“A Beauty on Danube”, Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava79On Saturday afternoon, after rain, we decided to visit the capital city of  Slovakia, Bratislava which is called by everybody “a  Beauty on Danube”.  It was half an hour ride from our village Male Levare.  All the family got together and joined us. Bratislava is a largest and the most important city in Slovakia, and since Slovakia is a fairly new independent country,  it is the youngest capital city in Europe Bratislava69although very ancient dating from 2000 years ago. The Slavonic ancestors of today’s Slovaks inhabited the territory of the present city about the 5th and 6th centuries. The Castle we see today and the city below acquired a significant position at the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries.

Now we are heading downtown,  passing by the Opera House of Bratislava, taking pictures of streets and social life on them, we came to the Central Market place where performances, craft fairs and craftsmen exhibiting their trades were in abundance. Among them are blacksmiths, pottery makers, cowbell makers, ceramic artists, holenka (boot) makers, egg carvers, valashkas ( it is a form of walking stick and axe combined, (one will never see it here,  a specific Slovak craft) makers, and also there were craftsmen designing and making a special mountain horn called “a  fujara” (it was used to communicate between villages in old Slovakia, as “our internet” of bygone days, now it is played at folk festivals only!). It was my cousin Aljosh who paid my attention at it. On that particular day the culture summer 2009 event took place in Bratislava on this square. The stages were erected where the different ensembles were performing: kids’ and adults’ ones. My grandparents and their children, such as my father and his 5 brothers and sisters would have felt right at home among these performers as these costumes we see today were everyday dress of their time as well as the singing and the music. What a great performance it was!

Watch the slide show “Bratislava”.          

Bratislava85After this we made an arduous climb by stairs and cobblestone streets dating back many centuries to the  Bratislava Castle. On our climb we took many pictures giving a panoramic view of  Bratislava, a city which consists of modern and ancient. Here from the high point of view we understood why Bratislava was called “a Beauty on the Danube”. The river itself impressed us greatly and around we saw the red roofs of the buildings which were the rich palaces, gardens, churches, theaters of the Hungarian mobilities because up until the reign of Joseph II when Bratislava was the capital of Hungary the population of the town tripled. Culturally the town grew as well. Famous musicians and artists visited Bratislava and performed there. For example, Bratislava96Beethoven, Mozart, Hayden and Brahms as well as writers and scientists.

Our last destination was the  St. Nicholas  Orthodox  Church that was situated higher up in the old city, once it was  the old Catholic Church, maybe four hundred years old, now it had beautiful paintings and icons inside. Upon entering with the family little Martin, just 2 years old, started to kneel down, you can see it in the picture to the right. Why? Because the little one is used to come to the Catholic Church with his grandfather Aljosh, and it is habitual for him to do so irregardless of which denomination it is. What a great respect from a little one!

During our visit to Bratislava and everywhere Milan was a wonderful family reporter who made a copy of his 151 photos and gave us as a gracious gift. I have worked at my 1250 photos and Milan’s ones and prepared a special photo gallery with the name “funny” shots by Milan and offer to your attention and appraisal hoping you to have a smile and fun. Enjoy slide show “Milan’s Funny Gallery”.               

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