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1 Nov 2013 Ivan Belko Regional News
Bratislava possesses many places of interest, some of which can make visitors and locals alike stop and stare in awe - even if it is just to consider the feat of engineering or architecture they are looking at. Many of these places even allow visitors inside them, offering the opportunity to admire the monuments themselves from the outside, or the city below from within.
For those who enjoy watching the chaos of an anthill, the best choice in Bratislava (apart from a helicopter tour) is the observation deck of the SNP Bridge, which spans the Danube and provides the vital link between the city centre and Petržalka. The bridge has an observation deck and restaurant on the top of its only pylon, 95 metres above the ground. It combines luxury dining with spectacular views over an area of about 100 km.
Less than a kilometre to the east stands a steel bridge called Starý Most (Old Bridge), which was the first to link both banks of the river. Destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt by the Soviet army, nowadays it is closed for road traffic. However pedestrians can enjoy a view of two of Bratislava’s iconic sights: the SNP Bridge and the castle. (Note: Reconstruction of the bridge is planned for 2013-15 so check if it is accessible.)
Other options exist for views over the Old Town, including from the Old Town Hall Tower at the Main Square and Michael’s Gate at Michalská Street. Another option is the Sky bar restaurant at Hviezdoslavovo Square, next to the US embassy. It has a terrace on the top of the building with a glass roof. Be sure to make a reservation.
Bratislava Castle offers another possibility to look on the city from above. Its gardens offer an excellent view, free of charge, over the city and the Danube. Another possibility is to visit the castle and climb its Crown Tower, which apart from being one of the oldest parts of the castle offers a 360° view into four countries in case of good weather: Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Outside the centre, on one of the hilltops above the city perches the Slavín war memorial, dedicated to the fallen soldiers of Red Army who liberated Bratislava in 1945. The park features a magnificent view over the eastern part of the city, in addition to the military cemetery. In the middle is a 39.5 m high column, topped with a statue of a Soviet soldier erecting the flag above the liberated Bratislava and crushing a swastika under his feet.
The almighty TV Tower, which can be seen from every direction, also houses Altitude restaurant on a rotating deck. It offers a 360° panorama of Bratislava and the surrounding region, including a glimpse into Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Hotel Lindner, opened in May 2013, is another possibility. It offers a view over the city from its Outlook Bar & Lounge at the 13th floor.
Unfortunately some of the city’s other landmark towers are not open to the public. The distinctive upside down pyramid building is the home of Slovak Radio, and one of the city’s highest modern skyscrapers is owned by the National Bank of Slovakia, Slovakia’s central bank. Visitors will have to make do with the other scenic overlooks noted above.
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“We are probably the only city in Europe that is building a bridge and does not yet know how it will look.” Bratislava Mayor-elect Ivo Nesrovnal’s comments on the reconstruction of the Old Bridge.