazing activities employed in the 1700’s to maintain the land after centuries of neglect
Romanesque church has access, and archeological sites, unknown in most churches.
If history isn’t your thing, the cafe and restaurant culture that has grown around the old town has something for everyone, and I mean everyone! One club, aptly named The Devils Club, displayed stickers that insisted on No Smoking........oh, and No Guns; we didn’t go but probably would have been refused entry for being too ‘soft’.
Today, the early walk to Bus 29 , soon had us winding our way along the shoreline of the Danube to visit one of Slovakia’s most visited attractions, Devín Castle. First settled in primeval times, the area was fought over by many nations. Celts settled there, Romans watched their borders from there, and finally the Slavs built a fortress to guard that part of the Hungarian Kingdom. This castle was destroyed by Napoleon in1809 for no known reason and sits upon a rock at the junction of the Danube and the Morava River which forms the border with Austria. Until 1989 the Iron Curtain ran down here and was defined with a barbed wire fence.
Parts of the Upper Castle were not accessible today due to reconstruction but areas available
The Village Of Devín
At the foot of the Castle
made the visit well worth it, and the warm weather, views into Austria and the forests and hillsides surrounding Devín capped off an informative and interesting visit. Again it was an attraction we had to climb steep tracks to visit but with so much of interest, you barely noticed.
Back in Bratislava we went in search of shops that Sue had seen things in but had procrastinated over, made the purchase and found a hidden patisserie to have cake and coffee in, before leaving Tim to go for dinner and head back home.
Walking along the Danube, arm in arm, on this warm fading evening was a special way to farewell Bratislava; if only Sue could have been there.
JUST KIDDING. It was a nice walk along the river before entering our appartment block from the riverfront entrance. Tomorrow the walk to the tram up our historic little street, of no significance in Bratislava but home to many stately, tired looking buildings, will be our last taste of Slovakia. Visit it, you’ll have no regrets. OK, the coffee is always too cold. But that’s it.
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