The Reduta building, nowadays the seat of the Slovak Philharmonic, is one of the most important historical buildings that remain in Bratislava's old town centre. A former granary built in 1773 by the order of Austro-Hungarian Empress Maria Theresa, Reduta was purchased in 1901 by the town and turned into a multi-functional centre in a neo-baroque style with elements of rococo and art Nouveau.
The building's function was implied already by its French name, "redoute" (redoubt, a kind of military refuge). It served as the seat of several associations, cultural and business institutions, and at the same time provided Bratislava citizens with a place where they could go to listen to music, to dance or dine.
Many Slovak and foreign masters participated in the ornamentation of the building. Reduta also looked after itself commercially, as the Municipal Music School educated the leading personalities of Slovak musical life.
Elegant restaurants were also opened in the building. Their enjoyable atmosphere was created by light music bands, variety shows or dance evenings. One of the first cinemas in Bratislava was opened there in 1916, and in fact, the present Slovak Philharmonic concert hall, with its 700 seats, was used exclusively for cinematography.
Reduta diverse life became even richer during the carnival season. Fancy-dress balls for Bratislava's high society were held in the exclusive spaces of this building. The tradition of graceful evenings has recently become more difficult to maintain - nine years after the 1989 revolution, the directors of the Slovak Philharmonic are scrambling to find enough money just to maintain the high standard of the concert hall and Reduta's furnished rooms.