Slovakia

Spis Castle, Slovakia

Stop #11

Built in the 12th century, Spiš Castle was part of the Kingdom of Hungary and then owned by several families and later by the state of Czechoslovakia then Slovakia.

Originally a Romanesque stone castle with fortifications, a two-story Romanesque palace and a three-nave Romanesque-Gothic basilica were constructed by the second half of the 13th century. It underwent multiple additions and renovations over the centuries and even burned down in the 1700s.

In 1993, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kosice, Slovakia

Stop #10

We entered back into Slovakia on the Eastern side of the country. Kosice is the major Slovakian city in the East. As one of 2013’s European Capital of Culture, Kosice has plenty of sights.

The city has a town square/plaza. There was a musical fountain (which for whatever seemed to be really common on this trip).  The city was a bit sleepy, but had some fun places to hang out at night…great pubs.

Highlights:

  • Singing Fountain – it seems neat at first, then seems really tacky, and then it is all good and fine again.
  • Cathedral of St. Elizabeth – a 14th century Gothic Cathedral.
  • Statue of Andrassy – Statue of Kosice’s coat of arms, the first municipal coat of arms in Europe.
  • State Theater is a beautiful building in the town square.

Orava Castle, Slovakia

Stop #3

Orava Castle (Oravský hrad) sits on a high rock above the Orava river . Dating to the 13th century, Original design was in Romanesque and Gothic style, but it was later reconstructed as a Renaissance and Neo-Gothic building. It is now a National Monument.

We were lucky to see it in autumn, with yellow and orange leaves surrounding the rock on which the castle sits.

Bojnice Castle, Slovakia

Stop #2

Bojnice is a historical town in central Slovakia. The centerpiece is the Castle, built in the 12th century in Gothic and Renaissance style.

The castle wasn’t open to visitors on Mondays, so we didn’t get to tour the inside, which was fine given the day we had planned!

Bojnice Castle was originally built as a wooden fort, and written records refer to the castle in 1013.   In the mid-1900s the castle was confiscated by the Czechoslovak government and became the seat of several state institutions. It was destroyed by fire and later reconstructed in 1950.

Bratislava, Slovakia

Stop #1

We landed in Budapest and immediately rented a car to head to Bratislava, recognizing that we would spend plenty of time in Budapest at the tail end of the trip. We arrived in Bratislava as the sun was setting, and the three most obvious things we saw when we arrived were Bratislava Castle, St. Martin’s Cathedral, and Most SNP.

Highlights:

  • Bratislava Old Town – or Hviezdoslavovo Namestie – this is where you find embassies, restaurants and bars.
  • Martin’s Cathedral – 10 kings and one queen were crowned in this 14th century church. The reason you can’t miss this church is because it sits practically on the highway, at the edge of the old city walls.
  • Bratislava Castle – today’s castle was reconstructed in the 1950s after a fire in 1811 that left it ruined for over 100 years.
  • Most SNP, which is actually Most Slovenského národného povstania or the “UFO Bridge”, is a road bridge over the Danube. At the top of the bridge is a restaurant that looks like a flying saucer.

 

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