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Top Pick: Christmas Market on Bratislava's Main Square

Christmas in Slovakia remains a time when distinct traditions are revived, such as the Christmas eve dinner of honey wafers, home made 'kapustnica' (cabbage soup), fried carp and potato salad.
These traditions are also alive in the streets of the Bratislava Old Town, specifically on the Main Square. The area is now dominated by a huge decorated tree next to a stage holding live Christmas performances, such as carol singing, theatrical plays, concerts and dancing. The rest of the square is flooded with small wooden stands offering Slovak Christmas goods.


The traditional Christmas market on Hlavné námestie is now in full swing.
photo: Ján Svrček

Christmas in Slovakia remains a time when distinct traditions are revived, such as the Christmas eve dinner of honey wafers, home made 'kapustnica' (cabbage soup), fried carp and potato salad.

These traditions are also alive in the streets of the Bratislava Old Town, specifically on the Main Square. The area is now dominated by a huge decorated tree next to a stage holding live Christmas performances, such as carol singing, theatrical plays, concerts and dancing. The rest of the square is flooded with small wooden stands offering Slovak Christmas goods.

Visitors can mill around the 82 stands, most of which offer hand-made trinkets of ceramics, wood, glass, honey, metal and corn husks. There are traditional Christmas tree decorations, advent wreaths, honey and wax candles, toys, embroidered pictures, painted mugs and silver jewellery, as well as hand-baked decorated ginger bread figures and Christmas waffles.

Keeping in mind the chilly winter weather, some 20 other stands provide customers with typical Slovak mulled drinks. Just search for a word 'hriaté', meaning mulled drinks, to find red mulled wine with cinnamon and cloves, a sweet punch with fruit, or hot 'medovina', a tasty fermented honey drink drunk by ancient Slavs.

Visitors can also try the assortment of Slovak food specialities, such as potato pancakes with goose lard, cigánska pečienka ('gypsy liver'), pork hamburgers, typical Slovak sausages, bread with pork lard and onions or garlic on bread.

Those in the giving spirit can check out the three stands shared by various charity organisations; the Dovina Lion's club, Unicef, Most, the Bratislava Catholic Charity and Sundrape. All stands are open from 10:00 to 20:00 every day, while the refreshment stands close at 21:30. The Main Square Christmas market will last till December 23.


By Zuzana Habšudová

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