New Year's Eve 2000 in Bratislava should be a vast improvement on last year's debacle, when the Old Town was virtually empty, roaming drunks fired rockets at each other and innocent bystanders, and the only refuge to be had was at kiosks selling over-priced hot wine.
This year the city promises a classier, safer night. "We want to make the atmosphere in Bratislava's Old Town like Vienna's Kärtnestrasse, London's Trafalgar Square or Times Square in New York to welcome the year 2000," said Milan Vajda, spokesman of the Old Town Mayor's office.
The town has spent some money to see its plans unfold: 17.2 million Sk ($409,000), provided by sponsors. New Year's Eve celebrations have been moved from the traditional spot, Námestie SNP (Bratislava's main square), to the cobblestones of Old Town, which will be the scene of street parties, fireworks and a laser show.
Access to the Old Town will be strictly controlled, as visitors will only be allowed to enter in seven places. Fire crackers and explosives are forbidden, as are glass wine or beer bottles (plastic containers with beverages are allowed). Security for the expected 40,000 party-goers will be provided by 400 policemen and volunteers.
Main Square - Centre of events
Musicians Richard Müller, Peter Lipa, Pavol Hammel, Jana Kirschnerová and Jaro Filip will perform on a stage set up on the Main Square, along with the bands Hex and Vidiek. Ján 'Berky' Mrenica will show off his amazing dexterity on his 'Devil Violin'. The night's programme will be hosted by the comic duo Miro Noga and Štefan Skrúcaný.
A large screen will beam greetings from many popular Slovak personalities and show a documentary film featuring Old Bratislava. At midnight, fireworks and a laser show display will set the night ablaze. At 1:00 a.m. the stage will be jammed for an All Star Band 2000 concert. Events start at 18:00 and finish at 1:45 a.m.
The food and drink stands of the Christmas market will be moved off the main square over to nearby Františkánske Square, where hot wine, beer and traditional Slovak potato pancakes and sausages will be on sale.
Panská and Ventúrska Street - Rocking Second Stage
Perfect for a younger crowd, a second stage will be built on the corner of Panská and Ventúrska streets offering a seven hour-concert by Slovak rock groups like O.B.D., Polemic or Iné Cafe. The concert starts at 18:00, finishes at 01:00.
Michael's Tower - Dance and Disco
Disco fans will be attracted to Michalská Street. A disc jockey will be placed on the Michalská Tower balcony, blasting the latest dance tunes to the streets below. The tower will be decorated with lights to create a 'Tower of Fire'. Other funky decorations will include a giant mirror, smoke and coloured lights. The programme kicks off at 18:00 and lasts till 2:00.
Slovak National Theatre - Skate and watch
One of Bratislava's most beautiful squares, Hviezdoslavovo námestie (in front of the Slovak National Theatre), offers public ice-skating daily, and on New Year's Eve the ice rink will feature a live show similar to 'Ice-capades'. The show will run periodically from 10:00 to 23:00.
Ľ. Štúr square - President Speaks
January 1 is not only New Year's Day, it's also the day the Slovak Republic celebrates its founding. So, after the fireworks display at midnight fired from the Bratislava Castle, President Rudolf Schuster will give a speech, witness the raising of the Slovak flag, and preside over a Slovak army display.
20. Dec 1999 at 0:00 | Soňa Bellušová